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The 2013 Jan Karski & Pola Nirenska Prize at YIVO Awarded to Prof. Barbara Engelking

PRESS NEWS: For immediate release

YIVO Institute for Jewish Research
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Contact: Marek Web
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Read in Polish here.

The Award Committee of the Jan Karski and Pola Nirenska Award has the pleasure to announce that Prof. Barbara Engelking of Warsaw, Poland was named the receipient of this year’s prize. Endowed by Prof. Jan Karski at YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in 1992, the $5,000 prize goes to authors of published works documenting Polish-Jewish relations and Jewish contributions to Polish culture.

The winner was chosen by the Award Committee whose members are Prof. Jerzy Tomaszewski, Prof. Feliks Tych, Prof. Paweł Śpiewak (director, Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw), Dr. Jonathan Brent (Executive Director, YIVO Institute For Jewish Research). The award ceremony will be held in September at the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw.

Prof. Barbara Engelking is associated with the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw where she heads the Polish Center for Holocaust Research. A psychologist and sociologist by training, she specializes in topics pertaining to the annihilation of the Jewish population in Warsaw and in the Polish provinces in the years of Nazi occupation of Poland during the second World War. Much place in her research and writing is devoted to the fate of those Jews who would try to flee their homes at the time of German round-ups, only to find themselves facing hostile local population many a time willing to denounce them to the Germans or even personally participating in hunting down the victims. In her work Barbara Engelking teamed up with a group of dedicated researchers who joined the Center to pursue their projects together. The group publishes an annual titled “Zagłada Żydów, Studia i Materiały” (The Holocaust, Studies and Materials) of which eight volumes appeared. In addition, Barbara Engelking has published several monographs, of which the following should be mentioned:

Holocaust and Memory (published previously in Polish as “Zagłada i Pamięć”), 2001;

“Szanowny panie gistapo. Donosy do władz niemieckich w Warszawie i okolicach w latach 1940-1941” (Dear Mr. Gestapo. Denunciations sent to the German Authorities in Warsaw, 1940-1941), 2003;

„Prowincja noc. Życie i zagłada Żydów w dystrykcie Warszawskim” (Province Night: Life and Destruction of the Polish Jews In the Warsaw District), editor and contributor, 2007;

“Żydów łamiących prawo należy karać śmiercią! „Przestępczość” Żydów w Warszawie (Jews who break the law should be punished by death! “Criminality” of Jews in Warsaw, 1939-1942), with Jan Grabowski, 2010;

„Jest taki piękny słoneczny dzień… Losy Żydów szukających ratunku na wsi poskiej, 1942-1945” (It Is Such A Beautiful, Sunny Day... The Fates of Jews Seeking Rescue In the Polish Countryside), 2011;

“Getto warszawskie. Przewodnik po nieistniejącym mieście” (z Jackiem Leociakiem), 2001. English version: Warsaw Ghetto: A Guide Through the Perished City (with Jacek Leociak). Yale University Press, 2009.

The late Professor Jan Karski, the founder of the prize at YIVO, was the envoy of the Polish government-in-exile during the Second World War, who brought to the West firsthand testimony about the conditions in the Warsaw ghetto and in the German death camps. The prize is also named in memory of Professor Karski’s late wife, the choreographer Pola Nirenska.


ABOUT YIVO: Founded in 1925 in Vilna (Wilno, Poland; now Vilnius, Lithuania) as the Yiddish Scientific Institute, YIVO is dedicated to the study of the history and culture of Ashkenazic Jewry and its role in the Americas. Headquartered in New York City since 1940, today YIVO is the preeminent global resource center for Eastern European Jewish Studies; Yiddish language, literature and ethnography, and the American Jewish immigrant experience. The YIVO Library holds over 385,000 volumes, the Archives has about 20 million archival items. www.yivo.org