Christians and Jews Unite to Heal Wounds of WWII in Przemysl, Poland
Submitted to: Interfaith 
Posted: October 16 2006

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16 October 2006 (Jewswire.com) - For the first time since 1939, Jews from Eastern Europe will come to Przemysl, Poland on Oct. 20, to worship in a synagogue which was used by the Nazis as a horse stable during the Holocaust. A Sabbath service will be conducted by the Chief Rabbi of Poland Michael Shudrich and conclude the first day of an international conference hosted by a local Przemysl College, Panstwowa Wyzsza Szkola Wschodnioeuropejska. Lighting the Sabbath candles will be special guest Rozia Felner. Felner, a Holocaust survivor who lived all of her life in Przemysl, was saved from certain death by a local Christian family who hid her for two years in a sealed room in their house. Sponsored by Remembrance and Reconciliation Foundation, the conference is entitled; Lost Nation: The Jews of Przemysl and the Polish Landscape.

Christians and Jews from Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Slovakia, Israel, Western Europe and the United States will come together in Przemysl, the oldest Jewish settlement in Poland, to learn about the contribution of Jewish culture to Poland and hear an address by Janusz Kurtyka, a historian and director of Poland's Institute of National Memory. In addition, participants will hear speeches by the Mayor of Przemysl, local Roman and Greek Catholic clergy and the Israeli Ambassador to Poland, David Peleg. There will be a traditional kosher meal at a local hotel and on Sunday, there will be an ecumenical service held in the recently restored Jewish cemetery. Rabbi Schudrich will be joined by Roman Catholic priest, Father Stanislaw Bartminski and Greek Catholic priest Father Bogdan Stepan.

Cooperation between Poles, Ukrainians and Jews was not unusual in the pre-World War II era in this multi-cultural area known as Galicia. Executive Director of Remembrance and Reconciliation, John Hartman says; "We are hopeful that events like this can help heal the wounds of a war whose effects are still felt deeply after 67 years and which have been transferred to the next generation. We wanted to show Poles and Ukrainians what Jewish life was like before the war and to show the world that Jews and Christians can work together to remember and to heal." The organizers hope that this event marks the beginning of similar events in Przemysl in the future and that the idea will take root in other places in Eastern Europe.

This event began as collaboration between Professor Zdzizlaw Budzynski of the local College of Eastern Europe and Hartman, executive director of Remembrance and Reconciliation, an American foundation working in Poland and the United States to improve Christian-Jewish relations. The arrangements for the traditional Sabbath were made possible by Michael Traison, a Detroit lawyer with Miller, Canfield, Paddock, and Stone International.

About Remembrance and Reconciliation Foundation, Inc

The Remembrance and Reconciliation Foundation, Inc. is a not- for-profit corporation founded in 1998 by Dr. John Hartman. It is an ecumenical organization whose board of directors includes American and European Christians and Jews. Its projects are undertaken as joint initiatives with a common cause. Its mission is to promote reconciliation between conflicting ethnic and religious groups through historical documentation, commemoration and dialogue. Specifically, it focuses on the legacy of World War II on relations between Jews and Poles. For more information visit http://www.remembrance-reconciliation.org.

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    Remembrance and Reconciliation
    +1 813 258 4607  

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