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Gazeta Volume 27, No.

1
Spring 2020

Main Market Square in Kraków during the pandemic.


Photograph by Edyta Gawron. Used with permission.

A quarterly publication of
the American Association
for Polish-Jewish Studies
and Taube Foundation for
Jewish Life & Culture
Editorial & Design: Tressa Berman, Fay Bussgang, Julian Bussgang, Shana Penn, Antony Polonsky, Aleksandra Sajdak,
Adam Schorin, William Zeisel, LaserCom Design, and Taube Center for the Renewal of Jewish Life in Poland Foundation.

CONTENTS
Message from Irene Pipes ................................................................................................ 1
Message from Tad Taube and Shana Penn .................................................................... 2
SPECIAL REPORTS
Academia during the Pandemic
Edyta Gawron ......................................................................................................................... 3

Zygmunt Stępiński Is New Director of POLIN Museum


Antony Polonsky ..................................................................................................................... 5

Statement of New Director of POLIN Museum ................................................................ 9


SPECIAL FEATURES IN RESPONSE TO SHELTERING-AT-HOME
Sunday Potatoes! Monday Potatoes! ............................................................................. 10
COOKING IN CONTAINMENT

Jewish Food Is Grounding, Especially Now


Jeffrey Yoskowitz ............................................................................................................. 12

Quarantine Cooking Tips from Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett ............................... 17


Celia Ores on Pierogi and Horseradish .................................................................... 19
From Kasia Leonardi’s Kitchen .................................................................................. 20
Essential Kneads from the Kitchen of Sharon Bernstein ......................................... 22
Historians Cooking the Past ....................................................................................... 24
Things to Do While Sheltering-at-Home: Online Cultural Resources .......................... 25
EXHIBITIONS AND MUSEUMS
In Real Times. Arthur Szyk: Art and Human Rights at the
Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life
Francesco Spagnolo ............................................................................................................. 27

Cities of Peace Illuminated at the Galicia Jewish Museum .......................................... 31


#GaliciaOnline
Jakub Nowakowski ............................................................................................................... 32

POLIN Museum at a Distance


Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett ................................................................................................ 36

II n GAZETA VOLUME 27, NO. 1


REPORTS
Commemorating Thirty Years of the Jewish Culture Festival
Letter from the Director, Janusz Makuch ........................................................... 40
The Jewish Culture Festival through Photographs ............................................. 41
One Thousand Stories About Yiddish Language and Culture:
Wexler Oral History Project at the Yiddish Book Center
Christa P. Whitney ................................................................................................................. 43

The Great Synagogue of Oświęcim


Maciek Zabierowski .............................................................................................................. 45

FestivALT Moves Online


Adam Schorin ...................................................................................................................... 47

ANNOUNCEMENTS
BOOKS
Anti-Jewish Pogroms on Polish Lands in the Nineteenth and Twentieth
Centuries (Pogromy Żydów na ziemiach polskich w XIX i XX wieku)
Antony Polonsky .............................................................................................................. 49

Chasydyzm. Źródła, Metody, Perspektywy, the Polish-Language


Version of Studying Hasidism. Sources, Methods, Perspectives.
Edited by Marcin Wodziński ...................................................................................... 50
Polacos in Argentina: Polish Jews, Interwar Migration, and the
Emergence of Transatlantic Jewish Culture. By Mariusz Kałczewiak .................... 51
Voices from the Białystok Ghetto. By Michael Nevins ............................................. 52
Autobiography. Literature. Culture. Media: A Journal of the
Faculty of Humanities at the University of Szczecin
by By Inga Iwasiόw and Jerzy Madejski .................................................................. 53
Theodore Bikel’s The City of Light. By Aimee Ginsburg Bikel with
Illustrations by Noah Phillips ...................................................................................... 54
Strażnicy Fatum (Guardians of Fate). By Bożena Keff ............................................ 55
From Left to Right. Lucy S. Dawidowicz, The New York Intellectuals and
the Politics of Jewish History. By Nancy Sinkoff ...................................................... 56
The King of Warsaw. By Szczepan Twardoch .......................................................... 57

GAZETA SPRING 2020 n III


HONORS AND AWARDS
National Jewish Book Council 2019 Awards ............................................................ 58
2019 National Translation Award in Poetry for Pan Tadeusz: The Last Foray
in Lithuania. By Adam Mickiewicz, translated by Bill Johnston .............................. 59
Museum Worlds Honors Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett
Editors: Sandra Dudley and Conal McCarthy .......................................................... 60
Devilspel Wins Literary Prize ...................................................................................... 61
POLIN Award 2019 to Natalia Bartczak .................................................................... 62
CONFERENCES AND SEMINARS
Conference at the Polish Embassy in London to Launch POLIN: Studies in
Polish Jewry, Volume 32
Antony Polonsky .............................................................................................................. 63

Biographies and Politics: Involvement of Jews and People of


Jewish Origin in Leftist Movements in 19th and 20th Century Poland
Antony Polonsky .............................................................................................................. 65

IN BRIEF
Newly Released on Amazon: Raise the Roof
by Filmmakers Yari and Cary Wolinsky ..................................................................... 68
Midrasz Closes Its Doors
Editorial Board of Midrasz ................................................................................................ 69

Contemporary Jewish Art and Artists in Poland


Fay Bussgang ................................................................................................................. 71

OBITUARIES
Krzysztof Penderecki
Antony Polonsky ................................................................................................................... 73

Mikhl Baran
Samuel Norich ...................................................................................................................... 77

Walentyna Janta-Połczyńska
Antony Polonsky .................................................................................................................. 78

Jerzy E. Główczewski
Julian Bussgang ................................................................................................................... 80

Dr. Łucja Pawlicka-Nowak


Jewish Heritage Europe ......................................................................................................... 81

IV n GAZETA VOLUME 27, NO. 1


President, American Association
Message from for Polish-Jewish Studies
Irene Pipes Founder of Gazeta

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Cambridge, where I am waiting out the pandemic. I hope


you are comfortable and safe in this unprecedented situation.

As this issue of Gazeta shows, we are determined to carry on our


important work in spite of the difficulties created by the COVID-19
virus. We congratulate Zygmunt Stępiński on his appointment as director
of POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. We are glad that the
long-running dispute over the directorship has been brought to an end
Irene Pipes
and look forward to its future flourishing. We are very impressed that the
museum has used the resources of the Internet to continue its activities
while it is forced to close to the public.

We welcome the publication of volume 32 of Polin: Studies in Polish


Jewry, which has as its theme “Jews and Music-Making on the Polish
Lands.” It deals with an important theme and is divided into five
sections, Cantorial and Religious Music, Jews in Polish Popular Culture,
Jews in the Polish Classical Musical Scene, The Holocaust Reflected in
Jewish Music, and Klezmer in Poland Today. Preparations for volume 33
are well underway and we look forward to its publication.

We hope you will find some comfort in the resources our editors and
contributors have collected for this special issue, and that the crisis will
soon be over so that we can resume normal activity.

With best wishes,

Irene Pipes
President

GAZETA SPRING 2020 n 1


Message from
Chairman and Executive Director,
Tad Taube and Taube Foundation for Jewish Life
& Culture
Shana Penn
This issue of Gazeta differs considerably from the one we planned.
When we began working on it in early February, COVID-19 was
rampaging in faraway China, on the periphery of our awareness in the
United States. We focused instead on collecting articles about matters of
concern to our readers, like the leadership transition at POLIN Museum,
new books and awards, recent conferences, and plans for the Jewish
Culture Festival’s thirtieth anniversary celebration in Krakόw.

In mid-February, as the virus began ripping through Europe, we welcomed


POLIN Museum’s Chief Curator Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett to the
Tad Taube
San Francisco Bay Area, where she gave the keynote at the opening of an
Arthur Szyk exhibition organized by the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art
and Life at the University of California, Berkeley (reported in this issue).

By March, the faraway virus had reached our shores and was causing
alarm, from Washington state down the coast to the Bay Area and beyond.
Meanwhile, our Polish colleagues and Gazeta contributors began telling us
about the advent of the virus in their communities and the health measures
being taken in universities and other public institutions and places in
Warsaw, Krakόw, and elsewhere. Clearly, the pandemic’s momentous
events were demanding our attention.

Shana Penn This revised spring edition of Gazeta presents, as always, topics and
events of primary concern to you, our readers, while also recognizing
the global health and economic crises confronting us today. Like many
previous generations, we live in times that can be difficult, even deadly.
We are grateful to be in conversation with you as we move together into
an uncertain future.

Tad Taube and Shana Penn


Chairman and Executive Director

2 n GAZETA VOLUME 27, NO. 1


SPECIAL REPORTS
Edyta Gawron
Academia during the Pandemic

J agiellonian University in
Kraków started its spring
semester on February 24,
2020. The first week of classes,
usually busy and exciting,
was already marked by some
uncertainty. We received
recommendations regarding
travel abroad (destinations
to avoid) and international
visitors (visits from COVID-19
affected countries had to be
cancelled or postponed). At
the Institute of Jewish Studies,
following the new restrictions,
the visit from a Japanese
delegation was cancelled
at the last minute. Soon
after, questions arose about
upcoming important public
events underway. For example,
what would happen to the
Polish-Israeli ambassadors’ Kraków, March 2020
debate, marking thirty years Photograph by Edyta Gawron. Used with permission.

of reestablishing diplomatic
relations between the two situation there, we asked her e-learning in response to the
countries? to self-isolate and refrain from coronavirus. The quarantined
attending classes for the next Italian student was offered
A few days later, one of two weeks. Our colleagues Skype access to Hebrew
the students enrolled in the in the institute were asked to classes, and a few days later,
international educational assist her with materials and with events moving so quickly
program Erasmus+ returned provide individual mentoring. and dramatically, this would be
from Italy. Knowing the This was when we introduced required for all of our classes.

GAZETA SPRING 2020 n 3


Within the first month The Institute of Jewish University classes remain
of the new semester, we Studies is located in suspended as of this writing.
found ourselves displaced New security measures have
the heart of the Jewish
and working from home as been implemented in all of
all classes transitioned to quarter, where we had Poland, such as directives to
online teaching. Fortunately, just attended Purim walk around neighborhoods
Jagiellonian University or take public transportation
celebrations. We were
already had programs and only for reasons essential for
online platforms to facilitate expecting dozens of health or work.
remote teaching. student groups to arrive
The streets of Kraków are
We miss Kazimierz, though. in March, mainly from almost completely empty.
The Institute of Jewish Israel, the United States, From time to time, the
Studies is located in the voice from the loudspeakers
and Europe, but all visits
heart of the Jewish quarter, installed on police cars
where we had just attended were cancelled at the reminds inhabitants to stay at
Purim celebrations. We were last minute. home—Zostań w domu! n
expecting dozens of student
groups to arrive in March, lift the spirits of our students. Edyta Gawron, PhD, is
mainly from Israel, the United Working on a regular schedule Assistant Professor at the
States, and Europe, but all and seeing each other online Institute of Jewish Studies,
visits were cancelled at the helps us all to focus on Jagiellonian University
last minute. Within a few days, teaching and learning. in Kraków. From 2009 to
Kazimierz, together with other 2017, she was director of
Most of my classes this the Centre for the Study of
parts of Kraków, resembled
semester are on the Holocaust the History and Culture of
a ghost town. Suddenly, all
or Holocaust-related topics. Kraków Jews. She is president
of the tourists were gone and
Some of my students had of the Management Board
the locals had to comply with
experienced stressful travel of Galicia Jewish Heritage
strict lockdown protocols.
back to their respective Institute Foundation (Galicia
All public activities were
countries. Unfortunately, we Jewish Museum in Kraków)
cancelled, including the
did not have time to say good- and served on the team
March of Remembrance, held
bye. Luckily, we will continue that designed the historical
annually on the anniversary
working together online, and museum in Oskar Schindler’s
of the liquidation of the
one of the first topics to be Factory in Kraków.
Kraków Ghetto.
discussed is survival strategies
Confronted with all the in a time of catastrophe. How
depressing news, we want to ironic, yet also fitting!

4 n GAZETA VOLUME 27, NO. 1


Zygmunt Stępiński is New Director
of POLIN Museum of the History Antony Polonsky
of Polish Jews

I n a statement issued to
the press on February 14,
2020, the Polish Ministry
In response, the mayor of
Warsaw, Rafał Trzaskowski,
expressed his satisfaction
Professor Dariusz Stola that
he renounced his rights as
winner of the competition for
of Culture and National at the agreement while also the post of director of POLIN
Heritage announced that it expressing regret that it had Museum of the History of
had “reached agreement with not been reached earlier. Polish Jews, on condition
the co-organizers of POLIN Its conclusion was the that the parties running the
Museum—the mayor of result of the “responsible museum reached agreement
Warsaw and the executive of and exceptional gesture of on another candidate.” They
the Association of the Jewish Professor Stola, who for the nominated Zygmunt Stępiński
Historical Institute—on good of POLIN Museum has as the “common candidate
the position of director and renounced his legal right to of the Association of the
intends to appoint Zygmunt the position of director … We Jewish Historical Institute
Stępiński, who has held the are happy that the deadlock and the City of Warsaw.”
post of acting director since has been broken and such They reached this decision
February 2019, for a three- an important institution after consulting with “Jewish
year term.” It further stated will now finally have an circles, friends of the Museum
that “in accordance with the administration which will and donors.”
regulations laid down in the ensure the realization of its
The dispute over the position
law of October 25, 1991, programs and secure its future
of director began in February
on the organization and development.”
2019, when the Minister of
management of cultural affairs,
This followed an earlier Culture, Piotr Gliński, refused
the minister will seek to obtain
statement by the mayor and to renew Stola’s five-year
from trade unions active in
the executive of the Jewish appointment, which held
the museum and professional
Historical Institute. Acting “in the option of extension. The
and cultural associations their
accordance with the interests minister never made clear the
opinion of the candidate for the
of the institution and of grounds for his action, but
post of director to the Museum
Polish-Jewish relations,” they he seems to have objected to
of the History of Polish Jews.
said, “as well as the image the fact that Stola protested
The new director of POLIN
of Poland in the world, after against the amendment of
Museum should be appointed
the difficult but exceptionally the 2018 law on the Institute
by the end of February 2020.”
responsible statement by of National Remembrance

GAZETA SPRING 2020 n 5


(Instytut Pamięci Narodowej- Recent years have seen Żydowskiego-FODŻ). In
IPN), which made May, the selection committee,
claiming that the Polish
an attack on history as chaired by Deputy Minister
state or the Polish nation a scholarly discipline of Culture Jarosław Sellin
bore responsibility for the that has threatened the and made up of two
Holocaust a criminal offense. representatives each of the
(The law was subsequently great progress made ministry, the municipality of
amended to remove these in understanding the Warsaw, and the Association
criminal penalties.) of the Jewish Historical
complex problems of
Institute, and nine members
Further conflict arose over the history of Jews in representing independent
Obcy w domu (“Estranged,”
Poland and of Polish- bodies, among them Jewish
the museum’s translation), one
organizations and institutions
of the museum’s temporary Jewish relations. engaged in education,
exhibitions, marking the
contribution to Polish-Israeli including several senior
fiftieth anniversary of the
relations of Lech Kaczyński, professors, voted in May,
anti-Zionist campaign of
former president of Poland, 11 to 3, with one abstention,
1968, which the Ministry of
who died in the Smoleńsk to reappoint Stola.
Culture and National Heritage
plane crash of April 2010.
had refused to fund. A huge Stola had certainly been a very
success, the exhibition drew Minister Gliński was successful director. According
116,000 people. It included unwilling to reappoint Stola, to Tad Taube, chairman of
a final section comparing but under pressure from the Taube Foundation for
the hate speech which had the representatives of the Jewish Life and Culture and
marked the events of 1968 two other bodies involved one of the main supporters
with that which had become in running the museum, he of the museum, Stola is “the
increasingly prevalent since agreed to an open competition most outstanding scholar
the amendment of the law for the post of director in and director we could ever
on the IPN. Minister Gliński which Stola could participate. get for that museum. He
also seems to have been Only one other candidate has been responsible for
angered by the failure of the applied, Monika Krawczyk, all the positive things.” His
museum administration to then Chair of the Union of views are shared by Barbara
turn over any part of a large, Jewish Religious Communities Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, the
multiyear education grant in Poland and former Chair chief curator of POLIN’s core
that it received from the of the Foundation for the exhibition, Professor Emerita
Norwegian government and Preservation of Jewish of Performance Studies at
its alleged failure to sponsor Heritage in Poland (Fundacja New York University, and
a conference devoted to the Ochrony Driedzictwa a 2020 recipient of a Dan

6 n GAZETA VOLUME 27, NO. 1


David prize for her work at Stępiński “has a very the creators of the publishing
the museum. She observed house MURATOR (now
that “all the success of the
deep connection to the ZPR media S.A.) in 1982, as
last five years is his [Stola’s] history of Polish Jews. well as the social programs
doing. All the awards, all of He is loyal, capable, and “Available Housing” and
the visitor numbers—all of it “Housing Without Barriers.”
is his doing.” dedicated, and he has He was also active in Polish-
been with the museum Jewish life and has worked
They were right to talk of
in service to POLIN Museum
numbers. Since it opened in since it opened.”
since 2012, and as one of its
2013, the museum has been – Barbara Kirshenblatt-
three deputy directors was
visited by 3.75 million people, Gimblett
responsible for education,
while nearly 2 million have
communication, sales, and
visited the core exhibition, The minister again failed marketing.
which opened in October to appoint Stola, and by
2014. Around 44 percent February 2020 the situation His appointment has been
of these visitors come from had become critical, since welcomed by many of the
abroad, the largest group Zygmunt Stępiński could only museum’s key supporters,
coming from Israel, followed hold the post of acting director who are concerned to
by the United States. Under until the end of the month. It safeguard its institutional
Stola’s leadership, the was then that the compromise autonomy. According to
museum was awarded the solution of appointing him Warsaw Mayor Trzaskowski
title of European Museum director for a three-year period and Piotr Wiślicki, the head
of the Year in 2016 and the was adopted. of the Association of the
EMA (European Museum Jewish Historical Institute,
Academy Award), and in Stępiński graduated in history Stępiński “has many years
2017, it received the Europa from the University of of experience in the field of
Nostra Award, the most Warsaw and became active in management, including in the
important award in Europe for politics after the introduction field of cultural institutions,
outstanding achievement in of martial law in December [and] he enjoys the trust of the
the protection, research, and 1981, when he became team and the museum’s donors
promotion of cultural heritage. secretary of the editorial board and Jewish communities in
According to the award, the of the underground publishing Poland and abroad.” Barbara
museum “created a safe haven house CDN (Ciąg Dalszy Kirshenblatt-Gimblett
to engage in an intercultural Nastąpi, “To Be Continued”). agreed: “He has a very deep
dialogue, thus offering a vital The son of a celebrated connection to the history
lesson to today’s world.” architect, he has worked as of Polish Jews. He is loyal,
a journalist and was one of capable, and dedicated, and

