JACEK PROSZYK - "Traces of the Jewish People of Bielsko in Israel"

15 May - 1 June 2014 (cafe Aquarium)
Thursday, 15 May:
3 pm - unveiling of the mural devoted by Irena Sendler on the building at ul. Stojałowskiego 19
4 pm - unveiling of the plaque on the Gallery's front wall in memory of the 6 thousand Jews from Bielsko-Biała and around who were murdered during the Second World War 
4.30 pm - exhibition vernissage


The exhibition features a series of photographs by Jacek Proszyk - a religious studies specialist and research worker dealing with the history and culture of the Jewish community and of the pre-war religious movements in Bielsko-Biała.
The photographs were taken during Jacek Proszyk's stay in Israel as part of his Ph.D scholarship awarded by the Jagiellonian University [Kraków] in 2010. With the rich and multicultural history of the city in mind, Proszyk embarked on a search of traces of Jews living in Bielsko-Biała before the War. The exhibition features more than thirty photographs (selected from a total of five thousand or so), which show various objects, documents, publications and awards, as well as places and buildings associated with Jews inhabiting the city.
Among the special places immortalized in the photographs is the former synagogue where the Orthodox Jews of Bielsko used to meet and pray. Jacek Proszyk also managed to trace a number of individuals who lived in the city before the War when Bielsko was a cultural and religious melting pot, home of B'nai B'rith.
Although Jacek Proszyk usually seeks Jewish traces in Bielsko and the surrounding areas, this time he decided to look for the old Bielsko in Israel. During his journey he came across some interesting stories revolving around Bielsko.
- The third station of the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem has been renovated through the efforts of the Polish soldiers of the Anders' Army. Fighting in its ranks was Eric Mozes - a Jew hailing from Bielsko, and a one-time sign painter, responsible for the propaganda in the army - who painted the white eagle on the station vault. "This is an examples of the complexities of our history - a Jew from Bielsko, serving in the Anders Army, paints the national emblem of Poland in a Catholic chapel in Israel "- says Jacek Proszyk.


Dawid Joseph Socholich born in  Bielsko with the members of his family


Family Zolmann photo's (owned by Coen family from Tel Aviv)


The exhibition is held in a special place - the Gallery building stands on the site of the former synagogue bombed in 1939.

The opening of the exhibition will be accompanied by two other events - the unveiling of the Irena Sendler Mural on the wall of the building at ul. Stojałowskiego, which is a part of a nationwide action organised by the Klamra Foundation and the unveiling the plaque on the Gallery's front wall in memory of the 6 thousand Jews from Bielsko-Biała and around who were murdered during the Second World War.

Jacek Proszyk - born in 1973, raised in Skoczów, lives in Jaworze, long-term ties with Bielsko-Biała; religious studies specialist, author of a number of publications devoted to the history, religion and culture of Jews living in what is now Bielsko-Biała and the surrounding area; in June 2012 he defended his PhD Thesis in the Philosophical Faculty of the Jagiellonian University, which was entitled Between Orthodoxy, Haskalah and Zionism. Social and Religious Changes in the Jewish Communities of Bielsko and Biała Krakowska in 1918-1939.

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