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The Pilecki Project
“The Pilecki Project” is a new educational initiative about Witold Pilecki - one of the greatest heroes of World War II whose brave mission to Auschwitz touched so many lives.
We wish to invite institutions and associations in the United States of America and Canada to join us in promoting the incredible story of Witold Pilecki. Over the next months the Institute, in partnership with the Polish National Foundation, will be offering an online educational program to help pass his story on to the widest audience possible and bring into focus the deeper themes of the war and its lessons for today.
Witold Pilecki is considered one of the 20th century’s greatest heroes. He volunteered to infiltrate Auschwitz, where he witnessed and reported on the beginnings of the Holocaust. His reports from the camp reached the Allies in London. After escaping from Auschwitz and surviving the war, Pilecki went on to fight against the communist takeover of Poland. Arrested by the Soviet-backed regime, he was tortured, convicted in a show trial and executed with a bullet to the back of the head. His legacy had been concealed for more than 4 decades – until the 1990s, when he was finally rehabilitated. Pilecki’s story is thus at the center of two of the 20th century’s most brutal totalitarian regimes. Understanding his legacy offers us essential lessons for making sure the mistakes of the past are never repeated. What does he represent today? What can we still learn from him? Why is he still so intriguing? You can help us understand that. Rediscover Pilecki with us!
We will carry out a dedicated program to engage high school, college and university students with the subject of the Holocaust, Poland’s contribution to the fight against it and its role in defeating Germany in World War II, as well as the rich historical context of the second part of the 20th century. We want to involve students from American and Canadian schools, with the goal to promote Witold Pilecki and his achievements in local communities.
By taking part in the Pilecki Project adventure, members of Pilecki Teams will practice cooperation, dialogue, planning and systematic implementation of tasks. They will also have a chance to learn or improve their digital skills by working on their original videos, animations or podcasts. They will – independently or with the help of an assistant – analyze different types of sources and learn to utilize the newly gained information.
Every step of the Pilecki Project will bring participants closer to the main and final task: creating their original digital piece – an animation, video or podcast that will present Witold to the world and show his story through their eyes.
How to join us
Students - sign up here to get educational materials and take part in the program
● Get the Pilecki Team Guide Book and educational materials
● Wait for the delivery of our special Educational Package (some materials will be sent to the email provided during registration, part of it will reach you by post)
● Discover Witold Pilecki’s amazing story
● Choose your presentation method
● Complete an exciting five-month online course together with other students from all over the continent to create an original, high-class material based on your own idea
● Meet experts from all over the world - journalists, historians, scholars, multimedia creators, and even Witold Pilecki's family
Teachers - sign up here to get eduactional materials to help you introduce Witold Pilecki to your students, and take part in a series of free professional development webinars for educators
Organizations - sign up here to get materials about Witold Pilecki and help us promote his amazing story. Stay up to date on our activities!
All materials will include Jack Fairweather's bestselling book „The Volunteer”.
The Pilecki Institute
We strive to introduce young people to the difficult chapters of history through the stories of inspiring men and women. We believe that only by engaging with our past can we understand the present and prepare for the future. We encourage individual study, dialogue between communities, creativity, and the sharing of stories.
● Engaging in dialogue with family, friends and the local community
● Developing critical thinking and problem solving skills
● All forms of research and historical inquiry.
How many people can join one Pilecki Team?
A Pilecki Team can consist of a maximum of three people.
Can I work alone?
Yes. You can work on your own if you wish. You will meet several fantastic friends while working on the Pilecki Project.
Where can we find help?
Your first port of call should be the materials from the Educational Packages prepared by the Pilecki Institute. You will receive them by post and email after you register to the program. Look for assistance in your local community to help you with the logistics, financing, finding solutions to problems and answers to your questions. You can ask a teacher, a school, parish or local government representative, or a local historian for assistance. Experts from the Pilecki Institute will also be there to help.
How long does the Pilecki Project take to complete?
The Project starts in February and includes five major steps – one every month. We will be meeting with the whole community of Pilecki Teams from the American continent at monthly workshops held by various authors, specialists and educators. They will lead you to your final assignment.
Where do we meet?
The Pilecki Project is entirely web-based. We will be meeting at monthly workshops on Zoom and presenting our work from every step of the project on Google Classroom. Both these platforms give us a safe surrounding, are free of charge and easily accessible.
When do we meet?
The Pilecki Project Zoom workshops will be held once a month. You will be notified of the exact date at least two weeks ahead.
What if I cannot attend a workshop?
The Zoom workshops will be recorded and made available to all project participants. You can always watch them on your own if you cannot make it to a meeting.
Can I join at any time?
Yes. The project is open to newcomers until the last step. You can always register and complete the steps you missed.
Will I need money?
Many great projects can be done without any financing. All you really need is some good will, a bit of inspiration and a little help from your friends.
You will receive almost everything you need for the Pilecki Project from the Pilecki Institute via post and email. You will need a computer or smartphone and a quick internet connection. The software you will be using to complete our project is free.
Who do I contact if I still have questions?
Please contact the Pilecki Project Staff at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are there to help and answer all your questions.
The project is carried out with partnership and co-funding from the Polish National Foundation.