Klaudia Kwiecińska



As a small girl I would listen to stories of my great-grandmother. War would often be mentioned, as well as the violence and life stories of ordinary people. Jews would also appear in these war stories. At the time I did not understand who these Jews were. I would hear that they had to hide during the war at this or that neighbor’s house. I did not see this as strange, assuming that probably everyone had to seek hideouts at some point of the war. It was only with time, once I grew up and started reading books and watching films on the topic that I realized that Polish/Jewish history is not unequivocal. Reading about the history of my hometown, it was hard not to notice that Jewish residents were mentioned very often. And yet I did not see anything that would remain from this Jewish presence in the contemporary townscape. Today I know which of the prewar houses had Jewish residents or which streets became part of the crowded ghetto. One day a friend showed me Jędrzejów’s Jewish cemetery, whose existence was known only to those living in direct proximity to it. But at the time I was still just a teenager with an interest in Jewish culture.

I only felt there is a void that needs to be filled when I began my university studies. In 2015, when I visited family graves for All Saints’ day on November 1, I suggested to my family to again look for the Jewish cemetery, hidden somewhere behind homesteads and fields. What we saw there was a rusty information board and a few broken tombstones, but above all – trash and dense vegetation. I took a few pictures. I knew that my town’s residents were not aware of the cemetery’s location; most of them did not even know of its existence. When I set up a fanpage intended to commemorate the site, a few people got in touch with me to ask for directions to the cemetery or about its history. Some requested additional photos. In the meantime, I joined a group of volunteers called “The Machers” of Kraków’s Jewish Cuture Festival and mentioned the state of Jędrzejów’s Jewish cemetery.

It was with their help that less than a year after creating the fanpage, I was able to spearhead its renovation. I also began holding educational sessions in my former high school. Together with the students, we started preparing to organize a Week of Tolerance and Multiculturalism in Jędrzejów.

In my daily life I study at the Institute of Jewish Studies of Jagiellonian University. In my spare time, when funds allow it, I travel and attend concerts.

Since 2016 I organized cleanup works at Jędrzejów’s Jewish cemetery. I also lead educational sessions for the local community, organizing Hebrew language workshops and giving presentations on Jewish culture. Since 2016, as head of Jewish Studies Student Research Club, I am help organize events aiming to present the shared Polish-Jewish history at our university. These include, among others, a holiday Hanukkah meeting for Jagiellonian University faculty and students and the 3rd edition of Kraków’s Jewish Studies Conference devoted to Polish Jews.

Since I began to care for Jęrzejów’s Jewish cemetery, I noticed that the local residents are becoming more involved in Jewish-related topics. People want to talk and above all – to act. My initiatives receive support from both the Municipality as well as the regional museum and fellow residents. For a town as small as Jędrzejów, such initiatives preserving the memory of a community that no longer exists is of vital importance, allowing current residents to come together.


Cleanup works at Jędrzejów’s Jewish cemetery

Hebrew language workshops and presentations on Jewish culture

Week of Tolerance and Multiculturalism in Jędrzejów

Klaudia Kwiecińska


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