Two days in Krakow: OUWB medical students learn about Jewish life in Poland

Students from OUWB in Krakow, Poland
Students and officials from OUWB pose for a picture on June 15, 2022, in the courtyard of Krakow’s Jagiellonian University Museum Collegium Maius. (Photo by Andrew Dietderich)

Nineteen students from Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine spent the first part of the week in Krakow, Poland, preparing for a visit to a World War II concentration camp as part of the school’s Holocaust and Medicine program.

Led by a local tour guide, Tuesday and Wednesday allowed students to see firsthand how Jewish people lived pre-war — and how that world was thrown into chaos when the German Nazis attacked in 1939.

On Tuesday, students visited Krakow’s Jewish Quarter, including Remuh Synagogue (Synagoga Remuh), a small Renaissance synagogue dating to the 1500s; the adjacent Remah Cemetery, one of the oldest existing Jewish cemeteries in Poland; and visited the Oskar Schindler Factory to experience a permanent exhibition called “Krakow under Nazi Occupation 1939-1945.”

On Wednesday students visited several other significant sites in Krakow — Galicia Jewish Museum, the Eagle Pharmacy, Ghetto Heroes Square, the main square of the Old Town of Krakow, Jagiellonian University Museum Collegium Maius, and Wawel Cathedral.

“Everything’s been a ramp up to the study that will be done at Auschwitz,” said Jason Wasserman, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Foundational Medical Studies, and co-director of OUWB’s Holocaust and Medicine program.

(Only partial stories are posted here with hopes to provide a brief overview and introduction to my most recent work. The full version of this story may be found on the OUWB InMedicine site here.)

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