"It was not so easy for me to bring up this topic. I did not know so much about it. In retrospect, I am glad that I dared to initiate the project."
Krystyna Nowakowska, former director of the cultural organization Odnowica, launched the Pamietnik (Diary) project in 2007, engaging young people to read and learn about Dawid Rubinowicz and the former Jewish community of Bodzentyn.
Approaching the subject
Krystyna Nowakowska has been living with her husband Radek Nowakowski in Dabrowa Dolna, a village nearby Bodzentyn, since the mid-1990s.
As the head of the cultural organization, Odnowica Krystyna Nowakowska received a phone call in the summer of 2006 from a woman who made inquiries about the Jewish cemetery on behalf of a man currently living in Sweden. Later on, she learnt that his name was Max Safir.
When Krystyna Nowakowska discussed the issue of the cemetery with mayor Marek Krak he informed her of a diary that was written by a Jewish boy during the Nazi occupation of the city. It turned out that Krystyna’s husband Radek Nowakowski was keeping a copy of that book—The Diary of Dawid Rubinowicz —at home in his library.
In 2007 Krystyna Nowakowska launched the project Pamietnik (Diary) supported by the Stefan Batory Foundation tolerance program. In the project young people were engaged to attended different workshops. Several of them also participated in cleaning the Jewish Cemetery.
"In the project young people were engaged to attended different workshops. Several of them also participated in cleaning the Jewish Cemetery."
"The Diary was instrumental for people to approach this subject anew," Krystyna Nowakowska says.
After the first project, several teachers began teaching about Dawid Rubinowicz in school. "It was not so easy for me to bring up this topic. I did not know so much about it. In retrospect, I am glad that I dared to initiate the project."
During the Pamietnik Project, the images were edited so that they would recall the 1940s. Some of the photographs were arranged with subtitles in poster formats and exhibited at the local high school. The local historian, Stefan Rachtan, made a speech about Dawid Rubinowicz and the former Jewish community of Bodzentyn.
In one of the workshops in the project Pamietnik (Diary); young people learned how to write Hebrew letters. > Read more about Dawid Rubinowicz' diary
After studying the Diary of Dawid Rubinowicz, the young people who participated in the Pamietnik Project set out to recreate scenes from the book using a pinhole camera.
This photo was taken with a camera obscura, depicting the life of Jews in Bodzentyn in the time of Nazi occupation. The scene was inspired by Dawid Rubinowicz' diary.
Play raising discussion about tolerance
In cooperation with Dorota Anyż and Artur Anyż, Krystyna Nowakowska directed the process to set up a play based on the Diary of Dawid Rubinowicz. It was performed for the first time on 28 September 2008 as part of the first official commemoration of the lost Jewish Community.
"We wanted to raise a discussion about tolerance and what it is all about," Dorota and Artur Anyżowie comment. "Dawid Rubinowicz' diary tells us about people's experiences of the Bodzentyn ghetto. In simple words, Dawid describes the episodes and stages of the extermination of Jews during the Holocaust."
The actors in the performance were young people from and around Bodzentyn and Kielce. "They know the places that Dawid talks about, and they have heard their grandparents stories about those horrific times."
For Dorota and Artur Anyżowie, it was essential to tell about the suffering of Dawid, whose short childhood and life was interrupted. "We must remember what happened in the past so that it will never happen again."
On 28 September 2008, the play based on The Diary of Dawid Rubinowicz was performed for the first time in Bodzentyn by local actors: Martyna Iwan, Sabina Nowakowska, Ewa Dziuba, Milena Winiarska, Antoni Anyż, and Patryk Dyk. Script and direction: Dorota Anyż and Artur Anyż.
In addition to the play based on the Dawid Rubinowicz' diary, in 2009, Dorota Anyż and Artur Anyż also directed a play based on a Polish version of The Last Selection – A Child’s Journey Through the Holocaust by Goldie Szachter Kalib. Over the years, the play has been performed several times.
- The two plays were performed on the Dawid Rubinowicz' Days, in 2008 and 2009.
- Official Website of Odnowica
- Official Facebook Page of Odnowica
- Editor's interview with Krystyna Nowakowska in 2008 and 2009.
- "Portret Krystyna Nowakowska", published by Towarzystwo Inicjatyw Twórczych „ę”, Warszawa 2009. | Open digital version (accessed 11 July 2021)
- Information about the play and comments by Dorota and Artur Anyżowie were published on the Odnowica website (accessed 11 July 2021)
- An interview with Dorota and Artur Anyżowie, published in Echodnia, on 27 January 2014. | Open digital version (accesses 11 July 2021)