Newsletter June 2021

Newsletter in English

European Association of POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews

June 2021

Pour la version française, cliquez ici !

Polin Museum reopens with the new gallery – LEGACY

On January 17, POLIN Museum officially opened the LEGACY Gallerysponsored by the European Association of POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews (AEMJP).    The Legacy gallery showcases the fascinating lives and achievements of Polish Jews. Those featured in this Legacy gallery and in the accompanying book and programs also lived through times of great uncertainty and change.

Their fates reflect the Jewish historical experience of the modern period: acculturation, assimilation, openness to the wider world, participation in new social and political movements, the emergence of secular Jewish culture, migration, and ultimately the Holocaust.

Polish and Jewish, they had to contend with limitations and obstacles, but also saw new opportunities. Their contributions to Polish and Jewish culture and to world civilization are a legacy for humanity. Although some of these individuals left Poland or were distant from Jewish life, Polish Jewish values influenced their life choices in no small measure.

Since January, the Museum organized a series of events online to celebrate the opening of this new space – which you can now visit, as the Museum reopened after the lockdown. Below a list of events that you can now watch online, either in English or in Polish with English subtitles. 

The Power of Biography – online talks

To what extent do the place where we were born, our community, and the times in which we grow up affect our lives?

Watch the talks by Hanna Rydlewska with Joanna Fikus, prof. Dariusz Stola, prof. Andrzej Leder and Wojciech Eichelberger – conversations in Polish with English subtitles

Debate | Whose legacy is it?

Why them and not others? Why is the gallery being opened now, and how does it correspond with the presentation of the 1000-year history of the Polish Jews?

On 17 January, Professor Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, chief curator of the POLIN core exhibition, Professor Dariusz Stola, former director of POLIN Museum, and Dr Tamara Sztyma, POLIN Museum curator answered these and many other questions.

Watch online – in English

Contemporary art in POLIN: 
Wilhelm Sasnal

Wilhelm Sasnal/Foksal, 2021

On 17 June 2021, a new exhibition of works by Wilhelm Sasnal, one of the most outstanding contemporary Polish artists, will open at POLIN Museum.

The exhibition will present the artist’s paintings and drawings which depict a familiar albeit somewhat remote landscape and well-known figures against it. They show a landscape in the wake of the Shoah.


30th Festival of the Jewish Culture in KrakowTHE FIRE

24 June – 4 July 2021 

To know more about the Festival events, click here

Seminars and online events

June 14, 2021
at 10:30 AM in Warsaw/Paris, 11:30 AM in London, 9:30 AM in Tel Aviv 
Polish Center for Holocaust Research Seminar 

Jewish-Polish relations: The Jewish perspective, is it important and why?

Watch online

Havi Dreifuss is a professor of Jewish history and one of the renowned scholars in Holocaust Studies. She is head of the Institute for the History of Polish Jewry and Israel-Poland Relations at Tel Aviv University and a director of the Center for Research on the Holocaust in Poland at the International Institute for Holocaust Research, Yad Vashem. 

The seminar talk will be based mainly on her previous book, which was published originally in Hebrew (Yad Vashem 2009), and recently in English (Yad Vashem 2017): Relations Between Jews and Poles during the Holocaust: The Jewish Perspective.

June 15, 2021
at 8:00 PM in Warsaw/Paris, 7:00 PM in London, 21:00 in Tel Aviv 


Natalia Aleksiun & David N. Myers :

Revisiting Polish Jewish Historians 1918-1939: Past Perspectives, Contemporary Challenges

Watch online

Natalia Aleksiun is Professor of Modern Jewish History at the Graduate School of Jewish Studies, Touro College, New York. She published Where to? The Zionist Movement in Poland, 1944–1950 and co-edited two volumes of Polin examining Holocaust memory and Jewish historiography. Her book Conscious History: Polish Jewish Historians before the Holocaust has just been published. 

