Holocaust

11.03.12

Poland Faces Its Past

The Polish play, Our Class played in Washington this past month. Our Class examines the massacre of the Jewish population of the town of Jedwabne in 1941. The Nazi mass murder had begun, but these 340 or more Polish Jews were killed not by German occupiers, but by their Polish neighbors. It's a disgraceful episode that Poles have only recently begun to accept and discuss. In Warsaw, the play has run for three years. And here in Washington …

The last place that the Polish Ambassador to the United States Ryszard Schnepf might have been expected to appear in his first two weeks in Washington was the opening performance of Our Class, the searing play about a dark episode in Poland’s history: the 1941 massacre of Jewish citizens by their Catholic neighbors in Jedwabne. But there he was, delivering a moving talk before he took his seat at Theater J.

“We have to face the truth, no matter how bitter,” Ambassador Schnepf commented as he went on to emphasize the importance of learning from the past to avoid those same mistakes, and, ultimately, to create a more peaceful world. ...