The site of KL Płaszów, in the Podgórze district of Kraków, is a former concentration camp site unlike most others: it exists today primarily as a public park and recreation area, with a smattering of monuments and markers of memory.
The site’s use and misuse, the remembering and forgetting of its history, have preoccupied members of the FestivALT collective for years. Medicinal Plants of Płaszów is an experimental answer to the questions: “What forces of healing is the genocidal earth of Płaszów itself generating?” and “Is it possible to harness the power of that natural healing for social healing?” As it turns out, all manner of medicinal plants and herbs grow in the site.
During last year’s edition of FestivALT, we worked with ethnobotanist Karol Szurdak and Miejski Ośrodek Pomocy Społecznej, a local social welfare centre, to create a garden of Płaszów’s medicinal plants.
Ethnobotanist Karol Szurdak will lead a walk around Płaszów pointing out various medicinal plants, followed by a workshop on infusions, teas, and lotions that we’ll make from plants and herbs gathered from the site of KL Płaszów. The walk and the workshop proposes a new relationship to the earth of the concentration camp, one that challenges participants to care for the land and questions what uses of it might be
possible (and which might go too far).
In cooperation with Allianz Kulturstiftung.
The project was co-financed by the Dutch Jewish Humanitarian Fund and Asylum Arts.
The Medicinal Plants of Płaszów project is co-financed by the Jewish Historical Institute Association Stowarzyszenie Żydowski Instytut Historyczny. The project is co-organised by the Nadaye Foundation