When borders between Poland and the Western world reopened after 1989, followed by the reestablishment of diplomatic ties between Poland and Israel, great numbers of Jews young and old started coming to Poland, looking for a connection with the country that for many was the land of their ancestors. Poland was and remains important for many Jews if not because of a personal connection than because it was the site of the Holocaust.
These journeys to Poland were and are very challenging and emotionally demanding, and have been the subject of numerous publications, films or plays. These accounts often depict the miscommunications and alienation the visitors feel when searching for clues about where they came from and what has happened to those members of the family who stayed in Poland, or when seeing what has happened to whatever traces remaining of a once vibrant Jewish community.
At the same time, since the fall of Communism and the newly opened possibilities of a democratic state, after decades of the “Communist freeze” on all things connected to Polish/Jewish past, Poles have begun grappling with their complicated history. Realizing just how much of the shared Polish/Jewish history was simply removed from the collective memory of the population, they also strive to reconnect with the Poland of the past.