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Warsaw. Action Daffodils. Ambassadors. 81st anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

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On April 19, the anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, volunteers will hand out paper daffodils on the streets of the capital. The two millionth flower will fall into someone's hands. – The yellow paper daffodil has become synonymous with respect and memory of the uprising – said Łucja Koch, deputy director of the POLIN Museum. Why daffodils? It has to do with a certain bouquet of flowers.

This is the twelfth edition of the social and educational campaign Daffodils, organized by the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. – The Daffodils campaign does not support any ideology, state or nation. It is an expression of our memory of those who fought for humanity in a hopeless situation. On April 19, let's pin a yellow daffodil together as a sign that we are united by memory, said Łucja Koch, deputy director of the POLIN Museum, during the Thursday press conference.

How did it happen that the daffodil became the symbol of the campaign? One of the survivors of the ghetto was Marek Edelman, the last commander of the Jewish Combat Organization. On each anniversary of the uprising on April 19, he received a bouquet of yellow flowers, most often daffodils, from an anonymous person. He placed this bouquet at the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes in Warsaw's Muranów district. And then every year he himself came to the monument with daffodils.

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– The yellow paper daffodil has become synonymous with respect and memory of the uprising. And the action itself has become a permanent part of the Warsaw landscape, where yellow flowers bloom on lawns and squares at the beginning of April, heralding spring and inextricably linked with the memory of the insurgents and civilians of 1943 imprisoned in the ghetto. The Daffodils campaign, organized by the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, aims to disseminate knowledge about the uprising itself, but over the years it has also become a symbol of openness, solidarity, and disagreement with the cruelty of war, said Łucja Koch.

Press conference on the 81st anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Ghetto UprisingPAP/Tomasz Gzell

“Knowledge of the past allows us to better understand the present”

This year's ambassadors of the Daffodils campaign were presented during the conference. They are: actresses Agnieszka Grochowska and Martyna Byczkowska, a survivor of the Warsaw ghetto and the oldest drag queen in Poland – Lulla La Polaca (Andrzej Szwan), a blogger and activist working for people with disabilities, Bogumiła Siedlecka-Goślicka, known as “Anioł Na Resorach” “, as well as actors: Tomasz Włosok and Jacek Braciak.

– Knowledge about the past allows us to better understand the present, which is why education and your participation in the Daffodils campaign are so important. On the anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, let us show that we are united by memory, encouraged Agnieszka Grochowska in a film shown during the meeting.

Andrzej Szwan, ambassador of the campaign, recalled his personal story when he was rescued from the ghetto as a four-year-old child. He lost his biological parents, but was adopted by his father's sister and her husband. – Thanks to them, I am alive and today, at the age of 85, I can be here and join the noble campaign of remembrance. Being an ambassador of this campaign is almost like being a Righteous Among the Nations, he said with emotion.

Press conference on the 81st anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Ghetto UprisingPAP/Tomasz Gzell

– For me, the most important goal, the idea behind the daffodils campaign, is to take care of memory. History should not be powdered, said ambassador Bogumiła Siedlecka-Goślicka. – History should not be presented in a less terrifying way than it was. This is the only way to prevent evil from returning. And young people who shape and will shape our world must face this. They must know that every person, regardless of whether they are healthy or disabled, deserves respect, attention and tolerance, emphasized Siedlecka-Goślicka.

The two-millionth daffodil will fall into someone's hands

Although the individual recruitment of volunteers has already ended, institutional recruitment for schools, libraries and institutions from all over Poland continues until April 14. You can still register your facility to participate in the campaign. There is a form available on the polin.pl website that must be completed electronically.

– All people taking part in the campaign as part of institutional involvement receive substantive support from the POLIN Museum adapted to the appropriate age range – said Maria Bliźniak, volunteer coordinator at the POLIN Museum. – The anniversary event on April 19 for individual volunteers was preceded by workshops strengthening communication skills and social competences, as well as lectures and meetings on the history of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Traditionally, a separate educational program has been prepared for institutions participating in the anniversary celebrations as part of the Daffodils campaign throughout Poland – added Maria Bliźniak.

