It should be simple to make the proper distinction: Poland has a long and not distinguished history of anti-Semitism, including before, during, and after World War II. But it was not responsible for the death camps and the Holocaust.
In Poland last year to help the small Jewish community of Poznan lead its Pesach seders, I spent some time in a small café down the street from the city’s former synagogue (serving since communist times as a municipal swimming pool) with the director of a small art gallery.
The latest artistic news about Poland’s small-but-emerging Jewish community centers around Pawel Bramson, a skinhead-turned-Orthodox-Jew who’s featured in a new documentary, “The Moon is Jewish,” which premiered here this winter, won an award at last month’s Jewish Motifs International Film Festival in Warsaw, and subsequently has garnered heavy coverage,
“From neo-Nazi skinhead to black-hatted Jew,” was the headline in JTA this week. And this on worldjewishdaily.com: “From Malicious to Mashgiach.”
Ethics fellowship at Auschwitz highlights failings of media — and others — in stopping the Shoah.
Ari L. Goldman
Special To The Jewish Week
Auschwitz, Poland — The philosopher Theodor Adorno famously said, “After Auschwitz, there can be no poetry.” While visiting the site of the notorious death camp last week, I could see the truth of Adorno’s words. There is no beauty in the barracks, the barbed wire and the crematoria. I saw no poetry in the mounds of hair and glasses and shoes on display.
(JTA) -- President Obama should raise the issue of restitution of private Jewish property during his meeting this week with Polish officials, a Jewish group has urged.
The World Jewish Restitution Organization made the request two days before Obama meets Friday with Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski and Prime Minister Donald Tusk.
The request follows a similar one contained in a letter to Obama from U.S. Rep. Christopher Smith (R-N.J.) and U.S. Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.), chairs of the Committee on Security and Cooperation in Europe (Helsinki Commission).
In Poland today, non-Jews rival Jews in interest in tradition.
Poznan, Poland — The eyes of Poland’s Jewish history are upon me when I come here for Passover.
Three years ago I led the seders, as a volunteer, in the Lublin yeshiva that that been renovated and returned to the Jewish community, in the eastern part of the country. It was established about 100 years ago by Rabbi Meir Shapiro, the scholar better known as founder of the Daf Yomi Talmud study project. As I moved around the meeting hall where the seders took place, a framed portrait of Rabbi Shapiro hung on the front wall, his eyes, I imagined, watching me.
By disparaging the US government's support of demands that Poland compensate Jews for property stolen from them during the Holocaust, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski exacerbated the firestorm created by his government's peremptory decision to walk away from long-promised restitution legislation for spurious economic reasons.
(JTA) -- An unrepentant Helen Thomas said in an interview with Playboy magazine that she knew exactly what she was doing when she said on camera that Jews "should get the hell out of Palestine."
"I knew I’d hit the third rail," she said in an interview published in the April issue of Playboy. "You cannot say anything about Israel in this country. But I’ve lived with this cause for many years. Everybody knows my feelings that the Palestinians have been shortchanged in every way.
Government cites economy in scrapping restitution plan.
Jewish organizations here are promising to mount a major fight — exerting political and diplomatic pressure — to prevent the Polish government from abandoning its compensation of Jews and others whose private property was stolen by the Nazis and then confiscated by the Communists.
Since 2002, Jewish communal reclamation in Poland has reaped millions of dollars. Critics complain of a lack of financial transparency.
Story Includes Video:
As Menachem Daum walked through the streets of Dzialoszyce, Poland, in 2002, he saw the roofless synagogue built in 1854, a poignant reminder of the vibrant Jewish community that had once existed there. On a return trip he made three years later, Daum was approached by a man who seemed to be in charge.
“How much do you want to pay me for it?” he asked Daum.