By Symi Rom-Rymer
“My name is Henio Zytomirski. I am seven-years-old. I live on 3 Szewska Street in Lublin.” So begins the profile of Heino Zytomirski, a young addition to Facebook. Why should we care? Because Heino is dead–a young victim of the Holocaust. His profile and status updates are written by Piotr Buzek, a 22 year-old staff member of the Brama Grodzka Cultural Center in Lublin, Poland. The Center says that it is harnessing new technology to teach the internet generation about the history of Jews in Poland and to keep their memory alive.
To be perfectly honest, I feel queasy about this approach. First of all, much of what the Center does focuses on Lublin’s Jewish past. Which is important and necessary. But in doing so, it also looks backwards and not ahead. There is increasing evidence that Jewish communities in Poland not only exist, but are growing. Just look at the articles recently published by JTA. So why isn’t the Center celebrating and advertising those triumphs? It could easily choose a young 20-something living Polish Jew to talk about his life, his experiences, and his hopes to friends around the world. Continue reading