CyberFair Project ID: 3500

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: Do not trample the altars of the past ! Even if you want to build more wonderful ones.
Category: 6. Historical Landmarks

School: General Józef Wybicki Junior High School Number 24
    Lodz, Lodzkie, Poland

15 students, ages 13 -15 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 10, 2005. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): none

Classes and Teachers: II and III classes - 15 students with Ms Beata Firkowska, English teacher (coordinator); Ms Iwona Przybylek, Polish teacher; Ms Justyna Jedrzejczak, English teacher.

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

Our school is in the centre of Lodz - a large, centuries old city with a very interesting history and... the not easy present. The beginning of industrial Lodz dates back to 19th century - times of Karol Scheibler and Izrael Poznanski, times when Lodz was called 'Polish Manchester'. It was supposed to become 'a promised land' for those who had arrived there for wealth. Nowadays descendants of those workers - our parents - do not work because they are unemployed and the hardships they suffered do not encourage them to remember or learn history. For them and for us we designed a Web Site that presents important historical landmarks of Lodz. We are convinced that before the world gets to know Lodz, first we - young citizens - should learn its complicated, often tragic, but still very interesting history. By 'our community' we mean ourselves in the first place. We, students of Junior High School, live among mementos, so we should know, what events they witnessed. Our community is also our parents. In everyday bustle they often forget to foster customs, traditions and history. Inviting them for a walk, first on the Internet, then round realistic, present Lodz, we want to show them that the young people of today know their roots, and contrary to common opinions, think about the past with the utmost respect. By 'our community' we also mean our teachers and all those who work in places we visited while creating our project: the workers of City of Lodz History Museum (Ogrodowa Street), Jewish Community (Pomorska Street), The Protection Society of the Old Cemetery, St Joseph Parish (Ogrodowa Street), The Museum of Martyrdom and Warfare in Radogoszcz (Zgierska Street), 81 Primary School in Lodz (Plater Street). To teach those who teach us is really an unusual challenge. For such a community and with it, we create a Web Site entitled 'DO NOT TRAMPLE THE ALTARS OF THE PAST EVEN IF YOU WANT TO BUILD MORE WONDERFUL ONES!', with hope that its contents will enrich all of us.

2. Summary of Our Project

Our school is surrounded by unique buildings and places - eye witnesses to important historic events. We think that those who lead a life of ignorance and pass by those places mindlessly, ought to feel ashamed for themselves. The surrounding area of our school is known all over the world. 'The Promised Land' by WL. St. Reymont is set in Lodz, just a step from our school. Rather than live in the shade of big cities that promote their history like Warsaw, Krakow, we have decided to learn and disseminate Lodz history. Our Web Site is for those who look for interesting facts. We collected: copies of documents, photos, interviews given by experts, witnesses, curators and those who take care of all the places and helped us to reveal their history. We prove that Lodz in the 19th century was a city of tolerance. Germans, Poles, Russians, Jews lived together - 4 nations, 4 cultures, 4 religions. Today graves are the proof of their coexistence. The Old Cemetery on Ogrodowa Street provides cover for the remains of people of Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox faiths and at the Jewish Cemetery on Bracka Street the Jews are still waiting for coming of Messiah. We learnt the history of those places, we know why so many nations lived there and we know a lot of interesting facts about their funeral ceremonies. We want to share our knowledge with other people. We want to explain how and why the descendants of Lodz citizens take care of historic landmarks. We understood the need to remember the past - we grow out of it. We met people who take care of the cemeteries in Lodz. We share our experience together with others, experience connected with their work and the aim of it. It is our proud boast that we are also involved in that work - we have been cooperating with The Protection Society of the Old Cemetery for 3 years. We describe the tragic history of Jews for whom the ghetto was organized in Baluty District and whose remains are in the Ghetto Field at the Jewish Cemetery in Bracka Street. We present those places then and now. We managed to get unique photos and documents which reveal the horror of those days and human tragedy. We prove that even on the ruins people can live. Our project concerns with those values the human being desires most: it condemns war and violence and shows the beauty of cooperation and tolerance. Only thanks to cooperation and tolerance you can admire such beautiful places as Piotrkowska Street.

