Janusz Makuch in Conversation with Arnold Zable
Melbourne, Australia
Sunday, 12th November 2017

In its final event for 2017, ASPJ President Izydor Marmur (pic right) introduced Founder and Director of the Kraków Festival of Jewish Culture, Janusz Makuch, in conversation with Melbourne writer Arnold Zable. In 2008, Janusz became the first recipient of the prestigious Irena Sendler prize awarded by the Taube Foundation for preserving and revitalising Jewish heritage in Poland.
The Festival was founded in 1988 in Kraków, a city with a flourishing Jewish culture before WWII and whose Jewish community almost vanished during the Holocaust. Although not being Jewish himself, when asked about the original purpose of organising the festival, Janusz Maluch said, "It's a way to pay homage to the people who lived here".
In 2017, the Festival hosted over 200 events, including musical performances, workshops, lectures, guided tours, and attracted some 30,000 visitors. The Festival gathers around 200 artists and workshop leaders from all over the globe.

Janusz spoke about the festival and what it means to Kraków and Poland in general . He also told about his personal journey during the years in which he became involved with the project.
Arnold Zable, an award-winning writer, novelist and human rights advocate, is the son of Polish-Jewish immigrants who lost their families to the Holocaust. During his conversation with Janusz Makuch, Arnold shared some of his own experiences during his visits to Poland before and following the fall of communism and also his observations of the changes that have taken place.

From left: Eva Hussain (Vice-Pres. ASPJ), Janusz Makuch, Arnold Zable, Adam Warzel (Pres. AIPA)

From left: Adam Warzel (Pres. AIPA), David Southwick MP, Nick Wakeling MP, Dr George Łuk-Kozica (Hon. Polish Consul),
Janusz Makuch, Izydor Marmur (Pres. ASPJ)

Following the inspiring conversation, there were a number of questions from the audience.
Later many people stayed behind to mingle and to talk with both speakers.


2017 "Henryk Sławik Award" Presentation
Melbourne, Australia
Wednesday, 16th August 2017

The Henryk Sławik Award is presented in honour of the spirit of the life and deeds of Henryk Sławik, (saving over thirty thousand lives in occupied Hungary, five thousand of those being Jews). The Board of Management of the ASPJ has decided to honour individuals who, or organisations which, have worked towards enhancing mutual respect and understanding between the Polish and Jewish communities.

The recipients of the
2017 Henryk Sławik Award are:
Sue Hampel OAM (left)
Frances Prince (right).

Among her many activities, Sue Hampel OAM is Co-President of Melbourne's Jewish Holocaust Centre and an educator. Frances Prince is a long-time educator and is a member of the Executive of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, chairing its Multicultural & Interfaith Affairs Committee.
Both Sue and Frances have shown great commitment, working hard to establish the "Student March of the Living Australia" and, in particular, in preparing Australia's Jewish students for their trip to Poland.
In the beginning, there was little goodwill, and sometimes much opposition, to taking Jewish children to the place where so many of our people perished. Sue and Frances managed to convince our community of the importance of the March of the Living. They wanted to ensure that the students were not left with an attitude of hatred towards Poland and its people, that they know the facts - that the genocide of the Jews in Poland, was planned by the German occupiers, that there were no "Polish death camps", but "German death camps" on occupied Polish land.
They ensured that students were aware of the positive side of Polish-Jewish relations in Poland post the communist era, and that Jewish students met with Polish young people in order to establish a better understanding and better relations between them.
Sue Hampel befriended the late Irena Sandler and ensured that students were aware of the courageous Righteous Gentiles who saved many Jewish lives at risk of their own and that of their families. Both Sue and Frances insisted that the March Of The Living should be a journey of discovery and respect for the memory of the murdered families, as well as an opportunity for a deeper and more accurate understanding of history.