David N. Myers is the Sady and Ludwig Kahn Professor of Jewish History at UCLA, where he serves as the director of the UCLA Luskin Center for History and Policy. He is the author or editor of fifteen books in the field of Jewish history, among them The Stakes of History: On the Use and Abuse of Jewish History for Life and the forthcoming American Shtetl: The Making of Kiryas Joel, a Hasidic Village in Upstate New York (Princeton) with Nomi Stolzenberg. 

June 24, 2021
à 20h00 à Varsovie/Paris, 19h00 à Londres, 21h00 à Tel Aviv
#TJHTalks & Festival de la culture juive de Cracovie

Renewal Personified:
Three Decades of the Krakow Jewish Culture Festival

Watch online

Yossi Klein Halevi, Senior Fellow, Institut Shalom Hartman à Jérusalem

Janusz Makuch, fondateur et directeur du Festival de la culture juive de Cracovie.

It is difficult to believe that the first installment of the world-acclaimed Krakow Jewish Culture Festival took place over thirty years ago. It was in 1988—in the shadow of the crumbling Communist regime—that two dedicated non-Jewish activists attempted the impossible: bringing a celebration of Jewish culture into the public arena in Poland for the first time since before World War II.

The speakers will discuss how the Festival began, what role it has served since its inception, and how its success has brought the Jewish world into mainstream cultural narratives in Poland.

Warsaw Unveils Monument to Oneg Szabat

photo: Natalia Romik

“A new monument unveiled in Warsaw, consisting of a glass cube above an underground chamber commemorates the extraordinary history of a Holocaust-era archive hidden by Jewish volunteers.
Inside the cube is a page from the archive — a handwritten will by 19-year-old Dawid Graber, one of the volunteers who helped hide the documents from the Nazis.” (France24)

Reminder: the AEMJP organized a scientific symposium on the Ringelblum Archives in 2018! – click here!

Belarus crisis and Poland’s role in the support of the Belarusian opposition

“Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya has met with Poland’s president, Andrzej Duda, and the mayor of Warsaw, Rafał Trzaskowski, during a visit to the Polish capital to discuss support for Belarusians fleeing to their western neighbour.” (read more

“Belarus has declared a new national holiday on 17 September, marking the anniversary of the Soviet Union’s invasion and occupation of Poland at the start of the Second World War, following its secret agreement with Nazi Germany to divide the country between them.The move follows a series of rhetorical attacks by President Alexander Lukashenko against Poland, whose government has supported the Belarusian democratic opposition. It is also the latest escalation in a dispute over wartime history between Poland and its eastern neighbours.” (read more

In “historic gesture”, Poland’s president commemorates Belarusians killed by Polish partisans. (read more

From their new home in Poland, the parents of Belarusian journalist Roman Protasevich have been in anguish since he was seized after his flight was forced to land in Minsk. Protasevich’s parents are in close contact with the mother of his girlfriend, Sofia Sapega, a law student who was arrested along with him. They saw clear signs of their son having been beaten in a video message released Monday by Belarusian authorities in which the photographer and activist supposedly confessed.

Protasevich’s parents moved to Poland eight months ago after being harassed during a crackdown against unprecedented mass protests that followed a disputed presidential election in August 2020. They said their son felt safe in the European Union, first in Poland, where he moved in 2019, and then in Lithuania.(read more

Polish politics criticized by Barack Obama “All of us as citizens have to recognize that the path towards an undemocratic America is not gonna happen in just one bang,” Barack Obama said in an interview on CNN. It happens “in a series of steps,” Obama said, citing the devolution of places like Hungary and Poland.

Read more on CNN

Why is Poland’s economy emerging so strongly from the pandemic? A comparison with the UK

Poland has managed to avoid the same level of economic damage experienced in other European countries during the pandemic. However it is good fortune, prioritising GDP over health, and restrictions centred more on personal than on economic freedoms that explain why Poland has so far remained relatively unscathed.

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