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Warsaw Ghetto Uprising – 80th anniversary of the outbreak. Professor Barbara Engelking on the Holocaust and the “Sea of ​​Fire Around Us” exhibition at the POLIN Museum

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Hate that ends in genocide unfortunately exists. I don’t know if you can hope that it will ever go away. I doubt it, to be honest, said Professor Barbara Engelking, the author of the concept for the exhibition “Sea of ​​Fire Around Us” at the POLIN Museum, in the special edition of “Kropki nad i”.

Uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto was the largest armed uprising of Jews during World War II, and at the same time the first urban uprising in occupied Europe. On April 19, 1943, Warsaw Jews took up armed struggle against Germany. The insurgents could not hope for victory, but faced with the prospect of imminent destruction, they did not want to die passively.

The experiences of civilians, recorded in diaries and diaries, during or after the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto, became the starting point for the exhibition “Sea of ​​Fire Around Us”, prepared for the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of this uprising. The exhibition concerns the history that happened in the capital city of Muranów, in the place where the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews now stands. It tells the story of about 50,000 civilians who hid in a labyrinth of bunkers and hiding places during the uprising. Traces of the history of these people are still below the surface of the earth. The prologue of the exhibition is a moving film prepared by TVN24.

SEE: “A sea of ​​fire surrounds us”. A poignant cinematic prologue.

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Prologue to the exhibition “Sea of ​​Fire around us” MHPJ POLIN

In a special edition of “Kropki nad i” from the POLIN museum, its author, Professor Barbara Engelking, director of the Center for Holocaust Research of the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, spoke about the concept of the exhibition. This is a story that has been on my heart for a long time. To talk about civilians, to remind the other side of the monument (Natan) Rapaport (the Monument to the Heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto in front of the POLIN museum – ed.). We all know the page where the fighters with grenades in their hands are commemorated, fighting, brave, masculine. And on the other side there is a crowd of people walking, she said.

“These Jews somehow completely escape our sight and are always obscured by the heroism of those who fought,” she added.

“Hatred that ends in genocide unfortunately exists”

When asked by Monika Olejnik what was the reason for the Holocaust, the professor replied that “it was the result of centuries of anti-Semitism in Europe”. “It was the culmination of a centuries-old process,” Engelking said.

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

– It is a process that repeats itself. This hatred that ends in genocide unfortunately exists. I don’t know if you can hope that it will ever go away. I doubt it, to be honest,” she added.

Engelking: The Jews were unbelievably disappointed about the Poles during the war

According to Barbara Engelking, “Jews were unbelievably disappointed with Poles during the war.” – The Jews knew what to expect from the Germans. The German was the enemy and this relationship was very clear, black and white, and the relationship with the Poles was much more complex – she assessed.

Special edition of “Dots over i” from the POLIN museumTVN24

– Poles had the potential to become allies of the Jews and one could hope that they would behave differently, that they would be neutral, that they would be kind, that they would not take advantage of the situation to such an extent and there would be no such widespread blackmailing – she emphasized.

– It seems to me that this disappointment plays a role, that the Poles simply failed – she added.

Main photo source: TVN24

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