And Europe Will Be Stunned - Poland and the Loss or Return of the Jews

Tamar Garb, François Guesnet, Stanislaw Krajewski


With the support of the Polish Cultural Institute, London, The Museum of the History of Polish Jews and Artangel. Event photos (c) Elzbieta Piekacz, courtesy of the Polish Cultural Institute, London.

7.30 pm And Europe Will Be Stunned
Part I Nightmares
Part II Wall and Tower
Part III Assassination
8.30 pm Interval
8.50 pm Discussion

Jewish Book Week 2013 hosted an evening dedicated to new interpretations of Poland’s Jewish past and the potential of art to imagine a different future. A discussion between Polish cultural activist Sławomir Sierakowski, Polish Jewish leader Stanisław Krajewski, novelist Eva Hoffman, scholar François Guesnet and art historian Tamar Garb follows a screening of the visionary trilogy by Yael Bartana And Europe Will Be Stunned (2011), courtesy of The Artangel Collection. The event also previewed the 2013 opening of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews on the site of the Warsaw Ghetto.

And Europe Will Be Stunned revolves around the activities of the Jewish Renaissance Movement in Poland (JRMiP) a group founded by the artist that calls for the return of 3.3million Jews to Poland. A complex and potent work which suggests many possible meanings, it was made by Israeli artist Yael Bartana and partly scripted by Sierakowski, who plays the role of the leader of the JRMiP. The participants will discuss the ways in which this trilogy of films touches on common strands of Polish and Israeli politics, such as the desire to reverse loss and the longing for a multicultural future.

The Museum of the History of Polish Jews will be a major development in Poland, funded by public and private partnership. Expressly designed not to be a “Holocaust museum”, the education and cultural forum sets out 1000 years of the history of Polish Jews in a multi-media narrative showing the Jews as integral to Polish history and Polish history as incomplete without a history of the Jews.

Tamar Garb

Tamar Garb is Durning Lawrence Professor in the History of Art at UCL, University of London.

François Guesnet

François Guesnet is Sidney and Elizabeth Corob Reader in Modern Jewish History at UCL, University of London.

Eva Hoffman

Eva Hoffman is an internationally renowned writer and academic. Born in Kraków, Poland, she emigrated to Canada in 1959. Her books, which are translated into many languages, include Lost in Translation, Exit into History and Time.

Stanislaw Krajewski

Stanislaw Krajewski teaches logic and philosophy of religion at Warsaw University. A founder member of “Solidarity” for 10 years from 1980, he has been part of the team preparing the concept and exhibits in the new Museum of the History of Polish Jews. He is author of Poland and the Jews Reflections of a Polish Polish Jew (Austeria, 2005).