“Without memory, there is no culture.
Without memory, there would be no civilization,

no society, no future.”
Elie Wiesel


The Great Synagogue Restores Memory

A ceremonial virtual reconstruction of the Great Synagogue

18 April 2019, at 10:00 p.m. –  Plac Bankowy Warsaw.

The Open Republic Association commemorate the 76 th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising with a public multimedia event created by artist Gabi von Seltmann.

This ceremony is a virtual reconstruction of the Great Synagogue, demolished by the Germans after the Ghetto Uprising, using historical images, sounds and emotions. Archival recordings of the cantor of the Great Synagogue, Gerszon Sirota, who died in the Warsaw ghetto, and fragments of the poem Bashert, read by its author, Irena Klepfisz, daughter of Michał, a soldier of the Jewish Combat Organisation, is played during the ceremony.
The main idea of the second edition of this art project is to recall the history of the place and the inhabitants of the city.

“May remembrance and love overcome destruction and death.”

The Jewish Historical Institute Association in Poland
The project is co-financed by the City of Warsaw

Andrzej and Malgorzata Rojek
Irene Kronhill Pletka and the Kronhill Pletka Foundation

Museum of History of Polish Jews POLIN
The Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute
The Jewish Community of Warsaw
JCC Warsaw


75th anniversary of blowing up the Great Synagogue



Project Bashert


This audio-video collage Bashert (Yiddish): inevitable, (pre)destined was prepared for Irena Klepfisz's tour in Poland 2017 by Art, History & Apfelstrudel Foundation in co-production with JCC Warsaw.
The poem "Bashert" written & performed by Irena Klepfisz

Irena Klepfisz is a poet, Yiddish translator, and teacher of Jewish Women Studies. She was born in 1941 in the Warsaw Ghetto and eventually hidden in a Catholic orphanage. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising claimed the life of her father, Michal Klepfisz, a resistance fighter and a Bund activist who was posthumously awarded the Virtuti Militari medal. After the Warsaw Uprising, she and her mother, Rosa Perczykow-Klepfisz, hid in a village until the liberation. They then moved to Lodz and, in 1946, emigrated to Sweden, and in 1949, to the United States.
Irena Klepfisz has been active in feminist, lesbian, Jewish secular and peace organizations. She began publishing her poetry in 1971 and soon focused her research on Yiddish women writers (e.g. Kadya Molodovsky and Fradl Shtok). She co-founded the feminist literary magazine Conditions and served as the Yiddish editor of the Jewish feminist magazine Bridges. She also co-edited The Tribe of Dina: A Jewish Woman's Anthology. She is the author of A Few Words in the Mother Tongue (Poetry) and Dreams of an Insomniac (Essays). While teaching Jewish Women's Studies at Barnard College, Klepfisz also taught for ten years at a maximum security women's prison. She received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in poetry and was recently awarded the prestigious Adrienne Cooper Dreaming in Yiddish Award 2016.

Sound direction & editing Marcin Lenarczyk
Irena Klepfisz's voice recording Michael Winograd
DOP & editing Marek Gajczak
Camera assistant Wiktor Owlasiuk, Cine Rental, Krakow
Concept and production Gabi von Seltmann
In co-production with JCC Warsaw
contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., www.aha.org.pl
© all rights reserved
June 2017

“Ginczanka. Żar-Ptak/Fire-Bird”


Photos from concert: Ginczanka. Fire-Bird, 22. Nov. 2017 at Teatr Polski, Warsaw
Photos made by Gabi von Seltmann

Project Description

“Ginczanka. Żar-Ptak/Fire-Bird” is a concert which blends the languages of theatre, music and visual arts. The artists involved create a live collage which brings the person and the poetry of Zuzanna Ginczanka to life. We ask questions about ghosts of the past which return to us in a time of fascist resurgence in our world – is it not our duty to ask: what happened to the lessons we learnt from history? Is this the last chance we have to stop things disintegrating?

The project has come about through a deep sense of need for change. We want the audience to learn more about Zuzanna Ginczanka – an emancipated Woman and Poet of Jewish origin killed during WWII. We want Ginczanka to become an icebreaker which will allow hundreds of other women to tell their stories in her wake. It is time!

The visual projections were formed of images shot during Ginczanka's time, a video-collage cut of experimental films, avant-garde footage and amateur clips, inspired and relating to Ginczanka's verses. The film fragments add to the emotional and visual experience of the show.


Zuzanna Ginczanka - Zuzanna Gincburg (born in 1917 in Kiev, killed in 1944 in Krakow) was a visionary poet who loved life and found delight in words.
She published her work as part of the Skamander group, featuring the finest Polish poets at work in the inter-War period. Well-known in Warsaw's bohemian circles, she was highly regarded by the great Julian Tuwim and Witold Gombrowicz. An emancipated, charismatic woman, she spent her entire life trying to elude stereotypes.
Ginczanka was a Jew who experienced wartime escape and betrayal. Arrested by the Gestapo, tortured and shot, memory of her words vanished from the world's literary landscape - only now to return with renewed force.

Kamilla Baar-Kochańska: performance, improvisation
Dorota Jarema: music, vocals
Paweł Szamburski: music, improvisation
Bożena Keff: text
Robert Bęza: video-collage and VJ-ing during the show
Marek Kazmierski: translations
Gabi von Seltmann: artistic concept, staging

Ginczanka. Żar-Ptak/Fire-Bird has been created by all the artists involved, supported by the Art, History & Apfelstrudel Foundation and the Education, Art, Freedom Foundation.
(all rights reserved)



Sbrent Mordechai Gebirtig Project 230 230 px Boris-Dorfman-A-Mentsh 230-230-px Mordechai-Gebirtig-Project 230-230-px Ginczanka Fire Bird 2018 230 230 px

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