In Poland, A New National Debate On Hate

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Warsaw — A middle-aged, non-Jewish Polish man, driving a Jewish visitor from the States on a shopping errand one recent morning turned abruptly to his guest and asked, “What do you think of the Polish people?”

Anti-Semitism in Poland “still exists on a level that’s unacceptable,” says Rafal Pankowski. Steve Lipman/JW

Old Traditions, New Faces At Polish Seders

Twenty-five years after the fall of Communism, more signs of renewed Jewish life in small community.

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Wroclaw, Poland — The American-born chief rabbi of Lower Silesia stood at the head table of the community seders in the historic White Stork Synagogue here last week and witnessed, in a single glance, the changes in the last 25 years of post-communist Polish Jewish life.

Rabbi Tyson Herberger, inset, led the communal seder at White Stork Synagogue in Wroclaw. Wikimedia Commons

A Revival Spreads

For isolated members of Poland’s Jewish community, a new online Jewish learning program.

Staff Writer

A Jewish teen at a public school in a town in Poland was struggling with his German-language studies early in the academic year last year. Already enrolled in an after-school, online Jewish education program run by a Jewish day school in Warsaw, he signed up for optional instruction in German offered by the program.

Born in Poland, Hadassah Buchwald-Pawlak designed an online Jewish education program. Photo courtesy Lander College for Women

Something Sinister In The Polish Soil

Grave matters in ‘Aftermath,’ which borrows cleverly from the horror film genre.

Special To The Jewish Week
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It is oddly appropriate that the new Polish drama “Aftermath” is opening on Nov. 1, in the midst of the Halloween movie season. The film, written and directed by Władysław Pasikowski, is structured like a horror film, uses the tropes of the supernatural thriller boldly and deftly, and has its roots in the appalling realities of Jewish life and death in Poland in the 1940s. In short, it’s a Shoah film, but one that trades elements of that burgeoning genre for the familiar lineaments of another, older kind of filmmaking.

"Aftermath" is handsome, and horrifying.

Turning A New Page In Poland’s Jewish History

Major Warsaw museum, opening April 19, has attracted support from non-Jewish Poles and Polish-born Holocaust survivors.

Staff Writer

Warsaw — Nine months before the start of World War II, a Jewish friend of Jerzy Prezdziecki wrote in a poem that “our friendship will never change to smoke.”

A replica of a 17th-Century synagogue in the museum. Photo courtesy Warsaw’s Museum of the History of Polish Jews

A Taste Of Poland’s Jewish Past

Non-Jewish Poles establish Jewish-style restaurants throughout the country.

Staff Writer

Warsaw — At a corner table in the Pod Samsonem restaurant, under framed etchings of the Bible’s Samson and of old Warsaw streetscapes, a middle-aged woman cuts up her “Jewish style” trout one recent evening.

Maria Ryczwolska, left, who is not Jewish, manages Warsaw’s Jewish-style Pod Samsonem restaurant. “How can it not be here?”

A Seder Comes To Szczecin

In a northwest corner of Poland, an old-timer remembers a once vibrant Jewish community.

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Szczecin, Poland — The Jewish senior citizens, dressed in casual skirts and suits, began filing into the headquarters of this seaside Jewish community shortly before sunset on the first night of Passover last week.

Róża Król, a lifelong resident of Szczecin, is a leader of the city’s small Jewish community. sztetl.org.pl

The Gate To Poland’s Jewish Life

Small theater and educational organization in Lublin, founded by non-Jews, keeps memory of Polish Jewry alive.

Staff Writer

My itinerary in Lublin a few years ago included a few hours one spring afternoon in something called the Brama Grodzka Theater.

The entrance to Lublin’s Brama Grodzka Theater. Courtesy of Brama Grodzka

The Best Place To Die

If you had to die, where would you do it?

An Israeli professor of economics at Stanford University suggests a kibbutz.

His grandmother, an unlettered seamstress who fled anti-Semitism in her native Poland to Kibbutz Negba, died there with the best, around-the-clock care.

How do kibbutzim not only survive, but thrive? Photo courtesy Wikipedia Commons

Poles And The Holocaust: Another Side Of The Coin

Have you ever heard of Wincenty and Lucja Baranek, Adam and Bronislawa Kowalski or Josef and Wiktoria Ulma?

If not, you’re not alone.

They’re not well-known either in Poland, their homeland, where each of the couples risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.

Poland has taken a step to recognize the heroes, recently issuing commemorative coins to honor them: all Catholics, all killed for their actions.

The significance of the gesture transcends the world of numismatism.

A Polish coin honors Irena Sendler, Zofia Kossak-Szczucka and Matylda Getter for saving Jews.
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