Jews in Poland: Jonathan Webber—Preserving Jewish Heritage
ENGLISH CORNER, CON LINDA JIMÉNEZ – This week’s trivia question: How were some synagogue buildings able to survive World War II intact? And what happened to many of them later?
Jonathan Webber is a British social anthropologist with special expertise on European Judaism and European Jews. He taught for eighteen years at the University of Oxford, and then for eight years was the UNESCO Chair in Jewish and Interfaith Studies at the University of Birmingham, England. In 2011 he moved to Krakow to take up a professorship at the Institute of European Studies of the Jagiellonian University. Since 1988 Prof. Webber has been researching and documenting the rich history of Polish–Jewish relations and the cultural heritage of Polish Jews. He is chairman of the Galicia Jewish Museum in Kazimierz, Krakow, and a member of the International Auschwitz Council advising, promoting and aiding the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in its various activities. He is author of Rediscovering Traces of Memory: The Jewish Heritage of Polish Galicia (Indiana University Press, 2009). Prof. Webber has been awarded the Gold Cross of Poland’s Order of Merit for services to Polish–Jewish dialogue.
Professor Webber spoke with us about Jewish heritage in Poland, and the revival and preservation of Jewish culture in Poland today.