Press conference on the 81st anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Ghetto UprisingPAP/Tomasz Gzell

– Over fourteen thousand volunteers have been involved in the Daffodils campaign since its beginning in 2013. Selflessly, out of the need of the heart and out of a sense of duty, they help restore the memory of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Every third student in Poland uses educational materials prepared by the museum as part of the celebration of this anniversary. We – the Museum – will be honored to once again invite schools, libraries and institutions throughout Poland to co-create the Daffodils campaign. And thanks to our volunteers, we will present our two-millionth daffodil on the streets of Warsaw this year. A symbol of common memory of the first urban uprising in occupied Europe – summed up Zofia Bojańczyk, coordinator of the Daffodils campaign.

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The Daffodils campaign covered the entire country and is becoming more and more popular in Europe and other continents. This year, on April 19, daffodils will appear, among others: in Bolivia, Moldova, Australia. 150,000 were sent abroad. paper daffodils.

The films will present the history of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

This year's program included film premieres, new book publications, lesson plans and meetings with experts and silent witnesses of history – objects from the POLIN Museum collection.

The POLIN Museum invites you to the premiere of the film “The memory of those who died lives in me.” This is the story of the guardians of Jewish memory: Emanuel Ringelblum, the creator of the Underground Archive of the Warsaw Ghetto, and Rachela Auerbach, thanks to whom the first part of the Archive was found. The second film “FIGHTERS! They fought in the Warsaw Ghetto” is the story of Cywia Lubetkin and Rachela Auerbach.

The POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews has also prepared an educational offer for children and teenagers, it is an animated film based on the story “Memory of Small Particles” by Zofia Stanecka, prepared for children from grades 1-3 of primary schools; an animated film based on the story “Jesto-nie-ma-jest” by Katarzyna Jackowska-Enem, prepared for students from grades 4-6 of primary schools, and the story “Szuflada” by Zuzanna Orlińska for grades 4-6 of primary schools.

Read also: “Love for other people was the paramount value for them.” The mural commemorates 13 figures from the ghetto >>>

– These suggestions for children are very balanced, delicate, almost poetic. These are beautiful, touching films and stories. We remember that children from Ukraine who are still experiencing the trauma of the war also study in our schools, Bojańczyk noted.

The full program is available at polin.pl: There you can also find a list of volunteer staffs and the so-called daffodils.

Resistance among those who remained

In 1940, the Germans fenced part of the center of Warsaw with a wall and crowded almost half a million Jews from the capital and the surrounding area there. Imprisoned in the ghetto, they died of hunger, disease, slave labor and executions. In the summer of 1942, the Great Liquidation Action was organized. The Germans deported nearly 300,000 Jews from the ghetto to the extermination center in Treblinka. Among those who remained, the idea of ​​armed resistance was born.

On April 19, 1943, two thousand Germans entered the ghetto to finally liquidate it. They were opposed by several hundred young people from the underground groups – the Jewish Combat Organization (ŻOB) and the Jewish Military Union (ŻZW). The insurgents, under the command of Mordechai Anielewicz, were exhausted and poorly armed. Many knew they had no chance, but preferred to die in battle to save their dignity. The remaining inhabitants of the ghetto, approximately 50,000 civilians, hid in hideouts and bunkers for many weeks. Despite despair, loneliness, hunger, thirst and fear, they fought for each day. Their resistance was as important as that with weapons in hand. They remained elusive for many days – they went underground and did not obey the Germans' orders. For four weeks, the Germans razed the ghetto to the ground, burning house after house. Captured fighters and residents were killed or transported to camps.

On May 8, Anielewicz and several dozen insurgents were surrounded and committed suicide. Few Jews managed to escape from the burning ghetto through the sewers. On May 16, as a sign of victory, the Germans blew up the Great Synagogue on Tłomackie Street. The Warsaw ghetto ceased to exist. Only a few Jews in hiding remained in its ruins. The “rubble workers” struggled with a lack of water and food. They died of exhaustion and disease and were shot by the Germans. Few managed to get to the other side of the wall. The last ones left the “ghetto cemetery” in January 1944.

Main photo source: PAP/Tomasz Gzell

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