Katarzyna Winiarska

Short bio

Katarzyna Winiarska – cultural animator and educator associated with the Białowieża Forest, researcher of Jewish history, doctoral student at the Doctoral School of Social Sciences at the University of Warsaw, in 2002-2016 co-founder and co-director of the Jan Józef Lipski General University of in Teremiski near Białowieża (program of the Jacek Kuroń Educational Foundation). She is the creator and director of the Barn Theater in Teremiska, an important institution of independent culture in the Podlasie region, which will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2024.

She researches the history of Jews in Białowieża and works to restore their memory. She is the author of the Virtual Museum of Jewish History in Białowieża, co-author with director Joanna Troc of a play with children and youth from Białowieża called “Neighbors who are gone”, based on the stories she collected. She found survivor David Waldshan and recorded an interview with him, which was added to the archives of Yad Vashem and the Jewish Historical Institute as the only Jewish testimony from Białowieża. In 2019, she erected a monument and plaque dedicated to the memory of Jewish community in Białowieża, which she unveiled with the participation of 30 descendants. For her activities, she received a distinction in the Polin Award 2019 , a Diploma in Protecting Memory for the merits of saving and commemorating Jewish heritage in Poland (2020), and a distinction in the 3rd edition of the Katarzyna and Janusz Miernicki Karta Award for activities in favor of historical memory serving the civic community (2022).

She is an activist of many social movements: first of all, for the protection of the Białowieża Forest, and since August 2021, an activist of the Granica Group, which provides humanitarian aid to refugees on the Polish-Belarusian border. She is also a member of the Forum for Dialogue Network activist group. She is currently working on a doctoral thesis on the history of the Bialowieza Jews.