Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The newest survey published by CNS OBOP -

TNS OBOP published a newest survey, which asks what do Poles think about Jews. These are the results of the survey.

Most of the people gain their knowledge about the Jews from TV, radio and movies – 65,5%, and surprisingly only 1,4% mentioned internet. The next biggest sources are hardcopy media like newspapers and books – 36,7%. Followed by that is school – 25,8%, discussions among family members – 23,5%, and among friends – 19,6%.

Only few people learn about the Jews on religion class or in the church – 5,2%, and a little more learn about them from personal contacts with Jews-4,7%. Only 4,8% doesn’t know anything about the Jews.

Asked who has suffered more during WWII, the survey showed, that younger people claim that Jews suffered more than Poles, whereas the older the polled were, the more people claimed that the suffering was equal or Poles suffered more. In the age group 15-19 only 6,4% claimed bigger Polish suffering, whereas in the group of 20-29 and 50-59 the rate was the highest – each had 20% supporters of this claim.

46,7% of the polled think the Poles do not like Jews. However 38,6% think the opposite.

Those 46,7% are mainly men, 20-39 year old, living in big cities, politically conscious and describing their political views as centro-left or centro-right.
Those who don’t think that Poles do not like Jews are mainly women, 15-19 or 50 or more year old, living in medium or small cities, declaring total lack of interest in politics, describing their views as right-wing.

Let me just say that these results show how the people in big cities like Warsaw, Krakow, Wroclaw or Poznan wish to see themselves as cosmopolitan and tolerant and defying the countryside and small towns as inferior and prejudiced. That means, when they say that Poles don’t like Jews, they think about the countryside and its devoutly religious and conservative farmers since this is the part of Poland, which they’re the most ashamed of.

52,7% confirmed that the problem of antisemitism exists in Poland (defined as a prejudice against the Jews). 39,7% think its marginal, whereas 13% think it’s an important issue. 9,3% think that antisemitism does even not exist in Poland.

The majority of Poles do not show any sign of anti-Semitism however 45,2% agree, that Jews have too much influence on global affairs, 34,2% think the same in terms of Polish political affairs, 34,1% would apply it also to Polish economy. 26,8% of the polled, think that Jews have too much influence on Polish media.

The most disappointing result is 19,6% of polled who think that although the Holocaust was a horrid crime, Poland is better off without the Jews. 16,2% indicate the reason for Jews suffering as a punishment from God for crucifying Jesus.

The survey was conducted between the 7th and 10th of January 2010, on nationwide, random sample of 1001 inhabitants of Poland aged 15 or more.

To view the original article, please click here

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Kaczyński's legacy: The Museum of the History of Polish Jews

The Jewish History Institute (Żydowski Institut Historyczny) was the first to take the initiative to create the Museum of the History of Polish Jews. President Aleksander Kwaśniewski, became the official patron of the undertaking, followed after the 2005 election by the late President Lech Kaczyński.

The Museum is being funded mainly from private and NGO donations from USA, Germany, UK and Poland. Today the Museum already has a project of the building and was able to collect a unique documentation of Polish judaica from around the world. The City of Warsaw, which was at that time governed by Lech Kaczyński, donated the land for the Museum – which is right on the opposite side of the Ghetto Fighter’s Memorial – and in 2005 the Government of Poland, Warsaw City Council signed an agreement which regulates the administration and funding channels of the future Museum.

The Museum’s role is to promote the culture of Polish Jews, a 1000-year old community that was annihilated by the Nazis in less then 5 years, as well as to support the growing Jewish community in Poland, in order to rethink Polish-Jewish relations. It will aim at exposing all the sides of these relations, both bright and dark ones.

Museum manages many different projects. Here are 3 main projects that the Museum is a sponsor of:

Polish Righteous (Polscy Sprawiedliwi) – the Museum started this project in July 2007. It’s purpose serves commemorating and preventing the Polish Righteous Among the Nations from being forgotten. Collecting documentation and exposing the deeds of people who rescued Jews in occupied Poland is the main method of fulfilling this aim. Polish public opinion didn’t hear about The Righteous for years, due to Communist government policies. Today, there are 510 Polish Righteous alive, out of 6000, who were awarded with the medal of Yad Vashem Memorial Institute. The website of the project contains so far tens of reports that include photos, audio files and documents. Website users can also give their own testimony, which later will be translated to English in order to reach out of Poland.

The Virtual Shtetl – Polish Jewry local history website. The website aims at collecting information from the Internet users about the Shtetls – small Jewish towns in Easter Poland. The website will collect information about modern Poland and its cities and towns, but also about the pre-war Poland.

Israel-Poland student exchange – Every year a group of about 10-15 Polish students go to Tel Aviv University from October till January. Every year they present to their Israeli peers and Tel Aviv intellectual elites an exhibit on Polish culture, history, and today’s successes and achievements.

In addition, a group of Israeli students visit Poland for 8 to 10 days in August/September and tour Poland seeing not only the death camps in Oświęcim, Majdanek or Treblinka but spending more time visiting the most important historical, cultural and everyday life sites of Jewish Community in Poland. Students will also participate in workshops and fieldtrip with their Polish peers, which help to integrate the group and allow them to open up for each other.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

They decorated Israeli flags with ribbon - 12.04.10 -

About 8 thousand participants, joined together in the 19th March of the Living, walked from the camp gate with a sign “Arbeit macht frei” in the former German camp Auschwitz I to the former place of extermination, Auschwitz II – Birkenau.
The marchers put black ribbons on the Israeli flags in order to show the solidarity with mourning Poles.
Just before the start of the march, the event coordinators informed that its participants pay homage to the tragically killed Presidential Couple, Lech and Maria Kaczyński, and all the other victims of the Smolensk disaster

They emphasized that Mr President and the First Lady were great friends of Jewish nation and the State of Israel. In the gesture of solidarity, the flags carried at the head of the march, will be decorated with a black ribbon.

