Something Sinister In The Polish Soil

Grave matters in ‘Aftermath,’ which borrows cleverly from the horror film genre.
Special To The Jewish Week

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.
Staff Writer

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.

Poland And The Death Camps: Setting The Record Straight

Special To The Jewish Week

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.

Abraham H. Foxman

Beyond Semantics: 'Polish Death Camps' And The Suffering Of A Nation

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.

Polish camp, or Nazi camp in occupied Poland?

The True Face Of Polish Jewry

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.”

Syndicate content