JEWISH CULTURE FESTIVAL SINGER’S WARSAW

Singer’s Warsaw Festival is one of the most important artistic events in Poland showing Jewish culture in a broad context of Polish and global culture. It is the feast of music, theatre, literature and visual arts, which, thanks to Gołda Tencer and the Shalom Foundation, has been taking place every year since 2004. The festival aims at promoting high end Jewish culture, both in traditional sense and modern version. Therefore, the festival organizers invite both experienced and young artists fascinated with the wealth of Jewish culture who process it into modern projects. Warsaw festival is attended by the most prominent representatives of the Jewish culture from various parts of the world: Israel, USA, Sweden, Holland, France, Belgium, Canada, Denmark and Hungary. The Festival brings up the memory of the world that is gone. On Grzybowski Square and Próżna Street one can hear the chatter, klezmer music played to invite people to dance and the air is filled with the scent of nutmeg, cloves and honey. Yiddish culture returns in the pre-war movies and contemporary shows, in the Jewish cut-out, ceramics and Hebrew calligraphy workshops. One can sense the air of pre-war Warsaw: it seems like an eternal festival (I. B. Singer “My Father’s Office”), and many people would like to keep this exceptional mood for longer.


In addition to recalling the memory of the forgone world, Jewish culture and tradition that was developing for centuries in Poland, in addition to the presentation of the modern artistic achievements, the festival is an important source of inspiration for the artists, it supports the development of new, contemporary art. As a result, new pieces, stage adaptations and small theater forms as well as music projects are born here. Guests take part in scientific sessions, various lectures and meetings with the authors.


Despite the tragic experience of the Holocaust, the festival is a great opportunity to present that Jewish culture continues to develop and the artists who represent it have ever fresher, interesting proposals for the wide range of audiences. With the diverse forms of expression demonstrated by Polish and foreign artists, Warsaw is able to yet again welcome the lost world of Polish Jews. Singer’s Warsaw Festival is the best proof that Jewish culture is still alive, abundant and vibrating.

AND I STILL SEE THEIR FACES…

  • About the Project
  • Exhibition Openings
  • Invite the exhibition

On the 18th April, 1996 the exhibition “And I Still See Their Faces…” premiered in Warsaw’s Zachęta Gallery. Ever since, this unusual exhibition prepared by the Shalom Foundation has been travelling around the world.

When in 1994 Gołda Tencer, the General Director of the Foundation, called for the photographs of Polish Jews to be sent in, she never expected that the response would be as big. The photographs, aged, a bit damaged, kept on the attics and dug out of the ruins, hundreds of them kept coming from big cities, small towns and villages.

Her name was Taube or Tauber or maybe Tauberg. I remember the name from my mother’s stories – wrote the citizen of Lublin. The sepia photograph features young woman, smiling. She holds a sleeping baby, wrapped in a scarf, and holds the hand of a small girl wearing white dress and corals. She is also accompanied by four, a bit older children wearing simple clothes. The family poses in front of the house. The photograph was most probably taken right after the birth of the youngest child (between 1934 and 1937), by the happy father. We don’t know what happened to them…

50 years after the Holocaust, thanks to the involvement of Polish families and Jews, it was possible to bring back the memory of the absent. From among 9000 photographs, several hundred photos were selected for the exhibition “And I Still See Their Faces…” Ever since, the exhibition has been visiting various places around the world. It was presented by nearly 50 museums in Los Angeles, Mexico City, Jerusalem, San Jose, St. Petersburg, Hamburg, Paris, London, Madrid, Vilnius, Buenos Aires, Porto, Grenoble, Lyon and Toronto. Everywhere it is received with a warm welcome; it brings back the forgotten world and the history of Polish Jews. Its importance is proved by the enthusiastic reviews of the New York’s edition published twice by The New York Times and the exhibition was extended six times (!) (instead of one month, the exhibition was open for half a year).

