CyberFair Project ID: 8322

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: Permeation-Przenikanie
Category: 2. Community Groups and Special Populations

School: Janusz Korczak High School No. 5 in Tarnow
    Tarnow, Malopolskie, Poland

30 students, ages 16-18 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on January 30, 2017. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): 2017

Classes and Teachers: Marcin Zarod, Mira Shweky

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

Our community consists of people interested in bringing back the memory about the pre-war Jewish community of Tarnow. It includes students of Janusz Korczak High School in Tarnow, students of Harel High School from Israel, the descendants of the Jewish residents of the pre-war Tarnow that are members of the 'Jewish Tarnow' Facebook group, and the Holocaust Survivors who used to live in Tarnow and who now live in various parts of the world, including, the US, Australia and Israel. The community came to include the residents of contemporary Tarnow who either attended the official opening of the project exhibition at the Tarnow Culture Centre in June 2016, who visited the official project blog or who downloaded the official mobile app that accompanies the project. All the people directly involved in the creation of our project met both in real life and online over a period of more than 12 months. Students created friendships when they met for 3-day workshops in Tarnow in September 2015, then they cooperated online for a year and they met again at the official opening of the project exhibition in Israel in November 2016. Polish students even stayed at Israeli students' homes while on their visit to Israel. Over 150 members of the 'Jewish Tarnow' Facebook group got involved by providing testimonies related to the life in pre-war Tarnow, but they also decided to sponsor the printout of the exhibition boards. Eventually they met with students who created the project - either at the official opening of the project exhibition in Tarnow or later in Israel. One of the ladies, Shula, who was 97 years old, came to talk to Polish students and she revealed to us that it was the first time she spoke Polish for over 70 years.

2. Summary of Our Project

The primary purpose of the project was to bring back the memory about the pre-war Jewish community of Tarnow among the citizens of our city. Although Jews constituted 45% of Tarnow’s residents in the 1940’s, nowadays young people who live in Tarnow know next to nothing about this fact. To remedy that, students decided to create an exhibition with photoshopped images accompanied by quotations of Holocaust Survivors who used to live in our city translated into Polish, English and Hebrew. We managed to gather text-based quotations from books or from personal diaries as well as video footage recorded especially for the project by the still-living Survivors. Apart from the exhibition, students also created a blog with info about the project results, a Facebook website and a mobile app for Android devices.?The project started with a 3-day visit of Israeli students to Tarnow, where they participated in workshops together with Polish students. They could hone their English speaking skills as it was the working language. They learned about each other’s culture, took photos to be used for the project and just made friends. Then, it took a few months of online collaboration to create the superimposed images and conduct research to find appropriate quotations in books and journals written by Holocaust Survivors from Tarnow. They also contacted living Survivors who recorded videos with their testimonies especially for the project. In June 2016 the opening of the project exhibition took place in the Tarnow Culture Centre, where it remained on display for four months. The project was also presented in Polin Museum in Warsaw. In November our Israeli partners opened the exhibition in their school near Jerusalem. Thus, former Tarnow residents who live in Israel had a chance to see our project.

3. Our Computer and Internet Access

A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:more than 50%

B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:more than 6

C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection

D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:more than 6

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

The most important barrier was the difference in geographical locations of the project participants. Polish students had to continue collaboration with Israeli students after the initial workshops on-site in Tarnow. We solved the problem by creating a Facebook group where all the communication took place during the project work. The second problem was the language barrier as virtually all materials that we used for the project were in English, including books and diaries of Holocaust Survivors as well as video testimonies. As the target audience included both Poles and Israelis, students had to translate all those materials into Polish and Hebrew. We hit another drawback when trying to superimpose the old and new images. Photoshop, which was the obvious choice, is too expensive for our school, but we used the free website instead. We stumbled upon a seemingly minor problem when using a YouTube caption editor to create Polish subtitles for videos recorded for the project. We wanted to place QR-codes on the exhibits for spectators to be able to scan them with their mobiles and access the films. It turned out that by default the subtitles are turned off and it was complicated to display them on mobile phones, one of the students had to play the videos on his computer screen, create screencasts of those screenings and then upload those films on our YouTube channel. In this way the QR-coded films, when played, featured the Polish subtitles by default and could be viewed with ease. We also encountered a setback related to funds, as the printouts of large-format exhibit boards turned out to be quite costly. We solved this problem by announcing our project plans to members of the Jewish Tarnow Facebook group who decided to sponsor our project.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

Thanks to the participation in International School CyberFair and by creating their project, my students not only had a chance to learn about the unknown history of their own city, but also to meet and form bonds with friends from Israel who have different culture and religion. By using various IT tools to create their project, they made sure the results look quite professional, as if they were prepared by real historians or photographers. The project participants were able to share their findings with over 1000 citizens of Tarnow who attended the project exhibition, which turned out to be the most popular exhibition displayed in the Tarnow Culture Centre in 2016.

