In May 2022, we launched a new NeDiPa project: Negotiating Difficult Pasts, which we are implementing together with our partners Fundacja Zapomniane from Warsaw and the Urban Memory Foundation from Wrocławia. The project is possible thanks to funds from the European Union (CERV – the Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values programme).
The NeDiPa project aims to develop a systematic approach to the difficult heritage of the Holocaust in Central and Eastern Europe. Over the next two years, we will implement 29 events – trainings, conferences, commemorations, consultation meetings, artistic initiatives – during which we will develop, together with experts in many fields, DIFFICULT HERITAGE REMEMBRANCE FRAMEWORK, which will include guidelines and recommendations for various groups of recipients and a toolkit for local activists.
In our activities we involve organizations, people and initiatives in the area of remembrance and care for the Jewish heritage in Poland, so that we can continue to work together and that the results of the project benefit the entire community. In our tasks and activities we follow the Code of Conduct and Child Protection Policy. We will keep you posted about the progress of work and invite you to public events. We encourage you to be in touch with our organizations!
HERE IS WHAT WE’VE ACCOMPLISHED SO FAR
1. KICK-OFF – WARSZAWA
The first meeting of the NeDiPa project took place on May 23, 2022 at JCC Warsaw. The purpose of the meeting, which took the form of a kick-off for stakeholders, was to present the project to the key organizations, people and initiatives working in the area of remembrance and care for Jewish heritage in Poland. See full photo-report on fb and on the Fundacja Zapomniane’s website.
→ Read the Event Description Sheet (WP1)
2. COMMEMORATION – NOWE TRZCIANO
On June 8, 2022, we commemorated Jewish men and women, refugees from the Białystok ghetto, who tried to survive the Holocaust in the forest near Nowe Trzciano. They were to spend time in the forest hideout from summer to late autumn. During this time, the local people provided them with food. A special unit of the military police from Kopna Góra set up an ambush in the forest and all the Jews were murdered. More information on on fb the website of Zapomniane Foundation, our partner and organizer of the ceremony.
→ Read the Event Description Sheet (WP7)
3. COMMEMORATION – CHRZANÓW
“Esther’s Willow” is an artistic project created by Marta and Katarzyna Sale from Chrzanów and Robert Yerachmiel Sniderman from Philadelphia, whose ancestors lived in Jarosław and Warsaw. On July 3, 2022, a Silent Procession commemorating the former Jewish community of Chrzanów passed through the streets of Chrzanów. Its participants set off from the vicinity of the railway station, then went along Henryka Avenue to the Market Square and from there to the former Esther Square (now unnamed), where, in the place where the Great Synagogue once stood, they planted a symbolic willow. Please find more information on the NeDiPa website.
→ Read the Event Description Sheet (WP14)
4. CONFERENCE & A SERIES OF EVENTS ON “DIFFICULT HERITAGE” – WROCŁAW
Between October 2022 and January 2023 our partner UMF organized a series of events dedicated to various audiences in Wrocław related to the main series theme of “Difficult Heritage”. The key event was a conference held on 12 October, “Difficult Heritage. Jewish Breslauers and Other Local Stories, Contexts and Activities” which brought together in panel discussions and lectures scholars, activists, city representatives, architects and designers (audio material and photos are available). The conference received the patronage of the Regional Representation of the European Commission in Poland. The series included walks with guides around Jewish Wrocław, guided tours of the works “Three Earths” by the artist Anna Schapiro for the Jewish cemetery at Gwarna Street and sessions with students. The events were aimed at raising awareness and knowledge among participants about definitions, civic heritage initiatives and places of difficult heritage – focusing on Jewish heritage – in Wrocław, Poland and Europe.
