Estranged. March ’68 and Its Aftermath - program of anniversary events

Zdjęcie archiwalne. Dwoje ludzi przytula się do siebie. W tle lokomotywa.
fot. Elżbieta Turlejska / Muzeum Historii Żydów Polskich

50 years ago Polish Communist authorities launched an antisemitic campaign which resulted in the exodus of ca 13,000 Poles of Jewish origin from Poland. POLIN Museum developed an extensive program "Estranged. March '68 and Its Aftermath" in order to recall the causes, the course and the long-term consequences of the events of 1968. Aside from the temporary exhibition, we organised a series of debates, theatrical performances as well as educational and scholarly projects which aimed at provoking reflection on what are the consequences of passivity towards discrimination, xenophobia and violating human rights. 

The program of events:

A DEBATE How did March ’68 affect social and political change in Poland? What is the legacy of March ’68? 1968 – 1970 – 1976 – 1980 – 1989
25 February, 5PM, POLIN Museum, free admission

Nearly fifty years have passed since March ’68, and the questions on its aftermath keep recurring: on the shifts within the apparatus of power, on the process of formation of oppositional groups, on the anti-Jewish hate campaign as seen from today’s perspective, on emigration and, perhaps most importantly, on the mark March left on us today. The panel discussion with the invited guests helped us construct new answers to old questions, and also encourage us to pose new questions. 

The debate was organised by the Polish branch of B’nai B’rith, with the participation of Jan Lityński, Adam Michnik and Piotr Osęka. Chairs: Anna Dodziuk, Sergiusz Kowalski.

THEATRICAL PERFORMANCES selected in a competition organised by POLIN Museum and TR Warszawa Theatre 
Ticket prices: PLN 30 (normal) / PLN 20 (reduced), available from 22 January 2018  

On the occasion of the March events’ 50th anniversary, TR Warszawa theatre and POLIN Museum launched a closed competition for a performance inspired by the Jewish experience of March ’68. 

The two initial stages of the competition took place in July and October 2017. Five projects were selected during the closed preliminaries for young performing artists, presented in the form of workshop performances. Three selected performances were presented to the audience in the final phase of the program in March 2018. The premiere of the winning performance took place in September 2018. 

The following projects have been selected to the final phase by the competition jury:

  • Second-hand ’68
    5 and 6 March, 7 PM and 7 March, 8:30 PM, POLIN Museum
    After nearly 50 years that have passed since the March events, POLIN Museum has recovered a forgotten wooden crate, one of the so-called “lifts” used by the Jews emigrating from Poland to pack their belongings. A trio of museum custodians open the crate and examine its contents together with the audience. What will they find inside? The concept for the performance was drawn up by Patrycja Kowańska in cooperation with Bartosz Ostrowski. 
  • Four Weeks
    9, 10 and 11 March, 6 PM, TR Warszawa theatre
    The performance tells the story of a girl living in modern-day Warsaw, who decides to get rid of her apartment, her dog and her personal belongings, bids farewell to her family and quits her job to leave the country forever. Would a young person living today be able to make all the necessary arrangements within four weeks if forced to do so by the surrounding circumstances? That is the question posed to the contemporary audience by the authors of the play – Aleksandra Jakubczak and Krzysztof Szekalski. 
  • Juden (R)aus Arras
    24 and 25 March, 8 PM, TR Warszawa theatre
    It is the year 1968. In the thick of the antisemitic hate campaign, a disabled, mentally handicapped boy struggles to face his Jewish origins. The threat of expulsion from Poland looms large. In order to cope with the oppressive reality around him, he transforms it into a magical fairy tale. The authors of the performance pose questions concerning the nature and mechanisms of antisemitism as well as the limits of political correctness with regard to Jewish issues in the contemporary public debate. The performance was created by Jędrzej Piaskowski and Hubert Sulima. 

