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Sala Garncarz was the youngest of 11 children in the Garncarz family, who lived in Sosnowiec, Poland.  Early in the Nazi occupation of Poland, Sala’s older sister Raizel was ordered to work at a Nazi forced labor camp for six weeks.  Recognizing that her sister was introverted and less adaptable, Sala volunteered to go in her place. Six weeks turned into five years. Sala Garncarz eventually worked in seven different Nazi camps.   

This is the true story of a young girl, full of strength and determination to live. During her years of imprisonment, she continued to receive letters from home and she held on to them at the risk of her life.  It was these words that sustained her, just pieces of paper from the family and friends who loved her.

Sala was freed in the working camp of the Gross-Rosen branch in Žacléř, where she spent almost three years. During the war, she gathered an extensive collection of photographs and documents which she kept until she was 67, when she gave the collection to her daughter Ann, who wrote Sala’s Gift (Simon and Schuster, 2006).


Thanks to the Think Big program of the O2 Foundation in cooperation with the Civil Society Development Foundation, Karin was able to realize her dream to publish the book Sala’s Gift in the Czech Republic, the place where Sala spent the longest period of her imprisonment and the place where she was liberated. 


Karin commissioned the Czech translation and served as its overall editor. She  assembled a team and applied for the Think Big program. She prepared the project plan and developed a budget for the publication of the book.  When the financing was in place, she managed the budget and supervised corrections of the Czech translation by teachers and historians, went to numerous meetings with sponsors and partners, and organized launch events in Trutnov and Prague. The book was published by one of the partners - Mladá fronta publishing house. 400 books were given free of charge to school libraries, public libraries in the Trutnov region and to partners of the Think Big program. Altogether, 3 500 books were published in the Czech Republic.


The original regional project was supported by the media as a national project, and was covered by Czech national television and print. 


Project Sala’s Gift was so successful that Karin Venhauer was selected as a Delegate for the Czech Republic at One Young World Summit in Pittsburgh in 2012, where she met young leaders of successful projects from around the world. Her trip was financially supported by the Telefónica Foundation.


Publishing the Sala’s Gift book in Czech (March 2012)


  • Organizing two official launches of the book Salas Gift in the Polisch institute in Prague and in the UFFO Social Centre in Trutnov (March 2012)


  • Organizing lectures for students of elementary schools and high schools (350 students) in the UFFO Social Centre in Trutnov (March 2012)


  • Advertising Sala’s Gift book in Czech and English (March 2012)



  • Shooting a documentary - still working and fundraising 

       (Shot in: New York in 2009, Poland in 2009, Žacléř region in 2012, 2014)


  • Translation of the screenplay and creation the theatre play „Letters to Sala“ by Arlene Hutton - still working and fundraising


  • Writing the screenplay for feature film - still working and fundraising

If you want to support our projects please contact us.
MA  Karin Venhauer, Ambassador OYW, kvenhauer(zav)

SALA’S GIFT PROJECT – book, theatre play, documentary,

screenplay for feature film

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