Last Thursday 19 October, the AEPJ Routes Incubator came to an end, after four intense days of work. Participants had the opportunity to explore the two routes that have acted as hosts, the Polish Jewish Heritage Route and the Shtetl Routes, developed in cooperation with the Taube Foundation and Grodzka Gate. The programme has also offered different working sessions and workshops, which in this edition have been dedicated to the aspect of narrative development — a crucial theme in the development of the European Jewish Heritage Route as a whole.
On the last day of the programme, the team travelled from Lublin to the Death Camp in Sobibor, where AEPJ members visited the newly created museum as well as the memorial space. It was a complicated, very touching visit both from a professional point of view, associated with the nature of heritage work, and at the individual level, in which every participant was emotionally confronted by a space that is reflective of the darkest side of humanity.
Wlodawa, part of the shtetl routes, marked the next step on the itinerary. In the small town, the AEPJ visited the complex of three synagogues of profound beauty, in which members learned about life in this shtetl, in which 80% of the population was Jewish before World War II. The town, which has no Jewish community, is working in a very interesting way to re-establish the presence of the community that was brutally murdered.
In the afternoon, back in Lublin, the participants held the conclusion and evaluation meeting. On the one hand, we analysed the field visits that took place this week, especially with regard to the construction of their narratives. On the other hand, a general evaluation of the programme, where we discussed more general aspects, in order to get the most out of the Route Incubators, as it is the main training and cooperation tool of the European Route of Jewish Heritage, certified by the Council of Europe.
We bid farewell to Poland, deeply thanking all the members who participated in the programme, our scientific committee, as well as the hosts, the Taube Foundation and Grodzka Gate, for the coordination and all the work they have done to make the fifth AEPJ Incubator a success.