GAZETA SPRING 2020 n 7


Stola is “the most perhaps the next best-known
outstanding scholar and Jewish landmark in Poland.
Built on the site of the former
director we could ever get Warsaw [G]hetto it celebrates
for that museum. He has the thousand-year history of
Poland’s Jewish community
been responsible for all
and is a place where you can
the positive things.” learn about past and present
– Tad Taube Jewish culture, confront
continue to contribute to the stereotypes, and consider
preservation and informed perils from today’s world—
appreciation of the history such as xenophobia and
Professor Dariusz Stola, former
and accomplishments of the nationalistic prejudices.”
Director of the POLIN Museum of the
History of Polish Jews. Jews of this region and of To see the public statement
Photograph by Omar Marqes. Getty Images.
their descendants all over issued by Dariusz Stola,
he has been with the museum the world. former director of POLIN
since it opened.” Museum, on February 10,
Recent years have seen an
attack on history as a scholarly 2020, go to: http://szih.org.
The general consensus
discipline that has threatened pl/en/dariusz-stola-statement-
was well expressed by Tad
the great progress made in regarding-polin-museum/. n
Taube. Calling the solution
“a bittersweet pill,” he said understanding the complex
Antony Polonsky, PhD, is
it was “much better than problems of the history of
Chief Historian at the POLIN
having Minister Gliński Jews in Poland and of Polish-
Museum of the History of
appoint the director without Jewish relations. In these
Polish Jews.
the agreement of his partners.” conditions, the importance
Praising Stępiński as an “able of the museum in fostering a
administrator,” he concluded nuanced and balanced attitude
that the most important thing to the past is all the more
is that “we now have a leader important. One can only echo
for a great museum that was the sentiments of Arkady
heretofore in a state of flux Rzegocki, Polish ambassador
for almost a year.” to the United Kingdom in the
Jewish Chronicle of February
The museum has gone 19, 2020: “The POLIN
through a difficult period. Museum of the History of
It is to be hoped that under Polish Jews in Warsaw is
Director Stępiński it will

8 n GAZETA VOLUME 27, NO. 1


Statement of New Director of
POLIN Museum of the History
of Polish Jews

O ver the past year POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews has been
going through the worst crisis since its inception. The crisis was caused by
the conflict between the museum’s co-founders regarding nomination for the
post of director. As you all know, a competition for the post was held in May
2019. It was won convincingly by Professor Dariusz Stola—my mentor, my Zygmunt Stępiński, the new
superior, and a dear colleague. Director of the POLIN Museum
of the History of Polish Jews.
It would be inappropriate to comment here on the process of nominating, Photograph by M. Starowieyska.

or rather on the failure to nominate, Professor Dariusz Stola for a new term Courtesy of POLIN Museum of
the History of Polish Jews.
as POLIN Museum director. I myself was put in a rather difficult position,
serving as acting director. I was striving to fulfill my role to the best of my abilities, yet with full
awareness of its interim nature. POLIN Museum was molded by Professor Stola, who was about to
return and occupy again his empty office in the museum building.
Alas, that never happened. According to the common intention of the Association of the Jewish
Historical Institute and the City of Warsaw, and with the approval of the Ministry of Culture and
National Heritage, I received the nomination for a three-year term as POLIN Museum director. I have
decided to accept it. I am sure you are all aware how awkward the position I was put in has been,
notwithstanding the fact that my candidature was supported by all three museum co-founders, many
different milieus and authority figures, including those that the museum holds in the highest regard—
first and foremost the donors, but also the Nationwide Workers’ Initiative Trade Union in operation at
the museum, as well as POLIN Museum staff council.
Above all else, my nomination was supported by Professor Dariusz Stola.
Darek, I would like to address these words to you directly. They say no one is irreplaceable. Perhaps
it is true. What is also true, however, is that there are people among us who are truly unique and
extraordinarily clever; people who change the course of events and thus shape our history. We have had
a great honor and privilege to work with such a person. POLIN Museum is one of the most important
institutions of culture in Poland and it will follow the course that you have mapped out for us. I am sure
that our paths will cross along this course, and more than once at that.
Today I have entered the building as the Museum Director, overwhelmed by most ambivalent feelings.
Nonetheless, I wish to pass on this message to you all: I will make every effort to further develop the
potential of POLIN museum—the institution which Professor Stola held dear and where he left a piece
of his heart. The museum will continue to fulfil its mission of preserving the memory of Polish Jews,
of retelling their history in an engaging, captivating, and authentic way. It will continue to teach about
the tradition, culture, religion, and patriotism of the Jews who have always been and will always remain
an inseparable part of the multinational and multiethnic Republic of Poland—the home of people of
various denominations, viewpoints, traditions, and customs.
Zygmunt Stępiński
Director of POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews

GAZETA SPRING 2020 n 9


SPECIAL FEATURES IN RESPONSE
TO SHELTERING-AT-HOME

Sunday Potatoes! Monday Potatoes!


Editor’s Note: You can sing this while washing your hands for 22 seconds!

Zuntik – bulbes Sunday, potatoes


Montik – bulbes Monday, potatoes
Dinstik un mitvokh – bulbes Tuesday and Wednesday, potatoes ‫בולבעס‬

Donershtik un fraytik – bulbes Thursday and Friday, potatoes ‫זונטיק – בולבעס‬


Ober shabes in a novine But on Shabbes something special ‫מאָנטיק – בולבעס‬

A bulbe kigele! A potato kugel! ‫דינסטיק און מיטוואָך – בולבעס‬


‫דאָנערשטיק און פריי ַטיק – בולבעס‬
Un zuntik vayter – bulbes And Sunday—and so on—potatoes !‫אָבער שבתּ אין אַ נאָווענע – אַ בולבע קוגעלע‬

. ‫און זונטיק ווייטער – בולבעס‬


.‫און זונטיק ווייטער – בולבעס‬
Broyt mit bulbes Bread with potatoes
Fleysh mit bulbes Meat with potatoes ‫ברויט מיט בולבעס‬
‫פלייש מיט בולבעס‬
Varemes un vetshere – bulbes Noon meal and evening meal potatoes ‫וואַרעמעס און וועטשערע – בולבעס‬

Ober un vider – bulbes Here and there potatoes ‫אָבער און ווידער – בולבעס‬
‫איינמאָל אין אַ נאָווענע‬
Ober eynmol in a novine But now and then, a novelty !‫אַ בולבע קוגעלע‬

A bulbe kigele! A potato kugel! ‫און זונטיק ווייטער – בולבעס‬


.‫און זונטיק ווייטער – בולבעס‬
Un zuntik vayter – bulbes And Sunday—the usual—potatoes
. ‫אָבער – בולבעס‬
‫ווידער – בולבעס‬
Ober – bulbes Here potatoes ‫נאָך אַ מאָל און אָבער אַ מאָל – בולבעס‬
Vider – bulbes There potatoes ‫הײַנט און מאָרגן – בולבעס‬

Ober un vider – bulbes Here and there potatoes


‫אָבער שבתּ נאָכן טשאָלנט‬
!‫אַ בולבע קוגעלע‬
Vider un ober – bulbes There and here potatoes ‫און זונטיק ווייטער – בולבעס‬

Ober shabes nokhn tsholnt But on Shabbes after the chulent .‫און זונטיק ווייטער – בולבעס‬

A bulbe kigele! A potato kugel!


Un zuntik vayter – bulbes A Sunday, here we go again, potatoes

https://musicalexplorers.savannahmusicfestival.org/2019-19-curriculum/unit-
5-klezmer-music/lesson-1-learning-bulbes/

10 n GAZETA VOLUME 27, NO. 1


Cooking in Containment

O
Editor’s Note:
nce many of us realized we
would be sheltering at home
for a month if not longer, we made our
shopping lists for durable groceries
and household supplies, applied
research zeal to culinary creation, and
transferred commute hours to cooking
hours. Gazeta readers reported to us
that after teaching their classes on
Zoom and reading students’ exams,
after researching and sharing online
reputable sources about the pandemic,
they were passionately reading
cookbooks, exchanging recipes,
and creating feasts for their mostly
modest-sized households. It seems
many of us are now thoroughly
occupied with cooking—and wherever
there is cooking, eating is sure to
follow. Here are some personal
culinary stories, helpful tips and
recipes for cooking in containment.
GAZETA SPRING 2020 n 11
Jewish Food Is Grounding, Jeffrey Yoskowitz
Especially Now

Pickles and gefilte don’t always was building a value-added place to start since it’s
get the same level of attention products business and pickles often the butt of jokes—
by scholars and cultural were at the heart of it (the and yet, when it’s made
activists as, say, literary works farm’s slogan: “Young Jewish right, with fresh ingredients,
of Sholem Aleichem or the farmers changing the world one an eye to freshness and
revival of the Yiddish language. pickle at a time”). I learned to with deference to tradition,
In recent years, however, that’s make the old-fashioned method it can be transcendent.
been changing. Food is “in”––at of saltwater pickles, which, I launched a venture called
least as an entry point into the it turns out, are actually good The Gefilteria to spread
folk history of Jews in Eastern for you. The Jewish/Slavic gefilte fish appreciation.
Europe. As a matter of fact, pickling method is a live- We manufacture an artisanal
in the age of coronavirus, as cultured process of fermentation (read: gourmet) gefilte fish
restaurants remain shuttered and that doesn’t just preserve a and produce culinary events
much of the world is sheltering- cucumber but improves it: it and workshops that explore
in-place, cooking has become sours it and makes it pro-biotic the breadth and history of
a survival skill as well as a such that it aids in digestion and Eastern European Jewish
deserved object of study. More strengthens immune systems. cooking. Gefilte fish, for
than ever, we can learn from better or worse, became the
I see much of Jewish history
Jewish cooks who navigated venture’s symbol. To this day,
and culture like a sour pickle.
scarcity and short growing we travel the world, cooking
Rather than just preserving
seasons with artistry and skill. and teaching, and continue
it, I think culture needs to
to manufacture our signature
For over a decade I’ve ferment––to transform itself
gefilte fish for major holidays.
straddled both the culinary and from within.
scholarly worlds, as a writer, a My work in the world of
I left the farm and moved
researcher, culinary revivalist, Ashkenazi cooking converged
gefilte fish manufacturer, and to New York City where I
with my work as a writer and
an entrepreneur. began working in the food
researcher. Soon, my focus
world. I turned my attention
turned to the lost and distorted
I began my journey into to the negative perceptions
histories of Jewish cooking
Jewish food when I moved of Ashkenazi cuisine among
and eating. When writing
onto an organic Jewish farm my peers in the food world.
my cookbook, The Gefilte
called Adamah in northwest Gefilte fish was the natural
Manifesto: New Recipes for
Connecticut. That year, the farm

12 n GAZETA VOLUME 27, NO. 1


Old World Jewish Foods, innovative digital food
I became obsessed with programming, opened May
the dishes that I didn’t 19 and ran through May
know about. What was 28. (Participation is free for
lost in the Old World? most events, except for a
Through reading those few that are by donation for
Sholem Aleichem stories, COVID-19 relief efforts).
it became clear to me that
As so much of our world
very little of Ashkenazi
remains in question, as
foodways is represented
countries grapple with
by the Jewish delicatessen
the reality of the
in New York. I’ve been
coronavirus and the need
writing and researching
to stay indoors, Jewish
and investigating a The Gefilte Manifesto: New Recipes for Old World
Jewish Foods by Jeffrey Yoskowitz and Liz Alpern, culinary narratives and
deeper, richer food published by Flatiron Books in 2016.
traditions have the power to
tradition ever since.
tie it all into the thousand ground and comfort us. Food
I’m proud to have worked years of Jewish history in is much more than sustenance;
with the Taube Jewish the region. now, more than ever, the wisdom
Heritage Tour team to and recipes from generations
develop “History, Heritage, As the food world is struggling past are especially relevant.
and Herring,” Taube’s first- now with restaurants unable to
serve customers in-house, and Herbed Gefilte Fish
ever Jewish culinary heritage
tour. Our focus has been much of the world sheltering- At its most basic, gefilte is
understanding Ashkenazi in-place, I realize we can use a cold fish appetizer served
material food culture and digital tools to eat and cook before Ashkenazi holiday
connecting to the mindset and together. We also can find and Shabbat meals, and is
the wisdom of Jewish cooks new ways to support those made by mixing freshwater
of the past. We eat together especially hard hit by the fish with eggs, onions, and
and meet chefs and relevant pandemic. With that in mind, spices. One of the things that
food producers in the region. I’ve been producing “The drew us to gefilte fish was
We also examine the climate, Great Big Jewish Food Fest: that it stood as a symbol of
the seasons, and the land as Online & In The Kitchen,” resourcefulness—how far a
we taste the fresh currants, along with a team of culinary single fish could be stretched
gooseberries, and bilberries professionals and food thinkers. to feed an entire family. It had
in the summertime, or the The festival—a collection of a practical aspect, too. On the
foraged mushrooms in the book talks, films, workshops, Shabbat, Jews are prohibited
autumn. And, of course, we culinary talks, panels, and from separating bones from

GAZETA SPRING 2020 n 13


flesh, so by finely grinding
the fish, the proscription
was circumvented. We love
thinking of ways to restore
gefilte to its rightful place on
the table, especially for the
Passover seder, when gefilte
is often front and center. This
recipe has a classic base, but
we’ve added herbs to give it a
taste of spring and a touch of
color. There is also no matzo
meal or bread crumbs in this
recipe, giving it a lighter
texture and removing any Herbed gefilte fish terrine, as per the recipe below.
Photograph by Lauren Volo. Courtesy of Jeffrey Yoskowitz.
gluten. You have two options
for how to cook and serve
Note: The whitefish we use 2 tablespoons coarsely
your gefilte fish. Poaching
here refers to the species chopped fresh watercress
quenelles in a fish broth is
Coregonus clupeaformis from (or spinach)
a classic method used by
the Great Lakes. If you can’t 2 tablespoons coarsely
generations of Jewish cooks,
find whitefish, substitute any chopped fresh dill
and baking the fish in a
one of the following: hake,
terrine is a quick and 1 teaspoon kosher salt
sole, flounder, whiting, tilapia,
contemporary approach that ¹/8 teaspoon freshly ground
or halibut.
will slice and plate beautifully. white pepper
Liz and I both prefer the baked Baked Terrine
1 tablespoon sugar
terrine, but enough friends Makes 1 small terrine; serves
and family members request Horseradish relish, store-
8 to 10
the poached option that we bought or homemade,
1 small onion, coarsely for serving
couldn’t ignore the pull of
chopped
tradition. The first stage of the
If there are any bones left in
process for this gefilte fish is 12 ounces whitefish fillet,
your fillets, remove the larger
nearly identical to the Smoked skin removed, flesh coarsely
ones by hand, but don’t fret
Whitefish Gefilte Terrine and chopped
about the smaller ones since
the Old World Stuffed Gefilte 1¼ tablespoons vegetable or they’ll be pulverized in the
Fish until it gets stuffed into grapeseed oil food processor. You can buy
the skin.
1 large egg your fish pre-ground from a

14 n GAZETA VOLUME 27, NO. 1


fishmonger (usually a Jewish with parchment paper and fill 4 medium carrots
fishmonger) to ensure all the the pan with the fish mixture. 3 tablespoons sugar
bones are removed, but try to
Smooth out with a spatula. Gefilte terrine mixture from
cook your fish that day
Baked Terrine recipe (see
since ground fish loses its Place the loaf pan on a baking
steps 1 and 2)
freshness faster. sheet on the middle rack of
the oven and bake for 40 to Horseradish relish, store-bought
Place the onion in the bowl or homemade, for serving
45 minutes. The terrine is
of a large food processor and
finished when the corners Place the fish parts, salt,
process until finely ground
and ends begin to brown. The onions, carrots, sugar, and
and mostly liquefied. Add
loaf will give off some liquid. water in a large stockpot and
the fish fillets to the food
Cool to room temperature bring to a boil. Reduce the
processor along with the rest
before removing from the heat to maintain a simmer,
of the ingredients, except
pan and slicing. Serve with cover, and simmer for at least
for the horseradish. Pulse in
horseradish relish. 45 minutes before poaching
the food processor until the
mixture is light-colored and Poached Gefilte Quenelles the quenelles. Skim off any
evenly textured throughout. foam that rises to the surface.
Makes 10 2-ounce quenelles
Scoop into a bowl and give
Heads, bones, and tails from Wet your hands and form the
it an additional stir to ensure
a fish (see Note) gefilte fish mixture into about
that all the ingredients are
10 quenelles the size of an
evenly distributed throughout. 4 quarts water
egg, with a similarly oblong
Preheat the oven to 350 F. 1 tablespoon kosher salt shape. They will expand as
Line an 8 x 3-inch loaf pan 2 onions, coarsely chopped they cook.

A s a culmination of much of my Ashkenazi food research, I’ve spent the past year co-producing
with YIVO Institute for Jewish Research an online course of Ashkenazi culinary history
called “A Seat at the Table: A Journey into Jewish Food,” which launched May 1. The course
features a trove of archival objects that illuminate Yiddish-Jewish history in the kitchen, a collection
of cookbooks that trace the Jewish recipe’s evolution over time, lectures by leading scholars
(including Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett on bagels, and more), and plenty of cooking demos
by Joan Nathan and other cookbook writers and chefs. I serve as the guide for the course, so
you can find me cooking and kibitzing throughout. The course is free for a limited time.
Register before August 31 for free tuition; take the class at any time, at your own pace.

GAZETA SPRING 2020 n 15


Place them one by one into
the poaching liquid. When
all the servings are in the
pot, make sure the heat is
on low and cover the pot.
Poach for 30 minutes.
Remove the quenelles with
a slotted spoon and place
them in a bowl or deep
serving dish. Spoon enough
poaching liquid over to cover
the quenelles and let cool
slightly before refrigerating.
The poaching liquid will gel
slightly as it chills.

To serve, remove the carrots


and cut them into 3-inch-thick
rounds. Serve the quenelles
chilled, with the carrot
pieces and fresh horseradish
relish. If you’re old-school
or adventurous, serve with
spoonfuls of the poaching
gel alongside.

Note: If poaching, a fishmonger


can save the head, bones, and
tail for you if he/she sells A photograph of classic sour dill pickles from The Gefilte Manifesto by Jeffrey
Yoskowitz and Liz Alpern.
you the fillet—just ask. The Photograph by Lauren Volo. Courtesy of Jeffrey Yoskowitz.
poaching liquid can be made
without these fish parts, but the shares his special recipes for The Gefilte Manifesto, which
gefilte quenelles will be slightly gefilte fish, one of his specialties he co-authored with Liz Alpern.
less flavorful. at The Gefilteria, which he co- Reprinted with permission
founded as a hub for innovation from Flatiron Books.
Jeffrey Yoskowitz, a Brooklyn- in Jewish food. The recipes
based writer, food entrepreneur, below are excerpted, with
pickler, and public speaker, permission, from the book

16 n GAZETA VOLUME 27, NO. 1


Cooking in Containment: More Tips and Recipes

Quarantine Cooking Tips


from Barbara Kirshenblatt-
Gimblett
Barbara Kirshenblatt-
Gimblett, the Ronald S.
Lauder Chief Curator of the
Core Exhibition at POLIN
Museum of the History of
Polish Jews, in Warsaw, and
professor emerita at New York
University, shares her special
tips for shopping, stocking,
and cooking while “sheltered-
in-place” during COVID-19.
The following “principles”
and recipes were originally
posted on her Facebook
page and are reprinted here Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett’s mushroom barley soup.
Courtesy of Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett.
with permission.

