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Honorary patronage of Andrzej Duda, President of the Republic of Poland


Warsaw, 22 May 2023


Organizers and Participants
of the 32nd Jewish Culture Festival
in Krakow


Ladies and Gentlemen,

I wish to greet the enthusiasts and all those interested in ancient and contemporary Jewish culture who have come to the festival devoted to it. I would like to extend a warm welcome to the inhabitants of Krakow and to guests from Poland and abroad.

The organisers, continuing the concept of previous years, have chosen as this year’s leitmotif of the festival the fourth element of the Hebrew Bible – the Ruah, or air, represented as the spirit and the wind, the ‘white fire’ with which, on the black fire, the Torah was written, the driving force and the space of freedom for speech and thought. I hope that the 32nd Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow will be similar to the previous ones in what we like it so much for: equally atmospheric and thrilling, and at the same time – thanks to the Ruah – transformed and inspiring.

Regular attendees of the event, now recognised as the world’s largest festival showcasing contemporary Jewish culture, are familiar with the unique atmosphere that fills the space of Krakow’s Kazimierz district – in the past one of the main centres of life, learning and culture of Polish Jews. This colourful, creative and enterprising community exerted an overwhelming influence on the character of the former capital of our country, contributing significantly to its development. Like the Ruah, it was a “revitalising breath” for the urban landscape – it introduced magnificent, original architecture and enriched Polish culture with elements of Jewish heritage and customs.

For centuries, the Republic of Poland – and at its heart the Jewish-populated Krakow districts of Kazimierz and Stradom – was a place where Jewish and Christian cultures coexisted and blended. The German Holocaust destroyed that symbiosis and threatened the very existence of the Jewish people. However, although few survived the Holocaust, the culture and traditions, customs and even many Yiddish words have been preserved. It is during the Krakow Festival that they come alive again. In these days, an electrifying atmosphere engulfs the synagogues, streets and squares, transforming Kazimierz into a vibrant shtetl, resounding with music and poetry, discussions about today and tomorrow, and at the same time – tempting with the aromas of the traditional Jewish cuisine.

My wish is that this year, too, you will enjoy the attractions prepared by the organisers. May the festival’s Kazimierz become, yet again, a neighbourly space full of mutual respect, a forum for meetings and inspiring conversations leading to rapprochement between people and nations. I wish you all many fascinating experiences during the festival events.


With kind regards

Andrzej Duda