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News From Poland

 


             As the summer gets underway there are many events throughout Poland connected to Jewish history and culture. It usually kicks off with the massive Krakow Jewish Festival and ends with the Singer Festival in Warsaw. Also many Jewish groups come to Poland during the summer to visit their hometowns, work in the cemeteries and look for connections to the pre-Shoah past.

 

Krakow Jewish Festival’s Awards For Tad Taube And Sigmund A. Rolat


 


The 19th Krakow Jewish Festival came to a successful conclusion last week with close to 1,000 events and 130 different artists performing to tens-of-thousands of participants from around the world. Two U.S. philanthropists with Polish-Jewish roots – Sigmund A. Rolat and Tad Taube received a special Festival award during the “Shalom on Szeroka Street” concert on July 4.

 


Mr. Sigmund Rolat of New York

 

The award is funded by the Friends of the Krakow Jewish Culture Festival and is awarded to those, who have supported the Festival and made its existence possible. For more information on the Krakow Jewish Festival and to see videos of the events go to http://www.jewishfestival.pl/index.php?lang=e.

 

 


Mr. Tad Taube of the Taube Foundation of California

 

 

Lodz


 


       The Mayor of Lodz, Jerzy Kropiwnicki was honored as host of the Festival of Jewish Culture in Lodz, held from June 14 until the end of the month, as part of the 65th Anniversary of the Liquidation of Litzmannstadt Ghetto by the Germans. The events included concerts, theatrical performances, exhibitions, Jewish cuisine workshops and Yiddish and Hebrew language courses.

 

The year 2009 was proclaimed a year of Jewish Culture in Lodz. As Mr. Kropiwnicki stated at the conference, it was of great importance for the city and its citizens to learn about Yiddish culture that was once vivid, strongly connected with Polish culture and familiar to city residents, and is now merely a reflection of memories from the past.

 

At the end of August there will be a conference marking the final destruction of the Lodz Ghetto. For more information on Lodz Jewish community, cemetery and events go to http://ghetto.lodz.pl/

 

Plock


 


The Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland signed an agreement with the Plock Synagogue Society. Within its framework the Foundation will support the “Adaptation of a former Synagogue on Kwiatka St. for the Museum of Plock Jews” project, realized by the society. During the renovation the synagogue will be fully restored and will host the newly created museum.

 

European Jewish leaders Meet Polish President

 

             European Jewish leaders met with Poland’s president to discuss Holocaust commemoration, fighting anti-Semitism and the Iranian nuclear threat.

 

“The government of Poland has long been an important ally and partner of the State of Israel and of Jewish communities in Europe,” European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor said Tuesday following his meeting with President Lech Kaczynski and Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski.

 

          Kantor also met with former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski, with whom he co-chairs the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation, a non-governmental organization that sponsors several initiatives to promote tolerance and mutual respect throughout Europe.

 

      He called the discussions “friendly and constructive.” Kantor said Kaczynski agreed to discuss restitution in a separate meeting later this year.

 

      On the issue of Iran, Kantor and the Polish officials discussed the fact that Iran is a global threat jeopardizing world stability rather than just a “Middle East problem.”

 

      “In Europe, it is clear that we are standing at an important crossroads of history,” Kantor said. “As Europeans, we therefore have a special opportunity and obligation to work together to build a tolerant community of nations, regardless of race or religion.”

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More Articles from Shmuel Ben Eliezer
Arnold Fine 2008

I REMEMBER WHEN I first started working at the Jewish Press 18 years ago, Arnie who was in charge of the newsroom, took me under his wing…

The official beginning of World War II was September 1, 1939. On that day German soldiers invaded Gdansk after bombarding the city with a military warship. As part of the Polish Government’s official series of events marking seven decades since the start of World War II, Poland’s Jewish community and the Jerusalem-based “Shavei Israel” organization held a special ceremony yesterday in the Gdansk synagogue to commemorate the outbreak of the war, which paved the way for the Holocaust.

The official beginning of World War II was September 1, 1939. On that day German soldiers invaded Gdansk after bombarding the city with a military warship. As part of the Polish Government’s official series of events marking seven decades since the start of World War II, Poland’s Jewish community and the Jerusalem-based “Shavei Israel” organization held a special ceremony yesterday in the Gdansk synagogue to commemorate the outbreak of the war, which paved the way for the Holocaust.

September 1, 1939 is the date on which Germany invaded Poland, starting WWII. While it should be said that the start of the war was not the start of the Shoah, which actually began with the rise of Nazism in 1933, it was a major milestone in the annals of the Holocaust. Within the first few days of the war, Germany had conquered and/or bombed much of Poland, including the capital, Warsaw.

September 1, 1939 is the date on which Germany invaded Poland, starting WWII. While it should be said that the start of the war was not the start of the Shoah, which actually began with the rise of Nazism in 1933, it was a major milestone in the annals of the Holocaust. Within the first few days of the war, Germany had conquered and/or bombed much of Poland, including the capital, Warsaw.

In September 1939 the Germans started establishing ghettos in the occupied territory of Poland. Ghettos played an important role in the Jewish extermination policy. They were filled with Polish and Western European Jewish deportees. The ghettos differed in times of existence, size, internal organization, and living conditions. The Germans called them ” death boxes” (Todeskiste). The city of Lodz belonged to the Wartheland District and the Germans changed its name into Litzmannstadt.

In September 1939 the Germans started establishing ghettos in the occupied territory of Poland. Ghettos played an important role in the Jewish extermination policy. They were filled with Polish and Western European Jewish deportees. The ghettos differed in times of existence, size, internal organization, and living conditions. The Germans called them ” death boxes” (Todeskiste). The city of Lodz belonged to the Wartheland District and the Germans changed its name into Litzmannstadt.

Growing up in the U.S. during the second half of the 20th century, I, along with most people, know very little about the First World War. The little that I did know was about the trench warfare in France and Belgium. The Eastern Front was barely, if ever, mentioned and usually stated that it ended with the Russian Revolution and overthrowing the Czar.

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