Ars Judaica

Self-Patronage versus State Patronage: Polish and Polish-Jewish Artists React to the Trauma of March ’68

Ars Judaica (2020), 16, (1), 95–124.

Abstract

Social tensions in communist Poland were exacerbated with the launching of anti-Zionist propaganda in June 1967. Warsaw students organized numerous protests after the authorities tightened censorship, and later banned the staging of Adam Mickiewicz’s Dziady at the National Theater, considering it to be anti-Soviet. Government forces stifled student protests with numerous arrests, at times causing serious injuries, dismissals from the university, and ultimately the expulsion of Polish citizens of Jewish origin from Poland. The restrictions affected Holocaust survivors who were employed in art schools and cultural institutions. This group included Artur Nacht-Samborski, Jonasz Stern, Eugeniusz Eibisch, and Gizela Szancerowa, among others. Notable artistic testimonies of the experience of March ’68 events and their effects were left by painters and sculptors from the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts, its students, graduates, and lecturers: Witlod Masznicz, Artur Nacht-Samborski, Krystiana Robb-Narbutt, Ewa Kuryluk, Jerzy Jarnuszkiewicz, and others in his studio - Barbara Falender, Henryk Morel, Grzegorz Kowalski, and Krzysztof M. Bednarski. In Cracow, artists belonging to the Wprost (Explicit) group, including Maciej Bieniasz, Zbylut Grzywacz, Leszek Sobocki, and Jacek Waltoś, commented on the events of March ’68 boldly and on an ongoing basis.

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Author details

Tanikowski, Artur