Chapter 7 Bridge Building in the Polish Jewish Landscape

In: Jews in Dialogue
Author: Leora Tec

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Abstract

In this deeply personal essay, Leora Tec, the daughter of Holocaust survivor and Holocaust scholar Nechama Tec from Lublin, Poland, examines the causes of past and present divides among many in the Polish Jewish community, both Jews and non-Jews. She shows how factors such as: silence (both personal and institutional or governmental); ignorance; an overemphasis on Polish rescue; a competition of victimhood; and an overemphasis on the separation between Jews and non-Jews before the war, have all deepened this chasm. And she demonstrates—using her own experience encountering the memory work done by those at Brama Grodzka-NN Theatre Centre as an example—how these divides can be bridged by collective, artistic, and individual remembrance. This remembrance holds space for what is absent or incomplete, while valuing the “fragments” of history. Most of all, she shows how forging human connection in the present, continues the work of remembering the past with reverence, and has enabled her to find a connection to Poland. Ultimately, she concludes that the human beings building the bridges are themselves the bridge.

Jews in Dialogue

Jewish Responses to the Challenges of Multicultural Contemporaneity. Free Ebrei Volume 2

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