Discussion: “On the Righteous – in a Non-Monumental Way?”

fot. Muzeum Historii Żydów Polskich POLIN

How, throughout the last decades, have the Righteous been spoken of and written about?

  • March 7, 2015, admittance to the event is free. The discussion will be translated into English and the Polish sign language.

On 6 March, the European Day of Remembrance for the Righteous is celebrated. On this occasion, we invite general public to participate in a discussion during which we will talk about the Righteous and the ways of commemorating them. We will elaborate on how they have been spoken of and written about throughout the last decades, from the post-war time until today.

In the recent years, the public debate on the ways of commemorating Poles rescuing Jews during the Holocaust has been gaining momentum. The debate has resulted in numerous commemoration projects, such as two monuments which are about to be erected in Warsaw, a design of a chapel in Toruń and the Ulm Family Museum which is being organised in Markowa. Particular attention in the debate is paid to the initiative of erecting the monument “The Saved to the Rescuers” led by the “Remembrance and Future” Foundation. The planned location of the monument, in the close vicinity of POLIN the Museum of the History of Polish Jews and the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes, has generated heated polemics.

The discussion organised in the Museum will enable the participants to look at these phenomena from a broader perspective and will seek to answer the question of how the discourse on the Righteous has functioned and is functioning in the national historiography, in public and symbolic domain, and in educational and creative initiatives? We will elaborate on topics such as how the theme of hiding Jews and providing aid to them is present in Polish schools, how it is presented in contemporary art, what role it plays in public discussion and how it shapes the collective memory and – consequently - influences the perception of the Polish-Jewish relations.

The participants of the discussion include: Ewa Junczyk-Ziomecka, Grzegorz Siwor, Dr Patrycja Dołowy and Dr Tomasz Żukowski. The discussion will be hosted by Joanna Król

More about the panellists:

  • Ewa Junczyk-Ziomecka – a lawyer and journalist; a former Deputy Director of the POLIN Museum, Secretary of State in the Chancellery of President Lech Kaczyński and the Consul General in New York; for the last four years, she has been involved in the activities of the Jan Karski Educational Foundation; she is an initiator of the idea of awarding state decorations to the Righteous Among the Nations by the President of the Republic of Poland.
  • Grzegorz Siwor – a teacher of Polish in the 16th Upper Secondary School in Krakow, a specialist in education about the Holocaust; cooperates with schools in Israel, with the Centre for Education Development, the Galicia Jewish Museum, Oskar Schindler’s Enamel Factory; participated in seminars for teachers concerning the ways of teaching about the Holocaust in the Yad Vashem Institute, the Memorial de la Shoah, the Haus der Wannsee-Konferenz, and other institutions. He authored the book entitled “Enoszijut – The Dawid Kurzmann Story” devoted to the figure of “Janusz Korczak of Krakow.”
  • Dr Patrycja Dołowy – Doctor of Natural Sciences by education. A social worker, propagator of knowledge and a multimedia artist. Her works have been displayed at over 50 exhibitions in Poland and abroad. She is the author of the theatrical performance “Hideout/Kryjówka” telling the stories of hiding Jews during World War II (dir. Paweł Passini, neTTheatre). She is the Deputy Chairperson of the Centre for Yiddish Culture.
  • Dr Tomasz Żukowski – an employee at the Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw. He deals with contemporary literature and strategies of public debate, including the debate about the Holocaust and the way it functions in the symbolic and social domains.

The discussion will be facilitated by:

  • Joanna Król – responsible at the POLIN Museum for oral history projects; under  the “Polish Righteous – Restoring Memory” project, she was a co-director of the film entitled “The Rescued” and co-author of an exhibition devoted to the Polish Righteous Among the Nations.


Supported from the Norway and EEA Grants by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.,
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