3. Our Computer and Internet Access

A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:21-50%

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

C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dial-up modem

D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:4-6

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

- the weather conditions while taking photos. - the lack of time to improve our project. - the language difficulties. - organizing the group work - too many plans to execute, discrepancy in ideas. - problems with meeting hours - some of us had to quit after-school activities.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

Thanks to CyberFair we understood the need to remember the past and the fact that we grow out of it. We could show that the young people of today know their roots and contrary to common opinions think about the past with the utmost respect. Our project also expresses our condemnation of war and violence and shows the beauty of cooperation and tolerance.

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

Searching materials for our project is strictly connected with valid curriculum for junior high schools. One of its assumptions is 'using by students the nearest surrounding as one of the sources of information, meeting people, researching the present day, sharing experience and ideas together with others, in respect for dissimilarity and for tolerance.' Moreover, a student of junior high school should be aware of the mass media participation in everyday life and he could use them as one of the tools in his work. The work on our Web Site executes all of these guidelines. We learnt how to use various tools and technologies and we also practiced effective communication. We interviewed people, went on excursions (planning them ahead), made models, pictures, drawings, prepared photo essays. We met people who take care of the historic monuments and we learnt how to watch with criticism and analyse the world around us. We also learnt how to prepare for work: how to make notes, choose facts, put them in the correct validity order, compare details taken from many sources. Our walking through the history was based on a dialogue - sometimes it helped us to compare the same facts and problems, and sometimes enabled us to meet people. It was a unique walk, because it proved that HISTORY IS ON THE CONSTANT MOVE. We realized the contents of curriculum guidelines: - regionalism - we described the history and culture of our region. - philosophy education - we emphasize that a human being should be free and able to learn the truth and should aim towards the good. - media education - we learnt different ways of media communication. We think the Internet is a fantastic place for meeting people of different opinions, cultures, experience and knowledge. It is also a perfect source of information. In our opinion we achieved the aims of CyberFair: - It turned out that the theme of the project was very valuable - it forced us to learn the history of our 'small home', integrated our local community, made us aware of being heirs of the past and rightful citizens of the world.

- We used the Internet - we surfed the net searching for information. Thanks to it we also got in touch with people who shared their experience and knowledge with us.

- We presented the final results of our research to the world. We are sure that those who visit our page will share our opinion that the most valuable for human being is peace all over the world.

Project Elements

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

- 10 computers (Macintosh) with Internet access and 8 computers (PC) without it - scanner Snapscan e25 - printer hp deskjet 7760 - photo cameras (Olympus IS - 200, Olympus 5060, Sony DCS-P8 3.2 Mp) - books (from private archive and libraries) - documents and Xerox copies from different sources (among other things from the Protection Society of the Old Cemetery, the Museum of Martyrdom and Warfare in Radogoszcz, private archive of Mr. R. Walewski, The City of Lodz Office (Promotion Section), St. Joseph Parish in Lodz, 81 Primary School in Lodz) - museum collections ( the Museum of Martyrdom and Warfare in Radogoszcz, the Museum of Independence at 13 Gdanska Street, the City of Lodz History Museum, School Museum at 81 Primary School in Plater Street) - interviews (among other things: Ms L. Robak - a Secretary of the Protection Society of the Old Cemetery, Mr. Hubert Rogozinski - a guide, Mr. Symcha Keller - a President of Jewish Community in Lodz, Ms. Malgorzata Burzynska-Keller - a President of Jewish Cultural and Historical Center) - software (Microsoft FrontPage, Internet Explorer 6.0, Gadu-Gadu 6.0, Microsoft Word 2000, Micrografx Picture Publisher, IrfanView 3.85, Xara Webstyle, Microsoft Works 6.0, GIMP 1.3.23, MS Windows) - dictionaries - telephones Without all these tools and technologies we could not create our project. We appreciate the Internet (a wonderful source of information) but we must admit that meeting members of the local community turned out to be equally helpful.

