April 19 marked the 80th Anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. To honor this anniversary, the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw has curated a robust program under the umbrella title of “Thou Shalt Not Be Indifferent” and spanning the entire year of 2023. This worldwide program includes such events as creative workshops, academic sessions, and a temporary exhibition that will remain until 8 January 2024. 

The New York City commemoration of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising took place on April 19 at Der Shteyn [the stone], a plaque in the center of Warsaw Ghetto Memorial plaza in Manhattan’s Riverside Park. It was organized by the Polish Cultural Institute in New York.

The program included music and readings, featuring Shifee Losacco (a soloist at Lincoln Center, who has appeared in numerous Yiddish theater productions as well as on Broadway, and is currently a soloist with The Peace of Heart Choir); Joanne Borts (has appeared in Broadway’s Tony-winning Best Musical Once, as well as Fiddler on the Roof starring as Topol); Dr. Michael “Menachem” Fox (author of the acclaimed memoir Becoming Ordinary: A Youth Born of the Holocaust, What I Kept, What I Let Go…); Irena Klepfisz (herself born in the Warsaw Ghetto and whose father was the first Jew to perish in the Uprising; just recently published her collected works titled Her Birth and Later Years: New and Collected Poems, 1971-2021); Marcel Kshensky (educator and son of Holocaust survivors and resistance activists); and many others.

Other events during this anniversary year include: 

  • Around Us a Sea of Fire. The fate of Jewish civilians during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising – a temporary exhibition at POLIN (18 April 2023 – 8 January 2024)
  • European Jews Facing Imminent Genocide – an international academic conference (23-25 April 2023)
  • There was no hope. Vereint in der Erinnerung – a concert of works by Władysław Szpilman, Mieczyslaw Wajnberg and Josima Feldschuh, among others (12 May 2023 in Bonn, Germany)
  • “Thou Shalt Not Be Indifferent” by Forum Theatre – performances for youth preceded by workshops (March-May 2023)
  • Remembering the Roma Holocaust – educational course (June-August 2023)
  • Polish-Ukrainian workshops on the memory of war. Historic and contemporary contexts – a workshop based on the individual stories of Jews and Ukrainians (October-November 2023)
  • POLIN Choir: a musical-performative project – presented by the POLIN Choir, a community ensemble associated with the Museum since 2014 (November-December 2023)

For the full calendar of events, visit polin.pl.

[Sources: PCINY newsletter, polin.pl]