We Can Help

We received the following call for help from Jakub Nowakowski, director of the Galicia Jewish Museum in Kraków, Poland. 

 

What is the role of the Jewish museum in a contemporary world, in a digital age, in a COVID-19 age, post COVID-19?

We all know these questions. We all have been posting them and/or trying to find answers.

Let me ask another one.

What is the role of the Jewish Museum during a humanitarian crisis? During a bloody war in a neighbouring country?

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion on Ukraine, 4 weeks ago, over 150 000 refugees have arrived in Kraków, a city of 900 000 inhabitants. Over 2.2 million to all of Poland.

The situation of most of these people is dramatic.

At the Galicia Jewish Museum, in Kraków, Poland we have been trying to help both the refugees, and people on the other side of the border, since the beginning of the crisis. This included collecting funds, sending medical supplies, but also… opening a day-care for the Ukrainian children.

Those children and their parents needed much help. From simple creation of a safe and welcoming space, to offering regular meals, to creating opportunities to play with pairs, to providing supplies, clothes, shoes (most escaped in a heavy winter clothes and shoes), to offering medical support, to offering English and Polish classes, to providing physical and psychological therapy…

But at the Museum we understand that it is not only the children who are in need of help. The underage escaped Ukraine, in most cases, only with their mothers, who are now equally lost, traumatized and vulnerable. While some of these people have a shelter: offered by inhabitants of Kraków or in the night shelters run by the municipality or various NGO’s, some are homeless. Vast majority of them are unemployed, and living off whatever little savings they have.

So we are also trying to help by providing paid jobs. This includes hiring two full time teachers to run the day-centre, but also hiring those who can provide additional activities for the children in that day-centre. This includes all sorts of programming like drawing classes, gymnastic, dance lessons, but also physiological and emotional therapy. All of these people are refugees who escaped Ukraine since the outbreak of the war. All in all, at this point we have 8 refugees on a pay-list (three of them full time, five of them part time). This number is likely to go up, if only we will be able to secure the necessary funds. All of the contracts, with exception of one, are short term (month long), but will be prolonged for at least another month, and further, again – depending on the situation in Ukraine and the available funds. At this point most of the costs related with hiring these new employees are covered through the generous support we received from foundations and individuals from all over the world. We are extremely grateful for that.

So we try to help as much as we can.

Because this is the right thing to do.
Because we have tools and means to do so.
Because we have been teaching about the danger of being indifferent.
Because what we do doesn’t change our mission. It is only the tools that we use, the actions that we take –  that are new.
But the story about those that do good, and those that do wrong – is the same.

Now, can you help?

Yes, you can.

Everyday we are receiving applications and messages from refugees that are looking for temporary jobs.

Please let us know if any of your museums/partner institutions could offer such an opportunity. Perhaps you could use a person working at the reception or bookstore?  Or perhaps in the Education Department – though as you can imagine – most of the refugees would not come from the context of the Jewish/Holocaust studies. Here on the ground we can help with preparation for relocation, as well as getting necessary permits to receive a refugee status, which entitles to work in EU:

Information for people fleeing the war in Ukraine <<

We can ask for CV’s and send these to you.

We can help.

For more information please contact me at
jakub@galiciajewishmuseum.org