CHIDUSZ 33 – 11/2016

On the cover: Anti-immigrant demonstration on the Old Town Market Square in Wrocław in November 2015 during which an effigy of a Jew was set on fire. / Edyta Marciniak CHIDUSZ 2016

Editorial [to the second English-language issue of CHIDUSZ]

We put together a selective overview of the past 16 months especially for this issue in hopes of presenting an accurate picture of the social and political situation in Poland during that period, highlighting the most important occurrences of Jewish life, and providing a context for the events mentioned in the articles.

A Quarter Million Trees Bearing Down Upon Us: How Poland Exploits its Righteous Among the Nations

Excerpt from the article: In recent years, trees in the Jerusalem Yad Vashem garden have served as a primary device for repairing Poland’s image abroad. Or, more precisely, as we are reminded time and again, that half of the trees that commemorate Poles who saved Jews during World War II. These trees are then multiplied by the thousands of people who were involved in helping the Righteous become Righteous. When the number of Righteous and their assistants becomes high enough, a cry of resentment is directed at the Jews and the whole world, which insists on regarding Poles more as…

The place where Jews were burned in Radziłów. Photo from investigation S15/01/Zn concerning the murder of 800 people of Jewish nationality on July 7, 1941. Some of them were shot and some of them burned in the barn. (The investigation was suspended.) OKŚZpNP, IPN Białystok.

Cities of Death

Excerpt from the article: Many people, including the current Minister of Education in Poland, are still questioning the historic facts behind the pogroms in Kielce and Jedwabne. Fortunately, the majority of Polish intellectuals have reached a causal consensus regarding the events. But now historians face an even more difficult task: it is time to take…

Artistic installation by Kitty Hubbard on the historic wall of the Neue Synagoge (New Synagogue) in Wrocław. /Kitty Hubbard

Anomalies of History. The Story of the Neue Synagoge Wall in Breslau

Excerpt from the article: „This wall reminds me of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, which is also the only remaining part of the Second Temple. Not even the Temple itself, just the wall that surrounded its outer courtyard – just like this one here in Wrocław,” says Lev Stern, a Polish-Israeli architect, describing the last…

The Zorek family shop. The original building, located on Jedności Narodowej Street, did not survive the war.

How to Reconstruct a Dinosaur

Excerpt from the article:   Werner Zorek’s parents managed to send him to England before the war. The rest of his family died in Auschwitz. As an adult, Werner (he later changed his name to Warren) never talked about his past. It was only after he passed away that his family realized how little they…


The First Stolperteine in Wrocław

Excerpt from the article: The stones I install are tangible proof of the existence of people who never had any burial or grave because they died in gas chambers,” says the German artist Günter Demnig. On February 2, 2016, he laid his first two memory stones –  Stolpersteine – in Wrocław. (…) Most of the…

Protest aktorów po spektaklu Wycinka w reż. Krystiana Lupy /fot. Chidusz 2016

Polish and Jewish Theatre Wars

Excerpt from the article: The dusty building of the Jewish Theatre in Warsaw closed down in 2016 just two years after it had begun to undergo an artistic revival and it was unclear if it would ever reopen its doors. Prior to that, Polish society had been witness to a strange public row between two…


A Wrocław Triptych.

Excerpt from the article: Told in its own words and images. Transcribed, framed and presented to the public. Piotr gained fame after he set fire to an effigy of a Jew in November of 2015 in Wrocław. Since then he has grown increasingly vocal in his racist opinions, despite the fact that he was recently…

An exhibition on the Solidarity trade union installed on the Old Town Market Square in Wrocław was vandalized soon after the opening. The foreheads of several prominent activists featured in the display were marked with a Star of David. /CHIDUSZ

End of Year Conversation

Excerpt from the article: “It makes no difference to me if they burn the effigy of a Jew, or attack a gay person, or beat someone up for looking like a Muslim (even though they turn out to be Hindu or Cuban). It doesn’t really matter who gets hurt. What matters is that someone does…