Newsletter January 2019

January 2019

 La version française se trouve ici

The European Association of POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews – AEMJP

We wish you a wonderful 2019!

Dear Friends of the POLIN Museum,
We hope you will join us in our upcoming activities – and we are happy to share with you pictures from our recent events.
This newsletter includes:

  1. Invitation for an event in London
  2. Invitation for a unique trip to Poland
  3. Our recent event in Tel Aviv
  4. A controversy over the Museum of the Warsaw Ghetto
  5. In MemoriamInvitation to a movie screening, London, January 27, 2019, at 18:00

Invitation to London (Jan 27, 2019) – IHRD

We are delighted to invite you for the first screening in London of a para-documentary movie by Roberta Grossman about the Oneg Shabbos Archives collected in Warsaw under the supervision of Emmanuel Ringelblum (1900-1944): Who Will Write Our History?

The movie was prepared with experts from the POLIN Museum and is narrated by Adrien Brody (Academy Award / Oscar winner for The Pianist in 2003).
The screening will be a part of the project: Global Screening Event on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 27. The film will be shown simultaneously in hundreds locations all around the world, with the anchor screening in Paris, at UNESCO headquarters.

We invite you to join us at this exceptional event in London and to support the POLIN Museum. The film will be followed by a discussion with Barry Langford, Professor of Film Studies at the Royal Holloway, University of London and member of the Holocaust Research Institute, and Anna C. Zielinska, Philosopher at the University of Lorraine and executive director of the European Association of the Museum of The History of Polish Jews POLIN (AEMJP)

When: January 27, 2019, 6:00 PM
Where: JW3 | The New Postcode For Jewish Life, 341-351 Finchley Rd, London NW3 6ET –
Organizers: The European Association of POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews (AEMJP Paris), the JW3 and the UK Jewish Film

Webpage of the event: (book your tickets here)
Facebook page of the event:
About the movie:

The most important film on the subject since Claude Lanzmann’s “Shoah.”
Nothing short of a masterpiece.
— Robert Albanese, Vancouver Jewish Film Festival

Join an exclusive journey:
1000 years of Jewish Life (May 18-26, 2019)

The journey is organized by : The Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland and POLIN Museum
Or email:

Scholar in residence: Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett is a University Professor Emerita at New York University. She received the Mlotek Prize for Yiddish and Yiddish Culture, and was decorated with the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland for her contribution to POLIN Museum. She was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The trip includes:

  • Exclusive access to POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, and private meetings with directors, curators, and founders
  • Private viewing of the Ringelblum Archive Exhibition
  • Private guided tours: Warsaw, Lublin, Zamość, Sanok, Auschwitz Birkenau, and Krakow
  • Reception with Jewish community leaders, Polish government officials, and embassy representatives
  • Shabbat dinner with members of Warsaw’s Jewish community – Polish, Jewish, and international cuisine
  • Deluxe accommodation

European Association in Tel Aviv: Ringelblum Symposium (December 27, 2018)

Who will write our history? Ringelblum symposium at the Tel Aviv University

Karolina Szymaniak @ Tel Aviv University

On December 27, 2018, The Institute for the History of Polish Jewry and Israel-Poland Relations at the Tel Aviv University, in collaboration with The European Association of POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews (AEMJP/Paris) organized a scientific symposium devoted to Ringelblum Archives and the screening of the movie Who Will Write Our History? by Roberta Grossman.

The quality of the symposium and of the movie, as well and the audience reactions, were very rewarding. We look forward meeting you and exploring the same subject in London, on January 27, 2019.

For pictures from the event, click here.

Museum of the Warsaw Ghetto

Polish authorities have appointed a new director for the project of the Museum of the Warsaw Ghetto: Professor Daniel Blatman from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. An interesting discussion followed this nomination, as it allowed a discussion between two different interpretations of the history of the Holocaust.

Professor Havi Dreifuss, Head of The Institute for the History of Polish Jewry and Israel-Poland Relations at the Tel Aviv University and historian at Yad Vashem, criticised the fact that an Israeli historian accepts this kind of position within a Polish-state sponsored institution.

She declined the invitation to be an expert on the history of the Warsaw Ghetto for this Museum, as she did not want her name to serve an enterprise led by officials distorting the Holocaust and attacking historians – “I didn’t want to help a museum being established to further goals that aren’t necessarily related to history.”

“The Polish government is trying to advance research and commemoration of the Holocaust as long as it involves Jews who were killed by the Germans,” she says. “But during the period of the Holocaust there were also many Jews who were lost as a result of direct or indirect Polish involvement. And an exploration of these matters is something the regime is trying to limit, despite the existence of a great deal of documentation and research.” (Haaretz)

Several other voices, also coming from Polish historians, were surprised by Blatman’s decision. The HUJI historian responded by criticising the lack of plurality in the Holocaust discourse coming from Yad Vashem.

Blatman noted in response that the vehement Israeli critics of Poland forget to see how the Israeli government itself seals deals with openly racist and anti-Semitic governments and uses Yad Vashem “to receive absolution in the name of Holocaust victims in exchange for adding a pro-Israel vote at international institutions”. He adds that “the current extremist, nationalist government has turned Yad Vashem into a political tool reminiscent of history museums in totalitarian countries”. Without thinking that this justifies the current Polish government’s position on the Holocaust, with its “problematic agenda in explaining the past”, he does not think that Poland’s government interferes with the work of the museum’s employees, or is trying to influence the museum’s narrative. As a historian, he adds that “one has to accept that the Holocaust can be studied in a way that sees Jewish history during this period as an integral part of Poland’s history under the Nazi occupation”.

This discussion has been further pursued in Haaretz by prof. Dreifuss and the Polish Ambassador to Israel Marek Magierowski.

In Memoriam

Simcha (Kazik) Rotem, one of the outstanding and last surviving fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, died at 94, on December 22, 2018.
Warsaw-born in 1924, Rotem joined the HaNoar HaTzioni (i.e. Zionist youth) youth movement at the age of 12. German bombing raids destroyed his family’s home at the outbreak of World War II, killing his brother Yisrael, his grandparents, aunt and uncle. He and his mother were wounded in the raid.
In 1943, he returned to the Warsaw Ghetto and joined the Jewish Combat Organization, which was commanded by the legendary Mordechai Anielewicz. The uprising began on April 19, 1943, and Rotem acted as a liaison between the bunkers in the ghetto and the Aryan side of the city.

Amos Oz, one of the most influential Israeli writers and intellectuals, a left-wing Zionist engaged for peace with the Palestinians, passed away on December 28, 2018. He was also a professor of Hebrew literature at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Born in Israel, his both parents came from Eastern Europe.
Oz published 40 books, among them 14 novels, five collections of stories and novellas, two children’s books, and twelve books of articles and essays (as well as eight selections of essays that appeared in various languages), and about 450 articles and essays. (Wikipedia)

Supporting the Museum

The European Association of the Museum of The History of Polish Jews (AEMJP) has been supporting the Polin Museum since 2004.

Visit our webpage and help us to support the POLIN Museum.

At the outset, we promised to substantially assist the Museum over a period of at least ten years. Our journey continues. We need you and we need your help.

Given the current political turmoil, and with the decreasing stability of political powers, we need you more than ever.

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