The exhibition is exceptional because of its universal character. Photographs of Polish Jews are seen not only by the people who visit the museums of the European cities but also citizens of small towns such as Tykocin or Szamotuły. It happens because we all keep seeing Their faces and keep hearing Their voices…

1. Warsaw, Zachęta Contemporary Art Gallery, 18 April 1996;
2. Kraków, Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Sztuk Pięknych, 12 July 1996;
3. Frankfurt am Men, Jüdisches Museum, 26 January 1997;
4. Łódź, Łódź City History Museum, 26 May 1997;
5. Los Angeles, The Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance, 12 November 1997;
6. Paris, Memorial Du Martyr Juif Inconnu, 8 April 1998;
7. Detroit, Holocaust Memorial Center, 10 May, 1998;
8. Mexico City, Museum San Ildefonso, 24 June, 1998;
9. Jerusalem, Yad Vashem, 1 July 1998;
10. Chicago, The Polish Museum of America, 28 January 1999;
11. Munich, Müncher Rathauses, 7 February 1999;
12. San Petersburg, Florida Holocaust Museum, 25 April 1999;
13. Hamburg, Die Neue Gesellschaft, 26 May 1999;
14. Boston, Boston University Hillel, 13 September 1999;
15. Poznań, U Jezuitów Gallery, 21 February 2000;
16. Lancaster, Franklin and Marshall College, 25 January 2001;
17. St. Petersburg, The Exhibition Centre of the St. Petersburg’s Artists Association, 15 May 2001;
18. Brussels, Musee Juif de Belgique, 25 October 2001;
19. Prague, Galerie Novoměstkó Radnice, 6 January 2002;
20. Hague, Raadzaal van de gemeente Den Haag / Council Room (Raadzaal) of the City Hall, The Hague, 25 April 2003;
21. San Jose, Costa Rica, El Museo de Los Ninos, 29 April 2003;
22. Vilnius, Valstybinis Vilniaus Gaono Żydų muziejus / The Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum, 22 September 2003;
23. Buenos Aires, “Casa de la Cultura” del Gobierno de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires,” 9 October 2003;
24. Montreal, City Hall, Main Hall – Hôtel de Ville, 5 November 2003;
25. Toronto, Allen Lambert Galleria, BCE Place, 1 September 2004;
26. Aix-les-Bains (Casino Grand Cercle), 4 November 2004;
27. Lyon (Merostwo 3-go arrondissement), 20 January 2005;
28. Grenoble (Ancien Musée), 3 February 2005;
29. Warsaw, National Art Gallery Zachęta, 5 September 2006;
30. New York, Yeshiva University Museum, 1 March 2007;
31. Świecie, Teutonic Castle, 12 May 2007;
32. Gdańsk, New Synagogue in Gdańsk Wrzeszcz, 22 July 2007;
33. London, London City Hall, 14 January 2008;
34. Sieradz, Catholic House of All Saints Parish, 16 January 2009;
35. Opole, Opole Symphony Hall of J. Elsner, 7 May 2009;
36. Kraków, Wysoka Synagogue, 28 June 2009;
37. Kraków, Kraków’s Opera House, 27 January 2010;
38. Zielona Góra, Lubuskie Region Museum, 26 January 2011;
39. Koszalin, Museum in Koszalin, 18 April 2011;
40. Tykocin, Museum in Tykocin, 19 May 2011;
41. Bytom, Upper Silesia Museum, 5 October 2011;
42. Madrid, Palacio de Canete, (Sefarad-Israel), 19 January 2012;
43. Szamotuły, Górków Castle Museum, 26 January 2012;
44. Radom, Jacek Malczewski Museum, branch, Contemporary Art Museum, 18 April 2012;
45. Porto, Centro Português de Fotografia, 22 April 2012;
46. Mursja (Spain), Universidad de Murcia, 10 September 2012;
47. Włodawa, Small Synagogue, 5 October 2012;
48. Białystok, Podlaska Symphony Hall and Opera House – European Art Center, 6 March 2013;
49. Bytów, Zachodniokaszubskie Museum, 24 May 2013;
50. Barcelona, Muzeum Historii Katalonii in Barcelona, 19 June 2013;
51. Płock, Museum of the Jews of Masovia, 5 December 2013;
52. Catalonia (Spain), Katedra Castelló d’Empúries, 11 October 2014;
[Spanish version of the exhibition was co-funded by the Institute of Adam Mickiewicz (www.iam.pl)]
53. Warsaw, Jewish Theatre in Warsaw, 26 October 2014;
54. Kielce, Instytut Kultury Spotkania i Dialogu Stowarzyszenia im. Jana Karskiego, 24 April 2015;
55. La Seu d’Urgell (Spain), Parador de La Seu d’Urgell hotel, 23 June 2015.
[Spanish version of the exhibition was co-funded by the Institute of Adam Mickiewicz (www.iam.pl)]
56. Otwarcie wystawy w Calonge (Hiszpania) w Capella del Carme na Costa Brava
[Spanish version of the exhibition was co-funded by the Institute of Adam Mickiewicz (www.iam.pl)]
57. Otwarcie wystawy w Gironie (Hiszpania), w Museum of Jewish History
[Spanish version of the exhibition was co-funded by the Institute of Adam Mickiewicz (www.iam.pl)]

