Institute News

IWitness Helps Park Avenue Synagogue Prepare for Trip to Poland

When Park Avenue Synagogue began preparing for its women’s trip to Poland, they turned to IWitness to help travelers prepare for the historical context of the trip.

Kori Street, USC Shoah Foundation Senior Director of Programs and Operations, gave a presentation on Monday to about 50 women who will be traveling to Poland October 23-26, 2017. For most of the women, all members of Park Avenue Synagogue in New York City, this will be their first trip to Poland.

Patricia Silvers is one of three chairs of the Poland trip. She’s known Jayne Perilstein, USC Shoah Foundation Managing Director of Advancement, for years through their leadership activities at the University of Pennsylvania.

Silvers thought Perilstein and USC Shoah Foundation could provide useful background information and framework for the participants to prepare them for what they will see on the trip, including Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum and other historical sites in Warsaw and Krakow.

Street introduced USC Shoah Foundation, the Visual History Archive and its mission, and showed four clips of testimony from IWitness. The women then made word clouds about what they learned from a clip of Auschwitz survivor Eva Kor’s testimony and discussed them with the group.

Silvers said the group was extremely engaged in the activity and had a lively discussion about Kor’s testimony. They were impressed by the testimony and its potential to truly make an impact on students and people of all ages.

“It was a lesson in how to take the past and make it really accessible going forward,” Silvers said. “It’s such an important message, and the technology makes it easy for students to handle it and take it in. USC Shoah Foundation can capture the minds and hearts of young people to make sure [the Holocaust] doesn’t get forgotten.”