The Foundation Momentum Iudaicum Lodzense was established on November 6 1995. Its initiators were the President of the City of Lodz, the Organization of Former Residents of Lodz in Israel and the World Jewish Restitution Organization. The late Arnold Mostowicz, doctor of medicine, prose writer and journalist, became the first president of the Foundation. The main goals of the Foundation are the saving and preservation of the properties and achievements of Jewish culture and re-establishing and keeping the memory of the Jewish population in Lodz and its significant contribution to the development of the city. These tasks are realized through, among others, caring for Jewish monuments and heritage and supporting cultural-educational initiatives, which serve to recognize and popularize the history of the Jews of Lodz. http://www.lodzjews.org/root/form/en/fundacja2/index.asp
The Galicia Museum in Krakow opened to visitors on April 17, 2004. Located in a former Jewish factory, the official opening took place on June 27, 2004, as part of the Festival of Jewish Culture. The building, which was renovated in post-industrial style and has a total of 920 square meters, contains an exhibition room and cafe seating 40 people. The museum also has a seminar room that can accommodate 60 people and a bookshop with books in Polish, English and German on Jewish life, culture and the Holocaust, as well as Jewish thought, identity and literature. http://www.galiciajewishmuseum.org/
The students and staff at the Department of Social Sciences at the University of Wroclaw founded the Polish-Israeli Association of Hope – Hatikvah in the autumn of 2000. Hatikvah functions as a student academic club under the aegis of the Institute of International Studies at the University of Wroclaw. The association’s main aim is to promote wide-ranging contacts and to deepen the friendship between the two peoples, between social and academic organizations in Poland and Israel, and also with the Jewish community in Poland.
One of Hatikvah’s main objectives is to combat religious and ethnic prejudices among young people in Europe, Wroclaw, in particular. It also strives to acquaint young people with the culture and history of minority groups, primarily those living in Poland. The history of the Jews in Europe, specifically in Poland, the State of Israel, Polish-Israeli and Polish-Jewish relations and intercultural education are also areas of interest to the association.
Jewish Historical Institute
The Jewish Historical Institute (Zydowski Instytut Historyczny, ZIH) is an academic institution specializing in research on the history and culture of the Jews in Poland. The Institute’s origins reach back to the library that was founded in 1881 alongside the Great Synagogue and to the Judaic Studies Library and the Institute of Judaic Studies, founded in 1936.
Today, the ZIH museum has the largest Judaica collection in Poland, including artistic items related to religious practices (made of fabric and silver) and a representative collection of paintings and sculptures, including works by the following artists: M. Gottlieb, A. Markowicz, M. Trebacz, E. Kanarek, R. Kramsztyk, H. Kuna and A. Szapocznikow.
The museum also contains items from the ghettos and death camps. In addition to its publishing activities, the museum sponsors exhibitions and educational activities for school children and students from the Art Academy.
Museum Of The History Of Polish Jews
The Jewish Historical Institute Association in Poland is the museum’s founding organization. It has established the Museum Council, led by Marian Turski. Work on creating the museum has been carried out by an international group of experts, led since 1999, by Jerzy Halbersztadt, director of the museum project. Polish President, Aleksander Kwasniewski is the honorary patron of the museum’s construction. Former Israeli Prime Minister, and current Foreign Minister, Shimon Peres leads the international honorary committee of the museum.
The future museum will conduct far-reaching activities in the fields of education and exhibitions, and will supplement academic, documentary and publishing activities carried out up to this time by the Jewish Historical Institute in Poland. The museum’s mission is to share with its visitors the history of the Jews in the Polish lands and the wealth of their culture, which developed over the course of centuries, and to help young Jews and Poles overcome prejudices by revealing the truth about their relationship and common history.
The Polish American Jewish Alliance for Youth Understanding is a Polish-American association whose aim is to support dialogue between young Jews and non-Jews. Dennis Misler, an interpersonal communication trainer, and Zofia Zager founded the organization in 2000. Both decided they wanted to support young people in the difficult process of learning about and understanding each other better, particularly between young Poles of non-Jewish background living in Poland and young American Jews.
From the beginning, PAJA has cooperated with the National Polish American Jewish Council, of which both of PAJA’s founders are members. From the beginning, they have also organized small-scale meetings between Jewish and non-Jewish youth, and in 2002, in conjunction with the Polish Embassy in the United States, PAJA was able to hold large international workshops titled “Developing Connections,” which were widely covered in the American media. http://pajanow.org/index.html
(To Be Continued)