Young Jewish activist killed in Poland train crash

(JTA) – Maja Brand, a Jewish activist from Krakow, was among the 16 people killed when two trains collided in southern Poland.

Friends said Brand, who turned 30 on Feb. 22,  was active “in all things Jewish” in Krakow. The head-on collision occurred Saturday night.

Brand was working on her doctorate at the Center for the Study of the Holocaust at Krakow’s Jagiellonian University, writing her dissertation on the ban of shechitah, or kosher slaughter, in Poland in the 1930s. She reportedly was to have flown to Israel on Monday to carry out further research.

She was involved with the Krakow Jewish Community Center and also with the Association for Christian-Jewish Dialogue. Brand wasa co-founder of Czulent, Krakow’s independent Jewish youth association. The JCC canceled its annual Purim celebrations in the wake of her death. 

Brand also worked with the annual Krakow Jewish Culture Festival and served as a translator for visiting musicians. She was the daughter of the prominent translators from Polish to English, William Brand and Katarzyna Mroczkowska-Brand. In addition, she volunteered at an orphanage in Tbilisi, Georgia.

“I had gotten to know Maja over the past few years,” Poland’s chief rabbi, Michael Schudrich, wrote Monday in a Facebook post announcing her death. “Maja was full of energy and excitement. She was dedicated to what she was doing and had great integrity in whatever she did. May her memory be for a blessing.”
 

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