A LECTURE by Katarzyna Markusz Leopold Trepper, Head of TSKŻ Versus March 1968
6 March, 1.30PM, Centre for Yiddish Culture, free admission

A MEETING Faculty of Physics, University of Warsaw
6 March, 3PM-7PM, Faculty of Physics, University of Warsaw, 5 Pasteura Street, free admission

The Faculty of Physics at the University of Warsaw organised a meeting devoted to the 50th anniversary of March ’68 events. Students and professors of the then Faculty of Physics and Mathematics actively participated in these events. Their attitude during March ’68 remains a source of pride and a momentous episode in the Faculty history. The meeting was aimed at summoning up the memory of these days and events for the current students and younger members of staff.

FILM SCREENING of SKIBET/HATIKVAH, dir. Marian Marzyński, 60 mins.
6 March, 6PM, MURANÓW Cinema

An attempt at showing post-March ’68 emigration through the photos of the Gdański Railway Station taken on 19 May 1969. On that day Jurek Neftalin, a young student of the Warsaw Polytechnic, was leaving Poland, driven away by the antisemitic hate campaign. He was being seen off by his parents, friends and acquaintances. Soon, they too would leave the country. The exhibition tells a story of their lives and the world they left behind. It has been prepared using archival materials and conversations of Agata Tuszyńska and the participants of the History Meeting House workshops.

The exposition is supplemented with photographs from family albums and contemporary photos.

EXHIBITION Personal Baggage After March
7 March - 20 May, History Meeting House (DSH), free admission

An attempt at showing post-March ’68 emigration through the photos of the Gdański Railway Station taken on 19 May 1969. On that day Jurek Neftalin, a young student of the Warsaw Polytechnic, was leaving Poland, driven away by the antisemitic hate campaign. He was being seen off by his parents, friends and acquaintances. Soon, they too would leave the country. The exhibition tells a story of their lives and the world they left behind. It has been prepared using archival materials and conversations of Agata Tuszyńska and the participants of the History Meeting House workshops. The exposition is supplemented with photographs from family albums and contemporary photos.

PREMIERE of the play Sprawiedliwi [Justice]
7, 8, 9 March, 7.30PM, Powszechny Theatre, tickets: 60 PLN (regular) / 40 PLN (reduced)

Michał Zadara, director of the play, together with a team of lawyers and historians examine options of incurring criminal or civil liability on people who are co-responsible for the expulsion of Jews from Poland in the years 1968-1970. The aim is to lay an information of the alleged offence committed by a specific person of a group. 

Is it possible to determine who is guilty of expulsion? Can we make an allegation for acting against the law against someone after fifty years? Justice is a play about a country where a crime was committed, yet no one was ever charged for it. 

Performance realised in cooperation of the Powszechny Theatre in Warsaw and the CENTRALA group. 

MEETING in front of the Memorial Plaque at the Gdański Railway Station an the outdoor performance
8 March, 12 noon, Warszawa Gdańska Railway Station, free admission

Each year on 8 March, the March ‘68 emigrants and all those who care about these dramatic events meet in front of the memorial plaque. After the meeting, and outdoor performance titled All packed up, or a short tale of who left what, written and directed by Agata Duda-Gracz, will be staged. The play is a sum of unfinished stories, a tale of what a human being really loses when losing another human being, and of what you cannot take with you.

The project is realised by the Jewish Theatre in Warsaw in cooperation with the Shalom Foundation. The event is held under the Honorary Auspices of the President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda on the year of 100th anniversary of Poland Regaining Independence 1918-2018. Poczta Polska [Polish Post Office] is partner of the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of March ’68; on the initiative of the Shalom Foundation, it will issue a postal card with stamp. The card, with a limited-edition stamp and a quotation from Henryk Grynberg: “Here they left more than they possessed”, will be on sale during the meeting at the Gdański Railway Station. Free admission. 

PROGRAM of the 50th Anniversary of March ’68 commemoration at the University of Warsaw
8 March, University of Warsaw

In March 1968, dramatic events took place at the University of Warsaw—student protests which were brutally suppressed by the PRL security apparatus. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of these tragic days and to honour participants of these harrowing events, the University has planned a debate, an outdoor exhibition and a lecture by Professor Jerzy Eisler to be held on 8 March 2018.

