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News From Poland

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    In recent years The Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland has been active in preservation work throughout Poland. They work with local and international groups, as well as individuals, in reclaiming and maintaining Jewish communal property in places where there is no Jewish community. Their website, http://fodz.pl/?d=1&l=en is full of useful information as well as links to other important sites.



    Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland recently established cooperation with the “Rainbow” Association of Homeless and Unemployed People in Leczna. In spring 2009 the members of the association will continue working on cleaning and clearing the grounds of the local Jewish cemetery.


     During the preservation works at the road-building site in Lowicz a number of matzevot were found. Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland took immediate steps to preserve the historical tombstones, which probably were taken from the local Jewish cemetery during the war.



     On February 6, 2009, a memorial tablet was placed on the gate of the Jewish cemetery in Siedlce. Its ceremonial unveiling is scheduled for March 2009. The tablet, which commemorates the local Jewish community, was funded by both the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland and the Jewish Religious Community in Warsaw.



  Renovation work is underway in 19-year-old synagogue in Kolno. In the future the synagogue building will host a tourist center, which will serve visitors coming to this part of Poland, including numerous Jewish groups from all over the world. Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland is one of the partners of this project.


     On February 1, 2009, the annual Chassidic pilgrimage to the grave of Tzaddik David Biederman took place in Lelow (Slaskie Province). Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland was cooperating with the organizers of this event.  



Holocaust Scholar Jan Blonski Dies

     Scholar Jan Blonski, whose writings were important catalysts in Poland’s exploration of its role during the Holocaust, has died. Blonski died last week, according to an announcement from the Judaica Foundation-Center for Jewish Culture in Krakow. Blonski, 77, who was not Jewish, was a founder of the foundation and had served as its board chairman. He was a professor at Krakow’s Jagiellonian University. In 1987, his essay “Poor Poles Look at the Ghetto” ignited a heated debate in Poland on Polish moral responsibility in the face of the Holocaust.

     Blonski’s death came on the heels of another loss to the Holocaust scholar community in Poland as, Maria Orwid, a Holocaust survivor and psychiatry professor at Jagiellonian University also passed away last week. Her writings on the Shoah and the impact of trauma were influential. Orwid was a founder of the Children of the Holocaust project. She was 78.

Shmuel Ben Eliezer

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