On the sound of Shofar

The sign to start the march was the sound of shofar, shepherd’ ram horn. The ancient Hebrews used it during the religious ceremonies. Together marched Jews from e.g. Israel, France, USA and Hungary.

Among the marchers was the Chief Rabbi of Israel, Meir Lau and the dissident from the Soviet era, Anatol Szczaranski (Natan Sharansky). The participants of the March of the Living will walk 3 km to the former Auschwitz II – Birkenau, where the ceremony will be held to pay honour to the victims of Shoah.

The March of the Living has been held in Auschwitz since 1988. They’re traditionally organized on the Day of Remembrance of the Shoah victims (Yom HaShoah). 1,5 thousand Jews took part in the first march. Since 1996 the marches are organized annually.

The Israeli Parliament, Knesset, established the Day of remembrance of Shoah on 12th of April 1951. It’s date is related to the outbreak of the Uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto. Originally the holiday was called Yom HaShoah U’Mered Hagetaot (The Day of Remembrance of Holocaust and the Ghetto Uprising). Later the day was called Yom Hashoah ve Hagevurah (The Day of Remembrance of Holocaust and Heroism). Today it’s simply the Day of Shoah.

There, they killed a million

The date of Day of remembrance is mobile, which relates to the Jewish calendar, which is a lunar calendar, and happens on the 27th day in the month of Nissan. The biggest March ever held took place in 2005 – on the 60th Anniversary of Liberating Auschwitz. About 20 thousand participants were present. It was lead by the Polish and Israeli Prime Minister – Marek Belka and Ariel Sharon. The ceremony was attended by the representatives of over 50 countries, like the PM of Hungary, Ferenc Gyurcsany and the Nobel Prize Winner, Elie Wiesel.

The German Auschwitz Camp was built in 1940. KL Auschwitz II – Birkenau – two years later it became the place of the mass murder of Jews, Auschwitz III is a system of sub-camps. Germans exterminated over 1,1 mln people, mainly Jews but also Poles, Roma, Soviet POWs and other nationals.

written by: jaś//kdj/k

For the original article, please click here.

Fully translated by the blog's author to the best of his ability.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Israelis share Poland's grief

Photos taken in front of the Polish Embassy in Tel Aviv.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Because of the tragic plane crash of the presidential airplane which claimed the life of Presidential Couple and other prominent officials and intellectuals, a week-long national mourning was announced by the acting president, Chairman of the Parliament, Bronisław Komorowski. May God be with us all in this dark hour.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Grand Opening of White Storck Synagogue in Wroclaw

After 65 years of ruin and neglection, the White Storck Synagogue in Wroclaw, will be once again reopened to serve the Jewish Community of Wroclaw. Rabbi Yitzhak Rapoport, the Chief Rabbi of Jewish Commune in Wroclaw will lead the first Shabbat services in the Synagogue since the Nazi Crystal Night of 1938. The renovation was funded from the donations collected by the Bente Kahane Foundation ("Fundacja Bente Kahane").

To go to the website of the Foundation in English, please click here.

News Updates: "I miss you, Jew!" - Gazeta Wyborcza, 21.03.2010

I MISS YOU, JEW! - a new campaign organized by a Polish artist Rafal Betlejewski all across the coutry. University of Warsaw demands changing the slogan of the campaign to "less controversial".

Rafal Betlejewski has been traveling for the last month and photographing those who would like to express their feeling of missing of Polish Jews, who perished or left Poland and are not here in anymore. Three events were organized so far where a group photo was taken - in Poznan, at the Gdanski Train Station in Warsaw (where the Jews departed Poland from in 1968) and in Grodzisk Mazowiecki (near Warsaw). Hundreds of people reminisce the Jews of Poland on the website ("I miss".com).
Another event was supposed to be organized at the Warsaw University, where one inspired student of UW, Bartosz Zurawski wanted to commemorate Zygmunt Bauman (father of liquid modernity theory). A group photo was to be taken around an empty chair, which would symbolize prof. Bauman. Bauman was one among few thousand Warsaw Jewish intelligentsia members that had to leave Poland after the antisemitic demonstrations of 1968 organized by the Communist government.

However, the University of Warsaw gave the permission for holding the event only few days before the scheduled date, and it was hard to spread the news around the capital in such a short time so the event was cancelled - says Betlejewski. At the same time UW authorities suggested that the word "Jew" in the main slogan isn't "very fortunate". The Chancellor of the University, Jerzy Pieszczurykow, informed the media through his spokesperson that it was just a suggestion that Mr. Betlejewski could or could not use. He said that he remembers 1968 very well and he knows very well the atmosphere of those days and he would rather see a more "collective" slogan, embracing all the groups that had to leave in 1968.

Piotr Pazinski, the General Editor of Jewish monthly "Midrasz" commented:
"I will say ironically that thanks to unprecedented and unchallenged reaction of the University authorities which does not subject itself to political correctness, in a true spirit of pluralism opened the doors to all the people who are missed, not only the Jews. I will miss a wise, open-minded and friendly authorities of my home Institute of Philosophy, and especially my professor, who really took care of me and made sure that my possible scientific achievements were not contaminated too much with the spirit of Hebrew prophets. "

In addition, Betlejewski put up graffiti all over Warsaw saying "I miss you Jew!"(A picture of one of the graffitis is available on the website with the original link). Many people saw it as an antisemitic slogan and in some cases the word "Jew" was erased by the locals leaving simple "I miss you".

For the original link, click here