The exhibition of the photographies of the Polish Jews „And I Keep Seeing Their Faces…” likes to travel! Invite it to your city!

Would you like to host the exhibition? Read the necessary information and if you still have questions, write to us.

1) What should the host know about the exhibition in order to make it feel good at his/her place?
The host should know the subject of the exhibition, have good will and at least 200-300 m2 of free space.

2) Isn’t the exhibition tired because constant travelling?
On the contrary! The exhibition likes to travel, it easily interacts with people in cities and towns, it likes to visit new places.

3) How about foreign languages? How does the exhibition do outside of Poland?
Photographs of Polish Jews have already visited more than 50 places. They were in New York, Porto, Mexico, Jerusalem, San Jose, St. Petersburg, Hamburg, Paris, London, Madrid, Vilnius, Buenos Aires, Grenoble, Lyon and Toronto. It speaks Polish, English and Spanish.

4) How much does it weigh?
It depends. When it travels by plane and is packed in big, wooden boxes, it weighs ca. 700 kilograms. It is half less when it is transported by road or rail. Then, the panels are wrapped in foil.

5) How long does it take to assembly the exhibition?
The exhibition is made of smaller and bigger panels: there are 4 information panels in frames (90×120 cm), 88 construction panels (50 pieces seizing 140×30 cm and 38 pieces of 90×70 cm), as well as 1090 connectors for panels. pieces). Assembly usually takes 2 days. The works are supervised by the architect who will need two assistants. Disassembly is performed by you, according to our guidelines.

6) How much does it cost to rent the exhibition?
The Foundation does not collect any fee for renting the exhibition. The host is obliged to pay the cost connected with organization. Details are provided here.

Details:
Organizer is obliged to:
1. Cover the remuneration of the designer of the exhibition amounting to PLN 3000 net and the cost of his travel and accomodation;
2. Ensure a projector and DVD and CD players, screen and glass shelf for the items from ghetto to be displayed during the exhibition presentation;
3. Print and send invitations to the exhibition, and potentially promotional posters upon Shalom Foundation’s acceptance of the designs;
4. Light the exhibition;
5. Organize official opening of the exhibition;
6. Rent exhibition halls including service (guards) within set dates;
7. Assembly and disassembly the exhibition;
8. Transport the exhibition from the seat of the Shalom Foundation (Warsaw) to the destination place and back to Warsaw or other place indicated by the Shalom Foundation after the exhibition is finished.
9. Provide sound system in the exhibition hall (music shall be provided by the Shalom Foundation);
10. Organize photo service and, if possible, record the opening;
11. Insure the exhibition for the duration of the assembly, exhibition, disassembly and transportation;
12. Adapt the exhibition hall and make construction elements that make the assembly of the exhibition feasible in the place indicated by the Organizer.

