by George J Elbaum
This post is rather unique for my website because it’s the only one about an event where I didn’t talk but only listened, and I was so impressed by what I learned that I decided to post it. My wife Mimi and I had just arrived in Warsaw to speak at several schools as arranged by the Forum for Dialogue, and they invited us to the opening dinner of the 5th National Leaders of Dialogue Conference which the Forum organized. The Leaders of Dialogue was formed by the Forum to connect local activists from across Poland who have been involved in preserving the heritage of Jewish communities that existed in their towns and were annihilated in the Holocaust. These volunteer activists are Polish, not Jewish, and most of them were unaware of each other, so they welcomed the formation of the Leaders of the Forum and its annual reunion – it made them feel no longer alone in their activism! I found this very inspiring and accepted the invitation.
The conference’s keynote speaker this year was Marc Skvirsky, an early member of Facing History and Ourselves and now Vice President, and his talk was about Facing History’s activism and educational philosophy. Marc is from Facing History’s Boston headquarters but I never met him despite my 7 years of connection with Facing History, so I welcomed this opportunity and was very pleased with the personal connection.
A short while before the conference the Forum translated and published my book, turning Neither Yesterdays Nor Tomorrows into Bez wczoraj, bez jutra. The task was led by Jakub Petelewicz and the book’s translator is Anna Brzostowska. The result was excellent, and a copy of the Polish book was given to each of the conference’s 60 attendees, with some after-dinner autographing as usual. Thank you, Jakub and Anna.
The week-end event was held in Bialobrzegi on Zegrze Lake, an hour’s drive from Warsaw, and immediately prior to the dinner & conference we witnessed a beautiful sunset across the water, which Mimi photographed.