Skip to main content

Polish Heroes: Those Who Rescued the Jews

  • Published: January 11, 2012


  • Photography exhibit is free and open to the public from January 23 - February 19, 2012
  • Opening night reception on January 23 at 6 p.m. in the Shults Center Forum
  • Lecture by Holocaust expert Michael Dobkowski on February 8 at 6 p.m. in the Forum

For More Information

Center for International Education
(585) 389-2371

Polish Heroes: Those Who Rescued the Jews

Nazareth College hosts an extraordinary photographic exhibit, Polish Heroes: Those Who Rescued the Jews, in the Nazareth College Otto A. Shults Center lobby. There will be an opening night reception on January 23 at 6 p.m. in the Shults Center Forum and will include music performed by the Nazareth College Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Nancy Strelau, with a soprano solo performed by Soo Yeon Kim, a poetry reading, and a closing performance by Eastman School of Music graduate Beata Golec. A lecture with Holocaust expert Michael Dobkowski, professor of religious studies at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, will take place on Wednesday, February 8 at 6 p.m. in the Shults Center Forum on campus. The exhibit is free and open to the public seven days a week from 8 a.m. to midnight starting January 23 – February 19, 2012.

About the Exhibit
The Polish Heroes: Those Who Rescued the Jews pays tribute to individuals honored as Righteous Among the Nations by the Yad Vashem Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority in Israel, paying special attention to more than 6,000 Polish recipients. The photographic exhibition focuses on twenty-one such recipients who all live in the Kraków region of Poland today.

During the Holocaust, these individuals risked their lives to save persecuted Jews with no reward for themselves. Today, thousands of descendants of those rescued Jews live around the world.

The exhibition comprises twenty-one portrait photographs by the late photographer and Founder/Director of the Galicia Jewish Museum, Chris Schwarz. These are accompanied by the biographies and historical photographs of the award recipients, along with exhibition texts and an introduction by the Polish-Jewish journalist and intellectual, Konstanty Gebert.

The exhibition records just a handful of the remarkable stories in order to make them accessible, so that others may be challenged by their acts of selflessness and move to action in the world today.

About the Opening Night
The Nazareth College Chamber Orchestra, soprano soloist Soo Yeon Kim, and conductor Nancy Strelau will perform Symphony No. 3, "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs," Movement II: Lento e largo, by Henryk Mikołaj Górecki. This very moving work is scored for orchestra with soprano soloist and is cast in three somber movements.

For Górecki, his Symphony No. 3 acted as a catharsis for his feelings in regards to the brutality of human beings. The work looks back as far as a Polish prayer from the fifteenth century but also to more recent events, even to those that would still have been fresh to the survivors of the Nazi occupation of Poland.
Duration: 10 minutes

1980 by Abraham Sutzkever (translated by Cynthia Ozik) will be recited by a Nazareth College student.

Beata Golec will perform a variety of piano études by Bacewicz, and preludes by Szymanowski.
Duration: 10 minutes
Light refreshments will be served on opening night.

About Michael Dobkowski’s Lecture
Polish Responses to the Holocaust will focus on rethinking Polish-Jewish relations during the Holocaust. While the literature of the Holocaust tells us a great deal about the perpetrators and the victims, it fails to deal adequately with the role of the bystanders who made up the majority of the population in Poland as well as throughout Europe, or the rescuers who helped save tens of thousands of Jews.

Michael Dobkowski, Ph.D served as a visiting professor at Nazareth College in the fall of 2011 where he taught Jewish Thought, the history and implications of the Holocaust, the American Jewish Experience, and the History of Anti-Semitism.

Film Showings
The Polish Heritage Society of Rochester and the Polish Falcons are sponsoring three film showings at Nazareth College. All three showings are free and open to the public.
•    Irena Sendler in the Name of their Mothers on Monday, January 30 at 7 p.m. in the Shults Center Forum on the Nazareth College campus.
•    Hiding and Seeking: Faith and Tolerance after the Holocaust on Monday, February 6 at 7 p.m. in the Shults Center Forum on the Nazareth College campus.
•    The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler on Wednesday, February 15  at 7 p.m. in the Shults Center Forum on the Nazareth College campus.

This exhibition and program of events is sponsored by Nazareth College and the Center for International Education, the Hickey Center for Interfaith Studies and Dialogue, and the Religious Studies Department. Community sponsors include the Jewish Federation of Rochester, the Polish Heritage Society of Rochester, and the Polish Falcons. This exhibit would not be made possible without the support of Jakub Nowakowski, director of the Galicia Jewish Museum in Kraków, Poland. The exhibition is central to the mission of Nazareth College, which stresses a commitment to life informed by intellectual, ethical, spiritual and aesthetic values – and to making a difference in local and global communities.

Founded in 1924, Nazareth College is located on a close-knit, suburban campus in the dynamic, metropolitan region of Rochester, N.Y. The College offers challenging academic programs in the liberal arts and sciences and professional programs in health and human services, education, and management. Nazareth's strong cultures of service and community prepare students to be successful professionals and engaged citizens. The College enrolls approximately 2,000 undergraduate students and 1,000 graduate students.

Personal tools