Kwartalnik „Cwiszn”

Cwiszn Quarterly was launched because of the need to refresh the face of Yiddish culture in Poland. The first, double, issue was published in Spring 2010. Fitting in the title space “between” (Yiddish: cwishn), the journal shows the relations between Yiddish and Polish culture, between various historic periods and fields of art. We want to mediate between the old and the current culture, between the culture before the Holocaust and the culture after the Holocaust, before March’68 and after, but also, or maybe firstly, between Yiddish and Polish culture – declared the editor-in-chief, Karolina Szymaniak, in foreword to the first issue.

“Cwiszn” presents not only the subjects connected with remembrance and heritage protection but also the issues that concern contemporary Polish culture. The creators of the journal revaluate archaic views, propose innovative ways of interpretation and revisions of the stereotypes connected with the Jewish culture. With the help of effective program line, the editors of “Cwiszn” were able to include in the “cultural blood system” texts, which were destined to be forgotten.

Each issue is devoted to one subject connected with Yiddish language and culture presenting various aspects in individual parts of the journal, such as: the archive, history, culture, literature, language. There is also a lot of information about current affairs and publications connected with the journal’s profile.

Gołda Tencer, publisher of the quarterly, wrote: I am convinced that this journal has a chance to become completely new, fresh voice in Polish discussion about Yiddish culture. We are able to say that this wish became true. With the help of “Cwiszn” we are able to face the rebirth of Yiddishland – Jewish culture enriched with multiculturalism, modern trends and tradition.

The last issue was published in Spring 2015.

HISTORY CONTEST

The contest “The History and Culture of Polish Jews” addressed at the students of secondary schools was announced on the 50th anniversary of the Ghetto Uprising in 1993. Ever since, the contest has been taking place every 2 years. It is organized under the honorary patronage of the Ministry of National Education and the scientific patronage of the Historic Institute of the University of Warsaw, Jewish Studies Chair of the Jagiellonian University and the Jewish Historic Institute. Organizers are also supported by the Israeli Ministry of Education. The contest is supervised by the Organizational Committee chaired by Professor Feliks Tych (the first four editions were chaired by Professor Marcin Kula).

The contest’s best participants are offered an opportunity to enter selected majors on the University of Warsaw without the need to take entry exams (they include, History, Polish Philology, Oriental Studies (Hebrew Studies), Journalism and Social Sciences). In addition, Jagiellonian University proposed to offer the laureate of the contest a free entry to the university.

The top winners of the contest have the opportunity to take a weeklong journey to Israel organized by the Ministry of Education of Israel. In 2015, we have received an extensive report of one of such journeys, you can watch it on: JOURNEY to Israel taken by the participants of the 11th edition of the contest.

With each new edition there are more and more interested young people, hence the growing number of participants. So far, eight editions were attended by more than 15 thousand students. Because of this huge popularity among young people, organizers decided to expand its coverage. Henceforth, in 2001, together with the 5th edition of the contest addressed at secondary schools, the 1st edition of the contest addressed at primary and lower secondary schools took place, entitled “On Common Ground,” chaired by, among others, Eleonora Bergman (PhD) and Professor Paweł Śpiewak.

Many of the participants of both contests continue pursuing their interests and focus on researching the common Polish-Jewish history; thus, some of the winners are pursuing PhD studies on the University of Warsaw. Regardless of their professional choices, they became free of prejudices, aware citizens of the new, open society.

The school year 2017/2018will be the year of the 13th edition of the contest addressed at the students of the secondary schools “The History and Culture of Polish Jews” and the 9th edition of the contest addressed at the primary and lower secondary schools “On the Common Ground.”

YIDDISH CULTURE CENTER

Centrum Kultury Jidysz was launched upon Shalom Foundation’s initiative and today it functions as the Jewish Theatre – Yiddish Culture Center. The Center has been organizing Yiddish courses, translation and Jewish song workshops since 2000 and since 2002 it has been offering summer Yiddish language and culture seminars.  

