THE PAST 25 YEARS HAVE BEEN A TIME of political, economic, and social change in Poland. During this time, Polish-Jewish relations have undergone transformations alongside those taking place across the country. In 1989, almost half a century after the Holocaust and after decades of communism, the free Poland inherited closed borders, a lack of diplomatic relations with Israel and an inability to hold a public discussion on any topic related to the history of Polish Jews.
Poland today is a completely different country. And Polish-Jewish relations are completely different as well. Diplomatic ties with Israel have been established, Polish-Jewish dialogue has become common, and there is a growing awareness of the Jewish heritage and the important role it has played in Polish history. These changes have not only happened in large cities, but everywhere in Poland. There is still much to do, but now many people are willing to be the doers. Their widespread accomplishments to date deserve to be acknowledged.
The Forum for Dialogue takes particular interest in what is happening “in the field,” away from the metropolises, as well as in what happens between people, not just governments or institutions. It is this aspect of the Polish/Jewish transformation that we aim to present through this exhibition.