Over the course of two consecutive weekends i.e. on 25-27 November and 2-4 December, TSKŻ has been carrying out, in co-operation with leading cultural institutions of Kutno and Skierniewice, a pilot project aimed at promoting the cultural heritage and history of Polish Jews.
Yidl, mitn, fidl or Jewish Culture Days in the Lodz Region is a public task co-funded by the budget of Lodz Self-Government. For six days we tried to raise general awareness of the culture of Polish Jews, and mostly those who resided in Kutno and Skierniewice. The project’s organisers made sure that the everyone could find something that suits them the most in the agenda. In the course of the events, we laid wreaths and commemorated the Jewish community in both participating towns. Our guests could also discover the taste of Fania Lewando’s delicious cuisine, learn how to make traditional Jewish cut-outs and sing Hanukkah songs.
In the last weekend of November, Mr Aleksander Rozenfeld, together with the Mayor of Kutno, Mr Zbigniew Burzyński, paid tribute to the Jewish community at a memorial plate of ‘Konstancja’. Both speakers referred to our shared history, and the necessity of preserving the heritage of the local community of Kutno. On the next days, the Kutno Cultural Centre welcomed participants to a vocal class by Urszula Makosz, Jewish cut-out workshops organised by Wiesława Rawską-Tejszerską and cooking class inspired by Fania Lewando’s dishes. All these events were warmly welcomed by the local residents. The grand finale of the Kutno event included the concert by Sentido (Hush Your Heart – Osiecka Oriental) which was presented at the Centre of Theatre, Music and Dance. The audience gave the artists a standing ovation and Sentido encored three times.
We arrived in Skierniewice for the next weekend i.e. 2-4 December. There in Skierniewice we decided to pay tribute to the local Jewish Community as well. The wreath-laying ceremony took place at the New Jewish Cemetery. The ceremony was attended by Mr Yacov Livne, the incumbent Ambassador of Israel and Mr Zbigniew Ziemba, the Deputy Marshall of the Lodz Region. Both our noble visitors emphasised that history and memory must be preserved with the paramount care, in order to ensure that events such as the Holocaust would never occur again. Artur Hofman, President of the Social and Cultural Association of Jews in Poland thanked everyone for their attendance and for the support of all initiatives aimed at preserving the cultural heritage of Polish Jews. He also reminded that before the war the Polish and Jewish communities shared their common culture, had good neighbourly relations, and each of them could take pride in their great cultural and educational achievements. Over the two days, at the Centre of Culture and Arts in Skierniewice, the local inhabitants were given a chance to familiarise themselves with the traditional Jewish cuisine, music and handicraft. On Sunday 4 December, the Hanukkah Concert by Urszula Makosz and her band twas presented. Despite the fact that the competing event on that day was a match played by the Polish football team, the CEKiS concert hall just teemed with spectators.
During these two weekends it was possible to familiarise oneself with the interesting exhibitions offered by the Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Ziemii Kutnowskiej (Society of Friends of the Kutno Region) and the Municipal and District Public Library in Kutno i.e.
“Katriel and Aron Eizyk. The Roots of Kutno’s Rose History”
“In the Footsteps of Zychlin Jews”
“Shalom Ash and the Town of His Juvenile Years “
Admission to all events was free. Our project was highly appreciated by both residents and local authorities.
Recently, we have started negotiations regarding the continuation of such ventures in the years to come. The event’s co-organisers were our partner institutions i.e. The Marek Edelman Dialogue Centre and The Jewish Historical Institute.