Originally published 04/23/2013
A small part of the chasm in Polish-Jewish relations closed on Friday, when, to commemorate the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, alarm signals sounded across the city. Until now, sirens have sounded on August 1, in honor of the fighters of the city-wide Warsaw Uprising in 1944.These alarms mark the moment when an important part of Jewish history—when a small group in the Warsaw Ghetto opted to choose their own deaths, to resist rather than go to the gas chambers—becomes a part of the narrative of Polish history.Often the two narratives, of Jewish suffering and of Polish suffering at the hands of the Nazis, run along parallel lines never to meet.Simcha Rotem, who was honored by Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski with the Grand Cross of the Polonia Restituta order Friday, is now one of only three still living ghetto insurgents....
Originally published 04/19/2013
Adam Chandler is the editor of The Scroll. His work has appeared in The Atlantic, Salon, Haaretz, the Jerusalem Post, the Huffington Post, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.After a week of warm April weather, sunny afternoons and calm evenings, Friday morning in Warsaw was grey. An easily imaginable and heavy Polish grey: cold, windy, and threatening rain.Like all anniversaries, the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising represented the interaction between history and the public marking of time. There were ceremonial sirens, church bells, military drums, and symbolic rifle fire, all of which echoed through the open plaza between Nathan Rapoport’s iconic monument to the ghetto fighters and the newly-minted Museum of the History of Polish Jews. The silences were tense and even the weather had conspired to project solemness.
Originally published 03/12/2013
WARSAW, Poland — A Jewish history museum in Warsaw has unveiled a reconstructed synagogue roof with an elaborately painted ceiling modeled on a 17th-century structure, presenting the first object that will go on permanent display in the highly awaited museum.The wooden roof and ceiling will be a key attraction in the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, which is due to open next year in the heart of the city’s former Jewish quarter. Reporters in Warsaw were invited to view it Tuesday.The museum will tell the story of Jewish life in Poland, a complex history spanning 1,000 years, but one that has been forgotten today by many people and which is often overshadowed by the Holocaust....
Originally published 03/05/2013
WARSAW, Poland — Nearby the big city rumbles, but one feels almost transported to a quiet forest village when standing amid a colony of Finnish wooden houses in Warsaw’s government district.The homes, erected as temporary housing in the destroyed capital just after World War II, have dwindled over the years from 90 to about 25. Now the surviving structures have become a point of contention between their inhabitants and a city government keen on tearing them down to make way for new developments.It’s a story being played out in various ways in Warsaw these days, as the Polish capital undergoes a building boom that makes new constructions lucrative for developers and attractive to city officials eager to put their mark on the city. But such change often comes at the cost of old buildings of historical or sentimental value to others....
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