If you are not going out to the pleasure. No need to stock beans, chickpeas, and more),
shop or cannot find what you the fridge, freezer, and pantry pasta (white, whole wheat,
want locally, you can order with prepared food. gluten free), oatmeal (rolled
most everything online and and steel cut), and grains of
Principle #2: Water expands
have it delivered. all kinds: millet, buckwheat,
everything. Dried goods are
quinoa, barley, cornmeal,
Principle #1: Cook from much better than tins, more
polenta. And, flour, about
scratch. Healthier, tastier, compact for storage, cheaper,
which more below. In addition
more economical. Great and healthier (less fat and
to all the ways you already
activity to share with salt). This is the time for rice
cook these grains, you can
homebound family. Chance (brown, jasmine, basmati,
also sprout them for highly
to up your game, experiment, black, and more), beans (split
nutritious fresh greens.
and share the experience and peas, brown lentils, black

GAZETA SPRING 2020 n 17


Beans are an adventure: Principle #5: For the pantry, for a simple classic spaghetti
order the freshest and most nuts of all kinds, nut butters, dish, with bread crumbs and
interesting from Rancho seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, grated Romano), tinned tuna,
Gordo https://www.rancho flax), raisins, prunes, figs, and sardines, and salmon. Wasa
gordo.com/. Speaking of crystalized ginger for those whole-grain crackers.
water, add powdered milk to yearning for something sweet.
Principle #6: For the
the list, a good solution in a You will have what you need,
refrigerator: tofu. Infinite
pinch. And how could I have with rolled oats, to make
ways to prepare soft, firm,
forgotten dried mushrooms! gorgeous granola. Let me
extra firm. This recipe cannot
know and I will post a great
Principle #3: Always wanted be beat, https://tinyurl.com/
recipe. And olive oil, vegetable
to bake? Now is the time. You qthnm72. I already have
oil with a high smoke point for
are home working, caring for pickles and sauerkraut that I
frying (sunflower, safflower,
family, so why not bake? Time made in the fall. You can still
peanut), unpasteurized apple
for sourdough. You don’t need make your own sauerkraut
cider vinegar, honey, maple
yeast, just flour and water. with nothing more than
syrup, all-fruit conserves (no
An alchemical adventure, cabbage and salt (Diamond
added sugar), and, if you cook
and I bet kids would love it. kosher salt, no additives).
Chinese dishes, soy sauce and
Delicious fresh bread on hand Hard cheese in a block, not
sesame oil. Tinned tomatoes:
all the time. Out of butter? sliced, and if you are so
I always have lots of them
There is always olive oil. inclined, miso, butter, eggs,
on hand—crushed, chopped,
herring, smoked fish.
and whole. And, nutritional
Principle #4: Vegetables
yeast, a good substitute for Principle #7: Cook for a few
and fruit that keep, which are
cheese. And, TVP (textured days at a time (soup, beans,
the ones in season, so roots
vegetable protein), a terrible grains, stews, bread). Freeze
(potatoes, turnips, beets,
name for a byproduct of soy some for a day when there is
carrots, rutabaga, daikon,
oil extraction. Bob’s Red no time to cook.
onions, parsnip, parsley
Mill is a good source. TVP is
root, sweet potatoes, garlic, Principle #8: Sign up for your
versatile and nutritious, great
among others), cabbage, favorite food blog. One of
substitute for ground beef
kohlrabi, kale, winter squash mine is Woks of Life, https://
in a red bean or kidney bean
of all kinds, ginger root. And, thewoksoflife.com/. If you love
chili. My favorite black bean
apples, Bosc pears, lemons, Chinese food, this is the go-
chili: http://bit.ly/2IOY765.
oranges, grapefruit, avocado. It’s flexible, so don’t worry if to place. You can order pretty
You can stock up for weeks at you don’t have all the different much everything you need
a time. Consider signing up chilies. No chipotle? Substitute online and much of what you
with Misfit for home delivery smoked paprika. You can order need is not perishable—dried
of imperfect organic produce all the chilies and paprika mushrooms, bean threads,
at reduced price: http://bit. online. And, if you are so rice noodles, dried tofu sticks,
ly/2vo5qPb. inclined: anchovies (perfect cloud ears, tiger lily buds,
jujubes, kombu, and much

18 n GAZETA VOLUME 27, NO. 1


more. Don’t feel like cooking?
Social distancing at home and
avoiding restaurants? Order
food from your local Chinese
restaurants. They are hurting
and need our business.

Mushroom Barley Soup


2 cups of barley, rinsed
Long white part of one leek,
thinly sliced
Celia Ores and her grandson Marc Schorin prepare potato-and-onion pierogi.
2 medium carrots, diced Photograph by Michelle Ores. Used with permission.

3 stalks of celery, diced recipes for potato and onion


Celia Ores on Pierogi
Start with 2 quarts of water and and Horseradish pierogi and horseradish.
add more as soup thickens.
Celia Ores, age 92, is a Potato & Onion Pierogi
After 45 minutes, add sliced
Holocaust survivor from Prepare the potato onion mix
fresh mushrooms. I used
Dubienka, Poland, and first as it has to cool off.
shiitake, but any will do. I also
now resides on the Upper Potato Onion Mix:
used Polish dried mushrooms
West Side of Manhattan.
(porcini / boletus), which are Sauté 1 large onion separately
She spent the war years in
nothing short of divine. until brown. Add some salt.
Siberia in a labor camp,
Salt and pepper. Cook 6 peeled russet (large
then in Kazakhstan; after
white) potatoes until soft.
Simmer till thick and barley the war, a DP camp outside
is soft. of Frankfurt, Germany, and Mash the potatoes and mix
completed medical school with the sautéed onions.
In normal times, I would have
at the University of Berne, Let cool.
added a small piece of celery
root, a small parsley root, and Switzerland. She published To Make the Dough:
I would have served it with her memoir, Reading Pushkin For the dough, combine
chopped fresh dill (or parsley). in Siberia, and Other Tales of 8 cups flour, 2 eggs, and
Survival, in 2015. 2 cups of water.
Perfectly vegan, whole grain
(organic barley), no fat. In addition to being a full- Mix until you have the
https://www.jewishfoodsociety. time pediatrician and full-time right consistency. Let sit
org/posts/2018/1/15/bkg-soup, mother, Celia also found time for 20 minutes.
“A Soup From Poland Travels to be a full-time chef, bringing Cut the dough into 4 pieces.
Thousands of Miles— her family recipes from Poland Roll out the dough a piece at a
Only to Return Home” with love, care, and a lax time (cover the other pieces).
Shared by Barbara understanding of “I can’t have Make 3-inch circles. Put in a
Kirshenblatt-Gimblett another bite!” Here are her dollop of potato onion mix.

GAZETA SPRING 2020 n 19


Fold over and pinch and crimp
the edges. Make sure they are
sealed well.
Boil the pierogi in water for
a few minutes. Let pierogi
cool. Then cook the pierogi
in vegetable oil until browned
on each side. Serve with
sour cream.

Horseradish:
Kasia Leonardi teaches a cooking workshop.
One horseradish root (finely
Photograph by Sebastian Rudol. Courtesy of JCC Kraków.
grated by hand or in a food
processor) JCC Krakόw’s annual summer and I like to write out the
Cook 1 beet until soft and Erev Shabbat dinner, which recipes by hand and illustrate
and then finely grate it. is held on the last Friday them. My students appreciate
evening of Krakόw’s Jewish the personal touch and a few
2 tablespoons apple cider
Culture Festival, following even collect them! Cymes,
vinegar
the day’s revelatory Ride for a classic Ashkenazi Jewish
1 tablespoon sugar the Living bicycle trek from food from old Galicia, is a
the gates of Auschwitz to diced-carrot stew that includes
Add the sugar and vinegar to
Kazimierz, where the JCC dried fruits, is flavored with
the grated horseradish root.
is located. Each year this honey and cinnamon, and has
Mix well. Then add the grated
Shabbat dinner hosts up a beautiful orange-gold color,
beet. Add a little kosher salt.
to 700 guests from around
Let it sit for a day or two always sweet and aromatic.
the world in a beautiful,
before using. The flavors need Cymes is from the Yiddish,
spacious hall, walking
to blend together. and when it became part of
distance from the JCC. After
the Polish language, it became
bicycling the 55km Ride for
From Kasia Leonardi’s a word for something good,
the Living, Kasia welcomes
Kitchen special, a delicacy, a miracle,
all to the dining hall, in her
a treasure. In this difficult
Kasia Leonardi is director characteristically warm
and relaxed manner, as if time of COVID-19, we need
of catering and events at the
supervising a 700-person something optimistic, a
JCC Krakόw. Many of us
glatt-kosher buffet is everyday miracle, a tasty golden dish
are familiar with her Erev
fare. Thank you, Kasia! that will remind us of a better
Shabbat dinners served in
tomorrow! I hope everyone
the JCC with the help of
Cymes—A Vegetarian enjoyed a peaceful and healthy
the JCC volunteers, known
Tzimmes Passover and a lot of optimism
as the Meshugoyim. Others
of us have marveled at her I often give cooking for a better tomorrow!
impressive supervision of the workshops at JCC Krakόw

20 n GAZETA VOLUME 27, NO. 1


Ingredients:
1 large onion, cut into small
pieces
1 apple, cut into half-inch
pieces
4 carrots, peeled and cut into
1-inch rounds
4 sweet potatoes, peeled and
cut into half-inch pieces
1 cup dried prunes
1 cup dried apricots
½ cup raisins
3 large spoons honey
Orange and lemon zest
2 cups orange juice
1 cup lemon juice
1 cup water
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon salt
Kasia Leonardi’s hand-written and illustrated recipe for vegetarian tzimmes.
1 teaspoon pepper Courtesy of Kasia Leonardi.

Extra-virgin olive oil


the kitchen and mixing the Kale
Instructions flavors from childhood with Polish apples
Fry onions in olive oil in a new ones. I like preparing
Dried cranberries
large heavy pot. traditional Polish dishes
Apple cider vinegar
Add the rest of the ingredients like makowiec (poppyseed
cake), sernik (cheesecake) Canola oil
and stir gently.
and barszcz (borsch), but in a You can also add some
Reduce heat to a gentle but
lighter way. walnuts if you like.
constant simmer. Cover.
Kale Salad Toss ingredients together.
Cook on low heat for
It’s perfect!
45 minutes. I like all food that is fresh
Serve warm as a side dish to and easy to make, like this Coconut Macaroons
a festive holiday meal. kale salad. A Passover-perfect dessert and
I like doing experiments in All you need is: delicious year-round

GAZETA SPRING 2020 n 21


Ingredients: I like to bake. With baking, So it would have been bleach
4 egg whites there are instructions, and poured on the bread, and I’m
things tend to turn out pretty sure that’s not what is
3 cups of sweetened coconut predictably (unlike the rest meant by bleached white flour.
shreds of my life). Besides, we had flour to use up
½ cup of granulated sugar before Pesach. So I decided to
To be clear, I like baking
try making a challah.
Method: pretty much everything but
Preheat the oven to 350 F. bread. Bread has always This time, however, I had a
eluded me. It’s the yeast secret weapon in my oven
In a bowl, whisk the egg thing—I could never get the mitt. My son and I are
whites until frothy. hang of it. Rise too little? ardent fans of The Great
Add sugar and mix. Too much? Is the yeast still British Baking Show, and
Add the coconut shreds and active? The couple of times my husband and I had given
mix everything with a spoon. I tried to bake challah—out him Paul Hollywood’s How
of some sense that it was To Bake last Hanukah, out of
With a rounded spoon drop
something I “ought” to do, it a completely selfless desire
dough onto the cookie sheet.
felt like a Herculean effort for on our part to further his
Bake for 15-20 minutes or something that was dry and baking skills. I looked to see
until brown on the top. yeasty-tasting. if, by any chance, there was
After they are baked, you a recipe for challah, which
Enter coronavirus. It was
can dip the macaroons in there was. It was called
the first week of Zoom
chocolate. “Cholla Loaf,” which was a
broadcasting my shul’s Friday
Melt the chocolate in a bit concerning, but I decided
night service from my living
double boiler over simmering to give it a try. I followed the
room, and I didn’t have a
water. Dip the bottom of the guidelines, allowing the dough
challah. We sometimes don’t
macaroons in the chocolate. to be a lot stickier than feels
have challah at home, reciting
Place the macaroons in comfortable, and kneading
the b’rachah instead over a
the refrigerator for about through stretching the dough
local baguette or olive bread
10 minutes. repeatedly between my hands.
that God has made spring
As I worked, something
Smacznego! (Bon appétit!) forth from the earth. But this
magical happened. The dough
week, we didn’t have even
became silky and supple, the
Essential Kneads that, as I was tentative about
rhythm a happily tactile stretch
From the Kitchen of the succulent crusts peeking
and pull. I put it in an oiled
Sharon Bernstein forth from the crisp white
bowl to rise, and, remarkably,
paper bags. I wondered, how
Sharon Bernstein, Cantor at it rose as it should, punched
many skulking molecules
Congregation Sha’ar Zahav, down as it should, and then,
might be lying in wait? And I
San Francisco, shares her though I let it rise again too
wasn’t sure about the nutritive
love of baking, mixed with her much, until the braids were
qualities of disinfecting wipes.
whimsical humor, and voila! hardly visible, it tasted as
That’s if I even had wipes!
the joy of challah. it should.

22 n GAZETA VOLUME 27, NO. 1


Now I’m eager to bake challah
every week. If I could only
find flour in the wake of the
pandemic!
Recipe, Annotated,
Abbreviated, and Slightly
Modified:
List of ingredients, modified
for my own dietary
predilections, and to have
more fat and salt, per Joan
Nathan’s recipes:
500g flour, plus extra for
Challah with sesame seeds.
dusting Courtesy of the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco.

10.5g salt
25g sugar fine. Main thing is not to put Lightly flour the work surface
the salt directly on top of the (I use a silicone mat), then tip
10g instant yeast yeast, which can kill it. Add the dough onto it and begin to
45g fat—olive oil or the fat, 2 beaten eggs, the milk knead. Hold the dough in place
margarine—the original recipe or milk substitute, then half the with one hand and stretch it
calls for butter. water. Turn the mixture with away from you with the other,
2 eggs plus 1 for glazing the your fingers. It will be super then fold over, turn 1/8 circle,
bread. The original recipe sticky. Go with it. Continue and repeat. Keep kneading for
calls for medium eggs, but I to add water, a little at a time, 5-10 minutes, at least. Work
only buy large eggs, so just until you’ve picked up all the through the initial wet stage
keep an eye on the liquids. flour from the sides of the until the dough starts to form a
bowl. You may not need to soft, smooth skin. Add a little
50 ml warm milk or milk
add all the water, or you may flour if you really, really need
substitute. I use almond milk;
need to add a little more—you to, but don’t overdo it.
something richer is possibly
want dough that is soft but not
better, but I like the neutral- When your dough feels
soggy. This is the hard part,
ish flavor of almond milk. smooth and silky, put it into
getting the dough to an “ideal”
180 ml cool water a lightly oiled large bowl.
wetness. It needs to be a lot
Cover with a tea towel or any
Put flour, salt, sugar, and yeast wetter than you think it should
cloth available and leave to
in a large mixing bowl. The be. Basically, go for as wet
rise until at least doubled in
original says to put the salt and as is still semi-manageable.
size, at least 1 hour, but it’s
sugar on one side of the bowl, Use the mixture to clean the
fine to leave it for 2 or even 3
and the yeast on the other, but inside of the bowl and keep
hours. I put it in my oven on
the first time I neglected to going until the mixture forms a
the “proof” setting for 1 hour.
do that and it turned out just rough dough.

GAZETA SPRING 2020 n 23


Line a baking tray with baking baking try. Beat the remaining Meanwhile, heat your oven
parchment or silicone paper. egg and brush over the top to 200 C.
of the loaf. I do this slowly,
Tip the dough onto a lightly Per Joan Nathan’s challah
brushing along the lines of the
floured surface. Fold it instructions, for a glossy crust,
braid, and trying to make sure
inwards repeatedly until all brush again with egg before
the egg doesn’t pool anywhere.
the air is knocked out and the putting in the oven. Bake the
dough is smooth. You can start Put the tray inside a clean loaf for 20-25 minute or until
with punching the dough in, plastic bag, making sure the bag it sounds hollow when tapped
which is deeply satisfying. doesn’t touch the dough. I have on the base. The loaf will
Divide it into 3 equal pieces. no idea how this works, having color quickly due to the sugar
Many challot use a 4, 5, 6, or neither a big enough plastic bag and egg, so keep an eye on it.
even more braid; instructions nor a way of keeping it from Leave to cool on a wire rack.
abound online. Roll each piece touching the dough, so I put a
Once the challah is out of
out to a sausage (a kosher one, baking rack over the loaf and a
the oven, you will have to
of course), about 22 cm long. cloth over that.
resist—for the sake of familial
The dough should be stretchy
Leave to proof for about 1 relationships and waistline—
enough as to be slightly
hour, or until the dough is sneaking off with it and eating
comically resistant, trying to
at least doubled in size and it by yourself in entirety. This
shrink back on itself. Join the 3
springs back quickly if you is not easy. The aroma will
pieces together at one end, and
prod it lightly with your invade and inflame all your
braid. The book gives detailed
finger. (I accidentally left it to senses, and any carefully
instructions, but I’ll save the
proof 1.5 hours the first time, cultivated self-discipline will
space here. Tuck the ends
and it poofed up so much the want to fly out the window.
underneath to neaten. Lift
braids were barely visible.) Bake at your own peril. n
the dough onto the prepared

HISTORIANS COOKING THE PAST


In the spirit of these creative historians featured below, we offer all of the recipes and tidbits for
your enticement and enjoyment, so you may look back on this historical time as one that we came
through with well-being, nourishment, and connection to our traditions and history.
Dawson history teachers Stacey Zembrzycki and Cassandra Marsillo and their colleagues Margo
Shea, Salem State University, and Kate Preissler, public historian for the City of Holyoke, launched
a blog last week called Historians Cooking the Past.
“Facing the daily challenges that come with living through this pandemic has led us to rethink how
we engage with the past,” Stacey writes. “In this vein, we have asked storytellers throughout the
world to share food memories and a recipe that speaks to these COVID-19 times.
“If we can’t gather and share space, we might as well ground ourselves in well-told stories that
provide perspective as well as comfort in good food. We view this temporary project as an old-school,
wire-bound community cookbook that’s now gone digital, and invite you to follow along.” n

24 n GAZETA VOLUME 27, NO. 1


Things To Do While Sheltering-at-Home:
Online Cultural Resources

B elow, we invite you to


explore online resources
suggested by Gazeta’s
assistant editors Aleksandra
Sajdak and Adam Schorin,
Gazeta friends on Facebook,
and the Congress for Jewish
Culture website.

Aleksandra’s
Recommendations
Warsaw’s Museum of
Modern Art
https://artmuseum.pl/en/
wydarzenia/kontemplacja-w- A still from Krzysztof Kieślowski’s Amator (Camera Buff ), available with English
subtitles on Studio Filmowe TOR’s YouTube channel.
czasach-pandemii
Take a Tour of Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw
Classic Polish Movies
Warsaw (ŻIH). https://cbj.jhi.pl
(with English subtitles)
http://warsze.polin.pl/en/
https://www.youtube.com/ Adam’s Recommendations
user/StudioFilmoweTOR CBJ (CJL) Ninateka.pl has films, theatre,
A large collection of classic Centralna Biblioteka and concerts online for free.
Polish movies on YouTube. For Judaistyczna (Central Jewish I think their collection of
example, in 2013, the renowned Library) is one of the major theatre might be most exciting:
Polish film studio TOR—which world repositories of digitized https://ninateka.pl/filmy/teatr.
produced more than a hundred Judaica, available for free via Many of them are available
feature films between the years the Internet. The CJL presents with English subs, but you
books, works of art, old prints, might have to click on them to
1967 and 2019—decided to
manuscripts, archival check. We’d recommend
share some of its pictures on the
materials, ephemera, and Tadeusz Kantor’s Dead Class
website. The uploaded films can
newspapers housed by the (https://ninateka.pl/film/
be streamed free of charge and
Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish umarla-klasa-tadeusz-kantor—
have English subtitles.

