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czwartek, 01 września 2011 08:08


For the second consecutive year pupils from Konarski Secondary School in Oświęcim met with victims of the 1945 attack on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Hosted by the Center of Prayer and Dialogue located in the city of Oświęcim, the meeting took place on March 10 and 11, 2011. The victims, known as “Hibakusha” are members of “Peaceboat”, an international, nongovernmental, non-profit organization which strives for peace, human rights, equality in development and respect for the environment. During the meeting 10 pupils from Konarski participated in a Polish-Japanese youth seminar conducted by Kathleen Sullivan. Wilhelmem Brasse, former prisoner of the Auschwitz concentration camp, added his testimony to those relayed by “Hibakusha”.

The meeting made a deep impression on Konarski pupils whose knowledge of the 1945 war tragedies had heretofore been limited to books. The youngsters had the opportunity to converse face-to-face with witnesses of the tragedy that scarred an entire generation of Japanese people. Thanks to the victims’ vivid accounts of shocking events, the pupils became aware of the dangers of armed conflict and the devastating results brought about by nuclear weapons.

Despite the intensity of their suffering, “Hibakusha” amazed the pupils by their optimism and positive approach to the world. The seminar was also an opportunity for Polish pupils to acquaint themselves with Japanese culture and customs. Noteworthy is a keen sense of obligation which did not allow for cancellation of the seminar, notwithstanding the earthquake and tidal wave which struck Japan on the very same day. Although undoubtedly concerned about their loved ones at home, the visitors from Japan wholeheartedly participated in the seminar.

Commenting on their overall impression of the meeting, Konarski pupils remark that it was unforgettable. “It gave us a wider view of the contemporary world, full of war and conflict. Contact with victims of a nuclear attack has influenced our outlook on nuclear weapons. We are more aware of the threat of armed conflict and hope that this awareness will lead to preventive measures in the future.”