  • 12 noon – laying flowers at the plaque commemorating March ’68, located at the University campus on Krakowskie Przedmieście Street, by the main gate to the campus, 
  • 1PM – lecture by Professor Jerzy Eisler, former Library of the University of Warsaw, 
  • 2PM – opening of the outdoor exhibition organised by the Museum of the University of Warsaw; former Library of the University of Warsaw, 
  • 3PM – a debate with participation of Prof. Karol Modzelewski, Prof. Włodzimierz Borodziej, Dr Karolina Wigura, Małgorzata Szpakowska and Anna Dobrowolska; former Library of the University of Warsaw. 

Events and actions commemorating March ’68 will also be organised by University faculties and students.

AN EXHIBITION Estranged. March ’68 and Its Aftermath
9 March–24 September, POLIN Museum

Opening of a new temporary exhibition at POLIN Museum will be the highlight of the March ’68 anniversary events. The exhibition will focus on the causes, the course and the aftermath of the 1960s antisemitic campaign. It will present diverse personal experiences of representatives of the March ’68 generation. We have been collecting keepsakes and witness accounts for many months now; they will all become part of the exhibition narrative. 

The European Committee for the Support of POLIN Museum has extended its patronage over the exhibition. The exhibition is co-organised by the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland.

The exhibition will be open to the public from 9 March 2018.

PREMIERE OF the monodrama Notes from Exhile by Sabina Baral 
9 March, 7PM-10PM, Polonia Theatre, invitations are required

A play based on the book titled Notes from Exile by Sabina Baral. Krystyna Janda will star in the monodrama directed by Magda Umer.

Project implemented by the Polonia Theatre in association with POLIN Museum.

PREMIERE of Mikołaj Grynberg's book
10 March, 6PM-7.30PM, POLIN Museum, free admission

From the author: “The Book of Exile focuses on the events which accompanied the March ‘68 incidents, its protagonists being Polish citizens who got caught in the middle. Today, they live in Israel, the United States, Denmark, Sweden and in Poland. I have conducted several interviews which have greatly expanded my knowledge about the world around me; I hope that my Readers shall enjoy exploring this very recent and continuously relevant history as much as I did.” 

Project implemented by the Czarne Publishing House in association with the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland and POLIN Museum.

PREMIERE OF a performance Some foreign words in Polish
10 March, 8PM; 11 March, 3PM, 7PM, Polski Theatre, free admission

Who are the children of March emigrants? What was their childhood like, how did their identity develop? Is March still present in their lives? What does the young generation know of the March events? The play directed by Anna Smolar will provide the answers to these questions, offered by author Michał Buszewicz on the basis of interviews conducted by Mike Urbaniak in Israel, the United States and Europe.

Performance on March ’68 will be presented from an altogether different point of view to the traditional treatment of the subject: Anna Smolar—born and reared in Paris, daughter of March emigrants—focuses on the generation of children of those for whom March is an experience they all share.

The Jewish Theatre performance realised in cooperation with the Arnold Szyfman Polski Theatre in Warsaw

GUIDED TOUR WITH THE CURATORS Estranged. March '68 and Its Aftermath
11 March, 12.30PM – 1.30PM, POLIN Museum

MEETING WITH THE CURATORS of the exhibition Estranged. March '68 and Its Aftermath
11 March, 2PM–3.30PM, POLIN Museum

Meeting with Justyna Koszarska-Szulc and Natalia Romik, curators of the exhibition Estranged. March ’68 and Its Aftermath

OPENING of the exhibition
11 March, 3PM, Marek Edelman Dialogue Center in Łódź

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the events of March 1968, the Marek Edelman Dialogue Center has prepared two exhibitions which will open on the exact 50th anniversary of the first rally at the Łódź University Library. 

