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A Prayer for Władysław Bartoszewski

A prayer for Władysław Bartoszewski, who had passed away on 24 April 2015, was held yesterday at the Nożyk Synagogue in Warsaw. “O Lord, who will sojourn in Your tent, who will dwell upon Your holy mount? He who walks uprightly and works righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart” – Michael Schudrich, the Chief Rabbi of Poland, chanted the opening verses of Psalm 15. “When King David wrote the psalm 3,000 years ago, he must have had a man like Professor Władysław Bartoszewski in mind”, the rabbi added.


Anna Chipczyńska (photo: Danuta Matloch)


“I am deeply saddened. Władysław Bartoszewski was a frequent guest at the synagogue. He was an inimitable role model for all of us”, said Lesław Piszewski, Chairman of the Union of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland, to the gathering in the synagogue. “Each time I was about to meet with him, I felt anxious and awkward – would I be able to behave appropriately in front of this great man? But the fear quickly dispersed and a normal, warm conversation ensued”, Mr Piszewski added. “If it were not for Władysław Bartoszewski, there would be several hundred less Jews in the world. Their lives were saved not merely because he was an active member of Żegota, but because he was an exceptionally determined human being”, stressed Rabbi Schudrich.


Władysław Teofil Bartoszewski (photo: Danuta Matloch)


Amongst the people gathered at the synagogue were: representatives of the Union of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland; Anna Ben Ezra, Cultural Attaché of the Israeli Embassy in Poland; members of the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute in Poland; employees, members and friends of the Jewish Community in Warsaw, Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute and POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

Władysław Teofil Bartoszewski, son of the deceased, was visibly moved by the prayers and memorial speeches. “My father was not prejudiced against anybody. When he was a boy, he used to play with his Jewish friends at the Krasiński Garden. I remember him taking me to the area of the former ghetto at the age of 5. I kept walking with my father at one side, and Marek Edelman at the other. My father was… there is a word in Yiddish, which found its way into English… my father was a Mensch”, said Władysław T. Bartoszewski. His voice trembled and he sat down, on the verge of tears.


Rabbi Michael Schudrich (photo: Danuta Matloch)


Marian Turski, an Honorary Chairman of the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute in Poland, announced that he would organize a seminar dedicated to Professor Bartoszewski’s life on the first anniversary of his death. He emphasized Professor Bartoszewski’s significant role in Lech Wałęsa’s policy in the field of Polish-Jewish relations and in restoring the memory of Auschwitz, which had for many years signified Polish martyrdom in the public discourse, completely ignoring the fact that the overwhelming number of its victims were Jews.

“Such a seminar ought to be planned in at least two categories: Bartoszewski and the Israel issue, and Bartoszewski and Polish-Jewish relations. And the third chapter, which is happening now: how did Bartoszewski rear his own son, namely the next generation”, said Marian Turski.

The ‘next generation’ has already spoken. “I have never met Władysław Bartoszewski in person”, said Anna Chipczyńska, representative of the young generation of the Warsaw Jewish Community, and its current Chairperson. “Nonetheless, I am convinced that he was the guardian of our memory. He reminded us what really matters in life. He signified our moral fibre. He taught us that it is indeed a  blessing to live in a democratic society”, concluded her address Anna Chipczyńska.



1.A song of David; O Lord, who will sojourn in Your tent, who will dwell upon Your holy mount?

2.He who walks uprightly and works righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart

3.He did not slander with his tongue; he did his neighbor no harm, neither did he take up reproach upon his kinsman.

4. A base person is despised in his eyes, and he honors the God-fearing; he swears to [his own] hurt and does not retract.

5. He did not give his money with interest, nor did he accept a bribe against the innocent; he who does these shall not falter forever.


Author: Joanna Król