GAZETA SPRING 2020 n 25


A scene in Krzysztof Warlikowski’s (A)pollonia. A recording of the play is available, for free and with English subtitles,
at ninateka.pl.
Photograph by Magda Hueckel. Press materials.

only available if you’re in Nowy Teatr has shared some War, there’s something here
Poland), Krzysztof work online, usually adding for everyone. If you’re
Warlikowski’s (A)Pollonia shows to the website on Sunday looking for films specifically
(https://ninateka.pl/film/ and making them available for about Polish Jewry, we
apollonia-krzysztof- thirty-six hours. They also have recommend starting with
warlikowski), and Anna shows for children in Polish: Austeria, The Hourglass
Smolar’s Jewish Actors https://nowyteatr.org/en. Sanitorium, and Ida. For a fee
(https://ninateka.pl/film/ of $30, you get access to the
Eastern European movies—
aktorzy-zydowscy-anna- entire site for one month, and
Poland. Unlike the other
smolar—only in Polish). in that time you can download
options on this list, this one is
as many films as you like. You
Teatr Powszechny has made not free. But it is such an
can also browse and download
several of their plays available impressive collection of Polish
a vast collection of films from
online: https://www. films with English subtitles
Russia, Bulgaria, Czechia, and
powszechny.com/aktualnosci/ that we felt we had to include
the rest of Eastern Europe.
powszechny-online-teatr- it. From classics like Ashes
Check it out here: https://
minimum.html. They’re and Diamonds, The Saragossa
easterneuropeanmovies.com/
available to watch on specific Manuscript, and Blind
country/poland. n
days, and they’re regularly Chance, to contemporary
adding more. gems like The Lure and Cold

26 n GAZETA VOLUME 27, NO. 1


EXHIBITIONS AND MUSEUMS
In Real Times. Arthur Szyk: Art & Francesco Spagnolo
Human Rights at the Magnes Collection
of Jewish Art and Life (UC Berkeley)

A fter three years devoted


to cataloging and
researching the Taube Family
Arthur Szyk Collection, the
University of California,
Berkeley, Magnes Collection
of Jewish Art and Life
presented a new exhibition,
In Real Times. Arthur
Szyk: Art & Human Rights,
showcasing over fifty
original works of art and two
interactive workstations. The
exhibition opened with a
private event on February 19,
featuring talks by Tad Taube,
Magnes Museum’s Interim
Director Prof. Benjamin
Brinner, Curator Dr. Francesco
Spagnolo, and a dynamic
The miniature painter, Arthur Szyk, New York, 1942.
presentation by Prof. Barbara Photograph by Roman Vishniac (1897-1990). Courtesy of The Magnes Collection.

Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, the
installation, An Archive of Born into a middle-class
Ronald S. Lauder Chief
Archives: Roman Vishniac’s Polish Jewish family, Arthur
Curator of the Core Exhibition
Exhibition History, featuring Szyk (Łódź, Russian Empire,
at POLIN Museum of the
the recent gift of the Roman 1894 – New Canaan,
History of Polish Jews,
Vishniac Archive to The Connecticut, 1951) lived a life
in Warsaw, followed by
Magnes. With the Szyk and framed by two world wars, the
exhibition tours guided by
Vishniac collections, The collapse of European
UC Berkeley students.
Magnes has now received two democracies, and the rise of
On Monday, April 13, the of the four largest gifts of art totalitarianism. A refugee, he
exhibition on Arthur Szyk in the history of the University ultimately settled in the
was presented alongside a new of California, Berkeley. United States in 1940.

GAZETA SPRING 2020 n 27


resistance, exalted the
establishment of the United
Nations, and ridiculed
dictators of all stripes. His
unwavering denunciations of
fascist crimes in Europe, the
suppression of national rights
worldwide, and the endless
violations of civil rights in
America, are rooted in the
experience of marginalization
that characterized Jewish life
in Eastern Europe in modern
times. These concerns still
resound strongly today.

The exhibition is organized


Untitled [Portrait of Julia Szyk] (1926) by Arthur Szyk. Watercolor, gouache, and
graphite on paper. into six sections focused
Taube Family Arthur Szyk Collection, The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, UC Berkeley. on various aspects of
human rights:
Throughout his work as a literary quotations, witty
Human Rights and their
miniature artist and political visual allegories, as well as
n

Collapse is an introduction
caricaturist, he used motifs modernist depictions of
to Szyk’s world with a
drawn from religion, history, technology recur in his works.
timeline showing his life
politics, and culture, pairing These themes are often paired
in the context of the
extraordinary craftsmanship with enticing decorative
progressive failure of
with searing commentary on a themes that have made his
European democracies and
diverse range of subjects body of work both popular
the human rights and
including Judaism, the and successful during, and
national rights movements,
American Revolution, World well after, the span of the
beginning with the
War II, the Holocaust, and the artist’s life.
American Revolution. Here,
founding of the State of Israel.
Broad concerns for human a selection of Syzk’s works
Szyk’s modular aesthetics are rights are woven into Szyk’s begins to show his lifelong
deeply connected with the entire oeuvre. In paintings and focus on freedom and the
political scope of his art. political cartoons, the artist dangers of tyranny and
Medieval and Renaissance exposed the Nazi genocide, totalitarianism, culminating
techniques, multilingual supported the Polish in the artist’s depictions of

28 n GAZETA VOLUME 27, NO. 1


the Holocaust as it was
taking place in Europe.

n The Rights of Global


Refugees shows Szyk’s
deep concern for refugees
like himself, and their lack
of the legal protections of
citizenship. This section
features depictions of
refugees in many contexts,
from cartoons of innocent
children declared enemies
of the Third Reich to
biblical narratives and a
self-portrait included in
Szyk’s ode to Canada.

n The Right to Resist


highlights the role of
resistance in preserving
human rights, with Szyk’s
paintings of the Warsaw Israel [Heritage of the Nations series] (1948) by Arthur Szyk.
Ghetto uprising and his Taube Family Arthur Szyk Collection, The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, UC Berkeley.

internationally acclaimed
illustration of “The Statute citizenship, featuring which depicted the crimes
of Kalisz.” The statute, designs he created for of Axis leaders and Nazis
which granted Jews legal countries and organizations. during the Holocaust. This
rights and liberties in These detailed illustrations portion of the exhibition
Poland in medieval times, became letterheads and also explores an interesting
was displayed in London in stamps and often found parallel to Charlie Chaplin’s
1933 to denounce anti- their way into his political characters in his 1940
Semitism in Nazi Germany. cartoons. movie, The Great Dictator.

n The Rights of Nationhood n The Right to Expose: n The Right to America


further explores Szyk’s Executioners at Work highlights Szyk’s
belief that human rights are displays many of Szyk’s appreciation of his new
inextricably tied to most powerful pieces, home country and the

GAZETA SPRING 2020 n 29


multi-ethnic fabric of the Working with the https://www.taubephilan
U.S. Army, positioning it in curatorial staff of The thropies.org/sites/default/files/
direct contrast to Nazi vid/200310-magnes.mp4.
Aryan supremacy. The work Magnes, UC Berkeley
More on the exhibition and
in this section reflects undergraduate students
Arthur Szyk can be found at
Szyk’s objection to racial
digitized the entire Taube http://bit.ly/inrealtimes. n
discrimination and the
organizations that Family Arthur Szyk
Francesco Spagnolo, PhD,
perpetuate it, such as the collection of more than is Curator at The Magnes
Ku Klux Klan. Collection of Jewish Art
450 works of art.
Working with the curatorial and Life, and Adjunct
staff of The Magnes, UC of Szyk’s art for a broad Professor, Department of
Berkeley undergraduate audience “in real time.” Music, University of
students digitized the entire California, Berkeley.
Addressing a crowded
Taube Family Arthur Szyk
audience at the opening,
Collection of more than
Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett
450 works of art. The results
highlighted how the exhibition
of this work animate two
encourages three pillars of
workstations. While one of the
“21st century literacy,”
digital installations features
namely: digital competence,
the entire collection in a
critical thinking, and
high-resolution slideshow that
emotional intelligence. Her
visitors can stop and inspect in
words echoed those of Prof.
vivid details, the other
Deborah Liptstadt, who visited
encourages visitors to examine
the exhibition days before the
the characters and motifs
opening, and who described
digitally cropped from the
Arthur Szyk’s political art as
original artworks, and then
the “Instagram of its day.”
recombine them to make their
own political cartoons. This Keynote address: Professor
work is projected on large Barbara Kirshenblatt-
wall surfaces within the Gimblett, NYU and POLIN
gallery itself, and can be Museum, introduced by
instantly published online, Dr. Francesco Spagnolo,
giving the contemporary Curator, Magnes Collection
exploration and reinterpretation of Jewish Art and Culture:

30 n GAZETA VOLUME 27, NO. 1


Cities of Peace Illuminated at the Galicia Jewish Museum
Eleven paintings, eleven cities, and thousands of little pieces of gold-leaf

C ities of Peace Illuminated is an


exhibition which presents a suite
of monumental gold-leaf paintings
that honor the history and culture of
world cities that have experienced
major conflict and trauma, including
Baghdad, Beijing, Hiroshima, Kabul,
New York, Sarajevo, and more.
Transforming anguish into beauty, the
work emphasizes understanding as a
prerequisite to peace, and celebrates
the best of the human spirit.

As part of the Cities of Peace Ellen Frank.


international project created by Dr. Ellen Photograph by Piotr Banasik. Used with permission.

Frank, the exhibition took place in


Poland at the Galicia Jewish Museum
from January 28 through March 31,
2020. Its opening featured the
ceremonial unveiling of the eleventh
painting of the collection, which was
created in Krakόw, as part of the
Auschwitz Liberation Initiative. The
monumental work commemorates the
75th anniversary of the liberation of
the concentration and death camp at
Auschwitz-Birkenau. The work is thanks
to the initiative of Dr. Frank and the
involvement of Polish and foreign
artists, as well as cooperation with the
Galicia Jewish Museum, JCC Krakόw,
Sparking Light, Ellen Frank, created for the 75th Anniversary of the
and the Museum of Contemporary Art Liberation of Auschwitz.
in Krakow (MOCAK). n 23k “H,” red, champagne gold, palladium leaf, aquarelle on Belgian linen,
175 x 225 cm. Courtesy of Galicia Jewish Museum. Used with permission..

GAZETA SPRING 2020 n 31


#GaliciaOnline: Exhibitions and Jakub Nowakowski
Programs at the Galicia Jewish Museum

From Home to Home. the war. A series of her pastel The Galicia Jewish Museum
A Tale of the Wartime drawings and her memoirs, has, for many years, been
Exile and Survival of the handwritten in Polish, gave cooperating with Witnesses to
Pisek Family rise to this exhibition. History: Holocaust Survivors,
Online exhibition tour with former camp prisoners,
We would like to invite you to
Curator Paulina Banasik and the Righteous Among
an online exhibition tour with

T
the Nations. Thanks to this
oday, if we decided to its curator, Paulina Banasik.
The tour will be in English. cooperation, visitors to the
go on a 12,000-plus
museum have had the chance
kilometer journey, we would
A special invitation comes to meet Witnesses, listen to
either take a 15-hour flight
from Irena Pisek’s grandson, their stories and, we truly
or drive a car for 153 hours. Mr. Amichai Pardo, believe, learn something new
If we chose to cover this https://www.facebook.com/ that may shape their own
distance by foot, it would take watch/?v=657476468361605, future in some small way.
2,300 hours, an approximately and Tomasz Strug, deputy These meetings have great
100-day march, non-stop. director and chief curator of educational value, allowing
Such a journey was made by the Galicia Jewish Museum: us to focus on the history
the Pisek family and took over https://www.facebook.com/
of individuals. As a result,
three years, from August 1939 watch/?v=160366895158985.
we can better understand
to December 1942. They left
Click here to view the first the tragic events of the past
home and they arrived home.
episode of the online tour: and how they influenced
They were only supposed
https://www.youtube.com/ the experiences of these
to leave for a short time and
watch?v=ukAmERQW8TY&- individuals. We do not want
travel not too far away, but the
feature=youtu.be this important voice to be
turmoil of war drove them into
silent, especially in such a
the unknown, across Europe, Subsequent episodes will be
difficult time for all of us.
Asia, and the Middle East. published on the Facebook
page and YouTube channel of For now we cannot meet at
It was not an easy journey.
the Galicia Jewish Museum. the museum in person, but
And it wasn’t easy to talk
we can continue learning
about. Irena Pisek did so — in #StayHome and join us for the
online tour! from the witnesses by reading
pictures and in words — only
their biographies, including
a few decades after the end of

32 n GAZETA VOLUME 27, NO. 1


those published by the Galicia would usually be unable to see “What Were You
Jewish Museum, and by if we visited the camp and saw Thinking?” – An
participating in live events— it with the naked eye. Exhibition of Children’s
including a recent lecture and Works at the Galicia
Follow our Facebook page.
Q&A with Professor Anita Jewish Museum
Panek, a Holocaust survivor, Guide: Bartosz Wencel, in
Let the small works of art,
which will be broadcast Polish.
which were created by your
and archived on the Galicia
children, be mounted among
Jewish Museum Facebook
Virtual Tour of Kazimierz, the works of a true master of
page: www.facebook.com/
the Jewish District of imagination, Polish illustrator
zydowskiemuzeumgalicja.
Kraków Jan Marcin Szancer, to
Click here to download During the virtual tour we whom a new exhibition at the
biographies of Witnesses to will tell you more about Galicia Jewish Museum will
History (free of charge): Kazimierz, a place that could be devoted. We would like to
http://www.galiciajewish be spoken about for eternity invite you to participate in an
museum.org/en/witnesses-to- and yet still hold secrets to exhibition of children’s works.
polish-jewish-history. discover. What can be seen The expression “What
from a bird’s-eye view? What Were You Thinking?” does
Virtual Tour of the Area are the traces of the most not need to have negative
of the Former Płaszów distant history, and where connotations—it is simply
Concentration Camp can you see them, if you look a question about what is
Between the streets of closely at a satellite map and going on inside someone’s
Wielicka and Kamieńskiego digital models? How did head. What are your children
in Krakόw there is an area Kazimierz change and how imagining, and how far do
which, during the World War it is changing now? How is their dreams reach? Their
II, was a tragic and horrible Kazimierz displayed in the small works of art will create
space. Today not much is left photographs of the creators of a gallery which we will mount
of the former concentration Traces of Memory, the Galicia together with the artworks of
camp and the atrocities that Jewish Museum permanent Jan Marcin Szancer.
took place there. We invite exhibition?
We do not impose any special
you to this virtual tour of the Follow our Facebook page. technique. The method of
site, during which we will
Guide: Bartosz Wencel, in creating the work depends
present the topography and
Polish. on you. But we do encourage
history of the Płaszów camp
you to get inspiration from
by showing things that we

GAZETA SPRING 2020 n 33


the works of Szancer. The of the Holocaust. More than by some politicians, but
submitted works will be a quarter believed Jews also some of the media,
framed and displayed at the have too much influence in which present a fragmentary
exhibition of children’s works. business and finance. One in approach to Polish Jewish
Let your children take their five believed anti-Semitism history and support a
first steps on an artistic path! is a response to the everyday nationalist agenda.
actions of Jews. This lack
In the upcoming weeks we The intensification of such
will show you a few ideas that of knowledge is especially
attitudes and growing anti-
might inspire you about how visible among the young.
Semitism are related to a deep
to create small works of art One in five people in France
crisis of democratic values
from seemingly trivial objects. between the ages of 18 and
that we have been dealing with
“What Were You Thinking?” 34 said they had never heard
in recent years. Throughout
accompanies the exhibition about the Holocaust. This was
Europe, particularly in
Szancer, Imagine!, a narrative also true for 12 percent of
Central and Eastern Europe,
on the life and works of the young Austrians. In Poland,
we have observed a retreat
prominent Polish illustrator. His 32 percent of young people
from fundamental democratic
books shaped the imagination claimed to know nothing,
values and a growing
of many generations of or just a little, about the
popularity of nationalist,
Poles, and that is why it is Holocaust. At the same time,
populist, and Euroskeptic
worth remembering them and over 30 percent of Europeans
political parties. New
discovering them again. believed that the Jewish
media and various forms of
people use the Holocaust
More information: https:// propaganda, including fake
to advance their position or
www.facebook.com/ news, are becoming more and
to achieve certain goals. In
events/1073786286327578/ more influential in shaping
Poland this was true for 50
public opinion. Anti-Semitism,
percent of the respondents.
The Second Edition of the racism, and xenophobia
Project “(In)separable. What these polls therefore have become weapons in the
Difficult Subjects in reveal is not only lack of basic struggle for power.
Polish-Jewish Relations” knowledge, but also a large
To discuss and address these
number of misconceptions and
Recent surveys conducted in issues, the Galicia Jewish
anti-Semitic stereotypes that
Europe and North America Museum presents the second
shape the way Jews and the
revealed an alarming edition of “(In)separable.
Holocaust are perceived.
trend. According to a 2018 Difficult Subjects in Polish-
CNN poll, one in twenty In Poland, these stereotypes Jewish Relations.” Through
Europeans had never heard are amplified and echoed a series of panel discussions

34 n GAZETA VOLUME 27, NO. 1


and educational materials, the n Polish-Jewish rivalry in http://www.galiciajewish
museum challenges some of suffering, commemoration, museum.org/en/series-of-
the most persistent fake news and mourning discussions-in-separable-
and misconceptions that have difficult-subjects-in-polish-
n responsibility over Jewish
been repeated in the mass jewish-relations.
heritage in Poland
media during the recent crises
in Polish-Jewish relations, n the identity of Polish Jews They are also on YouTube
while educating the public n philosemitism in Poland (in Polish), https://
on Polish-Jewish history www.youtube.com/user/
images of Jews and other
galiciajewishmuseum.
n
by providing true and fair
minorities in the media
knowledge.
This project is carried out Jakub Nowakowski is
Over 850 people participated Director of the Galicia
in cooperation with the
in the discussions of the first Jewish Museum in Kraków.
Evens Foundation, the
edition of the series, as well
Koret Foundation, and our
as more than 5,000 viewers
partnering institution, the
of the discussion broadcasts,
Institute of Jewish Studies
suggesting that there is great
of Jagiellonian University
public demand for such
information. in Kraków. Media patrons
include: Polityka, Gazeta
The second edition of the Wyborcza, Chidusz, New
project will deepen some of Eastern Europe, Radio
the issues addressed in the first Kraków, and monthly
series. We will also focus on magazine Kraków.
problems that have not been
discussed before. https://www.youtube.
com/watch?v=IO-
The discussions will feature n3xx6shE&feature=youtu.be
such subjects as:
Information on the dates of the
n (post-)Jewish property in
Poland events will be provided soon.
Meanwhile, we encourage
anti-Jewish pogroms on
you to view the educational
n

Polish soil
materials from the first series
n anti-Polish attitudes in of discussions, which are
Israel available on our website:

GAZETA SPRING 2020 n 35


POLIN Museum at a Distance Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett

M useums the world over


are adapting to a new
reality. Closed during the
events online—lectures, book
launches, interviews, cooking
workshops, and more—during
Behind the scenes: Lectures
about the Core Exhibition.
For those interested in the
pandemic, they have found the period in which our doors making of POLIN Museum
their way into your home— must remain closed. and its Core Exhibition, Bar-
online. Some museums are bara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett’s
gradually opening up, but not Virtual tours: While nothing
illustrated lectures offer both
fully. Until there is a vaccine, compares with visiting our
a walkthrough of the Core
COVID-19 remains a danger. exhibitions in person, we have
Exhibition and an inside view
How then are museums curated a selection of virtual
of the principles guiding its
making themselves safe to tours of past exhibitions and
creation. https://www.youtube.
visit? What will the new created a new series, “Tour
com/watch?v=7ENRSIlfh
normal look like when this the Museum without Leaving
CQ&t=68s
epidemic has passed? Home,” in Polish.
Temporary exhibitions:
Thematic tours of the Core
Lockdown Frank Stella and
Exhibition: We developed
n

