A popular scientific session „Jews in the Carpathians” was organized by the Carpathian Society, Society of Lesko’s Friends and the Bieszczadian Community Centre under the sponsorship of the Bureau for National Minorities of Polish Ministry of Culture. It took place on May 17-19,1991 in the Bieszczadian Community Centre in Lesko.
The initiativeto organize such a session originated in the Carpathian Society and wasbased on one of the main Society’s tasks — breaking old nationalistic prejudices through reliable researches and presentation of culturalcontribution of various nationalities and ethnic groups to the overallimage of the Carpathians. We believe that it might become a starting point for more extensive activities aiming at saving the remnants,scarce today, of the many centuries of the presence of Jews in the Carpathians. We hope that it can encourage greater interest in the Jewish culture in the Carpathians.
The presence of Jews in theCarpathians, which ended with the Holocaust tragedy, cannot be erased because of the irremovable impact left by it, but it could be forgottenif we lose the ability to see and understand it. Whether one likes itor not, over long centuries Jews became a part of Carpathians, participating in formation of its history and culture. On the otherhand, Carpathians also had their part in Jewish history. So it is important to maintain carefully all that which has been preserved andserves as evidence of this presence: to gather information, to save the monuments. This is our main task for today. It is a huge task, so wehave to encourage as many people as possible to join it.
We hopethat this session helped — even in a small degree — in saving that partof the Carpathian culture which was a contribution of the Jewish community living there. We hope also that it might encourage others tosearch for, and research on, all those remnants, both materiał and nonmaterial, which still can be found, sometimes in the least expectedplaces — in language, music, ornamentation and customs of the contemporary inhabitants of Carpathians.
The session was addressed to all friends of Carpathians, especially to tourist guides. More than70 persons from various parts of Poland and a few from abroad (Germany,Netherlands, Ukraine and USA) and many inhabitants of Lesko took partin it.
The session was accompanied by a photographic exhibition, organized under the sponsorship of the Cracow branch of Polish PENClub. The exhibition consisted of reproductions of the XIX centurypost-cards presenting Jewish characters from Bukovina (owned and reproduced by Ms Joanna Brańska) and pictures taken by the late MrJózef Krzywowiąza, Lesko pho-tographer: portraits and every-day lifescenes of Jews in Lesko, Sanok and Rymanów, reproduced from thenegatives owned by the People’s Architecture museum (Skansen) in Sanok. There were also exhibited paintings on Jewish subjects by Mr Jewgenij Kołozijew from Lvov and Ms Wanda Wesołkin, a member of the Bieszczadian Artist Group.
In the foyer of the Bieszczadian Communily Centre MsIrena Gałuszka exhibited her pictures presenling in a poetical way somemonuments of the Jewish culture.
A special attraction was an about 2-hour long concert of a folk dulcimer player from the environments ofJasło, Mr Władysław Chochołek, who prior to World War II playedtogether with the Jewish musicians on weddings and people’s dancing. Healso presented his recollections from those times.
On closing thesession the participants addressed an appeal to the Self-Governmental Council of Krosno District to protect Jewish cemeteries againstdespotiation and to pay morę attention to preservation of the stillpersisting monuments of the Jewish culture.
Along with the session a booklet Żydzi w Karpatach. Beskid Niski – Bieszczady – Pogórze (Jews in the Carpathians. The Lower Beskidy – Bieszczady – The Plateau) was published. The profit gained (1.5 min zlotys) was assigned by theBoard of the Carpathian Society to support the efforts of Mr Teodor Gocz to create in the Lemkian Culture Museum in Zyndranova a constant exhibition of the Jewish culture. The pictures presented during thesession are going to be transferred to this Museum.
Herę we gathercontributions to the session: papers, Communications, most interestingparts of the discussion and reports from the tours madę during thesession. We publish here also the Declaration of our Society (in Polishand English) and information about ,,Płaj” almanac. We hope that ourreaders can find in this publication something interesting and we’ll behappy if it could inspire somebody to further research or work topreserve a Jewish monument.
During the session the following papers were presented:
An Introduction, by Andrzej Wielocha, the Chairman of the Carpathian Society
Jews in the Carpathians. A Preliminary Demographical Report (based on the 1921 census), by Tadeusz Andrzej Olszanski
Jewish Cemeteries — Cultural Specificity and Methods of Documentation, by Jan Pawet Woronczak
State of Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in the South-Eastern Poland, by Jan Jagielski
The Image of the Jew in the Vincenz’s „On the High Polonine” epopee, by Dariusz Morawski
Jews in Orava (Polish part), by Antoni Krzewniak
Some Remarks on the Oldest Tombstones on the Lesko Jewish Cemetery, by Andrzej Trzcinski
Jews in Drohobych (a report on the past and present), by Dora Kacnelson, contemporary inhabitant of Drohobych (Ukraine)
The History of the Jewish Community in Rymanow, by Janusz Konieczny
The Jewish World War I Cemeteries in the Beskidy Mountains, by Adam Bartosz
Jews in the Memory of Inhabitants of Bobova, by Alicja Mateta
The State of Studies on the History of Sanocian Jews, by Stefan Stefanski
Jews in Zyndranova (a recollection), by Teodor Gocz
The Polychromy of the kuchka (a bower) in Tyczyn, by Andrzej Trzcinski