The Center focuses on the culture and language of the Ashkenazi Jews. The variety of activities undertaken by the Center proves that Yiddish culture is not just nostalgic pictures of shtetls – it is a living heritage that needs to be taken and faced in various social and artistic projects as well as scientific initiatives.

Yiddish Culture Center is a place open for everyone, regardless of their age, education, religion or ethnic background. Currently, it implements its mission by organizing Yiddish classes, translation workshops, workshops dedicated to reading manuscripts, Yiddish songs, workshops for children, Film Club, series of meetings dedicated to art and literature, lectures by the Jewish Open University, Third Age University, International Yiddish Language and Culture Summer Seminar. In other words, Yiddish Culture Center is a place, where the tradition comes across the contemporary world, where the Jewish culture has a lively dialog with the Polish culture. The Center is open to cooperation and is willing to undertake new initiatives. If you are interested, please contact us.

DIGITAL LIRBRARY OF YIDDISH LITERATURE

A collection of the works written by the most outstanding authors writing in Yiddish before WW2 which came from the National Library, available as the Digital National Library “Polona.”

With more than 230 positions, the digital collection of works written in Yiddish was launched in 2007 as the first non-Polish collection in CBN Polona. The collection is available at www.polona.pl under the name “Yiddish Literature.” It is addressed at the lovers of Yiddish culture around the world.

Visiting the website, the reader has an opportunity to familiarize with books published at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. The collection presents texts that are part of the ample collection of literature written in this language owned by the National Library. In addition, there is also an access to books and journals from the interwar period, hence from the period during which the biggest Jewish diaspora in Europe was located in Poland.

The collection features nearly hundred most important Yiddish authors: poets, prose writers, drama authors. They include pioneers of literature in this language, such as Salomon Ettinger, Mendele Mojcher Sforim and other authors who followed them, including Abraham Goldfaden, I.L. Perec or Sholem Aleichem and others. Because of the copy rights restrictions, the webpage could not feature the works written by authors such as I. B. Singer.

Saved from the conflagration of WW2, the part of the heritage of Polish Jews has been buried among the Library’s collections for years. With the help of the joint undertaking, the National Library and the Shalom Foundation gave it a chance to be brought back to the interested citizens. Now, it may become a valuable source of original texts in Yiddish for students, PhD students and all people who learn Yiddish language.

International Summer Seminar in Yiddish Language and Culture

Details soon

Third Age University

Opened on 1 March 2008 and operating ever since that time, Third Age University is a special kind of college developed by the Shalom Foundation and currently operating as part of the Jewish Theatre-Yiddish Culture Center. Founded and run in the spirit of mutual respect, it is an educational and meeting place for almost 200 students over 55 years old.

One of the main goals for the TAU is to improve the quality of life of seniors by providing them with multidirectional development: intellectual, spiritual and psychomotor. With a great respect for diversity, the school presents not only historic roots of Yiddish language but also contemporary social, artistic and research projects.

Wide range of program offer is available for everyone, regardless of their current education and religion. In addition to classes dedicated to culture, tradition and customs of Ashkenazi Jews, the TAU also offers computer classes, art workshops, Jewish dance class, fitness, support groups and lectures dedicated to other fields, such as medicine, psychology and fine arts. Each participant can also explore the depths of Yiddish language. Language classes on three levels of advancement are run by Dr. Jacob Weitzner.

The program aims at enabling each participant to choose the most interesting and suiting subjects. The TAU students can expand their knowledge, develop a hobby and artistic talents, and their individual potential is always taken into account.

Third Age University also organizes exhibitions presenting works of the students, open lectures and meetings with authors with the celebrities of the culture and art world as well as open air art excursions. Members of the TAU FS can participate in celebrating Jewish holidays such as Chanukah and Passover organized for them or join the celebration of Shabbat and Hawdala. The celebrations are accompanied by lecture on the history and customs connected with the Jewish holidays and degustation of holiday snacks.

Interdisciplinary program helps to support comprehensive education of seniors in several aspects. If you would like to join the Jewish Third Age University, please contact our coordinator.

