Galicia Jewish Museum

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The Galicia Jewish Museum
Żydowskie Muzeum Galicja
Galicia Jewish Museum.JPG
Galicia Jewish Museum in Kazimierz
Established 2004
Location Kraków, Poland
Coordinates 50°3′3.02″N 19°56′58.73″E / 50.0508389°N 19.9496472°E / 50.0508389; 19.9496472
Type Historical
Collection size History of Polish Jews in Galicia
Visitors 30,000
Director Jakub Nowakowski

The Galicia Jewish Museum (Polish: Żydowskie Muzeum Galicja) is located in the historic Jewish district of Kazimierz in Kraków, Poland. It is a photo exhibition documenting the remnants of Jewish culture and life in Polish Galicia, which used to be very vibrant in this area.


The Museum was established in April 2004 by the British photojournalist Chris Schwarz (whose father originated from Lwów), in cooperation with Prof. Jonathan Webber of UNESCO,[1] in an effort to celebrate the Jewish culture of the Polish Galicia and commemorate the victims of the Holocaust in Poland.

Following Schwarz' early death in 2007, Kate Craddy became the director of the Museum.[1] She was followed by Jakub Nowakowski in 2010.[2] Both English and Polish have remained the Museum's main operating languages. Today the Museum welcomes over 30,000 visitors annually from around the world.[3]


Main exhibition hall

The main exhibition of the Museum, Traces of Memory, is the result of a twelve-year collaboration between photographer and museum founder Chris Schwarz and British scholar Jonathan Webber. It commemorates the 800-year Jewish presence in western Galicia (today's southeastern Poland) through contemporary photographs of synagogues, cemeteries and other relics of the Jewish presence in the region still visible today. The exhibition is divided into five sections, representing different ways of approaching the Jewish past in Polish Galicia: Jewish Life in Ruins, Jewish Culture as it Once Was, The Holocaust: Sites of Massacre and Destruction, How the Past is Being Remembered and People Making Memory Today. A part of the exhibition is dedicated to Auschwitz concentration camp.

In 2008, the Museum collaborated with the Auschwitz Jewish Center to create the exhibition Polish Heroes, which focuses on the Polish Righteous Among the Nations. Today, the exhibition can be seen in six museums across Poland, England and the United States.

The Museum also hosts two to three temporary exhibitions. At the moment, the Museum is hosting a temporary exhibition: Soshana - collector of Worlds'. The exhibition presents paintings by Soshana (born 1927 in Vienna), an Austrian artist of Jewish descent, whose output received international acclaim. This is the first exposition of her works in Poland. The selected paintings, similar to all of Soshana’s work, are very diverse, both in terms of stylistics and subject matter. This makes her an artist who is quite hard to classify. For Soshana, painting was always (and still is) the fundamental way of experiencing and expressing the world, a way to enter into a dialogue with reality, and a way of being open to the inspirations coming from it. “To me, painting is like writing a diary,” she says.[4]

Klezmer concert at the Museum (2009)

The Galicia Jewish Museum has three temporary exhibition spaces, and shows a range of changing temporary exhibitions that compliment the mission of the Museum, both curated in-house and sourced externally, including modern art on Jewish themes. The Museum is also the venue of choice for many international travelling exhibitions coming to Central Europe for the first time, and is an experienced tour manager for exhibitions travelling in both Poland and overseas.[5]

Past exhibits[edit]

A long series of past exhibitions include the 2013 "Empty Void – photographs from Próżna Street"; and Gil Cohen-Magen's "In Hasidic Circles"; preceded by the ethnographic "Souvenir, Talisman, Toy"; and the Roz Jacobs’ "Memory Project" hailed as extraordinary by Agnieszka Holland; as well as the 2013 "Street art Jewish style" murals inspired by the Jewish culture; and "21x21" profile of 21 Jewish personalities of contemporary Kraków by Bartolomeo Koczenasz co-produced with the Jewish Community Centre (JCC); the 2012 "Anxiety" Holocaust art of Ryszard Apte; and "On the Other Side of the Torah" Wartime Portraits from Tübingen with audio and video; as well as "Wherever I Go, I'm Always Going to Jerusalem..." by the School of Fine Arts in Częstochowa competition winners; and photographs of Cracovian Jews "Poland and Palestine: Two Lands and Two Skies" by Ze’ev (Wilhelm) Aleksandrowicz born in Kraków in 1905 who died in Tel Aviv in 1992; the 2011 "Portraits of an Intelectual and Political Landscape" sculptural-paintings and serigraphs by Bernard Aptekar from New York City; and "Look Closer" Yoram Gross photography; as well as works by renown American artist Fay Grajower, member of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, entitled "Bletern: Images and Words" devoted to Polish Yiddish women poets, the 2011 "A City Not Forgotten: Memories of Jewish Lwów and the Holocaust" about dramatic experiences of escape, rescue, hiding and deportations to concentration camps' stories until now rarely told; the 2010–2011 "The Colour of Yiddish" by abstract expressionist Diti Ravner in soft pastel devoted to Polish landscape as world of her grandparents, and the 2010 "Fragments: International Style Architecture in Tel Aviv" photography by Yigal Gawze about architecture and design which largely defines the urban fabric of Tel Aviv, the Israel's most dynamic city. Many other exhibits were held earlier.[6]


The Museum provides opportunities for groups to meet with local recipients of the Polish Righteous Among the Nations Awards as well as Holocaust and concentration camp survivors.

In addition to tours and meetings, the Museum's Education Center offers workshops, lectures, and seminars on Jewish religion and culture and the Holocaust for different age groups. It is one of the only providers in southern Poland to offer Holocaust education classes on a permanent basis for visiting schools.[7]

The Museum regularly hosts klezmer concerts and other cultural events. In 2010, the Museum became an official partner of the Austrian Service Abroad.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 50°3′3.02″N 19°56′58.73″E / 50.0508389°N 19.9496472°E / 50.0508389; 19.9496472 (Galicia Jewish Museum)