Jewish Warsaw

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Every year, at the beginning of September, Warsaw goes back in time and becomes again a magic place where people were speaking a different language, were wearing different clothes and had different customs and religion.

This place is a pre-war Warsaw inhabited at that time in one-third by Jews and the event is called Warsaw of Singer. Who was Singer or rather Isaak Bashevis Singer? He was a jewish writer who won a Nobel Prize in 1978 and was famous because of writing his novels in yiddish, a language commonly used by Jews in the Middle and East Europe. So what Singer and Warsaw had in common? Isaak, born in a small village 50 km from Warsaw, moved with his family to the capital and after a continous changing places, he decided to stay and work here. He lived in Krochmalna Street, which now is an insignificant place in the city center but in the past was a one of the poorest and neglected districts of the city, full of small shops, shouting vendors and ladies of easy virtue, described by Singer in different narratives.

But the Warsaw of Singer Festival tries to bring us closer not only to the life of this writer but rather to the atmosphere of this time- colorful, diverse, full of contrasts. Of course, when you’re listening to the klezmer music, watching a spectacle in the jewish theatre or passing through Próżna Street – the only one jewish street that remained here originally from XIX century-  it’s easy to fall into the trap of stereotypes and start to idealize pre-war Warsaw. Thing that anyway I love to do. So, I need to be aware. But now, for the moment let’s just immerse to the past…

ps. if you’re interested see also this video about Singer: