An Open Letter to the Jewish Museum of Florida

Dear Ms. Pasternack:

This Wednesday, the Jewish Museum of Florida is hosting a “Passports for Life”* Event with Polish Ambassador Marek Magierowski.

On the surface, this appears as a milestone for the esteemed Jewish Museum of Florida.  In actuality, you are allowing the voices of Holocaust Revisionism into your institution.  That latter point is of great concern.

Since 1991, the Polish government served as a beacon to nascent democracies since the downfall of the Iron Curtain.  That has changed since 2015 when Poland started taking an illiberal path.

This change resulted in Holocaust revisionism: from the government funding of the Pilecki Institute, to deputizing the Institute of National Remembrance(a very Orwellian name).  The Pilecki Institute is behind the “Passports for Life” event that is to take place in your museum.*

The purpose of these agencies is many, from whitewashing the role many Poles took during the Holocaust to emphasizing that Poles, like Jews, were just as victimized by Nazi Germany (the Double Holocaust Theory).

Ms. Pasternack, please understand that this letter is written by a person who has visited Poland numerous times since 2001.  Even though my parents’ (hence my) family were nearly wiped out during the War, there are many aspects of the country I love.

I implore you to meet with your Board.  You have two options at this point: cancel the event or have some well educated people pose hardball questions towards the ambassador and not “lob softballs” towards him.  Then, you will be a true Jewish Museum of Florida.

Respectfully submitted,

Saul Chapnick, MSW

* The link for this event is here.

** for one article about the Pilecki Institute please see here.

About the Author
For nearly thirty years, Saul passionately devoted and immersed himself to studying Jewish life in interwar Europe. Overnight, not only did this 1000-year-old community vanish, but so did its complex communal infrastructure. What piqued Saul Chapnick’s interest and curiosity was finding out exactly what it was that disappeared. In talking to politicians, survivors, scholars, Jewish communal leaders from Eastern Europe, and making trips there, Saul Chapnick was able to uncover the richness and the tragedy of interwar Jewish life in Europe. At the same time, Mr. Chapnick has discovered a limited reawakening of Jewish life in his parents’ and ancestors’ native land, Poland. Saul Chapnick has talked in various venues whether Yiddish and Yiddish Culture still has relevance today. He has also spoke about the importance this 19th and 20th Century world has to contemporary life today as well as to post-Holocaust Jewish identity. He also prepares the adult participants of The March for the Living about modern day Jewish Poland
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