During the Holocaust, 90 percent of Poland’s three million Jews were murdered by the Nazis. Of those who survived, many chose to remain in Poland and hide their Jewish identity to escape Nazi persecution and subsequent Communist oppression.
After the fall of the Soviet empire and Poland’s transformation to democracy, a growing number of Poles are rediscovering their families’ concealed Jewish roots, with many choosing to live a full Jewish life and return to the Jewish people. Join Shavei Israel founder Michael Freund in conversation with Beata Schulman and Max Jackl for a fascinating and inspiring account of young Polish Jews reclaiming the heritage that Hitler sought to extinguish.
Unfortunately, Jan Kirschenbaum will not be attending this event due to personal circumstances.
Michael Freund is the founder and chairman of Shavei Israel, a Jerusalem-based organization that reaches out and assists “lost Jews” seeking to strengthen their connection with Israel and the Jewish people.
Beata Schulman was raised as a Catholic in Warsaw and discovered her Jewish ancestry in her early teens. She earned her M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Geography and Religion from Jagiellonian University in Krakow. Beata has worked for the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, the Jewish Community of Warsaw, the Foundation of the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland, and volunteered in many Jewish organizations in Krakow, Warsaw and New York. She currently works as Program Director with the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation, a non-profit organization that seeks to create an international community of genocide prevention through the education of future policymakers, military officers and NGO workers from all over the world. She is an active member of the Jewish community and currently lives in Queens, New York.
Max Jackl was born in Warsaw, Poland. His grandmother is a child survivor of the Holocaust, and remains active in the Polish survivors community. Yet, while his grandmother took pride in her Jewishness, for Max’s parents being Jewish was an insignificant, inconvenient fact. After attending Lauder summer camps, Max gradually became more involved in Jewish life and is now observant. Although it goes against their instincts of keeping their Jewish identity hidden, Max’s parents have developed a positive attitude towards Max’s decision to live Jewishly in the open.
Presented by the 92Y Resource Center for Jewish Diversity with Shavei Israel.