This year marked the thirteenth time that DAYS OF REMEMBRANCE were held in Lodz. On 27th-30th January 2023 we celebrated the International Holocaust Remembrance Day established by the UN eighteen years ago. The four-day artistic and literary programme and the two-day educational package attracted almost two thousand guests. It was yet another time when thanks to the co-operation of the Social and Cultural Association of Jews in Poland, Stefan Jaracz Theatre in Lodz and the Marshall’s Office in Lodz, a number of concerts, performances and Q&A sessions were hosted as part of the event.
On 27th January, many events are held all around the world in order to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust. The Social and Cultural Association of Jews in Poland has been recalling the history of the Holocaust and nurtured the memory of the victims of the Holocaust since the post-war period when Jewish themes were neither trendy, nor popular. This year’s edition of the event is really unique, as in its background, a savage war is raging, right next door, in the neighbouring Ukraine. Many years ago we added Lodz to the list of cities commemorating the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Once again, together with the Stefan Jaracz Theatre and the Marshal’s Office, we tried to commemorate the tragic fate of the Jews of who became victims of the Second World War eighty years ago.
The special meaning of this year’s celebrations was emphasized by all the representatives of the local authorities, Vice-Marshalls Piotr Adamczyk and Zbigniew Zięba, Vice-Mayor of Lodz Małgorzata Moskwa Wodnicka and Vice Ambassador of Israel to Poland Mrs. Shani Tayar.
This year’s celebrations commenced on 27th January at Radegast Station (which is a branch of the Museum of Independence Traditions) where a flower ceremony was held at a memorial. On behalf of the hosts, the honourable guests were welcomed by: Jacek Młynarski of TSKŻ, Michal Chorosiński – Director of the Stefan Jaracz Theatre and Jacek Wawrzynkiewicz – Director of the Museum of the Independence Traditions.
An opening concert titled “Hemar ODnowa” [i.e. Hemar. The Renewal] which was developed by the Museum of the Second World War in Gdansk and the Institute of National Remembrance based on Krystian Iwanow’s script was presented at 6.00 pm at the Stefan Jaracz Theatre. It premiered on 6th April 2021 to commemorate Marian Hemar’s 120th birthday. The stage was filled with outstanding artists, soloists and musicians, and a 40-strong ensemble who brought Marian Hemar’s work to the audience in a brand new setting.
On the next day i.e. Saturday, 28th January, the event’s host invited all guests to Obiecana Café to a meeting with Anna Dobrowolska who wrote the book titled: “Byłem fotografem w Auschwitz – prawdziwa historia Wilhelma Brassego” [“I was a photographer in Auschwitz – the true story of Wilhelm Brasse]. On the same day, Slawomir Holland performed “Nic nowego pod słońcem” [Nothing New Under the Sun] on the Chamber Scene of the Stefan Jaracz Theatre in Lodz. On 29th January, all events took place Marek Edelman Centre for Dialogue in Lodz. Late in the afternoon, the audience took part in a meeting titled “PRZED ZAGŁADĄ. Kobiety w kręgu awangardy” [BEFORE THE HOLOCAUST. Women in the avant-garde]. The meeting was in a form of a discussion involving a number of honourable guests such as Dariusz Dekiert, Irmina Michalak and Krystyny Radziszewska. The guests discussed the book titled „Tańczymy zaczarowani taniec młodości” [As if enchanted, we perform the dance of youth] and Joanna Podolska asked question. In the evening, the Dialogue Centre’s auditory hall was crowded with spectators who had come to admire Agnieszka Babicz’s monodrama entitled “Wiera”. The actress managed to create an amazing vibe by letting us almost “into the house” of Vera Gran. The standing ovation was never-ending.
The grand finale of the 13th EDITION OF THE DAYS OF REMEMBRANCE took place on 30th January at the Stefan Jaracz Theatre in Lodz. The highlight of the event was the concert performed by “Sentido”, a band composed of: Kaja Mianowana, Karolina Matuszkiewicz, Arad Emamgholi and Piotr Konitz. In their unique project known as “Mordechaj Gebirtig – A Singing Poet from Cracow’s District of Kazimierz” members of “Sentido” reminded us of the greatest highlights of the artistic legacy of the Cracow-based singing poet. The artists were given a rousing round of applause and asked for an encore.
On 30th-31st January, the hosts launched the Special EDUCATIONAL PACKAGE OF THE DAYS OF REMEMBRANCE. These were two days packed with workshops, performances and concerts, talks and film shows. Ca. 800 school children took part in the project. Together we learned about empathy, friendship, justice and courage. We worked on emotions. We learnt about history. Over that time, we conducted nine workshops, watched three performances and visited three exhibitions. We met children and young people from the city of Lodz and the Lodz region in general.
We would not be able to offer an educational package for children and young people or to organise the DAY OF REMEMBRANCE if it were not for our fantastic co-organisers and partners: Stefan Jaracz Theatre in Lodz, Voivodship of Lodz, Museum of the Independence Traditions, Marek Edelman Centre for Dialogue in Lodz, Institute of National Remembrance, (IPN Office of Cultural Events), Warsaw Ghetto Museum, Second World War Museum in Gdansk, Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute, Obiecana Café, MWM PR, Meritum Foundation, Society of Friends of the Kutno Region, Museum of the City of Lodz, Lodz Children’s Choir, Second Generation Association, Children of the Holocaust, Jewish Community of Lodz, Museum of Polish Children – victims of totalitarianism, Renewal Group.
Media support was provided by: TVP3 Lodz, Radio Lodz, Dziennik Łódzki, e-teatr.pl, Jewish Word.
The event was held under the honourable patronage of: Israeli Embassy in Poland, Hanna Zdanowska, Mayor of Lodz, Grzegorz Schreiber, Marshal of Lodz Voivodship and Tobiasz Bocheński, Head of Lodz Voivodship.
THE 13TH EDITION OF THE DAYS OF REMEMBRANCE was made possible thanks to a grant from the Ministry of the Interior and Administration
All of the above-mentioned institutions have been supporting the idea of the DAY OF REMEMBRANCE for years, for which we would like to say a big THANK YOU.
Many thanks are also, and perhaps above all, owed to the viewers and listeners who have been with us all these years. It is thanks to your empathy and understanding that we manage to keep the memory of the Holocaust Victims alive. SEE YOU again in 2024.