From the ASPJ New South Wales Desk

Dear Members and Friends,

The last six months have passed in what feels like a hermetically sealed jar, where we watched our world shift and change. It is hard to remember a world before 7th October, as we move forward into 2024.

On Monday, 26th February 2024, we launched this year’s ASPJ events with a compelling talk by Sarah Grandke, visiting Research Fellow at the Sydney Jewish Museum (SJM), and historian, Johanna Schmied. Grandke has developed a special interest in Polish-Jewish history while on exchange at Łódź University during her undergraduate degree. Her passion led to the extraordinary discovery, in 2018, of approximately 22,100 postcards, relatively untouched, in the Litzmannstadt Ghetto archive. Grandke, together with Shmied, selected 400 of these postcards destined for Hamburg. Each was examined and curated into a poignant exhibition “Unsent Postcards” ,which was shown at the documentation centre  “denk.mal Hannoverscher Bahnhof” in Hamburg in 2022. The exhibition provided insight into the complex mail and censorship restrictions that existed within the Litzmannstadt Ghetto.

The talk by Grandke and Schmied probed into the subject matter of these postcards and why they were withheld by the censors, never leaving the ghetto. Some 500 people viewed this talk, nationally and internationally. It is still available for viewing on our ASPJ website. Special thanks to Eva Hussain and Stephanie Gogos of Polaron for their support in this event.

PLEASE NOTE: The ASPJ is currently researching ways in which to bring the “Unsent Postcards” exhibit to Australia. If you would like to be involved in some way, please contact me through the ASPJ email below.

  • The last six months have consolidated friendships both personal and professional, including with members of the Polish community. Here are a couple of events where ASPJ has been involved:
    Thursday 7-8 December 2023: Dr Kasia Williams, Professor of European Studies at Australian National University, together with colleagues from Lodz University, facilitated an online workshop with POLIN museum in Warsaw. The workshop titled, “Between Worlds: Performing Polish-Jewish Continuities and  Encounters” attracted scholars, artists, and cultural actors, among them Australian invitees, Galit Klas, Co-artistic Director of Kadimah Yiddish Theatre, and Ian Maxwell, an academic from the University of Sydney. Their brief was to discuss the significance of Jewish theatre and its broader transnational contexts throughout the Polish-Jewish diaspora. Later that morning, Galit Klas and I participated in a round table session in which we shared our respective art forms and their roles in the post-Holocaust narrative.
  • Thursday, 18th January 2024, ASPJ Board Member Lucy Taksa and Sarah Grandke were hosted at the Polish Club in Ashfield by Dr. Robert Czernkowski, Sydney Co-ordinator of the Australian Institute of Polish Affairs (AIPA). To their surprise, they discovered a small exhibition dedicated to the Anders Army there.

On a more personal note, we wish Robert Czernkowski a speedy recovery from his recent surgery and heartfelt congratulations to the extraordinary Max Henner on his 104th Birthday, bis 120 because sto lat came and went!

With warm wishes and prayers for a Pesach of hope, peace and freedom,

Estelle Rozinski,

ASPJ Co-Vice President NSW


Ezra May,

President, ASPJ.