Synagogues of Historic
During the period that POLIN four thematic paths—“Jewish
Poland can be viewed
Museum was forced to Religious Life,” “Jewish
in its entirety online
close, the museum team has Women,” “Yiddish: Fourteen
thanks to the support of
been working from home. Highlights,” and “One
George S. Blumenthal
POLIN Museum began as a Hour, Eight Highlights”—in
and Patricia Kenner.
museum without walls and response to visitor interests.
has always had a lively online We intended them to be used n  lood: Uniting and Dividing
B
presence. As a result, it was in the exhibition as self- is a virtual walkthrough of
well-positioned for “home guided thematic tours and an exhibition that explores
delivery” of its rich content to provided them as printed the role of blood in Judaism
all those sheltering-at-home. handouts at the entrance to the and Christianity and in
There is much from which to Core Exhibition, and also as Polish-Jewish relations.
select. Our task is to curate downloadable PDFs. http://krew.polin.pl/en/
from our archive of online http://virtualtour.polin.pl/ 186-2/
content, while continuing
to create interesting new

36 n GAZETA VOLUME 27, NO. 1


n How to Make a Museum is n Dariusz Stola, POLIN Education: POLIN Museum’s
is a temporary exhibition Museum of the History education programs, which
documenting the entire of Polish Jews and the have garnered top awards,
process of creating the Politics of History in are especially important with
POLIN Museum, from the Today’s Poland https:// schools in Poland being closed
initial idea in 1993 to the www.youtube.com/ and families relying on online
Grand Opening in October watch?v=t6zSTO1Q2 learning. Our educators have
2014. This exhibition xo&list=PLWNftBqbZ developed resources available
was itself part of the r5AtIis2kr7rhebgydH_ on social media for teachers,
Grand Opening. https:// Ch7A&index=15&t=0s students, and families
artsandculture.google.com/ sheltering-at-home.
n Dariusz Stola, Exhibiting
exhibit/how-to-make-a-
Difficult Histories: March Explore the Collection:
museum/wR7xiggx POLIN Museum has been
‘68 https://www.youtube.
Lectures: POLIN Museum’s com/watch?v=GAxm0i building its collection, and we
Global Education Outreach XaFkE&list=PLWNftBqb encourage visitors to explore
Program (GEOP) offers Zr5BX4CtQruxt7t5Af3 the Central Judaica Database
video-recordings of lectures VRPRay&index=9&t=0s http://judaika.polin.pl/
at the museum by outstanding and Virtual Shtetl
Marian Turski, keynote
https://sztetl.org.pl/en/.
n
scholars and colleagues, address, commemoration of
whether at conferences or as the 75th Anniversary of the Conferences: A major
part of our distinguished lecture Liberation of Auschwitz international conference,
series: https://www.polin.pl/ Innovative Methods, New
en/geop-distinguished-lecture- Music: POLIN Museum is
Sources, and Paradigm Shifts
series?mc_cid= now renowned as a music
in Jewish Studies, organized
7b310066da&mc_eid= venue and concerts are
by GEOP, was scheduled
84722e0ad0. It also links to among the most popular
for October 2020. Given the
international lectures. Notices events. This October, POLIN
uncertainties, we decided to
of lectures that are being Museum will celebrate
reschedule the conference
delivered live online during the fifth anniversary of the
for October 2021. To build
the time the museum is closed Grand Opening. The open-air
interest and momentum during
are announced on POLIN musical performance created
the intervening months, we
Museum’s Facebook page, to mark the Grand Opening
are organizing a series of
most recently the “Voices is online: https://www.polin.
podcasts that will explore the
pl/en/news/2014/10/15/great-
from Warsaw” series that themes of the conference in
musical-performance-to-mark-
accompanies the new temporary relation to epidemics past and
the-grand-opening-of-the-core
exhibition Here Is Muranów. present from interdisciplinary

GAZETA SPRING 2020 n 37


perspectives. https://www. Unfortunately, the Core Post COVID-19
polin.pl/en/whats-new-whats- Exhibition will remain closed
Life will never be the same,
next-2020 for now because of narrow
nor will museums. What did
spaces, where crowding would
Radio POLIN: One of the we learn? With their doors
occur, and interactive touch
most exciting initiatives to closed, museums went online.
screens will be off limits
emerge during the lockdown, An online experience cannot
for hygienic reasons. Going
Radio POLIN offers a golden replace being in the museum,
forward, we may see a shift
opportunity to broadcast the and a “virtual tour” cannot
to motion activation and stand in for the in-person
many concerts, lectures, and
to visitors using their own or face-to-face experience,
other programs organized by
mobile devices. which is at once embodied
POLIN Museum, as well as to
develop programs specifically POLIN Museum, like other and social. While online
for radio, which is enjoying a museums, is facing an experiences do provide an
revival. For now, the content immediate shortfall in earned alternative in times like
is in Polish, but English- this, museums are reporting
income. With thirty percent of
language programming is that after an initial burst of
its annual budget coming from
planned. https://www.polin.pl/ interest in virtual exhibitions
ticket sales and space rental,
pl/radio and tours, people have
the museum is struggling
grown tired of them, turning
to cover operating support
instead to games, projects,
Reopening and above all, salaries. Our
especially downloadable
Cultural institutions in Poland talented and dedicated staff is
ones for children and
are beginning to open on a our most precious resource. families, workshops like
limited basis and will need to The museum has had to cancel POLIN Museum’s Jewish
follow strict safety protocols. some events, postpone others, food workshops, “how-to”
At POLIN Museum, which is and move many online. With videos, lectures, discussions,
scheduled to reopen in June, a warm weather on its way, and concerts, both live-
limited number of visitors will programming outdoors might streamed and archived, and
be admitted at a time. They also become an option. With access to collections and the
will be able to visit the new the downturn in travel and opportunity to curate your
temporary exhibition, Here Is tourism, connecting with the own exhibition online. These
Muranów, which explores the local community has become activities show that audiences
history of the neighborhood even more important—and are looking for something
where the museum is located. the timing of our Here Is more active, an experience
This was the pre-war Jewish Muranów opportune. that is about connection. As
neighborhood where the Ben Davis notes in “How
Germans created the ghetto. We Should Reimagine Art’s

38 n GAZETA VOLUME 27, NO. 1


Mission in the Time of ‘Social to understand who we are Emanuel Ringelblum in the
Distancing,” “passive cultural reaching online and what it Warsaw Ghetto, collected on
consumption is going to make would take to bring them into the spot, in the moment, in
us feel disempowered and the museum once we reopen. real time.
alienated just when we need to
POLIN Museum records While historians have
maintain social connection.”
and also live-streams events typically taken the position
https://news.artnet.com/
within its walls so that those that the line between history
opinion/social-distancing-
art-1810029 at a distance can experience and the present is an arbitrary
concerts, lectures, debates, and number, perhaps fifty years,
In a word, museums need to other programs in real time, as the realization that one is
rethink the relationship of well as after the fact. During living in a moment that is
the experience they offer in the pandemic, live Zoom already historical makes it
person and what they offer became the norm. There is urgent to document it as it
online—less a “virtual” potential for such platforms to unfolds. This is precisely one
version and more something function as more than a lesser of the topics that the planned
unique to the online medium replacement for in-person GEOP podcasts will address
and its various platforms, presence. Social distancing in the run-up to the postponed
as well as to old media and during the pandemic has conference: new sources, new
the merging of them––Radio inspired experimentation, methods, and new ways of
POLIN is a good example. to mention only ensemble thinking about Jewish studies,
These media are not only musical performances across especially in a museum
reaching those who would multiple locations, as well as setting. The challenge now
otherwise come to POLIN Zoom Passover seders. is for museums, and POLIN
Museum, but also potential Museum in particular, to
new visitors. According to Indeed, creative responses to
continue to respond creatively
a recent NEMO (Network the pandemic have prompted
to a new global reality. n
of European Museum Jewish museums to collect
Organizations) survey, “over “digital ephemera.” The Barbara Kirshenblatt-
82% of Europeans are online Rothschild Foundation has Gimblett, PhD, is Ronald S.
[75% in social media], yet been supporting the collection Lauder Chief Curator of
only 42% of Europeans visited of Jewish ephemera—and the Core Exhibition of the
museums at least once last now, specifically, Jewish POLIN Museum of the
year” (https://www.ne-mo. responses to COVID-19—at History of Polish Jews
org/news/article/nemo/nemo- the National Library of Israel. and Professor Emerita at
survey-on-museums-and- This effort reminded me of the New York University.
covid-19-museums-adapt- Oyneg Shabes underground
to-go-online.html). We need archive, organized by

GAZETA SPRING 2020 n 39


REPORTS

Commemorating
Thirty Years of the
Jewish Culture Festival Janusz Makuch,
Director, Jewish
Culture Festival.
Used with permission.

Dear Friends of the Jewish Culture Festival,


Above: Official poster of the 8th Jewish
Due to the pandemic we are all facing, I have decided that the Culture Festival. Below: Official poster
Jewish Culture Festival in Kraków, scheduled for June 26 – of the 13th Jewish Culture Festval. Page
43, top to bottom, left to right: Songs of
July 5, will not be held. We have been forced to postpone it until Love and Loss at the 29th Jewish Culture
a time that will be safe for all of us. We will inform you of all Festival; Neta Elkayam performing at the
28th Jewish Culture Festival; Songs of Love
decisions as soon as the situation in Poland and around the world and Loss at the 29th Jewish Culture Festival;
has stabilized enough to act responsibly. Gili Yalo performing at the 27th Jewish
Culture Festival; Cantors’ Concert at the
Despite being physically apart, we are still with you and we are 29th Jewish Culture Festival. Photographs
by Michał Ramus. Page 44, top to bottom,
asking you to be with us. Let’s support one another in these difficult left to right: Shalom on Szeroka, the final
days, show mutual respect and kindness, and meet in the only space concert of the 29th Jewish Culture Festival,
photograph by Michał Ramus; Mała Orkiestra
available—in the space of the spirit. Yes... and on the Internet! Dancingowa performing at the 29th Jewish
Culture Festival, photograph by Michał
We aren’t stopping our work, though. We will soon post Ramus; Kibbutz Contemporary Dance
information about the festival’s presence in a new, updated formula Company performing at the 26th Jewish
Culture Festival, photograph by Michał
on our Facebook fan page and on our website. Ramus; a view from Cheder café during the
29th Jewish Culture Festival, photograph by
Thanks to our donors and to your dedication, the festival will Bartosz Dittmar; Victoria Hanna performing at
the 28th Jewish Culture Festival, photograph
continue to exist and develop. Over the past thirty-two years, we’ve by Michał Ramus; Shalom on Szeroka, the
created a space of spiritual and intellectual presence that will be final concert of the 28th Jewish Culture
Festival, photograph by Bartosz Dittmar.
threatened by neither the COVID-19 virus nor by an even worse All photographs courtesy of the Jewish Culture Festival.
menace—the virus of hatred.

I hope that you emerge from the shadows stronger than ever before.
I hope that all of us meet soon, face-to-face; and I persist in my
unshakeable conviction that we are the ones who are capable of
building our good, common, Polish-Jewish world.

Respectfully and peacefully yours,


Shalom!

Janusz Makuch
Director, Jewish Culture Festival

40 n GAZETA VOLUME 27, NO. 1


GAZETA SPRING 2020 n 41
42 n GAZETA VOLUME 27, NO. 1
One Thousand Stories about Yiddish
Language and Culture: The Yiddish Book Christa P. Whitney
Center’s Wexler Oral History Project

“W e didn’t have a
sewage system
... but we had a very active
cultural life.” Reflections such
as this one from Holocaust
survivor Jack Lewin represent
the personal perspectives
documented as part of the
Yiddish Book Center’s Wexler
Oral History Project, now in
its tenth year. The growing
collection of interviews offers
a rich and complex chronicle
of Ashkenazi Jewish life Christa P. Whitney, Director of the Yiddish Book Center’s Wexler Oral History
through examination of the Project, at POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews.
legacy and changing nature of Photograph by Agnieszka Ilwicka. Used with permission.

Yiddish language and culture. The growing collection translated into Polish,
To date, interviews on five accompanied him to
of interviews offers a rich
continents have been video- Auschwitz. Many interviews
recorded in English, Yiddish, and complex chronicle like this reach back into the
Polish, and other languages. of Ashkenazi Jewish life inter-war memories of
survivors now in their 90s.
Of the more than 1,000 through examination of
interviews now in the Other interviews document
the legacy and changing
collection, many document the the rebuilding of post-war
lives of Jews born in the nature of Yiddish Jewish culture in Poland and
region of the former Polish- language and culture. in displaced persons’ camps.
Lithuanian Commonwealth For instance, Lea Szlanger
and their descendants, Lewin explained how reading describes how she and
including Jack Lewin, who books distracted him from others were recruited by
was born in Łódź in 1927 and hunger during the ghetto Ida Kamińska, then artistic
interviewed in Los Angeles in period, and how a beloved director of the Jewish State
2013. In his native Yiddish, copy of David Copperfield, Theater in Warsaw.

GAZETA SPRING 2020 n 43


The project not only looks
back in time, it also
documents the place of
Yiddish in the world today. In
2013, as project director, I
traveled to Poland with (then)
Yiddish Book Center Fellow
Agnieszka Ilwicka. We
interviewed Marcin
Wodziński, Joanna
Nalewajko-Kulikov, Kamil
Kijek, and other luminaries in
Yiddish studies. We also
interviewed Barbara Henryk Robak, a Polish Holocaust survivor who passed away last year,
Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, chief pictured here being interviewed for the Wexler Oral History Project.
curator of the Core Exhibition Photograph by Christa Whitney. Used with permission.

and advisor to the director of


POLIN Museum of the around the world and send Oral History Project, please
History of Polish Jews, about them back to Amherst for contact us at tellyourstory@
her background and processing. One of the yiddishbookcenter.org. n
experience living in Poland ongoing objectives of the
during the development of the Yiddish Book Center is to Christa P. Whitney is
exhibition. Other subsets of make the interviews accessible Director of the Yiddish Book
the collection focus on to the public. Today, three- Center’s Wexler Oral
Yiddish theater, klezmer quarters of the interviews can History Project.
music, and Yiddish writers be watched in full on our
and their descendants. website, along with thousands
of excerpts. You can search
The work of the project, about a topic that might be
including processing and included within the collection
archiving interviews, is by keyword or name at www.
undertaken by a small staff yiddishbookcenter.org/tell-
based at the Yiddish Book your-story.
Center in Amherst,
Massachusetts. In addition, If you have a story you think
several oral history field would be of interest to the
fellows record interviews Yiddish Book Center’s Wexler

44 n GAZETA VOLUME 27, NO. 1


The Great Synagogue of Oświęcim Maciek Zabierowski

B efore Oświęcim became


Auschwitz, it was home
to a Jewish community for
400 years. Today, with no
Jewish residents, the town
recently paid tribute to its
Jewish past and honored
the Great Synagogue of
Oświęcim, destroyed by the
Nazis in November 1939.

Before the outbreak of World


War II, Jews constituted 60 Lea Gletiman, a 95-year-old survivor from Oświęcim, speaks at the ceremony for
percent of the local population. the opening of the Great Synagogue Memorial Park.
Photograph by Andrzej Rudiak. Courtesy of Maciek Zabierowski.
Called “Oshpitzin” by the
local Jews, the town had over In the park you will burned the Great Synagogue
twenty synagogues and prayer be able to rest on to the ground. Its last traces
houses. However, the social were removed on German
benches with symbolic order by a specially created
and religious life of the Jews
of Oświęcim focused above perforations depicting commando consisting of
all on the largest temple—the the signs of the zodiac— Auschwitz prisoners, mainly
Great Synagogue. It was built Poles, who, as part of enslaved
a reflection of the labor, were forced to complete
in 1588 on a plot of the Jewish
community donated by Jan ornamentation from the demolition of the building
Piotraszewski, a townsman the Great Synagogue. in the summer of 1941.
and Oświęcim elder. Over the
On November 28, 2019,
centuries it was destroyed Kuncewicz, director of the
exactly eighty years after its
several times. Auschwitz Jewish Center,
destruction, residents of
which runs the local Jewish
For decades the Great Oświęcim and guests from
Museum and maintains the
Synagogue was the place around the world, including
only synagogue left in the town.
around which the life of the Holocaust survivors and their
Jewish community in Oświęcim In the middle of the night on descendants, gathered at
was concentrated, said Tomasz November 30, 1939, the Nazis a special ceremony to

GAZETA SPRING 2020 n 45


inaugurate the Great photos and a 3-D model of the The park, designed by
Synagogue Memorial Park. building. The park contains Kraków architects from the
This grassroots project forty stone slabs, arranged in a NArchitekTURA Design
came to life thanks to the free composition, whose Studio and Imaginga Studio,
involvement of many people irregular arrangement will contain over twenty
and institutions, including symbolizes the ruins. In species of various shrubs and
the town of Oświęcim and addition, the synagogue flowers, while incorporating
the local residents. perimeter is marked and a the decades-old trees, to
copy of the synagogue enhance visitor experience. n
In the park you will be able to
chandelier is hanging over
rest on benches with symbolic Maciek Zabierowski is
the site. The goal, added
perforations depicting the Education and Special
Director Kuncewicz, is to
signs of the zodiac—a Projects Director of the
create a site that will be
reflection of the ornamentation Auschwitz Jewish Museum.
meaningful for residents and
from the Great Synagogue.
the increasing number of
The history of the temple will
tourists coming to Oświęcim
be presented through the
in conjunction with visits to
installation with its historical
the Auschwitz Memorial.

The Great Synagogue Memorial Park in Oświęcim.


Photograph by Piotr Strycharski. Courtesy of Maciek Zabierowski.

46 n GAZETA VOLUME 27, NO. 1


FestivALT Moves Online Adam Schorin

I n response to the ongoing


COVID-19 crisis,
FestivALT, like many arts
online, developing its long-
term projects, and promoting
its artists.
Easter market, where this
practice is especially popular,
would normally have been
and culture organizations, held. Meeting on Zoom and
On Monday, April 13,
has moved most of its livestreaming to the
FestivALT produced a six-
programming online. FestivALT Facebook page,
hour online version of its
FestivALT, an independent two of FestivALT’s co-
Lucky Jew performance, a live directors, Michael Rubenfeld
Jewish arts collective based
in Kraków, had scheduled its artwork created in response to and Adam Schorin, welcomed
fourth annual festival for late the common Polish practice of virtual passersby to their
June, to be themed around buying and selling images of stalls, selling parody “Lucky
identities in flux. Instead, Jews with coins for good luck. Jew” objects and hosting a
the collective is focusing its The performance took place complicated conversation
energy on producing work on the day that the Emaus about stereotypes and

A screenshot from FestivALT’s online performance of Lucky Jew.


Courtesy of FestivALT.

GAZETA SPRING 2020 n 47


tradition. They were joined by performances, and a series of co-directors. “We have a
approximately 100 people on workshops and discussions on unique opportunity to engage
Zoom and Facebook, Zoom and Facebook. The first a global audience in critical
including Bogusław Sonik, a virtual tour will address points conversations about
member of the European of tension in Jewish heritage contemporary Jewish Poland,
Parliament who had recently sites in Kazimierz, adapted and to bring our particular
petitioned the mayor of from a tour that FestivALT blend of arts and activism (and
Kraków to monitor the sale produced for the Unsound chutzpah) to a new platform.”
of Jewish figurines for Festival in October 2019, and
To stay updated on
expressions of anti-Semitism. will encourage audience
FestivALT’s work, visit them
(For more information about participation via Zoom.
at festivalt.com or facebook.
the Lucky Jew performance, “We’re learning to adapt, and
com/festivaltkrakow. n
see Adam Schorin’s essay in figure out how we can still
our summer 2019 issue.) produce things we’re Adam Schorin is a
passionate about in the current contributing editor
Over the coming months,
climate,” says Magda to Gazeta.
FestivALT will be producing
Rubenfeld Koralewska,
virtual tours, interactive online
another of FestivALT’s

Betty Q performs at FestivALT 2019.


Photograph by Adam Schorin. Used with permission.

