Polish president honors Warsaw Jewish theater actors

WARSAW, Poland (JTA) — Poland’s president conferred medals and state honors on actors of the Jewish Theatre in Warsaw.

President Andrzej Duda conferred the honors on 17 actors at a ceremony that took place at the Jewish Theatre on Jan. 27, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, after a performance of a play titled “The Night of the Whole Life.”

Adam Baliński, Marian Dutkowski, Jan Grenwald and seven other actors received the Gold Medal for Long Service honors for their contributions to Polish and Polish-Jewish culture.

Golden Crosses of Merit, a high civilian distinction conferred on individuals whose actions have  benfited the Polish state, were given to Ewa Dąbrowska and Teresa Wrońska. A silver Cross of Merit was awarded to Piotr Sierecki and the bronze cross was given to four other actors.

Earlier that day in Warsaw, at the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes, dozens  gathered for a ceremony commemorating Holocaust victims, organized by the Shalom Foundation. Among the participants was Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, who was born in Oswiecim, a town adjacent to the Auschwitz death camp.

“My grandmother told me about the suffering and fear,” said Szydlo during the ceremony. “Proud Jewish people did not allow [the Nazis] to destroy them. The Polish people together with the Jewish people, and all those who gave their lives in these terrible times, should take care to send a message of peace to the world.”

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