Forgotten Exodus Tells Stories of Jews Expelled from Poland in 1960s

Forgotten Exodus Tells Stories of Jews Expelled from Poland in 1960s

Records of the Polish Communist government’s post-Holocaust anti-Semitic purges to be preserved via video interviews, written narratives and archival materials

by Michelle Rosenberg, Jewish News

A new initiative dedicated to capturing and disseminating the untold stories of Jews who fled Poland in the late 1960s following a wave of anti-Semitic purges was officially launched today.

The Forgotten Exodus project is committed to gathering testimonies from victims, many of them Holocaust survivors, to document their experiences and ensure their history is not erased.

Its mission is to shed light on the then Polish Communist government’s anti-Semitic campaign in 1968, a significant yet largely unknown chapter in modern European history.

Commemorating the 55th anniversary in 2023, it marks the deeply dark time when up to 20,000 of the remaining post-Shoah Jewish population of around 30,000 were stripped of their citizenship, forced out of their jobs and driven out of Poland.

Student protests against censorship by the regime had led to a political crisis, exacerbated by the Six Day War between Israel and its Arab neighbors in 1967. In the following year Poland’s government declared Jews enemies of the state.

It is estimated that more than half of its already utterly decimated Jewish community (the Nazis murdered 90% of Poland’s Jewish population of 3.5 million) were forced into exile.

Photo: Henryk Morel (1937–1968), one of the most talented sculptors of Poland’s young avant-garde, lost his life to the March, 1968, anti-Semitic campaign. Courtesy Forgotten Exodus.

Forgotten Exodus aims to leverage historical narratives as an instrument to combat hatred, totalitarianism and anti-Semitism in modern society.

Entrepreneur and vice-president of the Jewish Leadership Council Daniel Korski and Daniel Schatz co-founded Forgotten Exodus to shed light on a chapter of history often overlooked.

The project will provide a platform for the victims and their families to share firsthand accounts, ensuring that their stories are preserved for future generations.

Sharing his commitment to recording these crucial testimonies, Korski said: “Forgotten Exodus is an essential effort to commemorate the experiences of those who were expelled from their homes, seeking refuge due to anti-Semitism. By gathering and documenting their stories, we aim to spotlight this overlooked historical period, fostering comprehension and compassion in today’s world.”

Full story here.