From left: Izy Marmur (Pres. ASPJ), Natalie Suleyman MP, Sue Hampel OAM, Frances Prince, Marian Pawlik OAM (Pres. PCCV)

This year's Awards were presented to Sue and Frances by Victorian State MP Natalie Suleyman and President of the Polish Community Council (PCCV) of Victoria Marian Pawlik OAM.
Guest speaker was Natalie Suleyman MP, representing the Minister for Multicultural Affairs, the Hon. Robin Scott MP. The topic of her keynote address was "Multiculturalism and Interfaith Dialogue in Victoria". Natalie is a member of the Victorian Parliamentary Friendship Group of Poland. Its establishment was instigated by the PCCV and the ASPJ. She was instrumental in the establishment of this group and is its co-convenor, together with Nick Wakeling MP.
The audience was treated to a short video on "Jewish Life in Today's Poland" followed by Klezmer music from David Krycer and Lionel Mrocki, two members of the Melbourne's well-known klezmer band "Klazmania"
The 2017 Award was presented in the presence of members of the diplomatic corps, a number parliamentarians, as well as many leaders of Victoria's Jewish and Polish communities including Piotr Buszta, (Deputy Head of Mission Counsellor Embassy of the Republic of Poland), Dr.George Łuk-Kozika (Honorary Polish Consul-General in Melbourne) and his wife Denise, Marsha Thompson MP (State Member for Footscray), Margaret Fitzherbert MLC (Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Women's Health and Rural and Regional Health), Jennifer Huppert (President Jewish Community Council of Victoria), Nina Bassett AM (Imm.Past Pres., Jewish Community Council of Victoria), Christopher Lancucki AM (Imm.Past Pres., Polish Community Council of Victoria), Andrzej Korab (President, Albion Polish Club), and Adam Warzel (President, Australian Institute of Polish Affairs).


Honouring the Polish Righteous Among the Nations
Sydney, Australia
Wednesday, 16th August 2017

Around 150 people from Sydney's Polish and Jewish communities filled the "Backyard Opera Gallery", in the Sydney suburb of Tempe, for the Official Opening of the POLIN Museum's exhibition "They Risked Their Lives - Poles Who Saved Jews During the Holocaust".
The event was co-hosted by the Polish Consulate-General in Sydney and the Australian Society of Polish Jews & Their Descendants' (ASPJ). It was the first major event, in Sydney, to pay tribute to the Polish Righteous Among the Nations. Master of Ceremonies was Polish Vice-Consul General Marta Gubala-Kiec.
As first speaker, ASPJ Treasurer and long-time POLIN Museum volunteer translator, Andrew Rajcher, sincerely thanked the Sydney Polish Consul-General and her staff for agreeing to co-host the exhibition in their city. He told the audience that this event honoured not only those Polish Righteous as recognised by the Yad Vashem Institute in Jerusalem, but also those Poles who were killed by the Nazis, along with the Jews they were helping, and about whom we may never know.
Consul-General, Regina Jurkowska, welcomed everyone to the event and spoke at length about the 1,000 year long co-existence of Poles and Jews on Polish soil. Others to speak included the NSW State Justice Secretary David Clarke who recalled his visit to Yad Vashem and the son of Polish Holocaust survivors, Rabbi Dr Dovid Slavin, who stated that we cannot imagine the courage it took to risk the life of one's family to save others.
A memorial candle was lit by State Member of Parliament, Robert Borsak, in memory of both the rescuers and the rescued - those who survived the War and have passed away since, as well as those who perished while trying to rescue or help Jews during the War.

Memorial prayers were then recited by Father Kamil Zylczynski and Rabbi Dr Dovid Slavin.
A short concert then followed by Polish artist Marek Ravski, who entertained the audience
with songs in both Polish and Yiddish.


This is the third time that this exhibition, produced by the POLIN Museum in conjunction with the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has gone on display in Australia. The first two showings were in Melbourne, at the Beth Weizmann Jewish Community Centre and at Dom Polski "Syrena". Upon its return to Melbourne, the exhibition will go on display for a fourth time in Australia, later this year, at the Albion Polish Club.


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