“Rescue, Relief, and Renewal,” a traveling photo exhibition of 100 years of the American Joint Distribution Committee in Poland, is now open at the Levy Family Campus of the Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley in Los Gatos. The exhibition was created by the Galicia Jewish Museum in Krakow, Poland. The collection of 80 images spanning 1914 through 2014 presents a century of Jewish life in Poland. Most of the photos come courtesy of the JDC Archives, while others come from the Jewish community centers in Warsaw and Krakow. Many of the photos were never shared publicly until they were selected for the comprehensive exhibition.
The exhibition first opened at the Galicia Jewish Museum in 2014 to commemorate the centennial of the JDC’s continuous existence in Poland and ongoing support for Polish Jews. The images showcase in detail the JDC’s critical role in rescuing and helping Jews by caring for children, providing food and medical care, facilitating the establishment of schools and religious organizations, and supporting economic development.
The exhibition takes visitors through the present-day. With the revitalization of Jewish life in Poland today and an increasing number of Poles discovering their Jewish roots, the exhibition’s modern, color photos demonstrate how the JDC is continuing to meet the changing needs of an increasingly younger and more active Jewish community in Poland as well as engaging in improving the living conditions of older people, particularly Holocaust survivors. The Galicia Jewish Museum works together with Taube Philanthropies, which sponsored the traveling exhibition, and through its Jewish Heritage Initiative in Poland programs furthers awareness of this resurgence among Jews and non-Jews and fosters positive interest in Poland and Polish Jews among Jews worldwide.
Jakub Nowakowski, executive director of the Galicia Jewish Museum in Krakow, shared, “The exhibition is intended to paint a detailed study of Jewish Poland. It’s unique because it takes us through 100 years, showing us both known and unknown aspects of Jewish life in Poland. All together, the images present a beautiful story of the trust and never-ending bond between the JDC and the United States, the Jewish diaspora and the Jews in Poland, in order to bring help and support to the people of Poland throughout the entire 100 years. In the photos, you see the faces and stories of real people impacted by the situation around them, and supported by the JDC over the course of a century.
“There are new chapters being written right now, as we speak, with the current generation of Polish Jews experiencing a significant and growing revival – and the vitality of contemporary Polish Jewish life is evident in the exhibition as well.”
In Los Gatos, special visits to the exhibition are on the calendar for area students of all grades, as well as groups representing Jewish seniors and committees that come to the Jewish Federation building for community meetings.
Said Tad Taube, Chairman of Taube Philanthropies, “As it travels to local communities in the United States and Europe, ‘Rescue, Relief, Renewal: 100 Years of the Joint in Poland‘ allows audiences who might never see these photos otherwise to understand the strength and continuity of the Jewish community in Poland, from past to present. We are grateful to collaborate with the Joint (JDC), the Galicia Jewish Museum, and others to support an opportunity that further contributes to the renewal of Jewish life in Poland.”
The exhibition is currently scheduled to remain on display in Los Gatos through February 27, and then to go on tour to other locations in the United States, before returning to Krakow.