The exhibition March ’68 – The Contexts, developed by historian Andrzej Czyżewski, addresses both the nationwide context of the March events and the local character of Łódź, as well asthe global dimension of the year 1968, along with the birth of a new anti-Establishment generation. The second exposition Man Overboard! Łódź Residents Fifty Years After March recounts the stories of people who left Poland after the antisemitic hate campaign of 1968, and also of those who decided to stay. Photographer Kamila Bogulewska and journalist and March ’68 emigrant Aleksander Milchtach Sław conducted interviews and made photo session with fifty people. The material they had collected served as a basis for the exhibition and a full-length film which will premier in March 2018 at the Dialogue Center in Łódź. The exposition will be accompanied by a program of lectures and film screenings.

A MEETING Notes from exile. On losses, lessons unlearned and mistakes unredressed 
11 March, 7PM-9PM, POLIN Museum, free admission

A meeting with the authors of the Notes from Exile performance staged at the Polonia Theatre. Together, we will have an opportunity to share our experiences and impressions with Krystyna Janda and Sabina Baral. 

Project implemented by the Polonia Theatre in association with the Ester Rachel Kamińska and Ida Kamińska State Jewish Theatre in Warsaw and POLIN Museum.

A SYMPOSIUM (Auto)Biographical experience versus Identity. Literary accounts on the March '68 generation
12 March, 9AM-6PM; 13 March, 9AM-1PM, POLIN Museum, free admission

Scholars of literature analysed tens of literary texts pertaining to the subject of March ’68. They sought ways in which a person acquired a new identity following an abrupt and irreversible experience. The outcome of their research will be presented in the form of lectures and discussions. We will be able to confront our own feelings with the image looming from the texts by authors who wrote about us. 

Project co-organised by the Department of Anthropology of Literature, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Faculty of the 20th- and 21st-century Literature, Polish Philology Department, University of Warsaw and POLIN Museum. 

A MEETING with Anna Frajlich
12 March, 6PM, POLIN Museum, free admission

Anna Frajlich, an emigree poet, settled in the New York City in 1969, together with her husband and son. She published poems in the London-based Wiadomości, Kultura and Przegląd Polski. She collaborated with the Radio Free Europe, Polish section. Since 1982, she has been teaching Polish language and literature at Columbia University, New York. She is the author of twelve volumes of poetry; her poems often refer to the subject of emigration. Moderator: Professor Katarzyna Kuczyńska-Koschany, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań.

The meeting will be part of the symposium (Auto)biographical experience versus identity.

PREMIERE of Agnieszka Arnold's film U siebie [On ones's own turf]
12 March, 8PM, POLIN Museum, free admission

Story of a career of Michał Hochman which was ruined by forced emigration. Hochman was a rising star in Poland of 1960s, a singer on “Konik na biegunach” [A rocking horse], a student bard of the ’68 generation closely connected to Kazimierz on the Wisła River. The provocative title of the film makes one reflect on the consequences of a brutal uprooting, loss of the language, cultural context, artistic expression and, last but not least, identity. 

13 March – 15 March POLIN Museum, free admission

On the 50th anniversary of March events, we wish to ponder on the causes, the course and the long-term aftermath of March ’68. We will compare the events that took place in Poland with the policy of other states within the communist bloc; we will also apply a broader, global context of the year 1968. The panels will be attended by historians, sociologists, political scientists and culture experts. Project implemented by POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in association with the Jewish Historical Institute and the Institute of Sociology of the University of Warsaw.

The conference is organised as part of the Global Education Outreach Program. The conference was made possible thanks to the support of the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture, the William K. Bowes Jr. Foundation and the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland.

FILM SCREENINGS: Perecowicze – dir. Sławomir Grünberg; Dokument podróży – dir. Gołda Tencer
14 March, 5.30PM, Centre for Yiddish Culture, free admission

A MEETING with Andrzej Krakowski, author of Pollywood
14 March, 2PM, Centre for Yiddish Culture, free admission

PREMIERE OF THE MONODRAMA Ida Kamińska, starring Joanna Szczepkowska
15 March, 7PM, Jewish Theatre in Warsaw

Performance dedicated to Ida Kamińska, an outstanding theatre and film artist, director of the Jewish Theatre for many years, who left Poland in the aftermath of the antisemitic campaign of 1968 and emigrated to the United States where she resided until her death.

