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February 28, 2015 / 9 Adar , 5775
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President Of Poland Goes To Shul

      On Sunday night, the first night of Chanukah, the President of Poland, Lech Kaczynski, went to the Nozyk Synagogue in Warsaw.  This is the first visit of a Polish president to a Polish synagogue (possibly in history).  Kaczynski joined the community for the lighting of the first candle of Chanukah.  The president was presented with a prayer specially written by Rabbi Boaz Pash, Rabbi of Krakow, for the occasion of the reestablishment of Poland, 90 years ago on Nov. 11, 1918.  The paper cut includes elements of both Polish and Jewish traditional paper cuts and was done by the noted local Jewish artist, Monika Krajewska.  


    The president and his wife, the First Lady of Poland, Mrs. Maria Kaczynska, were greeted by Piotr Kadlcik, president of the Warsaw Jewish Community; Rabbi Michael Schudrich, Chief Rabbi of Poland; and Grażyna Mejer, vice president of the Jewish community of Warsaw.  The Nozyk Synagogue is the only synagogue of the nearly 400 pre-Shoah synagogues of Warsaw still in existence. For the occasion of the presidential visit hundred of community members, young and old, were in attendance.

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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.

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