With great pleasure, we would like to announce that in the category of literary works and academic activity related to the period of the Holocaust of the Jewish people in Poland the Committee of the Jan Karski and Pola Nirenska Prize decided to honour Piotr Matywiecki! The awarding ceremony will take place in Tłomackie in October.
Prof Jan Karski founded the prize in 1992 in order to award people of considerable services to propagating and popularizing the history and culture of Polish Jews. In that way, Prof Karski also wished to honour the memory of his wife, a dancer and choreographer Pola Nireńska, who out of 70 members of the family was the only one to survive the Holocaust. The Prize is administered by YIVO Institute For Jewish Research in New York and its ceremony takes place annually in the Jewish Historical Institute.
The winners are chosen by the Committee which is comprised of: Prof. Paweł Śpiewak (Director of the Jewish Historical Institute), Dr Jonathan Brent (Director of YIVO), Prof. Jerzy Tomaszewski, Prof. Feliks Tych, Prof. Szymon Rudnicki, dr Joanna Nalewajko-Kulikov and dr Joachim S. Russek. The Awards Committee Secretary is Marek Web from YIVO.
The past recipients of the Prize were respectively: Eugenia Prokop-Janiec, Jerzy Ficowski, Michał Friedman, Marek Rostworowski, Henryk Grynberg, Ruta Sakowska, Jerzy Tomaszewski, Hanna Krall, Maria and Kazimierz Piechotkowie, Reverend Stanisław Musiał, Leszek Hondo, Michał Jagiełło, Monika Adamczyk-Garbowska, Jan Jagielski, Joanna Tokarska-Bakir, Szymon Rudnicki, Aleksander Skotnicki, Joanna Nalewajko-Kulikov, Marcin Wodziński, Alina Skibińska and Barbara Engelking.
Piotr Matywiecki is an eminent Polish poet and essayist, whose works include both his own pieces and collections of Polish poetry edited by him, among others, a two-volume work „Od poczatku: Antologia poezji polskiej od średniowiecza do wieku XX” (From the beginning: The Anthology of Polish poetry from the Middle Ages to the 20th century”). His essay writing primarily focuses on the Holocaust subject matter. Born in June 1943 in Warsaw, Matywiecki often returns in many ways to the trauma of the suffering of the Jews in occupied Poland; to loneliness and helplessness in the face of evil experienced by the Jewish nation sentenced to death.
In this context, particularly important are his essays published in a 1995 volume called „Kamień graniczny” (Border Markers), widely commented and awarded the prestigious Prize of PEN-Club. In a lengthy 2007 book „Twarz Tuwima” (Tuwim’s Face), from a very innovative perspective, Matywiecki takes up the subject of the tangled in an untieable knot Polish-Jewish relations, on the basis of life and works of Julian Tuwim. The Laureate of this year’s Prize returns to the Polish-Jewish subject matter in 2010 in essays collected in a volume „Dwa oddechy. Szkice o tożsamości żydowskiej i chrześcijańskiej” (Two Breaths: Essays On Jewish And Polish Identity).