6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?

Our project addressed the issues of local history, WWII and Holocaust history, social studies, IT including coding, as well as English as a foreign language. While researching the sources and contacting Holocaust Survivors, students involved in the project learned a lot about the Jewish life in pre-war Tarnow. They found out where Jewish schools, synagogues and hospital were located and now can tell the story of those buildings while guiding tours around their town. While reading Sam Goetz’s book ”I never saw my face”, my students extended their knowledge related to the ghettos, deportations of Jews to concentration camps, and life of Jews in post-war Europe. The aforementioned issues are covered by their curriculum, but the real-life experience made them much more deeply interested in history. English was the working language of our project, and all the resources were in English, so students not only had to communicate in this language but also translate quotations and exhibit descriptions into Polish which resulted in them improving their oral and reading skills. Consequently, I expect them to be much more confident while passing their final exams in English. While contacting their Israeli peers and then visiting Israel, my students gathered a wealth of knowledge about the Jewish culture and religion and now are able to appreciate cultural diversity. Using the Internet not only was more effective than traditional methods, but it literally made our project possible. It enabled us to contact Holocaust Survivors from the US, Australia and Israel, which would not be possible using traditional methods. It also enabled the collaboration with our Israeli counterparts. My students learned numerous 21-century skills like coding, creativity, online collaboration, leading by example, cloud computing etc. My students learned that Internet could empower them to achieve things that were previously unimaginable.

Project Elements

1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your CyberFair project?

All the software tools used for the project were free. Most of the project work was done after school so students mainly used their own computers as school computers are too old. The sessions at school were devoted to project coordination and distributing tasks to be carried out later. We used Facebook groups to for collaboration between project coordinators, Polish and Israeli students. We used Google Drive to share documents and store files used for the project. Thanks to it several students were able to add the quotations they had found to a single file and then other students could simultaneously translate those quotations into Polish and Hebrew. Students used their own digital cameras as well as smartphones to take photos that were used at the exhibition. Instead of expensive Photoshop, we used a free website to superimpose the contemporary photos onto the old, historic photos. Several girls used and started our project blog at and updated it with all the developments related to the project progress. They also share information about the project on Facebook page at One of the students used a free App Inventor 2 coding platform to create an Android app to accompany the exhibition. Two language versions of this App were published on Google Play and are available for free download. The daughter and grandson of Ron Unger, a 88 year-old Tarnow Survivor, recorded Ron talking about the places from our photos. We used YouTube CC editor to provide Polish subtitles for the video interviews. Then we published all the project videos at our YouTube channel at Students recorded all the movies for the project with their smartphones and edited them with the iMovie app on iPads.

2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.

Our project became quite an event in our town. First, when the Israeli students visited Tarnow for joint workshops, our local TV station made a news report about their visit and about the project. Then, when students were taking photos in places related to the Jewish community, the residents of our city came up to them and asked them curiously what they were doing. While researching historical photos, students found some on the websites of the Yad Vashem Institute in Jerusalem, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington so we emailed those institutions who were so impressed with our project plans that they kindly agreed for us to use the photos free of charge. We also called the Regional Museum in Tarnów who supplied several other historical photos for the project. Thanks to our contacts with the Jewish Tarnow Facebook group several descendants of Holocaust Survivors agreed to send us scans of their family photos to be used for the project. During the opening night of the project exhibition at the Tarnow Culture Centre my students presented their project before dozens of people and tourists. Following media coverage, my students took part in a regional radio show and talked about their project. Two local newspapers interviewed my students and published extensive articles. Polish students acted as ambassadors of the project, representing not only their school but also their country when they attended the opening of our project exhibition in Israel. After the foreign visit the Tarnow Mayor invited my students and the principal of our school to meet with him and we had a chance to tell him about our project. He said that after talking to one of the Members of European Parliament he will try to help us present our project exhibition in Brussels.

