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2016-06-01

Identification And Description of Photographs From the Collections of the Social And Cultural Society of Jews In Poland

Only a fraction of the pre-war Jewish community survived War World II. After the war, most of the Jewish survivors and their descendants emigrated from Poland. Therefore, the goal to document and preserve traces of Jewish life in Polish territories and to promote knowledge about it is one of the main statutory objectives of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

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In 2013, the Museum contacted the Social and Cultural Society of Jews in Poland (TSKŻ), whose archives contain the world’s largest collection of photographs depicting Jewish life in post-war Poland, with a proposition to digitalise it. However, the full scientific potential of this collection cannot be fulfilled unless it is examined, described and entered into a data base.

The collection consists of 6350 digitalised photographs taken during the period from 1945 to 1990, which portray various initiatives related to organised Jewish life, such as anniversary commemorations, concerts, summer camps for Jewish children, important events organised at first in Jewish committees and in subsequent years in TSKŻ’s departments all across Poland.

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Witnesses, whose knowledge may be extremely helpful for documenting the history of an entire era of Jewish life, are still alive. As we have access to the largest collection of photographs depicting post-war life of Jews in Poland, we believe it is our duty (and at the same time a great opportunity) to provide a professional description of this collection and to make it available in a database. We believe that the results of our work will serve as the basis for numerous important and valuable research projects and will help carry out a large number of different undertakings, such as exhibitions, publications of albums, or scientific studies for the general public.

Therefore, we ask for your help in describing the photographs and in identifying people and events portrayed in them. If you have photographs in your private albums which depict social-cultural Jewish life in Poland, we would also like to digitalise them.

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Since for legal reasons the Museum cannot make those photographs available from an open forum, the only option is individual identification. After you declare your willingness to cooperate with us by emailing us at: tskz@polin.pl, you will receive selected photographs.

We hope that by working together we will be able to preserve the memory of the post-war history of the Jewish community in Poland.

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