Pardes Lauder: The Torah in Polish
Tora. Pardes Lauder, S. Pecaric, E. Gordon
et al., t. 1 (Shemot) - 2 (Bereshit), I Ed. (Stowarzyszenie Pardes)
Kraków [Cracow] 2001-2003.
After 1939, there was no new translation of the Torah in Poland.
Smaller prayer books were printed or photocopied in small quantities by
the Communities themselves.
A new translation is currently being prepared in Krakow, under the
direction of Sacha Pecaric and Ewa Gordon. Thanks to support from the
Ronald S. Lauder Foundation, the two first books have already been
published: Bereshit (Genesis) and Shemot (Exodus). These names come from
the books' first words. The next will be Leviticus (Vayikra), Numbers
(Bemidbar) and Deuteronomy (Devarim). This edition of the Torah is being
prepared on the basis of studies of the Torah and Talmud that have
taken place in Krakow for years under the direction of Sacha Pecaric.
The pages themselves always have the
original Hebrew text at the top right, with Rashi's commentary below. On
the left-hand page at the top there is the text of the Polish
translation and rabbinical commentaries below.
As with every translation, this one, too, has sparked controversy.
It is distinguished by the author's attempts to avoid all
anthropomorphic descriptions of God in the text and commentaries.
This work has attracted much interest, not only among Polish Jews,
but also among Christians who desire to learn about other traditions of
the Holy Scriptures. As Bishop Pedro Lopez Quintana wrote on behalf of
John Paul II, "one should hope that the Polish translation of Bereshit,
revealing to readers the 'depth of the Jewish interpretation of the
Torah' and will bring about a better understanding between people who
want to build a future on the basis of mutual respect, understanding and
mutual responsibility, bringing them closer together."
Around the Kielce Pogrom, ed. Łukasz Kamiński and Jan Żaryn
At first, a handful of facts. After two days’ absence, nine-year old Henryk Błaszczyk returns home. He went to his friends in the countryside; he played with his peers and picked cherries. After Henryk’s homecoming, his father reports to the police that his son was kidnapped by the Jews living in Planty Street 7. He must have miraculously escaped from the cellar where he had been locked. Heading towards this place, police officers are spreading rumours aloud, that they are going to visit the crime scene - the place where Polish children are being imprisoned. They are followed by crowd, stirred by the news of murder of Christian children. Some of them demand revenge so they take crowbars, sticks and axes with them. The crowd approaches the house, populated by those who survived the Shoah, and they enter it forcibly. A long slaughter follows.
Townspeople, women, men and teenagers take part in it. Workers, policemen and a troop of army also participate in it. Victims are thrown through the windows, torn apart, killed with sticks, spades, pickaxes and stones. The mayhem is spreading over the whole city and continues until the next morning. As a result, 42 people are killed, including a three-months-old toddler- Adaś Fisz, shot in his little head. It is July 4th, 1946. Kielce.
The immediate shock after the events is followed by years of silence. The first person breaking this silence is prof. Krystyna Kersten, who, in Solidarity (Solidarność) weekly, in September 1981, published an article about circumstances and the course of the Kielce pogrom. Since then, historians dealing with the post-war history and Polish-Jewish relations have tried to discover the motifs behind the event, and its ringleader; they tried to find out whether it was a political provocation, and if so, who inspired it?
Numerous assumptions exist. One of them says that the pogrom was provoked by officials from the Security Office and it was aimed at diverting attention away from the forged results of the referendum; it might have been inspired by the soviet intelligence service, active in Poland at that time; it might have been directed by National Armed Forces and “survivors of the fascists from National Army”; it might have also been targeted at disgrace of the new Polish authorities in international scene; or it is believed to have been organized by Zionists themselves(!) in order to make Polish Jews emigrate; it is also said to be an outburst of “just anger” against the ruling Jew-communists.
The sixty-first anniversary of the events was marked by a voluminous publication by the Institute of National Memory, which compiled documents concerning the Kielce pogrom. It opens with four treatises, whose authors shed light on the conflict, and presented disagreement about research into events in Kielce, which accumulated throughout years, they attempted to show conflicts around understanding what the collective murder of the Jews was. The second part, much more voluminous, because containing 334 pages is a specification of documents about the pogrom. It includes materials since 1945 (order of Minister of Public Security, addressed to officers of PUBP and MO, concerning the prevention of anti-Semitic sentiments), through reports and testimonies made after the pogrom, up to the protocols from investigation, which IPN carried out between 1991 and 2004, and the text of order of discontinuation of legal proceedings, issued by Krzysztof Falkiewicz, an IPN prosecutor.
Thanks to this publication, prepared with elaborate care, a reader has an opportunity to delve into a comprehensive collection of sources about the Kielce pogrom.