48 n GAZETA VOLUME 27, NO. 1


ANNOUNCEMENTS
Books
Antony Polonsky
Major Work Published on
Anti-Jewish Pogroms

A major four-volume work


entitled Anti-Jewish Pogroms
on Polish Lands in the Nineteenth
and Twentieth Centuries (Pogromy
Żydów na ziemiach polskich w XIX
i XX wieku) was recently released
as the result of an international
research project headed by Prof. Artur
Markowski of the History Department
of Warsaw University, within the
framework of an NPRH Polish
ministerial grant (“Pogroms. Collective
Violence against Jews on Polish Lands
in the 19th and 20th Centuries and its
Influence on Polish-Jewish Relations.
History, Memory, Identity”). Kamil
Kijek, associate professor at the
Taube Department of Jewish Studies,
participated in the wide-ranging project
as both coordinator of the research
team working on the inter-war period Volume I of Pogromy Żydów na ziemiach polskich w
and as co-editor of the second and XIX i XX wieku (Anti-Jewish Pogroms on Polish Lands
in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries), published
third volumes. The series was co- by The Tadeusz Manteuffel Institute of History, Polish
funded by the Taube Department Academy of Sciences, in 2019.
of Jewish Studies.

The goal of the project was to describe


and present the genesis of the most
notorious pogroms, placing them within
the widest possible perspective of
political, social, and cultural changes
taking place on Polish territory over a
200-year period. n

GAZETA SPRING 2020 n 49


Third Volume of Hasidism Series Published in Polish
Edited by Marcin Wodziński
Austeria Press, Krakόw-Budapest, 2019

The Polish editions of Marcin Wodziński’s Hasidism trilogy, published by Austeria Press in 2019.

W e are pleased to
announce the arrival of
Chasydyzm. Źródła, Metody,
that first appeared in English
in 2018.
resource. We trust that it will
introduce new students to the
secrets of using sources on the
Perspektywy, the Polish- The Introduction opens with
history of Hasidism, and that
language version of Studying the Latin title Ad Fontes,
indicating that the contents it will illuminate for
Hasidism. Sources, Methods,
will take readers to the origins experienced scholars new
Perspectives, edited by Marcin
Wodziński and published by of Hasidism: “We hope that ways of expanding their
Austeria Press. It is the third … the book we are offering source base and of bringing in
volume in a new three-volume the reader will be a valuable new sources, methods, and
research series on Hasidism teaching and academic research perspectives.” n

50 n GAZETA VOLUME 27, NO. 1


Polacos in Argentina: Polish Jews, Interwar Migration,
and the Emergence of Transatlantic Jewish Culture
By Mariusz Kałczewiak
University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, 2019

A rgentina was the third most popular


destination for Eastern European Jews
seeking safety and a better life during the first
three decades of the 20th century. Between 1918
and 1939 alone, sixty thousand Polish Jews
established new homes in Argentina, forming a
strong ethnic community that embraced the local
culture while maintaining a unique Jewish-Polish
character. This mass migration was exceeded only
by the flows to the United States and Palestine.

Mariusz Kałczewiak has constructed a complex


narrative based on archival research, Yiddish
travelogues, and the Yiddish and Spanish-
language press to reveal how the migration
transformed political and cultural environments
not only in Argentina but in Poland too. He argues
that the migrants and their children kept
meaningful ties with Poland and thought of
Argentina as part of a global Yiddishland,
involving mutual interactions between the sending
Polacos in Argentina: Polish Jews, Interwar Migration,
and receiving communities. Kałczewiak’s book
and the Emergence of Transatlantic Jewish Culture
has been praised as a case study of “how ethnicity by Mariusz Kałczewiak, published by University of
evolves among migrants and their children, and Alabama Press in 2019.

the dynamics that emerge between putting down


roots in a new country and maintaining
commitments to the country of origin.”

Kałczewiak is senior research associate and


lecturer in the Slavic Studies department at the
University of Potsdam. He has published in
American Jewish History, The New Ethnic Studies
in Latin America, and Studia Judaica. n

GAZETA SPRING 2020 n 51


Voices from the Bial/ystok Ghetto
Edited by Michael Nevins
iUniverse, Bloomington, Indiana, 2019

F or more than seventy years, a


diary written in Białystok during
World War II was virtually unnoticed
and about to be discarded with trash
when someone looked inside and
discerned its historic value. It was
written between 1939 and 1943 by
young David Spiro (in Polish Dawid
Szpiro), who probably died during
the city’s ghetto uprising against the
Nazis. The diary describes life in the
city during Russian and then German
governance from the perspective of an
ordinary young man—certainly not a
charismatic leader. As Spiro explained,
“If someone reads my diary in the
future, will they be able to believe
soemthing like that? Surely not, they
will say poppycock and lies, but this
is the truth, disgusting and terrible; for
me it’s a reality.” This diary is a critical Voices from the Białystok Ghetto by Michael Nevins,
testimony to those dark times. n published by iUniverse in 2019.

Dr. Michael Nevins is a retired


physician who has been studying his
paternal grandparents’ roots in
Dąbrowa Białostocka. He published
a memoir about it in 1982.

52 n GAZETA VOLUME 27, NO. 1


Autobiography. Literature. Culture. Media: A Journal of the
Faculty of Humanities at the University of Szczecin
The editors-in-chief are Professors Inga Iwasiów and Jerzy Madejski

A s described by its editors, Professors Inga Iwasiόw


and Jerzy Madejski, “In Autobiography…
we analyze the evolution of old autobiographical sources
(letters, autobiographies, chronicles, diaries, memoirs,
etc.), as well as their present-day variants (emails, blogs,
internet autobiographical comic strips, profiles on social
media, internet family chronicles, etc.). We ask the
question of how new forms affect personal narratives
and how they modify present-day ways of expression.
In short, we describe a wide variety of multimedia
biography, which has become more and more popular.
The autobiographical need, in our opinion, triggers
not only stories, but research methods and styles of
critical narration. We present both analyses of actual
autobiographical practices and scientific descriptions of
concepts of Polish and foreign scholars concerning the
title categories of our journal. One of the topics is regional
identity as reconstructed in the form of reminiscences,
such as: a diary, an essay, a scientific monograph, a novel,
a film, a blog, a press polemic, typical of the present day.” A 2018 edition of Autobiography. Literature.
Culture. Media.
The journal is published twice a year in accordance
with an open access policy. Each issue is devoted to
Read more at: https://wnus.edu.pl/au/en.
one subject. For example, in 2017 an issue dedicated
to Yiddish texts, was edited by Joanna Lisek from the
University of Wrocław. The authors analyzed hand-
written documents of Bronia Baum, intimate letters
of Rachela Auerbach, Holocaust literature of Yitzhok
Katzenelson, and post-war letters from the audience
of the Jewish Department of Polish Radio in Poland.
An important part of the issue consisted of translations
of the autobiographical texts of Malka Lee, Bronia
Baum, and I. J. Singer. n

GAZETA SPRING 2020 n 53


The Theodore Bikel Legacy Project Announces
Theodore (“Theo”) Bikel’s The City of Light
By Aimee Ginsburg Bikel with illustrations by Noah Phillips
Moment Books/Mandel Vilar Press, Washington, D.C., 2019

B ased on a short story Theodore


Bikel wrote before he died,
The City of Light was expanded by
TBLP director Aimee Ginsburg Bikel
into a book. It tells the story of Theo’s
happy childhood in Vienna in the
years leading to the Anschluss, and of
his escape at the age of thirteen. The
book, for all ages of young adult and
up, and for all occasions, highlights
Theo’s commitment to tikkun olam
and shows that the light and goodness
in our hearts can prevail over hatred,
bigotry, and injustice with a deep
commitment—even if it takes time. Theodore Bikel’s The City of Light by Aimee Ginsburg Bikel with
The book includes a glossary of illustrations by Noah Phillips, published by Moment Books/Mandel
Vilar Press in 2019.
Yiddish words (so the kids can learn
their own secret language!), a honey
cake recipe from Theo’s grandmother,
and an old, new song by Theo. n

54 n GAZETA VOLUME 27, NO. 1


.
Straznicy Fatum (Guardians of Fate)
By Bożena Keff
Krytyka Polityczna, Warsaw, 2020

“G uardians of Fate” is how Bożena Keff


refers to the people who, sometimes
even before the summer of 1942, considered the
destiny of Jews to be a foregone conclusion. This
“Jewish fate” found its embodiment in the Nazis,
but its wardens were Poles—those of them who
made sure that no victim was to escape their
doom. Often, the Nazis were imagined to be
omnipresent, making the death penalty for helping
Jews a realistic fear. But in reality, the punishment
had to be brokered first by complicit fellow Poles.
The idea of ever-present Nazis was used to cloak
the basic lack of empathy toward Jews and the
commonplace denunciation, plunder, pogroms,
and murders committed against them.

Polish literature of the 1940s and 50s provides


important insight into the behavior of Poles
during the Holocaust. It is expressed by, among
others, Zofia Nałkowska, Adolf Rudnicki,
Strażnicy Fatum (Guardians of Fate) by Bożena Keff,
Kazimierz Brandys, Ludwik Hering, and a published by Krytyka Polityczna, Warsaw, 2020.
forgotten writer, Lwów-born Kazimierz R.
Frenkel. From the examples of Julian Tuwim and
Tadeusz Różewicz, Keff analyzes the discourse in
which the circumstances of the Shoah and
characteristics of Jewish identity were presented.
The conclusions drawn from this re-reading of
literary works are not comforting. Depressing as
they are, they may guide us toward collective
self-awareness. They should also urge us to face
current pressing concerns about the role of
minority groups—stigmatized and humiliated—
within the Polish community. n

GAZETA SPRING 2020 n 55


From Left to Right. Lucy S. Dawidowicz, The New York
Intellectuals and the Politics of Jewish History
By Nancy Sinkoff. Wayne State University Press, 2020

F rom Left to Right: Lucy S.


Dawidowicz, the New York
Intellectuals, and the Politics
American while Polish Jewish
civilization was still inscribed
in her heart, and also explores
of Jewish History is the first when and how Dawidowicz
comprehensive biography became the voice of East
of Dawidowicz (1915-90), a European Jewry for the
pioneer historian in the field American Jewish public.
that is now called Holocaust Part four exposes the fissure
studies. Dawidowicz was a between Dawidowicz’s
household name in the post- European-inflected, diaspora-
war years, not only because nationalist, modern Jewish
of her scholarship but also identity and the shifting
due to her political views. definition of American
Dawidowicz, like many other liberalism from the late
New York intellectuals, was a 1960s forward, which also
youthful communist, became saw the emergence of neo-
an FDR Democrat mid-century, From Left to Right: Lucy S. conservatism. The book
Dawidowicz, the New York
and later championed neo- includes an interpretation
Intellectuals, and the Politics of
conservatism. Nancy Sinkoff Jewish History by Nancy Sinkoff, of her memoir From That
argues that Dawidowicz’s published by Wayne State University Place and Time, as well as
Press, 2020.
rightward shift emerged out an appendix of thirty-one
of living in pre-war Poland, previously unpublished letters
story of Dawidowicz’s
watching the Holocaust unfold that illustrate her broad reach.
childhood, adolescence, and
from New York City, and
college years when she was an Dawidowicz’s right-wing
working with displaced persons
immigrant daughter living in politics, sex, and unabashed
in post-war Germany. Based
New York City. Part two commitment to Jewish
on over forty-five archival
narrates Dawidowicz’s particularism in an East
collections, From Left to Right
formative European years in European Jewish key have
chronicles Dawidowicz’s life
Poland, New York City (when resulted in scholarly neglect.
as a window into the major
she was enclosed in the Therefore, this book is strongly
events and issues of 20th-
European-like world of the recommended for scholars and
century Jewish life.
New York YIVO), and general readers interested in
From Left to Right is structured Germany. Part three tells how Jewish and women’s studies. n
in four parts. Part one tells the Dawidowicz became an

56 n GAZETA VOLUME 27, NO. 1


The King of Warsaw
By Szczepan Twardoch, translated by Sean Gasper Bye
Amazon Crossing, 2020

T he King of Warsaw, the first novel by


the widely celebrated Polish writer
Szczepan Twardoch to be translated into
English, takes the reader into the grim
underbelly of pre-war Warsaw. Twardoch
deploys a mastery of historical detail to
depict the violent, corrupt underworld of
1937 Warsaw, where Jewish boxer Jakub
Szapiro schemes to fulfill his obsession
with achieving power over the city. The
boxer leverages his victories in the ring
and on the street to gain respect in the
Jewish community and breed fear among
his enemies. Yet he also senses, in the rise
of fascism and dictators like Hitler, that the
world is changing in ominous ways. While
many Jews around him feel threatened
and contemplate leaving Poland, Szapiro
must remain in the city to win his dream,
despite the specter of rising forces that
may destroy him. The King of Warsaw by Szczepan Twardoch,
translated from the Polish by Sean Gasper Bye,
Journalist and author Szczepan Twardoch, published by Amazon Crossing in April 2020.
born in Silesia, is one of the new generation
of Polish writers. His many works, which
include the bestselling novels Morphine
and Drach, address issues of personal and
national identity and have brought him
numerous awards and honors. Sean Gasper
Bye is an American known for his
translations of Polish literature, including
books by Lidia Ostałowska, Filip Springer,
and Małgorzata Szejnert. n

GAZETA SPRING 2020 n 57


ANNOUNCEMENTS
Honors and Awards

National Jewish Book Council 2019 Awards

Robert Alter in his home office Deborah Lipstadt Naomi Seidman in Warsaw, 2013
Photograph by David A.M. Wilensky. Author’s collection. Used with Graduate Theological Union. Used with
Used with permission. permission. permission.

P rofessor Robert Alter


of the University of
California, Berkeley,
D eborah Lipstadt
was honored with
the Jewish Education
N aomi Seidman, professor
of Jewish Studies at the
University of Toronto and former
received the National and Identity Award director of the Dinner Center for
Jewish Book Council’s in Memory Award of Jewish Studies at UC Berkeley’s
Lifetime Achievement Dorothy Kripke for Graduate Theological Union,
Award for his monumental her most recent book, received the Barbara Dobkin
and decades-long project Antisemitism: Here Award in Women’s Studies for
The Hebrew Bible: and Now (Schocken, her acclaimed Sarah Schenirer
A Translation with 2019). The book gives and the Bais Yaakov Movement
Commentary (W. W. us a penetrating and (Littman Library of Jewish
Norton & Company). provocative analysis of Civilizations and Liverpool Press,
Alter’s once-in-a- the hate that will not die, 2019). This vivid portrait of Sarah
generation translation of focusing on its current, Schenirer and her founding of the
the entire Hebrew Bible virulent incarnations on Bais Yaakov schools in inter-war
into English began in 1997 both the political right Poland explores the context and
with the publication of his and left. n tensions that led to their founding
translation of Genesis. In and subsequent movement in
2018, with the last few Orthodox education for girls—
books complete, a three- to their near destruction during
volume boxed set of the the Holocaust, to their post-war
complete translation reconstruction. (See the fall/winter
was released. n 2019 issue of Gazeta for this book
announcement.) n

58 n GAZETA VOLUME 27, NO. 1


2019 National Translation Award in Poetry
for Pan Tadeusz: The Last Foray in Lithuania
By Adam Mickiewicz, translated by Bill Johnston

P an Tadeusz: The Last Foray


in Lithuania has won the 2019
National Translation Award in
Poetry. The award is given each
year by the American Literary
Translators Association.

The jury remarked: “Presented


here for the first time in modern
English, Johnston’s translation
of Pan Tadeusz masterfully
captures the exceptional beauty
and disarming directness of
Mickiewicz’s rhymed couplets.
With its riveting narrative
propulsion, intertwining plot
lines, effortless ironic wit, and
lovingly detailed portraits of a Pan Tadeusz: The Last Foray in Lithuania by
bygone gentry, Pan Tadeusz invites Adam Mickiewicz, translated from the Polish
comparison with the best works of by Bill Johnston, published by Archipelago
Books in 2018.
Byron or Pushkin.”

Congratulations to Archipelago
Books translator Bill Johnston! n

GAZETA SPRING 2020 n 59


Museum Worlds Honors Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett
Editors: Sandra Dudley, University of Leicester, Conal McCarthy,
Victoria University of Wellington

M useum Worlds, Advances in


Research has dedicated a
special section of its 2019 annual
journal to POLIN Museum of the
History of Polish Jews Chief Curator
of Core Exhibitions, Dr. Barbara
Kirshenblatt-Gimblett. This special
tribute includes an introductory article
by volume co-editer Conal McCarthy,
“Destination Museum,” which is a
play on Dr. Kirshenblatt-Gimblett’s
seminal book, Destination Culture:
Tourism, Museums and Heritage
(1998). The tribute also includes Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett.
articles by Erica Lehrer and Monika Photograph by M. Starowieyska. Courtesy of the POLIN Museum of the History
of Polish Jews.
Murzynn-Kupisz, “Making Space for
Jewish Culture in Polish Folk and
Ethnographic Museums: Curating
Social Diversity after Ethhnic
Cleansing,” “Anthropology, Art
and Folklore,” by Ira Jacknis, and
“Field Notes and Reading Notes,”
by Nélia Dias.

Museum Worlds is a part of the


Berghahn Open Anthro subscribe-to-
open initiative, a pilot aiming to
convert thirteen anthropology journals
to full open access on an ongoing and
sustainable basis. n
Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett (in the middle) with the co-directors
of Handshouse Studio (on the left) and some of the 200 people who
volunteered to help reconstruct the Gwoździec synagogue bimah
and painted ceiling.
Courtesy of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

60 n GAZETA VOLUME 27, NO. 1


Devilspel Wins Literary Prize
By Grigory Kanovich, translated by Yisrael Elliot Cohen
Noir Press, Nottingham, 2019

A novel about the world of Lithuanian Jews


during World War II has won the EBRD
Literature Prize of 2020. The author and his
translator will share the €20,000 honor.

Grigory Kanovich, whom the Forward has called


“one of the most important Jewish authors of our
time,” deploys his skill for creating strong but
subtle characters to populate the town of Mishkine,
one small place amid the terrible events that
devastated Eastern Europe and shook the world.
One of the judges of the award panel called the
novel “a literary microcosm of world history
related through the lives of ordinary people … in
a small town at a watershed moment of Lithuanian
history when ethnic cleansing and the Holocaust
enter the lives of the local Jews and non-Jews
alike, dividing neighbors and families into
persecuted and persecutors.” She praised the
narrative for avoiding “breast-beating in spite of
its horrific and heart-breaking subject matter.”
Devilspel by Grigory Kanovich and translated from
Kanovich is one of today’s most prominent Russian by Yisrael Elliot Cohen, published by Noir
Lithuanian Jewish writers and has written more Press in 2019.

than ten novels dealing with the history of Eastern


European Jewry from the 19th century to the
present. Born into a traditional Jewish family, he
has dedicated his life “to what has been lost, to
what has been destroyed—the small Jewish town.”
His novel Shtetl Love Song was awarded the
Liudas Dovydenas Prize by the Lithuanian
Writers’ Union. n

GAZETA SPRING 2020 n 61


POLIN Award 2019 to Natalia Bartczak

P OLIN Museum of the


History of Polish Jews has
granted its 2019 POLIN Award
to Natalia Bartczak, who has
cared for the Jewish cemetery in
Wińsko, in western Poland, for
sixteen years — starting when
she was just thirteen years old.

