Krzysztof Przybyłowicz

Biecz

Leaders

For many years now I have been interested in the history of Jews. What inspired me to study in-depth the fate of Biecz Jews was empathy, i.e. the feeling of mental state of people living in the ghetto during the occupation and a conspiracy of silence among the inhabitants about the Jewish history of Biecz. My retirement made it easier to deal with the subject in a professional and comprehensive way, even though I am not a historian by education. When confronted with comments about the lack of historical education, I reply that although I am a trained instrumentalist (trombonist) and the Beatles had no musical background, I do not feel any better than them.

I am a musician by education, a teacher of physical education and computer science. For the last 22 years I was a principal of a High School Complex. I live in Gliwice and Libusza near Biecz. I devote myself to my passions (in different intensity, at different times) which include: the history of castles in Poland (my unfinished bibliography has 22 thousand items), Nobel Prize in Literature, Silesian Piasts, geology (rock resources of Poland), World War I cemeteries, family genealogy, mountain tourism (I climbed the Crown of the Polish Mountains 3 times). As for my interest in Jewish topics, I have recently developed a passion for Yiddish literature (which I unfortunately read in Polish).

I am collecting archival documents devoted to the Jews of Biecz. I wrote the book “The Jews of Biecz. History and the Holocaust”, and then I took part in the meeting with the author. I also prepared a folder devoted to the Jews of Biecz, published by the Municipal Office in Biecz. I maintain a database of all the Biecz Jews. For two years I have been organizing the commemorations of the liquidation of the Biecz ghetto, which on the occasion of the 75th anniversary lasted 5 days. I am the co-author of a film about the 75th anniversary of the liquidation of the Biecz ghetto. Together with the Biecz Land Museum, I organized an exhibition: “The Jews of Biecz. History of one family” and an open-air exhibition in the market square. I systematically guide Jewish walking tours around Biecz. I gave lectures about the Jews of Biecz in a primary school, a junior high school and a vocational school. I also got in touch with the descendants of Biecz Jews from the USA, France, Israel, Mexico and Uruguay. I keep a close relation and host Ira Goetz, a Jew saved from the Holocaust.

I also took part in the film made by TVP Historia “Ira Goetz” as a consultant. I put efforts in raising awareness about the Righteous from the region and maintain contact with their descendants. During the renovation works of Talmud Torah building, I found (together with a friend) documentation of the Jewish People’s Bank in Biecz. I take care of the Jewish cemetery; the vegetation is mowed by the local administration. I built a wooden house “Midrash” on my property in Libusza, which hosts an Information Centre about the former Jewish community of Biecz (CID GIB). I put together a small museum devoted to the murdered inhabitants of Biecz and the surrounding area. I collect artifacts for the permanent exhibition devoted to the Jews of Biecz, using the good will of the inhabitants of the town and the descendants of the Jews from all over the world. I also run the CID GIB website. I cooperate with the Polish Righteous (5 biographies) and Virtual Shtetl portals (several articles).

As for my interest in Jewish issues, I work with the mayor of Biecz, Mirosław Wędrychowicz, and the director of the library, Elżbieta Knapik. I am preparing a permanent exhibition devoted to the Jewish history of Biecz on behalf of the mayor. It will be organized in three Gothic cellars of the old Szul synagogue. I am working on a book (50% of the project) devoted to Jewish houses and Jewish inhabitants of town houses in the Old Town in Biecz (about 60 town houses). The book will be in the form of a catalogue.

Jewish topics are common today in Biecz. A large part of the guided visitors (about 50%) is from Biecz. The inhabitants are interested in this subject. Descendants of Biecz Jews come more and more often. It gives me a feeling of fulfillment. I WOULD LIKE TO ADD THAT I DO NOT RECEIVE COMPENSATION FOR MY ACTIVISM AND I WANT IT TO STAY THAT WAY.

Activism

Krzysztof Przybyłowicz

Biecz

kontakt: krzysztof.przybylowicz@liderzydialogu.pl