Marek Edelman Dialogue Center organizes annual celebrations which commemorate important historical events.
January - anniversary celebration of the Gypsy camp liquidation in the Litzmannstadt Ghetto
The history of the camp for the Roma organized in the Łódź ghetto is one of the most tragic pages in the history of the city. In the fall of 1941, by order of the German occupation authorities the so-called Gypsy camp – Zigeunerlager was located on a part of the ghetto territory. More than 5,000 Roma and Sinti were imprisoned there, brought to Litzmannstadt from Burgenland, the Austro-Hungarian border land. The camp, surrounded by double barbed wire, became a place of great suffering for this population. As a result of disastrous sanitation, enormous crowding, lack of food, cold and lack of access to medicines, a typhus epidemic broke out very quickly in the camp, killing over 700 people. On the order of the German authorities, on January 5, 1942, the liquidation of the camp began - its prisoners were transported to the extermination camp in Kulmhof (Chełmno -upon-Ner). Not a single person survived. Several buildings have survived on the site of the former camp, including the former smithy, where an exhibition devoted to the history of the place is located under the care of the Museum of Independence Traditions in Łódź. At the front of the building, there is a plaque dedicated to the murdered Roma, where every January (between 10 and 12 January, on the anniversary of the Roma transports to Chełmno-upon-Ner), ceremonies are organized to commemorate the victims of the camp.
In addition to the commemorating events co-organized with the Museum of Independence Traditions, the anniversary celebration programme also includes: classes for school students, lectures and screenings of documentary films.
Marek Edelman's birthday // January
In 2019, we celebrated the 100th birthday of Marek Edelman. It was also the inauguration of the Marek Edelman Year in Łódź and Poland. Although formally the birthday is on January 1st, we celebrate it a few days later. Traditionally, we celebrate Marek Edelman's Day on May 10 – exactly on that day in 1943, Edelman left the bunkers in the ghetto and left the sewers on the Aryan side.
Marek Edelman: doctor, socio-political activist, during WWII, one of the leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, decorated with the Commander's Cross of the Legion of Honour and the title of Doctor Honoris Causa of many universities. Edelman, was also an Honorary Citizen of Łódź. At the exhibition prepared by the Dialogue Center, we present not only the fascinating biography of Edelman, which undoubtedly deserves a film adaptation, but also tell you about important historical events of the century that he witnessed and participated in. Edelman speaks directly to us - the viewers of the exhibition, but also his relatives, colleagues, acquaintances and friends talk about him. Marek Edelman’s opinions and often very blunt statements and reflections on good and evil, politics, man and his nature are extremely up-to-date and can undoubtedly comment on our present day.
More information about the Edelman’s Year
February, 8 - anniversary celebration of the establishment of the Łódź ghetto
The ghetto in Łódź was established by the Germans on February 8, 1940. It was one of the first ghettos in Poland and existed for the longest time. Over 200,000 people passed through it. They were Jews from Łódź and the surrounding area, as well as from the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria and Luxembourg. Most of them lost their lives in the death camp in Kulmhof (Chełmno upon-Ner) and in KL Auschwitz-Birkenau. Only a small group of Łódź Jews survived the occupation.
As part of this anniversary, we organize at the Dialogue Center: visits to exhibitions, presentations of books, discussions, lectures and film screenings.
March, 6 - European Day of the Righteous Among the Nations
In 2012, on the initiative of the World Committee of the Garden of the Righteous, the European Parliament established March 6 as the European Day of Remembrance for the Righteous. The date is not accidental - this day is the anniversary of the death of Moshe Bejski - the initiator of the creation of the Garden of the Righteous in Jerusalem and the co-author of the definition of the Righteous Among the Nations.
On this day, we commemorate all those who opposed totalitarian regimes and mass crimes and stood up for human dignity and truth in the 20th and 21st centuries.
On this day, lectures, classes for school students, film screenings and discussions devoted to the Righteous Among the Nations are held at the Dialogue Center. We also often organize meetings about Polish heroes whose names are on the Monument to the Righteous in the Survivors’ Park.
