By Ruth Ellen Gruber
I put information on this blog's Jewish Culture Festival page, but I don't post the schedules for all Jewish culture festivals I learn about. I thought I would point out the festival in Chmielnik, Poland, however. This year -- June 19-21 -- marks the seventh edition of the festival, which is organized by some enthusiastic local activists in the village of Chmielnik, not far from Krakow.
Before the Holocaust, some 10,000 of the town's then-12,000 residents were Jewish. Today, only 4,000 people live there -- none of them Jews. As the festival's organizer, the local historian Piotr Krawczyk, once put it succinctly: "No Jews here; no people."
A large synagogue building, which is under sporadic restoration, dominates the town center and is the focus of the festival. It is a large masonry structure with barrel vaulting, originally built in the 1630s. The Nazis turned it into a warehouse, but the interior still retains traces of lovely decoration, including 18th century stucco work and frescoes of lions, geometric forms, and the signs of the zodiac. There are also two Jewish cemeteries -- one has been recently restored, with a monument to the destroyed Jewish community.
This year, the festival takes place in Chmielnik and also in Szydlow, another small village nearby where there is a massive, fortress-style synagogue.
Krawczyk is one of dozens -- scores? hundreds? -- of non-Jewish Poles who have made a mission of recovering and promoting awareness of a past that was destroyed by the Nazis during the Shoah and then suppressed under communism. He has written a book about local Jewish history and spearheaded efforts to restore the synagogue and broaden knowledge of local Jewish history -- which, as he and others have often noted, is actually the history of the town itself.
VII MEETINGS WITH JEWISH CULTURE IN CHMIELNIK
19 june 2009 – Szydlow
19-20-21 june 2009 – Chmielnik
Friday 19 june 2009 – Chmielnik
Time: 15:00 (3 pm)
Movie projection in the House of Culture in Chmielnik:
“PO-LIN. Memory scraps”. Director Jolanta Dylewska, music Michal Lorenc, narrator Piotr Fronczewski. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ReAZir_l3zc)
Friday 19 june 2009 – Szydlow
Time: 17:00 (5:00 pm)
Open the exhibition of the painting-sculpturing of the Plastic Arts Association in Kielce.
Time: 17:45 (5:45 pm)
Official open the ceremony in the Synagogue.
Time: 18:00 (6:00 pm)
The “Chmielnikers” Team concert from Chmielnik in the Synagogue.
Time: 19:15 (7:15 pm)
Open of the Jewish exhibition in the Synagogue.
Time: 20:00 (8:00 pm)
Theatrical performance called “NIGHT – TURNO” made by Poem Theatre “In Radziwill” from Szydlowiec.
Time: 20:40 (8:40 pm)
Theatrical performance called “Shabbat Supper” made by school children from Szydlow.
Saturday 20 june 2009 – Chmielnik
Time: 17:00 (5:00 pm)
Meeting with the Leopold Kozlowski in the House of Culture in Chmielnik.
Time: 18:30 – 19:30 (6:30 – 7:30 pm)
On the Chmielnik’s Market – Jewish dance training with the dancing show made by the children of the Elementary School in Chmielnik.
Time: 19:30 (7:30 pm)
On the Chmielnik’s Market – Show of the Hola-Hola Cabaret.
Time: 20:30 (8:30 pm)
On the Chmielnik’s Market – dancing show inspired by the Jewish music made by girls from the Basic School in Chmielnik.
Time: 21:00 (9:00 pm)
On the Chmielnik’s Market – band “SHARENA” concert.
Sunday 21 june 2009 – Chmielnik
Time: 12:00 (12 noon)
The solemn holy mass in the Church in Chmielnik.
Time: 13:15 – 13:30 (1:15 – 1:30 pm)
At the Synagogue put the wreath and inflammation before board ever-burning fire commemorating Jews of Chmielnik.
Time: 13:30 – 16:00 (1:30 – 4:00 pm)
In the Synagogue:
- Open the exhibition called “I see faces, hear steps” made by Malgorzata Gladyszewska and Andrzej Peczalski.
- Theatrical performance made by Elementary and Basic School children from Chmielnik.
- The Slawa Przybylska recital, Jan Krzyzanowski recite, Janusz Tylman accompaniment.
Time: 16:00 (4:00 pm)
On the Chmielnik’s Market – dancing show inspired by the Jewish music made by girls from the Elementary School in Chmielnik.
Time: 16:15 – 17:00 (4:15– 5:00 pm)
Ending of the First Youth Jewish Songs Contest in Chmielnik.
Time: 17:00 – 17:30 (5:00– 5:30 pm)
On the Chmielnik’s Market – Dance practice part 1.
Time: 17:30 – 18:00 (5:30– 6:00 pm)
On the Chmielnik’s Market – children show from the Basic School in Wola Jachowa.
Time: 18:00 – 19:00 (6:00– 7:00 pm)
On the Chmielnik’s Market – Results of the First Youth Jewish Songs Contest in Chmielnik and the “Chmielnikers” Team concert.
Time: 19:00 – 20:00 (7:00– 8:00 pm)
On the Chmielnik’s Market – Dance practice part 1 and dancing show inspired by the Jewish music made by girls from the Basic School in Chmielnik.
Time: 20:30 – 22:00 (8:30– 10:00 pm)
On the Chmielnik’s Market – band “Klezmafour” concert.
At the time: 13:00 - 20:00 at the Synagogue on the Sienkiewicza and Wspolna street will be the introductions of handicraft, Jewish food, plastic performances as well as the demonstrations of Jewish art of boiling, illumined the performance of klezmer team called the "Klezmafour".