Jewish Open University

Launched by the Shalom Foundation and currently operating as part of the Jewish Theatre, The Jewish Open University of Shalom Foundation is the first and the only interdisciplinary educational program covering culture, output and social activity of Ashkenazi Jews.

The Jewish Open University offers its students an opportunity to learn about the ties between Polish and Jewish culture, shows how the past activity of Warsaw’s Jews translates into the present picture of the city – multicultural European capital city, and inspires to a conscious and creative use of the output of this ethnic group. Classes are run by distinguished scholars and experts in the Jewish field, including: Hanna Kossowska, Professor  Jacek Leociak (IBL Polish Academy of Sciences, University of Warsaw), Dr. Joanna Lisek (University of Wrocław), Dr. Renata Piątkowska (the Museum of the History of Polish Jews), Anda Rottenberg, Bella Szwarcman-Czarnota (Midrasz), Dr. Karolina Szymaniak (Jagiellonian University) and Dr. Jolantę Żyndul (University of Warsaw). The program is addressed at various participants, both the beginners, who wish to learn about Yiddish culture as well as to persons, who are connected with the subject professionally. The open formula of the university enables everyone to participate in the classes, the only condition is that the participant must be over 18 years old. Students pay symbolic semester fee.

This truly exceptional educational value of the Jewish Open University is appreciated not only by the students but also scientific and research circles, including the previous rector of the University of Warsaw, Katarzyna Chałasińska-Macukow, who took ŻUO under her honorary patronage. Open University’s program was included in a series of general university lectures. Classes take place in the rooms of the Yiddish Culture Center and at the end participants receive certificates issued by the Jewish Open University. Moreover, upon completing a semester and passing the exam, ECTS students receive 5 general lectures ECTS points.

REMEMBERING THE WARSAW GHETTO UPRISING

On early Monday morning, on 19 April 1943, on the eve of Pesach, when ghetto was entered by the military and police troops, Jewish fighters opened fire from the windows of the buildings at Nalewki Street. The forces were not even, the adversary had the advantage and dominance and the fate of the fighters was doomed. Without any hope for victory, led by Mordechaj Anielewicz, ghetto citizens started a heroic fight for a dignified death. Very few survived. And today, their former neighbors, their descendants and the current citizens of Warsaw have the moral imperative to remember those events.

The celebrations of the anniversaries of the uprising in Warsaw ghetto are supported by numerous representatives of Jewish organizations, state authorities and Warsaw City Hall as well as other institutions that support this worthy cause. In recent years, the special celebration was devoted to the 65th and 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the uprising. Shalom Foundation represented by Gołda Tencer was engaged in both celebrations and Ms. Tencer chaired the Organizational Committee of the Celebration of the 65th Anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and five years later she was responsible for the program concept of the gala concert in Teatr Wielki in Warsaw commemorating the 70th anniversary of the uprising.

The tradition of the anniversary celebrations involves not only official gatherings at the Ghetto Heroes Monument attended by the state authorities and representatives of the diplomatic corps from other countries, during which, the living participants of the uprising are honored, but also grand concerts. In 2008 and 2013, Teatr Wielki hosted Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by the world famous Zubin Mehta.

Organizers make every effort to pass the memory also in less celebratory way, however closer to the people, i.e. the current citizens of Warsaw. Hence, various projects and events that accompany the celebrations, such as prepared by Dawid Szurmiej “Memory Roll-Call,” street seder dinner organized on the street “Pesach for the Gone” or artistic installations by Jerzy Kalina and Raphael Rogiński, a trace of which are still the photos of the former Jewish citizens of Warsaw placed in the windows and on the walls of the townhouse at Próżna Street.

KONTAKT
FUNDACJA SHALOM
00-099 Warszawa
ul. Senatorska 35
 
shalom@shalom.org.pl
sekretariat@shalom.org.pl
+48 22 620 30 36
+48 22 620 30 37
+48 22 620 30 38
 
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