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Warsaw. A conference devoted to the exhibition “Sea of ​​Fire Around Us” was held at the POLIN Museum

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On Thursday, POLIN Museum hosted a conference devoted to the exhibition “Sea of ​​Fire Around Us. The Fate of Jewish Civilians During the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising”, which will be on display from April 18. As emphasized by Zygmunt Stępiński, director of the POLIN Museum, work on the exhibition and the program of the 80th anniversary of its founding lasted over two years.

– The main slogan of the commemoration of the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and the entire program prepared by the POLIN Museum are the words of the so-called the eleventh commandment: “Do not be indifferent”, which fell on the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. The words were spoken by Marian Turski – recalled Zygmunt Stępiński during the Thursday conference.

– I think that today, when we are neighbors with Ukraine, where Russia waged a brutal war, committing genocide and monstrous crimes, this slogan takes on a new meaning, as well as for the events that take place 100 kilometers above the Ukrainian border, i.e. on the Polish border -Belarusian – added Stępiński.

Exhibitions, concerts and performances. There is a program to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

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Work on the exhibition lasted two years

He noted that work on the exhibition and the accompanying program of celebrations of the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising has been going on for over two years. – The key decision was that we establish cooperation with the Center for Holocaust Research and, above all, with Professor Barbara Engelking, who is the author of the idea that the temporary exhibition and its accompanying program should be entirely devoted to the fate of the civilian population – explained Stępiński. He also admitted that the celebrations of earlier anniversaries focused mainly on military events and uprising fighters.

In turn, Piotr Wiślicki, chairman of the board of the Jewish Historical Institute in Poland, noted that “only memory can protect us from further monstrous evil.” – The slogan “Never again”, such a popular slogan, especially after the war, is completely outdated. There is always more and it is always everywhere. We can only turn our heads to the east, that what was happening in Poland is happening there at the moment. They have there, in these small towns, their ghetto uprising, their holocaust – said Wiślicki.

Conference dedicated to the exhibition “A sea of ​​fire around us”Rafał Guz/PAP

“50,000 people were hiding underground during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.”

“I survived because I have a job to do”

The museum invited Krystyna Budnicka to participate in the conference. After the end of the liquidation operation in the Warsaw Ghetto in September 1942, she remained hidden for almost a year. At first, she was in a hiding place at ul. Miła, and from January to September 1943 – in the bunker at ul. Zamenhof. When the uprising broke out in the ghetto, she was 11 years old.

– I have been meeting young people for many years, I talk about my fate, which was unique because I survived. Many of my peers did not survive – said Krystyna Budnicka. – After the war, I said after what had happened that it had no right to happen again, that the world had learned something. It turned out very quickly that it could, she said.

She admitted that she survived “thanks to God’s providence” and because she had “a task to do”. – I meet primarily with those who want to know and hear. And I have a lot to tell. I was a child, but still conscious, adult enough to understand what was going on – said Krystyna Budnicka.

She also noted that the words of Marian Turski and at the same time the slogans of this year’s celebrations of the anniversary of the ghetto uprising are recalled at every meeting with young people. – Indifference can be promoted already at every stage of education and explain who a cruel and indifferent person is – she added.

Christina BudnickaRafał Guz/PAP

Restore the memory of the fate of 50,000 people

The exhibition is part of a wider, year-round program held under the slogan “Do not be indifferent. 80th Anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising”. – Through the exhibition, we wanted to restore the memory of the fate of nearly 50,000 people who did not belong to underground organizations in the ghetto and did not fight with weapons in their hands. They remained in hiding and thus resisted the liquidation of the ghetto. We want to convey to the viewers the feelings and emotions that accompanied those who did not submit to the German order and instead of being transported to a labor camp – it was already known then that deportation meant extermination – they hid, went down to cellars and bunkers – Zuzanna Schnepf-Kołacz, curator of the exhibition, said.

The exhibition is recommended for people aged 14 and over. It will be presented until January 8, 2024.

Conference dedicated to the exhibition “A sea of ​​fire around us”Rafał Guz/PAP

Main photo source: Rafał Guz/PAP

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