March - March 1968 anniversary celebration
On March 12, 2018, the inauguration of the events related to the 50th anniversary of March, 1968 took place at the Dialogue Center, during which the following exhibitions were opened: "Man overboard. Lodz citizens 50 years after March" and "March '68. Contexts", and also a lecture and panel discussions were held.
Throughout the year, we organized many events related to what happened in Łódź and Poland in March, 1968. The “Man Overboard” exhibition was also shown in Copenhagen.
In March, we usually organize meetings, film screenings, or lectures on March events to keep up the awareness of what hate speech leads to.
April, 18 - Alina Margolis-Edelman's birthday
Alina Margolis was born in Łódź in 1922 to a family of doctors. During the war, she came with her mother and brother to Warsaw. She studied at the Jewish School of Nurses run by Luba Blum-Bielicka. During the Warsaw Uprising, she was a nurse who was decorated with the Cross of Valour. After the war, she became a paediatrician and worked among others at the 2nd Paediatric Clinic in Łódź. She took care of children suffering from diabetes. After 1968, she left for France and worked as a doctor. She also acted socially. She became involved in the activities of the Doctors without Frontiers organization, then she co-founded the Doctors of the World organization. She worked on ships-hospitals, rescuing sea refugees from communist Vietnam (the so-called "boat people"), she helped the sick in El Salvador, Chad and Afghanistan. During the civil war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, she co-created, among others a rape victims support centre. She was a co-founder of the French-Polish SOS Aide aux Malades Polonais (Help for the Sick in Poland), dealing with the medical treatment of Polish citizens abroad. In 1991, she founded the Nobody's Children Foundation in Poland, dealing with the problem of violence against children. Always on around April 18, we remember Alina Margolis, „Ala z elementarza” ("Ala from the Primer").
April, 19 - anniversary celebration of the outbreak of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and the action "Daffodils" by the Polin Museum
In April 1943, the Germans decided to finally liquidate the Warsaw ghetto, where only 60,000 people lived after the deportations to Treblinka. “It was decided that the next day, if the Germans came to the ghetto, resistance would start,” says Marek Edelman about the meeting of the Jewish Combat Organization that took place on April 18, 1943.
As part of the anniversary celebration of the outbreak of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, every year, we organize events in Łódź reminiscent of those events, and we also take part in the Daffodils campaign organized by the Museum of the History of Polish Jews - POLIN. We also go to participate in the ceremonies at the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes in Warsaw and visit the Jewish cemetery in Okopowa Street, where Marek Edelman is buried.
The genesis of the "Daffodils" campaign is connected with the patron of the Dialogue Center in Łódź. Every year, Edelman would present a bouquet of yellow flowers at the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes in Muranów. By photographing ourselves with symbolic daffodils, we want to commemorate the heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
More information on the Daffodils campaign can be found on the website of the Polish Jews History Museum:: https://www.polin.pl/en/Warsawghettouprising
April, 24 - Jan Karski's birthday
Jan Karski (real name Kozielewski) was born in Łódź on April 24, 1914. Honorary Citizen of the City of Łódź, decorated with the Order of the White Eagle, the Virtuti Militari Cross, the Righteous Among the Nations medal, and in 2012 - posthumously - the Medal of Freedom, the highest award of the United States.
During World War II, he was a courier of the Polish Underground State. In 1942, he set out on his most important mission. He travelled to Great Britain and the United States to tell the Allies about Nazi terror in Poland. He was one of the first to inform the world about the German extermination policy against Jews. Although his mission did not change the fate of the world, its humanistic message is of eternal importance.
"Thanks to him, future generations will be able to believe in humanity," said Elie Wiesel.
The year 2014 was announced by the Polish Parliament as the Year of Jan Karski. Łódź, the hometown of Emissary, always remembers him ...
Every year, as part of the Jan Karski's birthday celebration, we organize: classes for school students, city games, and Internet campaigns.
Throughout 2014, many events took place as part of the celebration of the Jan Karski Year. A Courier Club was established at the Dialogue Center.
More information in the ARCHIVE PROJECTS tab.
