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Embassy Commemorates The
1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The paralyzing blizzard of January 22-23 delayed, but couldn’t stop the Commemoration of the 73rd Anniversary of the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. So here, later on April 19, 2016, the program was presented at the Embassy of the Republic of Poland under the auspices of Ambassador Ryszard Schnepf and Maestro Jerome Barry – Director of The Embassy Series, which bon mot is “Uniting People through Musical Diplomacy.” (in photo: Cellist Dariusz Skoraczewski, pianist Michael Sheppard)

Upon entering the Embassy’s foyer, each guest was presented with a paper yellow daffodil to wear – now a recognized symbol of the Ghetto Uprising. In attendance were many prominent guests, especially from the Jewish diaspora, and Deputy Foreign Minister Marek Ziolkowski.

In his welcoming address, Ambassador Schnepf stressed that “the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising is not an anniversary of death, but a celebration of life.” He invoked the memory of Marek Edelman, a true Polish patriot and national hero of the Uprising. He survived and defiantly remained in Poland after World War II under the imposed communist government in service to others as a doctor of cardiology. Edelman died in his beloved Poland on October 2, 2009. Schnepf recalled the extensive humanitarian and philosophical guidelines by which Edelman governed himself, “thereby leaving a valuable legacy for future generations.”

With piety, the lighting of the seven menorah candles by the special guests followed. The “Kaddish” – Jewish Prayer for the Dead, was recited by Jerome Barry, which transformed everyone into a state of deep contemplation.

Cellist Dariusz Skoraczewski and pianist Michael Sheppard expertly presented an appropriate concert that consisted of “From Jewish Life, No. 1,” “Kol Nidrei” and Chopin’s “Sonata for Cello and Piano.” The “Jewish Prayer” encore evoked much visible emotion among the audience. Both musicians soundly deserved the prolonged standing ovation and floral tributes given them at the concert’s end.

DSC04865forweb    Witold Beres and Krzysztof Burnetko are co-authors of the newly published book “Marek Edelman: Being on the Right Side.” They introduced their book by alternately reading several very interesting and poignant excerpts from the biography. They reflected Edelman’s philosophical and humanitarian guide to life as mentioned earlier by Ambassador Schnepf. Probably the most famous Edelman pronouncement is the “Ten Commandments According to Marek Edelman,” which includes God? Morality? Homeland? Patriotism? Responsibility? Dignity? and Hard Times? The two authors excelled in their dramatic delivery of the selected excerpts, often playing off of each other’s words. (in photo: Authors Krzysztof Burnetko & Witold Beres)

And about those aforementioned yellow daffodils? They came from the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. The museum distributes the daffodils on the streets of Warsaw each April 19th  to mark the beginning of the Ghetto Uprising as an integral part of its “Memory Unites Us” campaign. The daffodils definitely united us here in Washington as well.


(In photo on right: Survivors of the Holocaust in Attendance. Zosia and Bolek Brodecki, ages 88 and 94 respectively, proudly sporting yellow daffodils on their lapels, at the Embassy of Poland as honored guests during the program to honor the Jewish victims of the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising at the deadly hands of the occupying Nazi Germans. Not pictured is fellow Holocaust survivor Dr. Steven Kent, who was also in attendance.

Text and Photos by
Richard Poremski
Polish American Journal
Washington, DC Bureau

May 9, 2016