Israel's Polish Roots

Israel's Polish Roots

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April 14, 2016

Center for Urban History, Lviv

A presentation of the book "Israel's Polish Roots" and talk with authors Lukasz Tomasz Sroka and Mateusz Sroka was held.

The book covers various topics that reveal the theme of Israel's Polish roots, as noted in the title. Particularly, the processes of preparing Jews for emigration and settlement in the Land of Israel, and later in Israel, is discussed. One such example is the kibbutz system that Jews laid out near cities at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. Another hidden side of the Jewish migration is also described, which on the eve of World War II, was disguised as tourism, and the difficult living conditions immigrants to Israel were faced with. Examples are provided of Jews that helped to establish Israel - create her army, science, education, agriculture and many other areas.

The book is the result of an eight-year search in the archives of Lviv, Krakow, Warsaw, Vienna, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. It also contains a list of illustrations including a list of Zionist leaders from Eastern Galicia, the statutes of Zionist organizations, a list of Makabi clubs and a textbook from Palestine in 1939.

Questions that the authors raised during the subsequent discussion include: the Polish and Ukrainian roots of Israel; Lviv as a major European center of Zionism before World War II; kibbutzes in pre World War II Galicia; the kibbutz system in Israel today; how to travel to Israel (Lviv on an immigration path); intimate relations of immigrants, problems with adaptation, differences of culture, which they saw in Eretz Israël [literally: in the land of Israel - Trans.], and also in Israel; the rhythm of everyday life in Israel then and now, women in the old Zionist movement and in modern Israel.

The presentation and discussion took place in Ukrainian and Polish.

The presentation was led by Thomasz YankovskyPh.D., member of the Polish Association of Jewish Studies, researcher of genealogy and demography of past European communities on the territory of modern day Poland and Ukraine.

Lukasz Tomasz Sroka

historian, disciple of prof. Kazimierz Karolchaka, Professor at the Pedagogical University in Krakow. His research focuses on the history and culture of Jews in 19th and 20th centuries, the history of Israel, Krakow and Lviv, researching social structures of the 19th and 20th centuries (especially among the elites). The author of several books and numerous scientific articles published in the UK, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine and Austria. He is a member of the Commission on the History and Culture of the Jews at the Polish Academy of Learning of the Polish Historical Society and of the Polish Society of Jewish Studies.

Mateusz Sroka

political scientist and journalist. Specializes in researching forms of government, culture and business in Israel. Lived for almost a year on a kibbutz in the Negev desert. Gained experience conducting research in Israeli centers of science and culture. Currently working for international financial institutions, utilizing his good knowledge of several languages, including Hebrew.