Newsletter Autumn 2019

Newsletter in English

September 2019

Pour la version française, cliquez ici ! 

Dariusz Stola has still not been officially appointed Director of POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews by the Polish Minister of Culture

The POLIN Museum still does not have a director – despite the competition won by Dariusz Stola in May 2019 (click here for the chronology of these events), the Polish Minister of Culture has still not published the official nomination. Under the link below you will find the English translation of a text showing the malaise caused by the Museum in the eyes of the current Polish government.
Click here to read more about the current imbroglio of the POLIN Museum.

Jewish Summer in Poland

Shalom on Szeroka Concert — music and Havdalah in the center of Krakow

Les milliers de personnes participant au concert sur la rue Szeroka en 2019

Each year, at the end of June the AEMJP actively supports the Jewish Culture Festival, taking place in Krakow. And we are always moved when we see thousands of people from all around the world who celebrate Havdalah in public at the end of Shabbat. And those who dance to a variety of styles of Jewish music – klezmer, jazz, Arab-Israeli, fusion, etc. Join us in Krakow in 2020!

You can watch the whole concert on the facebook site of the Festival.

Religious celebrations of the end of Shabbat
Janusz Makuch et ses invités
Janusz Makuch and his guests

Meanwhile at POLIN Museum…

Bauhaus Exhibition opening

We have been waiting for this exhibition for months! It opened on September 13, 2019, and will last until February 20, 2020.
Gdynia and Tel Aviv are almost 3,000 kilometers distant from each other and yet, it turns out they share a common Polish-Jewish history. At the Gdynia – Tel-Aviv temporary exhibition visitors will get acquainted with both the similarities between the two cities and the unique features that make each one so special.

Read more… 

In King Matt’s Poland

Closed on July 1, 2019, the exhibition “In King Matt’s Poland: The 100th Anniversary of Regaining Independence” was one of the biggest successes of the POLIN Museum.

Inspired by a children’s novel written by Polish-Jewish author and pedagogue Janusz Korczak, it is one of the six best exhibitions for children in the world – it was nominated to the 2019 Children in Museums Award. The winner was announced in October – congratulations to our friends from Dakar,  Senegal – Kër ImagiNation!

POLIN Museum Annual Prize

In December, the POLIN Award Gala will be held for the fifth time. The Award will be given to an individual, an organisation or an institution engaged in preserving the memory of the history of Polish Jews.
We are awaiting submissions of nominees until September 20th.

Read more about the December 3 Gala…

Biographies and Politics: Involvement of Jews and People of Jewish Origin in Leftist Movements in 19th and 20th Century Poland

Conference at POLIN Museum
1-2 December 2019
The aim of the conference is to outline the actual involvement of Jews and activists of Jewish origin in the socialist movements of the 19th and 20th centuries from the perspective of individual motivations, ideological choices and personal biographies.

Read more…


Polish parliamentary elections (October 13, 2019)

Following the 2015 parliamentary elections the Law and Justice (PiS) party was able form a majority government, for the first time in the post-communist era. At the beginning, Polish-Jewish relations were excellent, yet they have rapidly deteriorated and hit their historical low. The AEMJP organized an “electoral evening” on Oct. 13, in Paris, for its closest Friends. We discussed our hopes and worries relative to the current situation in Poland and in Europe in general.
The discussion was lead by two researchers :
  • Tal Bruttmann – historian of the Holocaust and of antisemistism, ; author of, among others, Auschwitz (La Découverte, coll. « Repères : histoire », 2015); with Ch. Tarricone: Les 100 mots de la Shoah (Puf, coll. « Que sais-je ? », 2016) and with C. Zalc: Microhistories of the Holocaust, New York, Berghahn, 2017. 
  • Jean-Yves Potel – academic and writer, expert of the history of Central Europe and of Poland. Author of dozens of books, and his latest publications include a special issue of the Esprit quarterly devoted to Poland, et a series of texts about the meaning of 1989. 

New ambassadors

Ambassador of Israel to Poland

Mrs Anna Azari has been the Israeli Ambassador to Poland since 2014. She worked in Poland during certainly the most difficult period in Polish-Israeli relations since 1989. She promises not to leave Poland forever though, as her son has decided to stay in Poland, for the present with his new girlfriend, and Mrs. Azari will certainly come back to visit the couple (cf. Jerusalem Post). In September 2019, Mr Alexander Ben-Zvi was appointed to the position of Israeli Ambassador to Poland.

French Ambassador to Israel

Mrs Hélène Le Gal leaves Tel Aviv after three successful years as French Ambassador to Israel, and now assumes the same job in Morocco. It is Mr Eric Danon who, since August 22, 2019, represents France in Israel. Cf. his biography (in French) on Wikipedia.

A new book about Europe

One of the founding members of the European Association, Liliane-Carol Benoit, wrote a short yet very informative book review of the recent work by Jean-Paul Benoit and Michel Desmoulin, L’Europe: l’être ou le néant – Europe: Being or Nothingness.

“A provocative title for an essay in the form of dialogue led by a journalist with two activists of the European cause, one of whom – Jean-Paul Benoit – is a former European MP. The former President of the European Parliament, Baron Crespo, in a philosophical and dynamic preface, notes that this book ‘goes far beyond the European elections and raises the essential questions about the European project’.

Read more… (in French)


Conference: 30 Years after the Round Table

(Trente ans après la table ronde)

Paris, September 20, 2019, 6:30 PM
Bibliothèque polonaise de Paris
Introduction by Pierre ZALESKI, Président de la Société Historique et Littéraire Polonaise & Head of the Bibliothèque Polonaise de Paris
Film « L’énigme polonaise » by Georges MINK and Virginie LINHART
Discussion: Georges MINK, Jérôme HEURTAUX & Ania SZCZEPAŃSKA.

For more information click here.

Louvre-Lens – Exhibition

Poland – to Paint the Soul of a Nation

Pologne 1840-1918 Peindre l’âme d’une nation.

Sept. 25, 2019 – January 20, 2020
 On September 3, 1919, a convention between France and Poland was signed. It covered the questions of emigration and immigration, leading to the massive arrival of Polish workers to France. Between 1919 and 1928, 280,000 work contracts were signed.
To commemorate this event essential to understand the identity of the north of France, the Louvre-Lens Museum is proposes an exhibition of Polish painting of the 19th century, made in close collaboration with the Warsaw National Museum, and under the auspices of both French and Polish Presidents.

Website of the exhibition

In Memoriam

Karol Modzelewski (1937-2019) was a Polish-Jewish historian, writer, politician and academic, died on April 28.
A professor at the University of Wrocław and the University of Warsaw, he was expelled from the Polish United Workers Party in 1964. With Jacek Kuroń he co-wrote the Open Letter to the Party, for which he was imprisoned for three years.

He participated in the Polish 1968 political crisis, and for his activities he was again imprisoned for three and a half years.

During the 1980 strikes he came up with the name of ‘Solidarity’. Till the end of his life, he regretted that Polish economic freedom came with a quasi-complete disregard for those who were not able to participate in the competition imposed by the new capitalism.


Featured image: Tel Aviv Bauhaus

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