The home of the last Jewish man to live in Auschwitz’s town is to be turned into vegetarian café.
Szymon Kluger lived in the town of Ozwiecim in Poland as a child and, after the Holocaust, returned to his childhood home, which is directly behind the town’s former synagogue, until his death in 2000.
In the same year, the former synagogue was turned into the Auschwitz Jewish Centre. The centre has now launched a campaign to turn the house into a vegetarian café, called Café Oshpitzin.
Oshpitzin, meaning ‘guests’, was the Yiddish name for Oswiecim; before the Holocaust over half of the town’s 15,000 inhabitants were Jewish.
The aim is for the café to be: “A place where tourists and locals can come together, where heritage is sustainably preserved, where local culinary traditions and locally produced foods can be celebrated and shared by visitors from around the world,” explained the video released by the centre.
The goal of the Auschwitz Jewish Centre is to bring life back to a town with a tragic history. Funds for the project are being raised through ‘crowdfunding’ website Kickstarter. In the two days since the campaign’s launch on Yom Hashoah, April 8, it raised $5,000 of its $25,000 goal. Rewards for donating range from a “private presentation about the search for Dr. Josef Mengele by Dr. David G. Marwell” to naming a cake in the café.