The contest “The History and Culture of Polish Jews” addressed at the students of secondary schools was announced on the 50th anniversary of the Ghetto Uprising in 1993. Ever since, the contest has been taking place every 2 years. It is organized under the honorary patronage of the Ministry of National Education and the scientific patronage of the Historic Institute of the University of Warsaw, Jewish Studies Chair of the Jagiellonian University and the Jewish Historic Institute. Organizers are also supported by the Israeli Ministry of Education. The contest is supervised by the Organizational Committee chaired by Professor Feliks Tych (the first four editions were chaired by Professor Marcin Kula).
The contest’s best participants are offered an opportunity to enter selected majors on the University of Warsaw without the need to take entry exams (they include, History, Polish Philology, Oriental Studies (Hebrew Studies), Journalism and Social Sciences). In addition, Jagiellonian University proposed to offer the laureate of the contest a free entry to the university.
The top winners of the contest have the opportunity to take a weeklong journey to Israel organized by the Ministry of Education of Israel. In 2015, we have received an extensive report of one of such journeys, you can watch it on: JOURNEY to Israel taken by the participants of the 11th edition of the contest.
With each new edition there are more and more interested young people, hence the growing number of participants. So far, eight editions were attended by more than 15 thousand students. Because of this huge popularity among young people, organizers decided to expand its coverage. Henceforth, in 2001, together with the 5th edition of the contest addressed at secondary schools, the 1st edition of the contest addressed at primary and lower secondary schools took place, entitled “On Common Ground,” chaired by, among others, Eleonora Bergman (PhD) and Professor Paweł Śpiewak.
Many of the participants of both contests continue pursuing their interests and focus on researching the common Polish-Jewish history; thus, some of the winners are pursuing PhD studies on the University of Warsaw. Regardless of their professional choices, they became free of prejudices, aware citizens of the new, open society.
The school year 2017/2018will be the year of the 13th edition of the contest addressed at the students of the secondary schools “The History and Culture of Polish Jews” and the 9th edition of the contest addressed at the primary and lower secondary schools “On the Common Ground.”