→ Read the Event Description Sheet (WP9)
5. SERIES OF EVENTS ON “GREEN COMMEMORATIONS” – KRAKÓW
In the fall of 2022 FestivALT organized a two-part, in-person event in Krakow. The first event took place on 15-16 October and was conceptualized as an outdoor showcase of green commemoration practices, while the second part was an academic conference, organized on 6-8 November in cooperation with several local partners, going deeper into the topic of green commemorations. During the 2-day outdoor event at the former KL Plaszow camp site we were promoting alternative and artistic strategies for the transmission of memory in green spaces. We demonstrated a practice-based culture of remembrance that harnesses innovative strategies of cooperation and a multidisciplinary approach to heritage and community building; seamlessly integrating Civic Arts, Activism and Urbanism. The main topic of the “Green Commemoration – Challenges of the Difficult Heritage Conference ” was to outline a framework by which to approach the difficult heritage of the former camps and other commemorated and uncommemorated sites of the Holocaust. A wide range of artists, activists, researchers and experts were involved in the series of events.
→ Read the Event Description Sheet (WP10)
6. COMMEMORATION – PIKULE
In November, our partner Zapomniane Foundation prepared a green commemoration of the forest hideout, which became the burial site of seven Jews from Modliborzyce in Pikule (Janów Lubelski commune). Thanks to cooperation with landscape architect Natalia Budnik we marked the location of the dugout/burial with plants so that it fits into the local landscape. On November 4, 2022, during the ceremony of unveiling the monument/tombstone, we commemorated the victims together. The ceremony was attended by its co-organizers, the Regional Museum in Janów Lubelski, the Janów Lubelski Forest Inspectorate, as well as the local authorities of Janów Lubelski and neighboring communes, representatives of the clergy, including Rabbi Yehoshua Ellis and the Bishop Mieczysław Cisło, youth from the 1st High School in Janów Lubelski, representatives of Jewish organizations, local community. See photo report.
→ Read the Event Description Sheet (WP5)
7. COMMUNITY BUILDING – WROCŁAW
As part of the NeDiPa project and thanks to cooperation with OP ENHEIM, architects from Wrocław and the Lower Silesian Architecture Festival – DOFA, we had the pleasure of meeting on 16 November, 2022 in the Oppenheim tenement house in Wrocław. We spent the afternoon discussing DOFA’s main theme – “Solidarity City” in the context of connecting the pre-war Breslau with contemporary Wrocław and its residents. On the program were talks about the conservation of monuments and related challenges in Wrocław and Lower Silesia as well as interpretation of Jewish law (halakha) in relation to burial sites and the application of non-invasive field research practices. Then, during the panel with architects and experts, we discussed about remembrance and the need to make an inventory of pre-war cemeteries in our city; we studied the complicated situation of the Jewish cemetery at Gwarna Street (former Claassenstrasse) and possible directions of design and approach to places of difficult heritage in Wrocław, in Europe and in the world. See photo report and listen to the audio from the meeting (available in Polish).
→ Read the Event Description Sheet (WP13)
8. STAKEHOLDERS MEETING – KRAKOW
The second NeDiPa Stakeholders’ Meeting took place on December 13, 2022 in Krakow. The aim of the meeting was to present the current project activities to a wider group of organizations and people working in the area of remembrance and care for Jewish heritage in Poland. The key point of the program was a conversation with the creators of the Alte Hajm / Old House theater play about identity, taboos and Polish-Jewish relations. The performance was presented in Krakow during the Divine Comedy Festival – “Polish Taboo”. We talked about negotiating the difficult past, especially about how art can help to raise and open up topics that are uncomfortable, suppressed and referring to trauma – both personal and collective. The meeting with the director Marcin Wierzchowski and the creator and actor Michael Ruebenfeld was hosted by theater critic Jacek Wakar. More about the context of the conversation on the event page on fb.
→ Read the Event Description Sheet (WP2)
The program is implemented as part of the NeDiPa: Negotiating Difficult Pasts project, which we implement together with the Zapomniane Foundation and the Urban Memory Foundation, thanks to the support of the European Union under the Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values (CERV) program.