April, 30 - anniversary celebration of the Litzmannstadt Ghetto closure.
On April 30, 1940, the ghetto area was completely closed and isolated from the rest of the city. The announcement of the establishment of the ghetto and the commencement of the resettlement of Jews to its territory appeared on February 8, 1940. The first resettlements took place in March. The Łódź ghetto was the longest-existing and the last ghetto in Polish territory.
As part of this anniversary, we organize at the Dialogue Center: lectures, discussions, film screenings and other activities remembering the history of the Łódź ghetto.
August, 2 - Roma Holocaust Remembrance Day
The Roma Holocaust Remembrance Day commemorates one of the most tragic events in the history of the Roma. On the night of August 2/3, 1944, the Germans killed 2,897 Roma children, women and men in the Birkenau gas chambers. Overall, more than 20,000 Roma died in Auschwitz out of approximately 23,000 deportees from 14 countries.
In Łódź, on this day, representatives of the Roma community in Łódź and representatives of city authorities lay flowers at the monument at the so-called The Roma Forge in Wojska Polskiego Street. For the Roma community, August 2 is the date that unites Roma all over the world.
The Remembrance Day of the Holocaust of the Roma and Sinti was established by the Polish Parliament in 2011. The Dialogue Center substantively supports the organization of the ceremony.
August, 29 - anniversary celebration of the liquidation of the Litzmannstadt Ghetto
August, 29 is a symbolic date - in August 1944, the last inhabitants of the closed district were transported from the Łódź ghetto by the German occupiers to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Then the ghetto was liquidated.
Łódź, which before the war was a very important centre of Jewish culture, science and trade, remembers its inhabitants, as well as thousands of Jews from nearby towns and many cities in Europe, who lost their lives in the ghetto or were deported from here to extermination camps.
Every year, on the anniversary of these events, we invite to Łódź all those who survived - the Survivors from the Litzmannstadt Ghetto, their families from all over the world, as well as the inhabitants of Łódź and the region and all those who want to pay tribute to the victims of the Holocaust.
The hosts of the celebrations are the Mayor of the City of Łódź, Hanna Zdanowska, and the Jewish Community in Łódź.
The organization of the celebrations on behalf of the Mayor of the City of Łódź is carried out by the Marek Edelman Dialogue Center in Łódź.
The Museum of Independence Traditions in Łódź is co-organizer of the main celebrations.
Every year, religious ceremonies are organized at the Jewish cemetery and official ceremonies at Radegast Station. In addition, there are many accompanying events throughout the week: walks, meetings, lectures, discussions, book presentations, film screenings, shows, concerts, exhibitions.
More information can be found in the GHETTO tab.
September, 4-12 - celebration of the anniversary of Great Szpera
September is the anniversary of the so-called Great Szpera, an action carried out by the Germans in the Łódź ghetto. As a result, in the first days of September 1942, over 15,000 people were deported from the ghetto, including almost all children under the age of 10. The Germans believed that small children, like old and sick people, were unfit for work, so they were useless. Such "useless" people - according to Nazi rules - were sent to death. Although the deportations of Jews from the ghetto in Litzmannstadt (as Łódź was called in 1940-1945) had already started in January 1942, and by May over 55,000 Jews and nearly 5,000 Gypsies from Burgenland had been sent to Chełmno-upon-Ner, it was the autumn action which survived in the history and memory of the Survivors under the name Great Szpera, which is considered the most tragic moment in the history of the ghetto. Probably because its victims were small children who were torn away from their mothers and loved ones. It is difficult to imagine the nightmare experienced by the parents and relatives of just a few-year-old children being taken. Even today, the story is awe-inspiring and thought-provoking.
The Marek Edelman Dialogue Center in Łódź constantly recalls the history of World War II, and these events are very important to show the cruelty of war. We address our meetings, concerts, lessons, lectures and exhibitions to children, teenagers and adults. In 2017, the year-round project was called "Children of the 21st century", but every year we recall the Great Szpera and what happened then.
More information about the project in the "Children of the 21st century“ tab.
