• Faithful to my Homeland, the Republic of Poland


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  • 6 March 2016

    Professor Piotr Gliński, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Culture and National Heritage of Poland, and Ambassador Witold Sobków officially opened an exhibition of works by 300 children from London’s Jewish and Polish schools showcasing their interpretation of the heroic acts of Righteous Among the Nations.


    A series of engaging workshops organised throughout January and February by author and educator Antony Lishak under the title “Learning from the Righteous”, culminated in an exhibition at the Polish Embassy. Marking the first ever UK recognition of the European Day of the Righteous, the moving presentation also coincided with Mother’s Day celebration across the UK, and focused on the bravery of mothers who rescued Jewish orphans. Professor Gliński and Ambassador Sobków were joined during the event by children who participated in the workshops, their parents and teachers, rabbis, leaders of the Jewish community, and Holocaust survivors.


    The aim of the “Learning from the Righteous” educational experience is to encourage children to write reflectively about acts of courage and selflessness carried out by non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust – the Righteous Among the Nations. The exhibition features excerpts from essays and poems by children aged between 10 and 13, from three Jewish (Akiva, Kerem, New North London Synagogue) and two Polish (Willesden, Forest Gate) schools. An anthology of children’s works has also been published in the form of a book.


    Professor Piotr Gliński, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Culture and National Heritage of Poland, said:

    - “Learning from the Righteous” is a wonderful project, uniting Polish and Jewish youth around questions of crucial educational value. There were indeed people in the horrible days of the Holocaust, who had it in them to behave decently. We have to remember about these choices – that even in the darkest hour one can remain true to universal human values.


    Witold Sobków, Ambassador of the Republic of Poland in London, said:

    - What makes Antony Lishak’s project so unique is its underpinning human dimension. By telling the stories of both the rescuers and the rescued, he helps his students to better understand the reality of war and significance of true courage. The Righteous were both heroes and ordinary people. They did not seek recognition or personal gain, but acted because it was the right thing to do. I am very happy that the Polish Embassy in London can be a part of this exceptional educational project.


    Antony Lishak, author of the “Learning from the Righteous” educational project, said:

    - Over the past 35 years I have been involved in countless projects, but none has meant more to me than “Learning from the Righteous”. Everyone is very rightly committed to the ideal of “never again”, yet often the subject of the Righteous lurks in the shadows. It is mine and the Embassy's hope that we can garner enough support to establish the project as an annual event and that we can yearly produce high quality resources that can supplement the other educational initiatives in this sensitive but hugely important field of education.


    Antony Lishak is an experienced educator who has led workshops in over 2,000 UK schools and is the author of over 30 titles for children. His most recent book, STARS, is set in wartime Warsaw and was inspired by the story of Jan and Antonina Zabinski, directors of the Warsaw Zoo, who provided assistance and sanctuary to many Jews and whose heroism was recognised by Yad Vashem in 1965.


    The European Day of the Righteous on 6th March was established in 2012 by the European Parliament to commemorate individuals who have been recognised as Righteous Among the Nations. Poles constitute the largest national group of the Righteous, with more than 6,600 honoured by Yad Vashem, even though in contrast to other countries of Europe, in occupied Poland, providing refuge to Jews was punishable by death.


    Follow #‎PolishRighteous and @LftRighteous on Facebook and Twitter for more information.

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