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

We chose landmarks in Lodz and planned the work. Having all the materials ready we decided to choose those that seemed the most interesting ones and we started creating our CyberFair project. First, we phoned people we wanted to interview, to make appointments. We met them in many different places: - in the classroom (Ms. L. Robak - a Secretary of the Protection Society of the Old Cemetery) - in Jewish Cultural and Historical Center ( Ms M. Burzynska-Keller - a President) - in Jewish Community Center ( Mr. Symcha Keller - a President) - at the Jewish Cemetery ( Mr. Hubert Rogozinski - a guide) - at the Museum of Martyrdom and Warfare in Radogoszcz (Ms G. Janaszek - a curator, Ms J. Pinkowska - a guide) - at 81 Primary School ( Ms B. Bedzinska-Wosik - a headmaster, Ms A. Filipowicz - a guide of the School Museum) Some information (e.g. about the lawsuit against the executioners of Radogoszcz and Lodz Ghetto) we achieved by the Internet from family members of the witnesses or participants of those events. We were surprised how many people were ready to cooperate. The meetings were not cancelled and the atmosphere was really great. People shared their knowledge, gave us interesting books, newspapers, documents, photos, maps... and informed us where we could find more information. We are proud of the fact that many people expressed their recognition for our work. They rated our work highly because of its educational values. Without false modesty we rate it highly, too.

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

We think that our project has changed a lot within our community. It has made us aware of our roots, proved that history is a chain of causes and effects, broadened the mind, resumed contact between us and our parents and grandparents - helped to bridge the generation gap. Our teachers who are also our community became our partners. People working in all the places we visited became our friends and we understood that they tried to preserve cultural heritage of Lodz for posterity. They are happy being able to bequeath it to us and they hope we will bequeath it to future generations. There is no doubt that our community could systematize its knowledge, learn the history of buildings we passed by almost every day without any afterthoughts. Our community could also uncover a secret of fixed plaques placed on the walls in honour of somebody, a secret of empty graves, damaged walls and old buildings. Sometimes with amazement and admiration but sometimes with terror and sadness we examined old photos of Lodz. By the Internet we informed the world that Lodz is a unique city. It experienced and it still experiences days of pros and cons. But it is always interesting and worth seeing. We feel honoured that those who have already seen our project are impressed by it. We are delighted that some people we met still cooperate with us - we count on mutual advantages. We hope that thanks to our project 'DO NOT TRAMPLE THE ALTARS OF THE PAST EVEN IF YOU WANT TO BUILD MORE WONDERFUL ONES!' Lodz will be seen not as a trade city with Piotrkowska Street but as a city of tolerance and peaceful coexistence, a city of people with a great sense of identity and, at last, as a city of dialogue of many cultures.

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

We were surprised by the number of people who were ready to cooperate. The meetings were not cancelled and the atmosphere was really great. People shared their knowledge, gave us interesting books, newspapers, documents, photos, maps... and informed us where we could find more information.

We are thankful to all people who helped us to collect documents and various materials on the theme of our project and to those who answered our detailed questions.

We thank in particular:

- Ms Malgorzata Burzynska-Keller -President of Jewish Cultural and Historical Center in Lodz - Ms Bozena Bedzinska-Wosik - a headmaster of 81 Primary School in Lodz - Ms Grazyna Janaszek - a curator of the Museum of Martyrdom and Warfare in Radogoszcz - Mr Symcha Keller - President of Jewish Community in Lodz - The Reverend Krzysztof Nalepa - a priest of St. Joseph Parish in Lodz - Ms Jadwiga Pinkowska - a guide of the Museum of Martyrdom and Warfare in Radogoszcz - Ms Monika Ptasinska - from The City of Lodz Office (Promotion Section) - Ms Lucja Robak - a secretary and member of The Protection Society of the Old Cemetery. - Mr Hubert Rogozinski - a guide round Lodz and The Jewish Cemetery - Mr Romuald Walewski - for making his private archive available to us and - Mr Krzysztof Firkowski - for help and support for our project.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 3500)

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