3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?

Our project has already made a difference, as it brought back the forgotten, Jewish past of our city. We placed QR-coded links to our website on the exhibits that we showed for four months at the Tarnow City Centre, where close to 1000 thousand local residents, students and tourists visited it. Many visitors to the website or exhibition remarked that they had never heard that so many Jews lived in our city. The photos acquired from private owners, usually Holocaust Survivors, that we featured in our project were showed in Tarnow for the first time in history. While talking to one of the Holocaust Survivors we learned that Tarnow had a person similar to Oscar Schindler, whose name was Julius Madritsch and who helped the Jews by employing them in his sewing factory. It turned out that even renowned local historians had no knowledge about this fact. This news made it to the radio and two local and regional newspapers. We received thanks from the descendants of former Tarnowians associated with Jewish Tarnow Facebook group. Thanks to our project, our school established working relations with Yad Vashem, USHMM in Washington, our local museum, culture centre, and local authorities. The mayor of Tarnow even co-financed our trip to Israel, where we opened our exhibition for Israeli residents. All the feedback we received was extremely positive. There were no anit-semitic comments that we had feared. People reacted to our project with authentic curiosity. The project empowered my students and gave them reason to think that they really can change the world around them. Their parents thanked me for broadening their children’s horizons and helping them to follow their passions. Our school came to be recognized in the local community for international cooperation and creative use of new technologies.

4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?

Firstly, our project mobilised students who were originally not the part of it. As it evolved, we realised we needed additional translators, photographers, even graphics designers and the number of students involved in it grew from 15 to over 30. Secondly, we received incredible support from the members of the Jewish Tarnow Facebook group, headed by Jill Leibmann, who either shared their own family photos and diaries written by their parents or even volunteered to record the Holocaust Survivors that they had contact with on video. Audrey Reich and her son from New York recorded Ron Unger’s testimonies. Gennie Penn shared with us parts of her father’s book. Ann Drillich from Australia submitted her mother’s testimony and family photos. Mark Schonwetter sent us his family photo and his video recording. Ignacy Pomerantz from Israel, when he saw a photo of old Jewish hospital on our website, remembered that he was operated on in this hospital and provided us with his testimony. Scott Miller from USHMM in Washington and Emanuel Saunders from Yad Vashem in Jerusalem allowed us to use their photos. All this helped us to feature material that had never been presented in Tarnow before. The head of the Tarnow Culture Centre, Tomasz Kapturkiewicz, was so enthusiastic about our project that he co-financed printing out our exhibits and allowed our project exhibition to be presented in Tarnow market square for four months, including summer holidays. When we announced our discovery of Madritsch, the Tarnow’s Schindler, Mr Dariusz Czechowski, who read about us on Facebook, invited us to his attic where he kept sewing machines used in Madritsch’s workshops. Mira Shweky, our Israeli project coordinator, contacted the Polish institute in Tel Aviv and obtained their help in spreading the news about our project across Israeli media.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

The biggest discovery was that my students, if they find a subject that really interests them, are able to achieve great results and learn numerous skills in the process. For example Kamil, who is far from being a confident student of English, turned out to be an expert video editor. He even organised workshops for other students and shared his skills related to inputting subtitles into YouTube videos. Kasia, our main blogger, turned out a great project leader, with great expertise in mobilising her peers to stick to the deadlines. Later, during one of my English lessons, she taught a workshop on how to set up your own blog. While talking to Holocaust Survivors we discovered that Tarnow had its own Oscar Schindler. His name was Julius Madritsch and he employed hundreds of Jews in his factories in Tarnow and Cracow. We shared his story with the residents of Tarnow through local media and our website. None of the local historians knew about him. As for recognitions - at the gala organised in Polin, the Museum of Polish Jews in Warsaw, our project photos were chosen for the opening slide-show. Our project was chosen as one of the „Best practices” of the programme. On March 4, 2017 my students participated and won the „IT Project” category of the Information Technology Cup of the Beskid Mountains, where they presented the technological part of their project (a mobile app, blog, Facebook website, YouTube channel, Google Drive cooperation). Finally, I myself, as the project coordinator, won the „Teacher with Culture” Award in competition organised by the Tarnow’s Mayor. We learned that technology, when used creatively, may have a uniting power. We hope that our project will help bridge gaps between the Jews and Catholics, Israelis and Poles, as they share one history in our city.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 8322)

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