POLIN - Museum of the History of the Polish Jews will be honoring the works and poems of Renia Spiegel with a special presentation of her WWII diary on Monday, September 11th, 6pm.
Ariana Spiegel, Renia’s sister will be present.
Historian Dr. Tomasz Pudłocki of the Institute of History at Jagiellonian University will give a lecture on the history of Przemyśl during the Nazi and Soviet occupations.
Prof. Anna Nasiłowska of the Institute of Literary Research of Polish Academy of Sciences will speak on the literary merit of Renia Spiegel‘s prose and poetry.
Excerpts from a documentary film about the Spiegel sisters by Tomasz Magierski "Przemyśl - Broken Dreams" will be presented during the event.
Ariana Elżbieta Bellak will be available to answer questions and sign copies of Renia’s book.
Renia started her diary in January 1939 when she was 15 and living with her grandparents in Przemyśl, Poland. Her diary mainly describes her loneliness living in war-torn Poland without a mother, her first love, and everyday life during the Soviet and then German occupations. The diary describes her fears and terror during the creation of the ghetto in Przemyśl. She writes of the humiliation she experiences firsthand and heinous acts witnessed on the streets of Przemyśl. She writes up until the last day of her short life. She is shot on the street of Przemyśl shortly after her 18th birthday. “Renia’s diary presents a powerful insight into the life of a young woman, whose life was tragically cut short. There is incredible maturity in her observations and insights. Her account of her personal life is poignant, heart breaking, and often amusing with her expression of adolescent infatuation exposing the raw emotion of a teenager. This powerful diary is not only a primary historical source of the Holocaust, but also a true and outstanding work of literature." - Prof. Anna Frajlich, Columbia University. Renia Spiegel’s younger sister, Ariana, Elżbieta Bellak was a child prodigy and was named by the press "The Polish Shirley Temple". At the age of 8, she performed on the stage of "Cyrulik Warszawski Theater" in Warsaw playing piano, singing and reciting poems by the renown Polish poets, Tuwim and Brzechwa. She appeared in the movies, among them "Gehenna" by Michał Waszyński.
Our second edition of the Renia Spiegel poetry competition for Polish-speaking young people around the world saw entries from 14 poets from 6 countries who sent in over 30 poems.
The jury, composed of Elżbieta Bortkiewicz from Madrid and Grażyna Drabik from New York, awarded Kacper Kwiatkowski from Klikuszowa the Renia Spiegel Award for "poetic vena, sense of rhythm and the joy of life, and his humor.
The jury granted a special honor to Maciek Modzelewski from Białobrzegi for
"the ambition and development of poetic craftsmanship. Let the poetry continue to accompany you!"
Our first contest saw works from 87 young poets from 39 cities. The majority of submissions came from Poland, but there was no lack of contestants from Great Britain, Germany, Italy, and the United States. The participants sent in 284 poems. The works represent the broad spectrum of interests of young people, and are characterized by discovering new themes and forms of expression such as rap.
They share the freshness, tenderness, and enthusiasm in dealing with words and form.
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Due to the wide range of ages of the participants, the jury, consisting of:
Prof. Anna Frajilich – Chairwoman, New York
Anna Nasiłowska, Warsaw
Elżbieta Bortkiewicz, Madrid
Yoram Gross, Sydney
formed two categories which awarded the following prizes.
In the category of youths up to 14 years of age:
I. Bianka Gosk – New York
II. Robert Kondzior - New York, and Kasper Kwiatkowski – Klikuszowa
III. Elena Pasquiariello - Italy
The jury awarded a special distinction to the Henryk Sienkiewicz Polish School in Brooklyn, New York.
In the category of youths over 14 years of age:
I. Julia Mika - Bytom
II. Zuzanna Łabanowska - Suwałki
III. Maciej Henryk Modzelewski – Białobrzegi and Katarzyna Wardzyńska - Olsztyn
The jury awarded a special distinction to Ewa Kasiarz from Raba Wyżnej and Mariusz Białkowski from Lubania.
The special Renia Spiegel Award is awarded to Aleksandra Baniak from Uście Gorlickie.
Monetary awards of up to 300 PLN to the first place winners and other prizes – funded by Inglot- for all the winners and distinguished winners will be awarded officially on January 26th 2016, during the observations of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day in Przemyśl.
The awards will be mailed to the winners who are unable to attend.
The winning and distinguished poems will be published on our webpage and on internet forums interested in Polish poetry.
Thank you to everyone for participating, and congratulations to the winners.
Please check our web site regularly for new information.
The Renia Spiegel Foundation organizes a poetry contest named after Renia Spiegel for polish speaking teenagers from around the world. The contest is aimed at youths up to 20 years of age.
The jury consists of literary scholars, and representatives from 3 continents who pick the winners in three categories:
- Youths up to 14 years of age
- Youths up to the age of 20
- Originality - Renia Spiegel Special Award