The fourteenth workshop on “How to deal with the past of Auschwitz marked by violence” was held at the Centre of Dialogue and Prayer in Oświęcim from August 11th to 16th, 2023. It was organised by the Maksimilian Kolbe Foundation from Germany, supported by Polish and German Episcopates. This year there were 30 participants from 13 European countries: Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Ukraine, Moldova, Poland, Germany, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Italy, and Albania. The participants were representatives of different communities and organisations e.g: university teachers, memorial sites workers and workers of centres of tolerance and reconciliation.

The aim of the project was to invite the participants to learn together about the experiances connected to Auschwitz and to reflect on different perspectives and contexts of experiences and interpretations provided by participants.

The thing that always connects the invited guests is a request for realising the ways of reconciliation where they live, often in places that were also marked by violence. By listening to the experiences of others, they can share with one another enriching themselves with the variety of languages, cultures and religions.

With these meetings the Maximilian Kolbe Foundation wants to create a network of people – Christian leaders in different European countries who will work together in future for reconciliation.

Pilgrimage from the parish of St. Maksymilian to the former Auschwitz camp on the 82nd anniversary of Maksymilian Kolbe’s death
Meeting with a former prisoner Mrs Zdzisława Włodarczyk
Meeting with a former prisoner Mr Grzegorz Tomaszewski
Workshop participants during lectures
Workshop participants
Visit to Birkenau
Visit to Auschwitz
Visiting the art exhibition “Cliches of Memory. Labirynths” of Marian Kołodziej a former prisoner of Auschwitz nr 432 at the Centre of St. Maximilian in Harmęże
Visit to the Church of St. Maximilian Kolbe in Oświęcim, where the relics of the saint are kept
Visit in the city of Oświęcim

Photos by Marko Orlovic