On 19 October 2021, a ceremony was held at the Jewish cemetery in Szamotuły to present the new marking of this site. The event was organized by the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews and the National Heritage Institute with the support of local partners - Górków Castle Museum in Szamotuly and Stanisław Staszic School Complex No. 2 in Szamotuły. It was highly encouraging to see the large number of young people taking part, as well as representatives of many local communities.
The guests were welcomed by the President of the Jewish Religious Community in Poznań Alicja Kobus. The letter of Prof. Magdalena Gawin, Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Culture, National Heritage and Sport, General Conservator of Monuments, was read out by Anna Czerwińska-Walczak - Deputy Director of the National Heritage Institute. The ceremony was attended by, among others: Zygmunt Stępiński - Director of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews; Michał Kruszona - Director of the Górków Castle Museum; Zygmunt Sługocki - Director of the Stanisław Staszic School Complex No. 2; Beata Hanyżak - Head of Szamotuły District - Wielkopolska Conservator of Monuments. The ceremony was led by Sławomir Weihs, who also read out a letter from the Voivode of Wielkopolskie Province Michał Zieliński.
The memory of Szamotuły Jews was commemorated with a speech and prayer by Icchak Rapoport, rabbi of the Jewish Religious Community in Warsaw.
After the official part of the ceremony, those gathered placed pebbles and lit candles at the cemetery markers.
The ceremony in Szamotuły was preceded by accompanying events aimed at the local community. An educational workshop for pupils of School Complex No. 2 in Szamotuły was held on 8 October this year. They allowed the participants to get to know another dimension of their own town’s history and broaden their knowledge about traditions connected with Jewish cemeteries.
Workshops are also planned for pupils of the Stanislaw Staszic Primary School No. 1 on the basis of an educational kit entitled “Museum in a box. Town of Malki”, which contains replicas of objects and archival photographs from the POLIN Museum’s collection, enabling an educational board game to be played in forms 4-6.
The ceremony was carried out within the framework of the “Jewish Cultural Heritage” programme (Component IV Neighbours: objects, people, stories, Priority 2 Programme of describing and marking selected Jewish cemeteries), made possible thanks to a grant made to the POLIN Museum by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Fund and the national budget.
The cemeteries have been commemorated as part of the “Marking of Jewish Cemeteries in the Republic of Poland” programme carried out by the National Heritage Institute and financed by the Ministry of Culture, National Heritage and Sport.