Mariusz Sokołowski was named the laureate of 2023 POLIN Award
Mariusz Sokołowski, Headmaster of General Władysław Sikorski Primary School No. 20 in Białystok was pronounced the winner of the 2023 POLIN Museum Award, organized by POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. Since 2007, engaged in restoring the memory of the Jews from Wasilków and Białystok. Author of publications and essays on the methodology of teaching on multiculturalism. Co-author of the Jewish Heritage Trail in Białystok, a teacher who engages his students to get acquainted with their local, multicultural past.
"Tonight’s heroes protect the memory of those who have been forgotten, bringing from oblivion the names and surnames that have remained unspoken for decades. They discover and popularize their stories, they restore memories. They cultivate what is the most noble and dignified in human nature: paying respect to past generations. It is the foundation of our culture and civilization. But their gesture is not merely lighting a candle or placing a stone on the grave of a relative, friend, or a widely-known figure," said Zygmunt Stępiński, POLIN Museum Director, during the ceremony. "Most often, the nominees are not Jewish, they do not engage into the history of their own families. Often, they had no prior contact with Jewish culture and tradition. What they do is a selfless impulse of the heart that they have turned into action for the sake of those who fell into oblivion as there’s no relative or friend left to remember them," he added.
The winner of the competition received the prize of 25,000 Polish zlotys. During the ceremonious gala which took place at POLIN Museum and was broadcast online, honourable mentions were granted to Ewa Paul, active in the area of Bełchatów and Sulmierzyce, and to the Saga Grybów Association – a group of local activists working to preserve the tangible and intangible heritage of the town of Grybów and its vicinity, encompassing both Jewish and Lemko cultures.
During the POLIN Award gala, Zygmunt Stępiński, POLIN Museum Director, also presented a Special Award to Andrzej Folwarczny and the Forum for Dialogue team.
The total of all the prizes in the competition amounted to over 77,000 Polish zlotys. The POLIN Award is granted by POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews to individuals actively working to preserve the memory of the history of Polish Jews. This year, the competition was organized for the ninth time.
The competition aims to promote attitudes and actions which are in line with the Museum’s mission. The laureates of the award are individuals who preserve the memory of the history of Polish Jews and contribute to shaping a common future, mutual understanding, and respect. The POLIN Award, presented since 2015, has been awarded to 8 laureates so far, and over 50 individuals have been finalists in the competition. From the submitted nominations, the competition jury nominates, awards, and distinguishes individuals or organizations that have demonstrated significant and extraordinary actions and attitudes in recent years that have had a substantial impact on the social awareness of the history of Polish Jews and the building of Polish-Jewish relations.
Finalists of 2023 POLIN Award
- Dorota Bida, Chełm
- Małgorzata K. Frąckiewicz, Łomża
- Bożena Gajewska, Kutno
- Saga Grybów Association, Grybów
- Ewa Paul, Bełchatów and Sulmierzyce
- Mariusz Sokołowski, Wasilków and Białystok
The Association of the Jewish Historical Institute in Poland is the co-organiser of 2023 POLIN Award competition; the Jankilevitsch Foundation is the patron of the competition and the ceremonial Gala. The cash prizes were funded by Tomek Ulatowski, POLIN Museum Distinguished Benefactor, Jankilevitsch Foundation, Odette and Nimrod S. Ariav Foundation, Wiktor Askanas and Ewa Masny-Askanas, and an anonymous donor.
Polish Mint is the partner of 2023 POLIN Award competition.
The competition is organised within the framework of the "Jewish Cultural Heritage" project and is financed by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Fund and the state budget.