The Institute for Polish-Jewish Studies was established in 1984. It is a non-profit, educational institution devoted to the history and culture of Polish Jewry. It is an associated institute of the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies.

The Institute for Polish-Jewish Studies was established to:

  1. Preserve the history of Polish Jewry on an international basis

  2. Disseminate the results of this research by means of publications, lectures, conferences, seminars and documentary films

  3. Focus attention of the world public on what is most significant and precious in this legacy of Polish Jewry.

  4. ____________________________________

Jerzy Kulczycki
12.10.1931- 18.07. 2013

It is with great sadness that we relay the news of death of Jerzy Kulczycki, one of the original founders of the Institute for Polish Jewish Studies in 1984. His loss will be deeply felt as it leaves a great hole in the Polish-Jewish community.

He worked tirelessly and with great enthusiasm not just for Polish community but for Polish-Jewish community as well. He was a Treasurer for the IPJS and one of the strongest supporters of the Institute and its work.

Jerzy was born in Poland, in Lwów (Lviv, now in Ukraine) on 12 Oct. 1931. He lost his father in 1940 who was killed by the Soviet secret police. Jerzy and his mother were deported to Kazakhstan. In 1942 with the army of Gen. Władysław Anders, they escaped from Kazakhstan and managed to get to Iran and later to Palestine where Jerzy began his military training as he was too young to fight. In 1947 Jerzy with his mother and aunt went to England, to London, where he founded the publishing house Odnowa in 1964. Since 1972 he and his wife Aleksandra, founded Orbis Books (London) believing in the power of truthful and uncensored information. As the result, during that period he published around 100 titles that were prohibited in communist Poland, later smuggling some of the émigré publications to Poland and other countries within the Soviet block. He was also involved in the works of the Institute of Polish Jewish Studies believing in improving and developing Polish Jewish relations.

He was decorated with Poland’s highest orders, including The Order of Polonia Restituta.

Jerzy is survived by his wife Aleksandra who was his most devoted supporter in all his undertaking, and his children, Ryszard, Andrzej and Marta with their families.

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Letters of Condolence after the Death
of President of Poland Lech Kaczyński

12 April 2010

H.E. Ms Barbara Tuge-Erecińska
Ambassador of the Republic of Poland
Polish Embassy
47 Portland Place
London W1B 1JH
 
Dear Ambassador,

On behalf of myself, our President, Sir Sigmund Sternberg, and the whole Council of the Institute for Polish-Jewish Studies I wish to express our profound sadness at the horrible catastrophe that has robbed Poland not only of her highly esteemed President, but also of so many distinguished and important figures who have contributed so much to the happiness and prosperity of Twenty-first Century Poland.

It is doubly distressing that this appalling loss should have occurred when the delegation was on its way to what would have been a fitting commemoration of the brutal murder of 22,000 Polish officers at Katyn.

Poland is an infinitely resourceful Country and will find a way to surmount this truly devastating blow. Meanwhile we can can only express our deep sorrow and grieve with the families, friends and colleagues of those who have been so tragically taken from us. 

Please let me know if there is anything we can do to assist at this sad hour.

Yours sincerely, 

Ben Helfgott M.B.E.

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Chabad of Bloomsbury
Jewish Student Centre

13 April 2010, 29 Nissan 5770

HE Ms Barbara Tuge-Erecinska
The Ambassador of the Republic of Poland
Embassy of the Republic of Poland
47 Portland Place
London, W1B 1JH

 

Dear Madam Ambassador,
Greetings and blessing!
I was deeply saddened to learn of the terrible tragedy which befell the Republic of Poland and the Polish people last weekend.

In addition to sharing in the general grief, I also feel a personal grief as the late President Kaczynski was a wonderful friend of the Jewish community and I also had the honour of meeting his wife on her visit to London last year. Many of the others on board the fateful flight were also people who, like the late president, worked tirelessly toward the goal of uniting the various communities and cultures that comprise the Polish people, as well as building bridges to different communities and cultures outside of Poland. Their  presence and their participation in this crucial effort will be sorely missed.

In the Torah portion which we read last Saturday, on the day of the tragedy, we read about a tragedy that befell Aaron, the High Priest, with the death of two of his sons. The Torah records Aaron’s reaction for posterity, teaching us an important lesson in dealing with tragedy. The Torah tells us “Aaron was silent”. He did not attempt to explain the tragedy and he certainly did not attempt to justify it. We cannot fathom the ways of the Creator. At the same time we are told that this silence is not a passive one, it speaks of a deep, inner power which drives us to action, to rebuild and to resolve to continue in the good work and precedent established by those who perished - to determine to work even harder at building bridges and bringing people together in harmonious existence.

I extend our  heartfelt condolences to Your Excellency the ambassador, to the Polish community in the UK and indeed to all of the Polish people. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you and we pray that G-d grant you the strength to cope with this tragedy, to come together as a people with a strong resolve to rebuild and to continue in the good work of those who perished, thus using this tragedy as a springboard for growth.

May their memory be for a blessing.
Yours sincerely,
Rabbi Yisroel Lew
Director

 

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