October - anniversary celebration of the deportation of Western Jews to the Litzmannstadt Ghetto
In the fall of 1941, the Nazi authorities of the Reich decided to bring to Litzmannstadt and place in the ghetto nearly 20,000 Jews from German, Austrian, Czech and Luxembourg cities. Among them there were many scientists, doctors, writers and artists from Berlin, Prague, Vienna and Frankfurt. The conditions which the newcomers from Western Europe had to live in, like the rest of the ghetto inhabitants, were gruesome. Many people died in the first weeks of despair, disease and starvation, many committed suicide. A few months later, in May 1942, over 10,000 of the displaced persons were transported to the extermination camp in Chełmno-upon-Ner (Kulmhof), and in 1944 almost all who remained to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Only a few survived the war.
In 2011 and 2016, we recalled this dramatic twist of history that tragically linked the fate of the Jews of Łódź and their brothers from the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria and Luxembourg through many events at the Dialogue Center.
There were official ceremonies at Radegast Station and prayers at the Jewish cemetery, as well as a number of accompanying events, including the film project "Screen of the Holocaust" - a review of films, a symphony and oratorio concert in honour of the victims of the Litzmannstadt Ghetto conducted by José Maria Florêncio, as well as lectures, walks and shows.
November, 9 - anniversary celebration of the burning down of Łódź synagogues
On the night of November 10/11, 1939, the Nazis demolished the Lodz synagogues: Alte Szil (29, Wolborska Street), the Great Synagogue (1, Kościuszki Street), the Ezras Izrael Synagogue (6, Wólczańska Street), Ohel Jakow (18, Gdańska Street) . The Wilker Shul synagogue (56, Zachodnia Street) was destroyed in 1940.
It was the beginning of the occupation in Łódź and the burning of synagogues became a symbol of the tragic fate of Łódź Jews.
Almost every year, we organize an evening walk along the trail of the burned down synagogues in Łódź. It is also a reminder of Kristallnacht.
December - anniversary celebration of the establishment of the German camp for Polish children and youth in Przemysłowa Street
On December 1, 1942, the Germans established a camp for Polish children and youth in a separate area of the Litzmannstadt Ghetto. It covered today's streets: Bracka, Emilii Plater, Górnicza and Zagajnikowa. The entrance to the camp was from Przemysłowa Street and hence the common name of the camp - the camp at Przemysłowa. The area was fenced with a high wooden fence and additionally guarded by German guards. The camp was intended for Polish children aged 8 to 16, coming from orphanages and juvenile detention institutions in the territories incorporated into the Reich and from the General Government. Children whose parents were imprisoned or in camps and those accused of such offenses as: cooperation with the resistance movement, refusal to work, petty theft or illegal trade, were also sent here. In fact, it was a concentration camp. The children were given numbers that replaced their names.
Conditions in the camp in Przemysłowa Street were as awful as in the ghetto. The children suffered from hunger and overwork. All of them were forced to work up to twelve hours a day. The little prisoners sewed clothes, weaved straw shoes, straightened needles, and repaired school bags. Most of the children died of exhaustion, starvation and diseases (mainly typhus epidemics at the turn of 1942 and 1943). The sick were sent to the ghetto hospital at 74, Drewnowska Street (today the WiN Organization). Children also died as a result of physical punishment imposed by German officers.
Children and youth from the camp in Przemysłowa Street were completely isolated and cut off from the outside world. There is no precise data on the number of small prisoners, as a large part of the documentation is missing. It is assumed that by January 1945, five thousand Polish children could have passed through the camp. Only 900 prisoners lived to see the liberation there. Only the building of the former headquarters at 34, Przemysłowa Street has been preserved to the present day.
On May 9, 1971, to commemorate the children imprisoned and murdered in the camp in Przemy-słowa Street, a monument of a Cracked Heart was unveiled in the Szarych Szeregów Park (Gray Ranks Park). The monument was designed by Jadwiga Janus and Ludwik Mackiewicz. The eight-meter-long monument resembles a broken heart to which a small, skinny boy clings. Inside the heart there is an empty space in the shape of a child.