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Cultural Relations Prosper Between Israel and Poland

Cultural relations between Israel and Poland are developing well, despite the absence of diplomatic relations and current events in Poland, according to Israelis who have just returned from official visits there.

Stephan Grayek, head of the International Federation of Partisans and Camp Inmates, who went to Poland to award medals to 104 “righteous gentiles” who helped save Jews during World War II, said the presentation ceremony was well publicized in Poland and attended by government officials.

He told a press conference here that he had discussed establishment of a Committee of Polish Artists and Students to preserve Jewish cemeteries and synagogues. An exhibition of Jewish life in Poland is due to open in a New York museum at the end of this year, and will come to Israel for display later. Another exhibition of pictures on the Holocaust by Polish and Jewish artists on permanent display at the National Museum in Auschwitz, will come to Israel for showing at the Yad Vashami art museum when it opens shortly.

Grayek said the Polish government and authorities appeared keen on maintaining good cultural ties with Israel. Benzion Tomer, an Israeli author who headed a writers delegation to Poland, said arrangements had been made for publication of a number of works on Jewish subjects in Poland. They included an album on Jewish cemeteries in Poland, and several anthologies of Hebrew and Yiddish literature in Polish translations.

Tomer said one of the problems was to find translators who could translate from Hebrew and Yiddish into “modern Polish, as spoken now and not 30 or 40 years ago when the would-be translators lived in Poland.” He said the works might have to be “translated twice, once from Hebrew or Yiddish into old-fashioned Polish and then by a young Pole speaking the modern idiom.”

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