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

Tamar Garb, François Guesnet, Stanislaw Krajewski

27/02/2013
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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 grew up in Cracow, Poland and studied music at the Cracow Music Conservatory before emigrating in her teens to Canada and the United States, and eventually settling in Great Britain. After receiving her Ph. D. in literature from Harvard University, she worked as senior editor and cultural critic at The New York Times, and has taught at various British and American universities. Her books, which have been widely translated, include Lost in Translation, Exit Into History, After Such Knowledge and Time, as well as two novels, The Secret and Illuminations (published as Appassionata in the US). She has written and presented numerous programmes for BBC Radio and conceived a series of programmes at the South Bank on Writing and Music. Her awards include the Guggenheim Fellowship, Whiting Award for Writing, an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and Prix Italia for Radio, for work combining text and music. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and is currently a Visiting Professor at the European Institute at UCL. She lives in London.

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).