The award—presented in
conjunciton with an award
to the Auschwitz Jewish
Center—was bestowed at a gala
ceremony at the museum on
December 3, 2019. It was the Natalia Bartczak.
fifth edition of the award, which Photograph by M. Starowieyska. Courtesy of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews

“honors people, organizations


and institutions that, in the past thanks to them that the memory of a book by Rita Steinhardt-
few years, contributed to both of the history of Polish Jews Botwinick, about Wińsko from
the revival of the memory of the is reborn. They are the ones 1933 to 1946, as well as to
history of Polish Jews, and to who really contribute to mutual the film Maleństwo na górce
building mutual understanding respect and understanding and to an exhibition of old
and respect between Poles between Poles and Jews.” photographs of the German-
and Jews.” Polish-Jewish history of
Natalia Bartczak wrote her
Wińsko. n
“All over Poland,” said Marian master’s degree thesis on the
Turski, president of the POLIN Jewish Cemetery in Wińsko
Museum Council, “there are while a student at the Institute
many people who work to of Prehistoric Studies of the
preserve the heritage of Polish Adam Mickiewicz University
Jews … Through the POLIN in Poznań. Her thesis became
Award, we want to express our the basis for the Wińsko town
appreciation and gratitude for council appling for EU funding
their work. We care to show for the restoration of the
how important and needed what cemetery. Bartczak was also
they are doing [is], because it is a consultant to the translator

62 n GAZETA VOLUME 27, NO. 1


ANNOUNCEMENTS
Conferences and Seminars

Conference at the Polish Embassy Antony Polonsky


in London to Launch Polin: Studies
in Polish Jewry, Volume 32

O n January 23, 2020, a


one-day conference,
“Jews and Music-Making
In five thematic sections,
this multi-disciplinary
chief historian of POLIN
Museum of the History of
Polish Jews, and Benjamin
in the Polish Lands,” was volume presents rich Matis, spiritual leader of the
held at the Polish embassy coverage of the main Agudath Achim Congregation,
in London to launch volume genres produced by Altoona, Pennsylvania.
32 of Polin: Studies in Polish Cantor Matis also performed
Jewry. The astounding variety musicians of Jewish examples of cantorial music.
of music of all genres and origin in the Polish lands.
The second session was
styles produced by musicians
devoted to Jews in Polish
of Jewish heritage in Europe area of the Polish-Lithuanian
popular music. Tamara
since 1750 has been examined Commonwealth and its
Sztyma of POLIN Museum
almost entirely in the context successor states from 1750
delivered a paper, “Popular
of German-speaking Europe to the present.
Music in the Inter-war Period:
or in studies of a group of
After the formal opening Polish, Jewish, Shared.” Beth
composers who strongly
by H.E. Arkady Rzegocki, Holmgren of Duke University
self-identified as Jews. In five
ambassador of the Republic could not attend, but her
thematic sections, this multi-
of Poland, Vivian Wineman, paper, “The Jews in the
disciplinary volume presents
president of the Institute for Band: Anders Army’s Special
rich coverage of the main
Polish-Jewish Studies, and Troupes,” was read by Dr.
genres produced by musicians
Sir Ben Helfgott, chairman of François Guesnet. One of the
of Jewish origin in the Polish
the Institute for Polish-Jewish most stimulating papers of the
lands: Cantorial and Religious
Studies, the first session conference, it highlighted the
Music, Jews in Polish Popular
was devoted to a general paradox that General Anders,
Culture, Jews in the Polish
introduction to the topic and in spite of his somewhat
Classical Music Scene, The
a discussion of changes in prejudiced view of Jews, was
Holocaust Reflected in Jewish
Jewish cantorial practice in the eager to recruit Jews for his
Music, and Klezmer in Poland
19th and 20th centuries. This army’s entertainment corps.
Today. It thus explores the
activities and great creativity took the form of an exchange
The afternoon session
of musicians of the “Mosaic between two of the editors of
examined “Yiddish Folk
persuasion,” covering the the volume, Antony Polonsky,
Song and Klezmer” with

GAZETA SPRING 2020 n 63


a presentation by the co-organized and supported
independent scholar Michael by the Polish embassy in
Aylward on “Gimpel’s London and the Polish Cultural
Theatre, Lemberg: The Sounds Institute, London, and was
of a Popular Yiddish Theatre made possible by the support of
Preserved on Gramophone Slipaczek Chartered Financial
Records 1904 – 1910,” and Planners and the American
one on “Klezmer for All Association for Polish-Jewish
Occasions. The Consumption Studies. Attended by over a
of ‘Jewish Music’ in hundred people, it was a most
contemporary Poland,” by stimulating and diverse event,
Magdalena Waligórska of the which highlighted an aspect
University of Bremen. of Polish life whereby people
of all backgrounds—Catholic,
The day ended with a concert
Jewish and non-religious—
of popular Polish songs from
cooperated to produce art which
the inter-war years, many of
still moves audiences today. n
which were either written
or performed by Jews. The
singer was Katy Carr, a local
artist who also has Polish
connections. Among the
songs she performed was
Miłość ci wszystko wybaczy
(Love Forgives Everything;
1933, music by Henryk Wars,
lyrics by Julian Tuwim) and
many other collaborations
among Polish recording
artists. Her performance was
enthusiastically received, and
a CD recording is underway.

The conference was organized


by the Institute for Polish-
Jewish Studies and the Institute
of Jewish Studies, UCL. It was

64 n GAZETA VOLUME 27, NO. 1


Biographies and Politics:
The Involvement of Jews and People Antony Polonsky
of Jewish Origin in Leftist Movements
in 19th and 20th Century Poland

F rom its inception, the


socialist movement,
whether in its parliamentary
of Jewish clandestine rule
was embodied in the Polish
stereotype of Żydokomuna
of the History of Polish Jews
organized an international
conference late last year
or its revolutionary form, (Judaeo-Communism). Thus, (December 1-2), “Biographies
has attracted significant during the Polish-Soviet and Politics: The Involvement
support from people of Jewish war of 1920, in an attempt of Jews and People of Jewish
origin. Some saw socialism, to discredit communism as Origin in Leftist Movements
with its promise of a world a Jewish phenomenon, the in 19th and 20th Century
where ethnic and religious Polish episcopate published an Poland,” attended by over
difference would play no role, open letter to the bishops of sixty leading scholars in the
as a more effective path to the the world: field from Germany, France,
integration of the Jews. Others the United Kingdom, Sweden,
Bolshevism is truly
were inspired by the similarity Croatia, Israel, the United
aiming at the conquest
between the millennial States, Canada, Australia,
of the world. The race
promises of the socialist and Poland. The aim of the
which leads it previously
movement and Jewish conference was to investigate
subordinated the world
messianism, while many the actual Jewish engagement
to it through gold and the
were impelled to support in leftist movements in Poland
banks. Today, driven by the
the movement as a means from the point of view of their
age-old imperialist drive
of redressing the growing individual ideological choice.
which flows in its veins,
impoverishment of the Jews Biographical tools were to
it is undertaking the final
and of the larger society in the be used to examine personal
conquest of all peoples
course of industrialization. histories, family fortunes, and
under its yoke. All the
Jewish support for socialism developing political identities
slogans which are used:
was also strongly attacked. to help answer the question of
People, Workers, Freedom
The movement was seen as what drove Polish Jews to join
and so on are only masks
a new form of the alleged leftist organizations.
whose aim is to hide the
Jewish desire to dominate
true face. The conference raised
the world. The view that
many issues and shed much
communism, as it had In an attempt to move beyond
new light on the complex
established itself in the Soviet oversimplifications and
question of why socialism
Union, was merely a new form stereotypes, POLIN Museum

GAZETA SPRING 2020 n 65


proved so attractive in the The conference concluded of the Communist Party
Jewish world. The issues of Poland, reflected on
with a showing of the
were examined in eleven “How Jewish Were My
parallel sessions. On the documentary film Tonia Communist Ancestors?
morning of the first day, the and her Children by Revisiting the Question
topics discussed were “How of Jewish Responsibility.”
Marcel Łoziński, an
Jewish are Leftist Ideas? Another striking presentation
How Leftist is Jewishness?” account of the life of was the attempt by Marcin
and “Internationalist Politics, Jewish communist Moskalewicz of Poznań
Transnational Biographies, University of Medical
Local Activism.” Four Tonia Lechtman. Sciences to assess how one
topics were discussed in the should evaluate the actions of
afternoon sessions: “Social of people of Jewish origin Helena Wolińska, wife of the
and Cultural Activism,” involved in the publishing economist Włodzimierz Brus,
“Anti-Fascism Facing the industry in Poland, and used who as military prosecutor
Holocaust,” “Exclusion and these techniques to provide in the Stalinist years in
Inclusion in Leftist Jewish an innovative and challenging Poland has been accused
Biographies,” and “After account of what led Jews of organizing the unlawful
the Holocaust, Towards a to adopt a socialist point of arrest, trial, and execution
Brighter Future?” view, with the title “Jewish of General Emil August
Biographies, Leftist Politics, Fieldorf, a commander of the
In the evening, the keynote and the History of Emotions.” underground Polish Home
speech was given by Karen
The morning of the second Army during World War II.
Auerbach of the University
of North Carolina, author of day was devoted to sessions The afternoon session
The House at Ujazdowskie 16: on “Negotiating Religion included “Different
Jewish Families in Warsaw and Socialism,” on “Jewish Generations? Different
after the Holocaust (Indiana Perspectives on the History of Biographies?” in which the
University Press, 2013), which the Left—Marxist Approaches tensions between different
is a collective portrait of the on Jewish History,” on communist generations were
generation of ‘68, the children “Emancipatory Empowerment analyzed. Also presented was
of those Jews who opted for and Leftist Politics,” and a roundtable on “Jewish Left-
the socialist alternative and a most stimulating session wing Activism and Family
remained in Poland after the on “Responsibility.” In this, History” in which Alex Sobel,
war, later becoming active in Stanisław Krajewski, a key a Labor MP in the UK, and
the opposition to communism. figure in Polish Jewish life his father, Leopold Sobel,
She has continued this and the great-grandson of Ewa Herbst, a descendant
approach in her analysis Adolf Warski, a founder of the PPS leader Herman

66 n GAZETA VOLUME 27, NO. 1


Diamand, and David Slucki, the archival resources in the It is very much to be hoped
child of Bundist activists in museum on the subject of that the papers presented
Melbourne, reflected on their Tonia Lechtman. will be published as soon
families’ past. as possible. n
The conference was jointly
The conference concluded organized by POLIN Museum
with a showing of the of the History of Polish Jews,
documentary film Tonia and the Aleksander Brückner
Her Children by Marcel Center for Polish Studies
Łoziński, an account of the (Halle/Saale), the Centre for
life of Jewish communist Hebrew and Jewish Studies,
Tonia Lechtman, who was University of Oxford, and the
sentenced in 1949 to five Department of Hebrew and
years in prison for allegedly Jewish Studies at University
spying for the United States. College London, within the
This moving and disturbing framework of the Global
film presents the figure of Education Outreach Program
Tonia Lechtman through her of the POLIN Museum. It
prison correspondence as was made possible thanks
well as the reminiscences of to the support of Taube
her adult children, Wera and Philanthropies, the William
Marcel, who recall being K. Bowes Jr. Foundation, the
separated from their mother Association of the Jewish
and being moved from one Historical Institute of Poland,
orphanage to the other. This the Stiftung für deutsch-
was a traumatic experience. At polnische Zusammenarbeit,
the front door of a children’s the European Association
home in Wrocław, they are of Jewish Studies, the
asked who they are. Wera Deutsch-Polnische
replies, “We are children of Wissenschaftsstiftung, and
communists.” In response the the Gotteiner Institute for
teacher shouts at her, “Why the History of the Bund and
do they only send us Judeo- the Jewish Labor Movement
communists?!” The showing at the University of Haifa. It
was preceded by an account was a most stimulating and
by Dr. Przemysław Kaniecki thought-provoking event,
from the POLIN Museum shedding light on many
Collection Department of complex and disputed topics.

GAZETA SPRING 2020 n 67


ANNOUNCEMENTS
In Brief

Newly Released on Amazon: Raise the Roof


by Filmmakers Yari and Cary Wolinsky

T his 2015 feature


documentary tells the
story of a ten-year campaign
to reconstruct the beautifully
decorated roof and ceiling
of an 18th-century wooden
synagogue inside POLIN
Museum of the History
of Polish Jews. Wooden
synagogues once dotted many
parts of the Eastern European
landscape, but fire and the
vicissitudes of time had greatly
reduced their number when
scholars began to document
them in the 20th century.
American designers Rick &
Laura Brown of Handshouse
Studio, though not Jewish,
found the wooden synagogue
so intriguing that they decided
to recreate one—the mural-
covered Gwozdziec synagogue,
which had been burned by the Yari and Cary Wolinsky place projects with partners around
Nazis during the war. the synagogue in the context the world as a way to explore
of a thousand years of Polish history, science, and the arts.
Assembling an international
Jewish history, with klezmer Raise the Roof is distributed
team of artisans and students,
music providing an evocative by Trillium Studios (https://
the Browns used period
sonic background. www.polishsynagogue.com/)
tools and techniques, applied
and is available at Amazon
according to the best scholarly Non-profit Handshouse (https://www.amazon.com/
advice, to build and paint the Studio, based in Norwell, Raise-Roof-Yari-Wolinsky/dp/
twenty-two-ton replica. Their Massachusetts, is an B081ZJYPFW/). n
reconstruction was unveiled educational organization that
in 2014 as the centerpiece of creates hands-on projects
the new museum. Filmmakers through community service

68 n GAZETA VOLUME 27, NO. 1


Midrasz Closes its Doors The Editorial Board of Midrasz

Dear Friends and Readers, this long. We did not

T he next copy of Midrasz expect it ourselves,


magazine will be the nor that these twenty-
last. Yes, it is true. We have two years would have
been struggling with this passed so quickly.
decision for some time, and The reasons why
upon deciding on it and Midrasz will stop
sharing the news with some being published are
of our friends, we heard complex—from local
voices of disbelief and the to global. To stop any
question how it is possible. further speculations,
We therefore now officially we need to openly
confirm it: after twenty-two reveal that the crucial
years, Midrasz will no longer factor lies in the
be published. Twenty-two annually progressing
years, like twenty-two letters financial problems.
of the Hebrew alphabet, one We struggled with
for each year. Maybe it is just them for a long time, The final issue of Midrasz, winter 2019.
a coincidence, maybe there and despite continual
is some hidden meaning. In did. It probably would not
and generous donations from
either case, let it become a have started at all. Now, as
the Polish Ministry of the
symbol. When, at the turn the financial situation of
Interior and Administration,
of 1996 and 1997, under the paper print media market
the Book Institute, and
the leadership of Konstanty (as well for the small as
the Jewish Community of
Gebert, we began planning for the giants) gradually
Warsaw, as well as private
the newspaper and established deteriorates, our adventure
philanthropists, we were
the office at 6 Twarda Street, is coming to an end.
unable to solve them
probably no one—not systemically. We would like We are closing the magazine
the editorial staff, not the to whole-heartedly thank our aware of the era behind
sponsors, not the readers— benefactors, without whom the us. When the first issue of
could have guessed that experience of Midrasz would Midrasz was released in
Midrasz would have lasted not have lasted as long as it April 1997, the Internet was

GAZETA SPRING 2020 n 69


in its infancy, there were no We would like to whole- Polish Jewish research and
social media, and printing researchers that obliges us to
heartedly thank our
of an illustrated magazine celebrate our achievements
lasted over a week. On the benefactors, without and summarize them, to create
“Jewish street,” the Ronald whom the experience of a public online archive, and
S. Lauder Foundation, our to present selected texts in
Midrasz would not have
first sponsor, was energizing books to be published. It is not
a small community of Polish lasted as long as it did. a small task, but, to say the
Jews for whom Midrasz was It probably would not least, we already have some
intended. We were spectators practice in it.
and participants of this have started at all.
To all of our readers and
process, and over time—also
We have twenty-two years co-creators past and present,
under the influence of online
behind us, 210 issues thank you!
forums—we changed our
profile from informational of Midrasz, and several Note: All archival issues will
to socio-cultural, and finally thousand articles, journalistic be available online on the
to cultural-literary, as we texts, essays, translations, National Library website.
followed the transformations religious commentaries, To learn more about Midrasz,
of this community. Today, it is notes, interviews, and pieces visit our website at: www.
transformed. The formula, the of literature. Almost 200 midrasz.pl. n
needs have changed, and the colorful covers, hundreds
people have changed as well. of illustrations. The editors
Many of the most faithful have initiated a dozen or so
friends of Midrasz are gone. discussions on all topics,
Within the last two decades, although always related to the
almost a full generation of main mission of Midrasz—to
readers has regrettably passed explain and familiarize the
away, among them Jews readers with Jewish tradition,
from Poland and from the culture, and identity. Some of
diaspora, who were our main them are reprinted in the first
subscribers. We were not very part of this issue. They will
successful with finding new tell more about us than just
readers. Maybe it is our fault, dry statistics.
but probably also a sign of the
The work of archivists is
times, and therefore another
ahead of us, with a duty
reason why we must say good-
toward future readers, toward
bye to you.
the press and the history of

70 n GAZETA VOLUME 27, NO. 1


Contemporary Jewish Art and Fay Bussgang
Artists in Poland

D espite the rise in anti-


Semitism in many parts of
the world, Jewish art in Poland
seems to be flourishing.

One of Warsaw’s most


visible landmarks, the “blue
skyscraper” at Plac Bankowy,
was built on the former site
of Warsaw’s historic Great
Synagogue, the Tłomackie
Synagogue, destroyed during
the war. The façade of the
modern building, made
completely of glass, served as
the perfect backdrop for the
projection of an image of the
former synagogue created by Gabi von Seltmann’s ceremonial reconstruction of Warsaw’s Great Synagogue,
on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising on April
artist Gabrielle von Seltmann. 19, 2018.
This stark, nostalgic image Photograph by Marta Kuśmierz. Used with permission.

was made visible on two


occasions, first in April 2018 alive in art and film. In Another artist active in the
to commemorate the 75th addition to her own work, Jewish art world in Poland,
anniversary of the Warsaw she has collaborated with her Yaelle Wiśnicki-Levi, based
Ghetto Uprising, and last German-born husband, Uwe in Warsaw since 2015, is the
year on the uprising’s 76th von Seltmann, on several founder of Artours Warsaw,
anniversary. films, among them Boris an organization that provides
Dorfman, a Mentsh (shot contemporary English-
As reported by Foreign Press,
entirely in Yiddish) and Die language art tours in Warsaw.
Gabi von Seltmann is one of
dritte Generation nach der Born in New York, Wiśnicki-
a small number of artists who
Shoah (The Third Generation Levi attended school in the
live in Poland and are actively
after the Shoah), as part of U.S. and Israel and is now a
engaged with commemorating
Denkzeit, a TV series in Polish citizen. She is a member
the Holocaust by keeping
Germany. of the Six Verbs Movement,
the legend of Polish Jewry

GAZETA SPRING 2020 n 71


an ongoing artistic research create their own.
project that takes place in Taking a wax imprint
public spaces around Poland from door frames
and brings together artists who where mezuzahs were
work in different media such as once attached, they
theater, dance, visual arts, and hand cast a three-
music. One of their projects dimensional bronze
was a work in 2015 focusing replica of the original.
on the history of Lublin, They also have a line
examined from a contemporary of menorahs, candles,
point of view while bringing and assorted jewelry,
in the past perspectives of largely sold online. In
different religious groups. addition to creating
works of art, they are Zuza Hertzberg, Tribute to International Brigades, 2016,
Zuza Hertzberg is a painter
helping to preserve the mixed media on canvas, 46x38cm.
and author of installations
memory of Jews who Photograph by Mikołaj Tym. Courtesy of the artist.
and performative actions. color portraits taken by Caryl
once lived in Poland.
Her works use the artist’s own Englander—over the course of
method of mixed painting FestivALT is an independent three years—of Jewish, Polish
techniques, rich texture, and arts collective in Kraków that Catholic, and Sinti survivors
intense color. Hertzberg is produces an annual program of the camp. The repetitive
interested in memory and body, of critically-minded Jewish art pattern of the three-meter-
as well as issues related to a and activism. Each year, they tall, vertical steel panels on
broad sense of identity and invite artists from Poland and which the portraits are placed
belonging to a place. In 2019, around the world to produce is reminiscent of the stripes
she took part in Individual visual art, theater, site-specific of a prisoner’s uniform. The
and Organized Resistance of performance, and activist proportion of Jews to non-Jews
Women During the Holocaust, interventions. FestivALT aims depicted in the show is roughly
an exhibit at POLIN Museum to provide an inclusive platform that of the population murdered
of the History of Polish Jews. for under-represented voices at Auschwitz. Erected in
and perspectives. (See Adam July 2019, the installation
Two artists in Warsaw who
Schorin’s update on FestivALT is scheduled to remain at
create modern versions of
activities in this issue, pp. 47-48) Auschwitz-Birkenau through
Jewish religious objects are
Alexander Prugar and his On the grounds of the October 2020, by which time
partner, Helena Czernek. They Auschwitz-Birkenau State we hope to be able to travel
founded Mi Polin, a design Museum is an outstanding again to see these and other
collaborative specializing in temporary installation inspiring works of art. n
contemporary Judaica. After commemorating the 75th Fay Bussgang, along with
having photographed traces anniversary of the camp’s her husband Julian Bussgang,
of mezuzahs found on older liberation. Through the Lens of is a longtime contributing
buildings, the pair began to Faith consists of twenty-one editor to Gazeta.

