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Warsaw. POLIN Awards 2023 – list of winners

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The winner of the 2023 POLIN Award is Mariusz Sokołowski – a teacher from Białystok involved in restoring the memory of the Jews of Wasilków and Białystok and the author of a publication devoted to teaching about multiculturalism. Honorable mention in the competition went to: Ewa Paul and the Saga Grybów Association.

– The heroes of this evening protect the memory of those who have been forgotten, recalling from oblivion names and surnames that have not been spoken for decades. They discover and popularize their stories and bring back memories. They cultivate what is most noble and worthy in human nature: they pay respect to past generations. This is the foundation of our culture and civilization, said Zygmunt Stępiński, director of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

– But their gesture is not lighting a candle or a stone brought to the grave of a relative, friend or well-known person. Most often, the nominees and nominees are not Jews and do not deal with the history of their families; they have rarely had contact with Jewish culture and tradition. What they do is a selfless impulse of the heart that turned into action for those who simply no one remembers, he emphasized.

Mariusz Sokołowski – who is the award winner?

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The winner of the POLIN 2023 Award, Mariusz Sokołowski, is the principal of Primary School No. 20. Gen. Władysław Sikorski in Białystok. Since 2007, he has been involved in restoring the memory of the Jews of Wasilków and Białystok. He is also the author of publications and articles on the methodology of teaching multiculturalism. Sokołowski is also the co-creator of the Jewish Heritage Trail in Białystok, and as a teacher he encourages students to learn about the local, multicultural past.

The winner of the competition received PLN 25,000.

Featured: Ewa Paul, Saga Grybów Association

During Tuesday’s final, distinctions were also awarded – in the amount of PLN 15,000. They were awarded to Ewa Paul, active in Bełchatów and Sulmierzyce, and the Saga Grybów Association – a group of local activists working to save the tangible and intangible heritage of the town and region of Grybów, which includes Jewish and Lemko cultures.

Director Stępiński also presented a Special Award – an honorary distinction went to Andrzej Folwarczny and the Forum Dialogu team.

This year’s finalists also included Dorota Bida, representing Chełm, Małgorzata Frąckiewicz from Łomża, and Bożena Gajewska from Kutno.

– This year’s finalists of the POLIN Award competition are people who tirelessly build bridges, dig, search, restore memory and spread awareness, and their attitudes and actions restore faith in a better tomorrow. Expressing great gratitude for their social activities, we hope that they will become an inspiration for others – said Radosław Wójcik, manager of the POLIN Award 2023 competition.

Who is awarded the POLIN Prize?

The total prize pool in the competition was over PLN 77,000. The POLIN Prize is awarded by the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews to people actively working to protect the memory of the history of Polish Jews. This year it was awarded for the ninth time. The competition is carried out as part of the Jewish Cultural Heritage project and co-financed by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway under the EEA Fund. And also through the national budget.

Main photo source: City Hall of Warsaw

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