Written and directed by: Gołda Tencer; music: Paweł Szamburski. 

GUIDED TOURS FOR TEACHERS – temporary exhibition Estranged. March ’68 and Its Aftermath
16 March, 28 March, 4PM - 6PM, free admission

We invite you to a special guided tour of the temporary exhibition Estranged. March ’68 and Its Aftermath, addressed to teachers. The exhibition has a large educational potential which we will demonstrate during the two guided tours. Teachers shape the way of thinking and attitudes of their students. We do hope that our exhibition will prove to be an additional tool you may use in your work with the youth. We also hope it may serve as an inspiration as to how to convey the knowledge on March ’68 and on the most recent Polish history to the young generation of Poles.

A MEETING with Krystyna Naszkowska
17 March, 6PM-7.30PM, POLIN Museum, free admission

During the meeting with the author, we shall have the opportunity to discuss her latest work which focuses on the experiences of “those who returned”. The author has conducted interviews with 10 individuals who had left Poland following the events of March ‘68 but who later chose to return to their homeland in the 1990s and have lived and worked here ever since. Project realised by the Wielka Litera Publishing House. 

A MEETING Yiddish in postwar Poland
18 March, 4PM, Centre for Yiddish Culture, free admission

A meeting with the participation of Bella Szwarcman-Czarnota, Magdalena Ruta, Joanna Nalewajko-Kulikov. Chaired by: Piotr Paziński. 

DEBATES Estranged. March '68 and Its Aftermath
19 March, 6PM, POLIN Museum, free admission

A series of monthly meetings with witnesses to history, culture scholars, sociologists, media experts etc., devoted to the most vital questions related to the Jewish experience of March ’68. The first meeting will be held on 19 March at 6PM and will be dedicated to hate speech and propaganda in the media. Debate is realised thanks to the support of the New-York based organisation Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics (FASPE).

A TOUR The Gdański Railway Station: the landscape of a place
24 March, 12 noon

In March 1968, the Gdański Railway Station in Warsaw was the point of departure for trains which carried Poles of Jewish origin into exile. During our tour of the station, we will attempt to explain how this part of Warsaw has changed over the intervening years. We will seek out the traces of the station’s original appearance and talk a bit about its architecture.

WORKSHOPS FOR SCHOOLS at the temporary exhibition Estranged. March '68 and Its Aftermath
Dates: Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays 10.15AM - 11.45AM or 1PM - 2.30PM

The exhibition Estranged. March ’68 and Its Aftermath has a large educational potential. Having visited the exhibition, young people will learn about the causes, the course and the aftermath of March ’68 events, thus expanding their knowledge on the history of contemporary Poland. The students will get acquainted with a human dimension of history: they will realise what imprint was left on individual lives of ordinary citizens after March. They will also have an opportunity to hold a discussion on very current topics: stigmatization, discrimination of minorities, hate speech or the mechanisms of propaganda. The emotionally engaging exposition will help teenagers understand the drama of their peers of  50 years ago who were forced to emigrate, to leave their home and country while their near and dear ones stayed behind.


The program Estranged. March ‘68 and Its Aftermath consists of a series of projects and a temporary exhibition at POLIN Museum. It aims at recalling the memory of the causes, the course and the consequences of the March '68 antisemitic campaign on the 50th anniversary of the events. Follow us on >>

Organizer     Patron   Co-Organizer




David Goldman & Debbie Bisno with the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics
Marek & Agnieszka Nowakowscy
Andrzej & Małgorzata Rojek
Jerry Wartski with Family
Paul Goldner & Sandy Soifer

Institutional Patron

Narodowe Archiwum Cyfrowe

Media Patrons