Monday, December 15, 2014

Volunteer Profile: Daniel Haim, 2014-2015

2014 Volunteers in front of the AJC
Hometown: Vienna, Austria

What attracted you to the AJC? 
I knew two years ago that I wanted to participate in the Austrian Holocaust Memorial Service. I browsed through the organizations and became interested in the Auschwitz Jewish Center. I was drawn to the idea of educational work in a small team, guiding groups, and learning more about Judaism in Poland in the complex context of Oświęcim and Auschwitz. I knew nothing about Poland in general until I arrived here. 

What are you enjoying most about your volunteer experience? 
The vast amount of knowledge and experience shared by the people who work and visit here. I am honored to meet all of them – this is a truly unique opportunity to learn. 

How has volunteering here affected you? 
This experience definitely opened new horizons and perspectives for me. I am learning so much about how different people deal with their own personal history. 

What is one thing you'd like others to know about the AJC or think people don't know? 
The AJC is a place for aha! moments: I’ve witnessed German students visit a synagogue for the first time in their lives and discover the meaning of the Torah scroll. Young Israelis suddenly realize their connection to the city is not only a connection to Auschwitz, but also to the history of a diverse Jewish community. Polish visitors find out more about the past of their own town. American scholars are surprised by the rich cultural programs we offer, which are mainly visited by locals. I’ve learned that sometimes the most interesting questions are asked by 15-year-old high school students who I thought were bored.