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Etel Szyc

by FKZLubliner

“I walk the streets and I remember
So many stories and so many years.
How not to love this city of Lublin,
In which spring
And the wind.“
“Poems in Lublin” by Jan Koprowski

Lublin… my dear Lublin, how am I to describe it?

The place of my childhood, where I spent happy years with Mama, Papa, friends, where every street brings back memories, and every nook means so much.

In my building on Sławińskiego Street 3 there were many Jewish families: the Garens, Gurfinkiels, and the Bargs. Before the Shabbat the whole house smelled of chicken soup and fish. Our Polish neighbors came to us for gefilte fish, matzah, and liver, and they treated us to pierogi and borscht with dumplings. I am still friends with Gosia Gnieciak and Renia Wojecka and their families, and the nearby Kaliszes, Grzesiks and the Serdyński family, all of whom are my friends to this day.

On every Shabbat, dressed in our finest clothes, my parents and I went to the temple on Lubartowska Street 10. For Shavuot the other children and I would bring flowers and branches, for Simchat Torah I ran with the other children with flags with apples stitched on them; we spun dreidels during Hanukkah.

On Plażowa Street you can still find my beloved music school, where many present teachers are my old schoolmates. How I would love to take the trolleybus to school once more, to sit in my desk beside Iza Wolska, to laugh with Zosia Mirosław, Marysia Zezula, or Marzenka Nowakowska, to run to the river on the break, to climb trees or to skip class and go to Wyzwolenie Cinema or the Saski Gardens.

My father knew the history of Lublin well, I liked going with him to the Old Town, which was small, but had luckily survived the ravages of the war.

“Have I showed you where Henryk Wieniawski used to live?”

“Yes Papa, about a hundred times.”

“Oh well, it’s a beautiful building, let’s look again. Now we’re going through Grodzka Gate to the Castle, we’ll go down the stairs, visit the bazaar for some fresh eggs, and then we’ll go home.”

We went to Saski Gardens for walks and to the concert bowl. The best part was sitting on the bench on Litewski Square and staring at the fountain, sometimes splashing around in it. Papa sat in the square, closer to Hotel Europa, and played chess. There were many tables around there. I had the impression that all the men in town spent the afternoon here.

That’s how I recall childhood in my beloved Lublin.

Lubliner Festival was created out of love for the hometown, out of love for history, culture and Jewish tradition.

It is a great honor for me to be able to organize a Festival for a city with over 700 years of history, shared by Poles and Jews. For a city with great traditions, where Jewish and Polish culture constantly interpenetrate, draw from each other, fascinate and inspire successive generations of residents.

I invite everyone to the Festival with hope that it will become a permanent event in the city’s cultural calendar.

Thank you very much to the Patrons, Co-organizers, Partners, Sponsors and everyone who contributed to the implementation of our Festival.

Etel Szyc (Yiddish עטיל שיץ) – Polish theater and film actress, activist of the Jewish community.
She was born in Lublin in a Jewish family, the daughter of an umbrella maker and poet Nuchym Szyc (1921–1990) and his wife Klara. She graduated from music school at Plażowa str. (currently Muzyczna) in the piano class. She has a master’s degree in early childhood education with pedagogical therapy. In 1989, she passed an extramural acting exam for drama actors in Warsaw. In the years 1979–1988 she was an adept, and in 1988–1997 an actress of the Jewish Theater in Warsaw. Since 1994, she has been a teacher at Private Primary School No. 94 Lauder-Morasha in Warsaw. She conducts classes in Jewish culture, Jewish music and song, Israeli dance, drama and theater. She is a director of school performances on topics related to Jewish history and tradition. She is also the co-ordinator of the inter-school program “Others are also us”. She was an instructor at the Senior Club at the Social and Cultural Society of Jews in Poland – she created and implemented programs for the club of the Warsaw Branch.
In the years 2002-2015, she conducted Jewish cuisine workshops and workshops for children at the Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow. Since 2004, she has been conducting meetings and workshops at the Jewish Culture Festival in Warsaw. She has run many Jewish-themed events throughout Poland. She actively participates in the cultural and religious life of the Jewish Community in Warsaw. She cooperates with all Jewish organizations, co-organizing events. Since 2007, thanks to subsidies from the Ministry of Interior and Administration, she has been publishing Jewish calendars. In the years 2010 – 2012, she was the president of the Foundation of Irena Sendler, since 2012 she is a president of the Ner Tamid Foundation. Since 2015, she has been running the Derech Jewish Agency travel agency.

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