Go camping in Poland! The forest is a space of possibility
One, “Birthright Poland” is a Polish government funded youth travel program. It brings Jewish youth to Poland to explore the country’s long and diverse history with their Polish, German, Roma, Ukrainian, Belorussian and other European counterparts. Instead of Jewish youth visiting Poland’s landscape of Nazi camps, the international group will go camping. Campgrounds will be located in Polish forests. The forest is a space of possibility. Not yet mapped in the service of any one group’s memory, it is a space ripe for re-imagining. We will re-map Polish forests as a terrain where paths cross and histories overlap. We will include in one single frame places of Polish pride and shame, sites of Jewish life and death, Muslim communities in the East, former German territories in the West, and abandoned Łemko villages in the South. In this way, we give new meaning to the burdened term “Polish camps.” Our new Polish campgrounds will embrace past pluralism and foster dialogue.