72 n GAZETA VOLUME 27, NO. 1


OBITUARIES

Krzysztof Penderecki Antony Polonsky


November 23, 1933–March 29, 2020

K rzysztof Penderecki, a
composer of international
reputation, died on March
29, 2020. According to
the Ludwig van Beethoven
Association in Kraków,
with which he was closely
associated, Penderecki
was “an eminent artist
and humanist, one of the
world’s best known and most
acclaimed Polish composers…
[whose music] with its unique
dramatic structure and a
deeply humanistic message…
transcended the avant-garde
and became popular with a Krzysztof Penderecki. Photograph by Mirosław Pietruszyński.
wide audience.” Wikimedia Commons.

in Kraków. He paid homage between 1954 and 1958,


Penderecki came from a mixed to his Armenian background whereupon, after graduation,
background. He was born in in his choral work, Psalm no. he was appointed a teacher
Dębica in Galicia, about 120 3, which was premiered in of composition. He came
km southeast of Kraków. His Carnegie Hall in 2015 on the to intellectual maturity just
grandfather, Robert Berger, a centenary of the Armenian as the Stalinist system was
talented painter and director Genocide of 1915. collapsing in Poland, and
of the local bank, was the son his early work, reflecting
of Johann, who had moved Penderecki received
the new freedom achieved
to Dębica from Breslau his musical training at
with the Polish October,
(today Wrocław) in the mid- Jagiellonian University and
was characteristic of the
19th century. Penderecki’s then studied composition at
modernism of the period.
grandmother was an Armenian the State Higher School of
It was now, for instance,
from Isfahan with whom he Music (now known as the
that Witold Lutosławski
attended the Armenian Church Kraków Academy of Music)
introduced the twelve-tone

GAZETA SPRING 2020 n 73


system into his compositions. including quarter-tones, His later style was more
Works in this style were also tremolos, and multiple lyrical and romantic,
often premiered at the annual glissandi. Similar in character redolent of 19th-century
Warsaw autumn international is his Saint Luke’s Passion compositional techniques. It
festival of contemporary for two vocal soloists, was attacked by some critics
music which began in 1956. reciter, three mixed choruses, as an abandonment of his
children’s choir, and orchestra modernist principles but it
In compositions from these
—employing chanting, assured Penderecki a large
years, Penderecki replaced
recitative, and chorales. He audience. He defended this
themes and tonality with
composed it as part of the musical shift, claiming “[it]
new and innovative textures,
commemorations in Poland wasn’t I who betrayed the
influenced by Anton Webern,
of the thousandth anniversary avant-garde, but the avant-
John Cage, and Pierre Boulez.
of the Christianization of the garde which betrayed music.”
What marked his work was his
country. Characteristic of his Examples of his later work
reliance on sound itself, rather
desire to overcome national are his First Violin Concerto,
than on melody or harmony—
and political divisions, its written in 1977 for Isaac
an approach that came to be
called “sonorism.” He came premiere took place in March Stern, the Polish Requiem
to prominence in an unusual 1966 in Münster Cathedral. for four soloists, chorus,
manner. Three works he had The German critic Hans Heinz and orchestra (1984, revised
submitted anonymously, as Stuckenschmidt remarked on in 1993), although here the
was required by the rules, the singularity of this event: Dies Irae, composed in 1967,
to a competition for young remained evocative of his
A large ecclesiastical
composers organized by the modernist period, as did his
choral work, composed
Union of Polish Composers— Credo for five vocal soloists,
by a representative of the
Strophes, Emanations, and chorus, children’s choir, and
new music in socialist
Psalms of David—won orchestra (1998), which makes
Poland, performed
the first three prizes and use of material from Bach and
for the first time in a
established him as a leading early Polish music, treated in a
centre of West German
avant-garde composer. generally diatonic manner.
Catholicism, in the former
His first major work was bishop’s seat of the daring The British premiere of Polish
Threnody for the Victims of anti-Nazi Graf von Galen Requiem was organized
Hiroshima (1961), for which [a prominent critic of the under the auspices of the
he won a UNESCO prize. It Third Reich when bishop Oxford-based Institute
is written for a large string of Münster during the for Polish Jewish Studies,
orchestra and uses many 40s]: this gives occasion sister body of the American
unconventional techniques, to a variety of thoughts. Association for Polish Jewish
Studies—a reflection of the

74 n GAZETA VOLUME 27, NO. 1


requiem, which was made up
of different works composed
between 1967 and 1984,
turned out to be an appropriate
choice. The Lachrymosa had
been commissioned by Lech
Wałęsa to accompany the
unveiling of a statue in the
Gdańsk shipyards honoring
those killed in the strike there
in 1970; the Agnus Dei was
dedicated to the memory of
Cardinal Wyszyński, and the
Dies Irae commemorated the
anniversary of the Warsaw
Ghetto Uprising. It is a very
powerful piece and its impact
is increased by the way in
which it quotes old Polish
hymns. After the concert,
Alexandra Loyd, lady-in-
waiting to Princess Diana,
wrote to Ian Stoutzker,
chairman of the concert
organizing committee,
A letter written on behalf of Diana, Princess of Wales, following the Arthur expressing her pleasure “to
Rubinstein Memorial Concert, the British premiere of Krzysztof Penderecki’s have been able to be present at
Polish Requiem.
Used with permission. the first British performance
of Krzysztof Penderecki’s
commitment of Penderecki Rubinstein’s birth and took
Polish Requiem.”
and his second wife Elżbieta, place at the Royal Festival
whom he married in 1965, to Hall in London in support Penderecki was by
Polish-Jewish understanding. of the Royal College of then a well-established
As a child, he himself had Music and the institute. The international figure. Those
witnessed the liquidation of concert was attended by who commissioned work
the ghetto in Dębica. The Princess Diana, patron of the from him include Mstislav
concert commemorated the Royal College of Music, and Rostropovich, for whom the
100th anniversary of Arthur Rubinstein’s widow, Nela. The Second Cello Concerto (1982)

GAZETA SPRING 2020 n 75


was written, and Anne-Sophie Penderecki was by of his own music but also of
Mutter, for whom both the other composers, most notably
then a well-established
Second Violin Concerto, Dmitri Shostakovich. Between
subtitled Metamorphosen international figure, as 1972 and 1987 he was rector
(1995), and La Follia (2013), reflected by those who of the Kraków Academy of
a virtuoso set of variations for Music and between 1973 and
commissioned work
unaccompanied violin, were 1978 taught at Yale University.
composed. from him. He won four Grammy awards,
most recently in 2016 for
He wrote four operas, of Jerusalem, a choral work his CD Penderecki Conducts
including one, The Devils of with three choirs, had its Penderecki, Volume 1. His
Loudun (1969), based on a premiere in Jerusalem in work has also inspired that
book by Aldous Huxley. Parts January 1997 as part of the of the English pop musician
of this work, as well as his celebrations of the three- Jonny Greenwood of
string quartet and a canon thousandth anniversary of the Radiohead. Penderecki and his
for orchestra and tape, were founding of the city. Its title wife often entertained friends
used on the soundtrack to alluded to its seven legendary in the manor house and estate
the film The Exorcist (1973). gates, and the work was at Lusławice near Zakliczyn,
Penderecki’s music has also composed of seven parts, each not far from his birthplace,
been used in other films, using texts from the Hebrew which they had painstakingly
including Stanley Kubrick’s Bible. His eighth symphony, and beautifully restored. It has
The Shining (1980), David finally finished in 2008, for become a center for musical
Lynch’s Wild at Heart (1990), three vocal soloists, chorus education. The Pendereckis
Alfonso Cuarón’s Children and orchestra, has the title were committed to the
of Men (2006), and Martin Lieder der Verganglichkeit establishment of a tolerant and
Scorsese’s Shutter Island (Songs of Transience) and is civil society in Poland. One of
(2010), as well as in the TV made up of twelve movements his final public appearances,
series Twin Peaks. He was setting 19th- and early in spite of the severe illness
friendly with fellow Cracovian 20th-century German poets. which marred his last years,
Andrzej Wajda and provided Another commemorative was to attend the funeral
the music for his film Katyn composition is the Dies Illa, of Paweł Adamowicz, the
(2007). which premiered in Brussels, mayor of Gdańsk, murdered
in Koekelberg Church, on by a right-wing fanatic in
Penderecki wrote eight
November 9, 2014, and honors January 2019. We express
symphonies, commemorating
the victims of World War I. our condolences to his wife
historical events with his
compositions. His seventh Penderecki was a very Elżbieta and his five children.
symphony, The Seven Gates successful conductor, not only His music will live on. n

76 n GAZETA VOLUME 27, NO. 1


Remembering Mikhl Baran:
American Yiddish Cultural Icon Samuel Norich
1922 – April 17, 2020

I have the sad duty to inform you of the


death of Mikhl Baran, at age ninety-
seven, after a long illness unrelated to the
coronavirus. Our condolences go out to
his dear wife Millie and daughters Ruth
and Janice.

A member of the Forward Association for


many decades, Chaver Mikhl was admired
by generations of listeners to the Forward’s
radio station, WEVD, where he had a daily
news broadcast, as he was by successive
cohorts of his students in the Workers Circle Mikhl Baran. From the personal archive of Nikolai Borodulin.
shules on Long Island, where he taught. Used with permission.

During World War II, Mikhl Baran fought the


Nazis and their local helpers as a partisan in
the forests of Lithuania and northeast Poland
and as a soldier in the Red Army. After four
years in DP Camp Feldafing, he and Millie
emigrated in 1949 to the United States, where
he became a teacher and a communal activist.
His articulate and engaging personality made
him an effective transmitter of the Yiddish
cultural traits he absorbed during his youth in
Europe, which he embodied and taught in the
decades that followed.

Zol er hobn a likhtikn gan-eden. n

Samuel Norich is President of the Forward


and has served as executive director of the
Forward Association since 2000. He was the
publisher of the English and Yiddish Forward
for nineteen years until 2016.

GAZETA SPRING 2020 n 77


Walentyna Janta-Pol/ czyńska Antony Polonsky
February 1, 1913–April 2, 2020

W alentyna Janta-
Połczyńska, who died
at the beginning of April at
and Commander-in-
Chief Władysław
Sikorski. She acted
the age of 107, was one of as translator in his
the last of those who served meetings with allied
in the Polish government-in- statesmen, including
exile in London during World Winston Churchill,
War II. She was frequently and was responsible
interviewed by scholars for translating and
working on this period, and editing the reports
most recently by Andrew brought to London in
Nagorski for his book 1941: November 1942 by
The Year Germany Lost Jan Karski regarding
the War (2019). Her father, the conditions of
Ludwik (William) Stocker, Nazi-occupied
was an English engineer Poland, including
working in the Galician oil the mass murder
industry and her mother, of the local Jewish
Karolina Kochanowska, was population. She
Polish. In 1938, Walentyna admired Sikorski
Walentyna Janta Połczyńska in the uniform of
moved from Lwόw to London enormously, but as
the Polish Armed Forces in the West, American
to further her education, and she told Andrew Zone of Occupation, Germany 1945
when the war broke out was Nagorski in 2016, Photo from the Karolina Rostafiński Merk collection.
Used with permission.
hired by the Polish embassy, she felt he lacked
where her knowledge of “the temperament center at Bletchley Park. At
English was clearly useful. that you needed to deal with the end of the war she was
When in June of 1940 the the Russians.” After Sikorski assigned as a translator with
Polish government-in-exile, was killed in a plane crash at the rank of second lieutenant
established in France in Gibraltar in July 1943, she in the Polish army to the
September 1939, moved worked for the radio station U.S. forces in Frankfurt. She
to London, she became Świt (Dawn), broadcasting to was principally responsible
secretary to Prime Minister Poland from the intelligence for interviewing Poles

78 n GAZETA VOLUME 27, NO. 1


who had survived German Among her many Because of the COVID-19
concentration camps and pandemic, her many friends
were then in the American decorations were the and relations had to watch her
zone of occupation. She was Commander’s Cross of funeral online. Her ashes will
particularly concerned with find their final resting place
the Order of Merit of
women prisoners who had alongside those of her
been subjected to medical the Republic of Poland, husband in the Powązki
experimentation. the Polish Ministry Cemetery in Warsaw. n

In 1947, she emigrated to the of Culture’s Medal


United States with her mother for Services to Polish
(her father had died before the
war). There she married the Culture, and the Jan
Polish writer and journalist Karski Eagle Award.
Aleksander Janta-Połczyński,
whom she had met in London communities, and from 1959-
after his escape from German 61, she and her husband
captivity. They settled first (who died in August 1974)
in Buffalo and subsequently succeeded in facilitating the
in Elmhurst, Queens, in New return to Poland of artworks
York City, where they ran an from the Wawel in Kraków
antiquarian bookstore that which had been stored in
also supported exiled Polish Canada during World War II.
writers, scholars, and artists. After her husband’s death she
Their home became a meeting donated maps, documents,
place for leading Polish manuscripts, and early printed
intellectuals and she was books that the couple had
described as “the first lady of collected to the National
American Polonia.” Among Library in Warsaw. Among
their guests were Jan Kott, her many decorations were
Jerzy Kosiński, Zbigniew the Commander’s Cross of the
Herbert, Antoni Słonimski, Order of Merit of the Republic
Kazimierz Wierzyński, Marek of Poland, the Polish Ministry
Hłasko, Jerzy Giedroyc, of Culture’s Medal for
Witold Gombrowicz, and Services to Polish Culture, and
Czesław Miłosz. She remained the Jan Karski Eagle award.
active in Polish immigrant

GAZETA SPRING 2020 n 79


Jerzy E. Gl/ ówczewski (1922-2020) Julian Bussgang

J erzy Główczewski, who


was said to be the last
known Polish fighter pilot to
South Africa, Rio de Janeiro,
and New York en route to
Liverpool, while escorting
In retirement, Jerzy wrote
his memoirs, producing three
volumes in Polish, which were
have flown for the RAF during 4,000 German prisoners of combined and translated into
World War II, died in New war. English under the title The
York on April 13 at the age of Accidental Immigrant.
In England, he trained to
ninety-seven.
become a pilot in the Polish Having made lifelong Jewish
Jerzy Eligiusz Główczewski Air Force in the west, and in friends at the Polish refugee
was born November 19, 1922, July 1944, he joined Polish schools in Bucharest and Tel
in Warsaw, Poland, where he fighter squadron 308, flying Aviv, Jerzy gladly accepted an
lived until the outbreak of the some one hundred missions. invitation to be on the board
war. On September 6, 1939, he He received the Polish Cross of the newly formed American
left Warsaw with a few other of Valor three times for his Association for Polish Jewish
men of his family, crossing service. Studies and participated in
the border into Romania its endeavors. Living in New
After the war, Jerzy returned
on September 17. After the York and having a connection
to Poland. He studied
Germans entered Romania in with the Polish Consulate, he
architecture in Warsaw and
the winter of 1941, he left via often represented AAPJS at
then participated extensively
Turkey for Palestine. Both in events there.
in the reconstruction of the
Bucharest and again in Tel
city. In 1961, he was invited His wife Irena (“Lenta”) passed
Aviv, he attended a Polish
by the Ford Foundation to go away in December 2018 after a
refugee high school directed
to the United States, where he long illness. Daughter Klara is
by Pani Helena Barysz.
began teaching as head of the executive travel editor of Town
In July 1941, Jerzy joined Architecture Department at the & Country. n
the Polish Carpathian University of North Carolina
Brigade, fighting in Egypt. in Raleigh. He then worked as Julian Bussgang, along with
After completing the Polish chief architect to build a new his wife Fay Bussgang, is a
Officers’ School, he signed up city in Aswan, Egypt. In 1967, longtime contributing editor
to join the Polish Air Force in he returned to the U.S., taught to Gazeta.
England. In August 1942, he at Pratt Institute in New York,
joined a military team that left and continued working as an
Egypt and traveled through architect worldwide.

80 n GAZETA VOLUME 27, NO. 1


Passing of Dr. Łucja Pawlicka-Nowak, Longtime
Activist Regarding Jewish Heritage and Holocaust
Studies in Poland

D r. Łucja Pawlicka-
Nowak, for decades a
key figure in research on the
with Yad Vashem in Israel,
and with American Jewish
communities. In a letter read
Holocaust and Jewish heritage out at her funeral, the Jewish
in Poland, died February 27 Community in Poznań recalled
at the age of eighty-two. her as “an extraordinary
figure, deserving of great
Pawlicka-Nowak was the
respect and gratitude.” Her
director of the District
life was devoted to a noble
Museum in Konin, in
and sacred mission, namely
central Poland, from 1975
Łucja Pawlicka-Nowak (1938-2020). to commemorate Jewish
to 2006 and was founder Photograph courtesy of the District Museum
cities, towns, and villages
of the Museum of the in Konin. Used with permission.
murdered by the German
Former German Kulmhof and her team also rescued occupier. Jewish martyrs
Death Camp in Chełmno- several hundred matzevot were not buried, prayers over
nad-Nerem, which was or fragments which had their bodies were not said,
established in 1990. She been removed from Jewish they were not escorted in a
carried out extensive research cemeteries. funeral procession to a place
and commemoration work
Her obituary on the Konin where they would wait for
regarding Jewish cemeteries
Culture Foundation website the coming of the Messiah.
and heritage in the Konin
noted: “Dr. Łucja Pawlicka- Mrs. Łucja, through her many
region and was an early
Nowak was particularly works, mourned for those who
recipient of the Preserving
involved in documenting the did not have to mourn.” n
Memory award, a recognition
established in 1998 to honor lives of Jews in Konin and
Reprinted with permission
non-Jewish Poles preserving the Konin region. She did it
from Jewish Heritage Europe
Jewish heritage. Under her with tireless energy, saving
www.jewish-heritage-europe-eu.
direction, the Konin Museum matzevot and numerous
organized research, recovery, Jewish cemeteries. In order
and commemorative efforts at to be able to work more
approximately twenty Jewish effectively, she learned
cemeteries, marking them Yiddish, established contacts
with signage, commemorative with the Institute of Martyrs
plaques, and memorials. She and Holocaust Remembrance,

GAZETA SPRING 2020 n 81


29th Jewish Culture Festival in Kraków in 2019
Photography by Pan Borsuk. Used with permission.

If you would like to suggest an article or author for the next issue of Gazeta,
or submit one yourself, please email: info@taubephilanthropies.org. The
submission deadline for the next issue is July 15, 2020.
We accept queries and submissions for feature articles of no more than 1500
words, and up to 500 words or less for all other announcements or reports.

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