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Our work

The Szymon An-ski Association began the “Grochów Kibbutz” project in April 2013. Our main goal has been to gather and spread knowledge about the kibbutz among the residents of Grochów. Above all, we wanted to reach the inhabitants of the Ostrobramska housing project, situated on the former kibbutz grounds. From the beginning, we have been working with the local cafe Kicia Kocia. We talk to residents – we have met many people, heard many stories. A lot of people helped us with finding information and interpreting photographs, they shared with us their knowledge about the history of Grochów.

 

We spread the story of the Hehalutz collective farm in many different ways, trying to reach various social and age groups. Some of our work is done outside Grochów, because we want the kibbutz to be remembered elsewhere, too. Together with Kicia Kocia, we organized three educational meetings. The first one took place on April 9, 2013, and was moderated by Agata Maksimowska and Mania Cieśla (Szymon An-ski Association) and Cezary Polak (Kicia Kocia). We showed archival pictures of the kibbutz and shared our early discoveries to a large audience. The second meeting was on December 11, 2013. As part of Kicia Kocia's “Flying Museum” project, we organized a meeting titled “Hollywood in Grochów”, where we showed archival material found in Israel. This was followed by a screening of “The Jester”, a film shot on the kibbutz grounds.

On March 19, 2014, during another meeting (“Miss Judea in Grochowska Street”), we presented our new website on the history of the Grochów kibbutz. We talked about the work which had gone into the website and showed our guests how to make the most of it.

 

Another part of the “Grochów Kibbutz” project are the walking tours, where we visit places connected not only with the history of the kibbutz, but with Jewish history in general.

 

The first such tour took place on June 30, 2013. About 50 participants walked from Rondo Wiatraczna to the Leśnik Park, stopping by places where, before the war, Jewish stores or institutions or a synagogue used to be. The highlight was the visit to the former kibbutz grounds. A detailed program (in Polish) can be found on the kibbutz map on our website.

 

Another walk was on July 27, 2014. This time we showed our guests around the kibbutz grounds, showing them old photos in the places where they had been taken. Then we invited them to Kicia Kocia cafe for a screening of the film “Mamele”.

 

We also do walking tours for special guests. In June 2013 and 2014, we hosted groups of tour guides from Israeli youth organizations which organize school trips to Poland.

 

We try to popularize the story of the kibbutz through art and performance. On June 15, 2014, a dramatized version of the memories of the former kibbutz members had its premiere in Kicia Kocia cafe, starring Magdalena Dąbrowska and Piotr Herbich. The text was accompanied by a selection of halutzim songs and a slideshow of archival pictures from the kibbutz.

 

We organize educational workshops. In 2014, we started working with the Irena Sendlerowa Gymnasium located on the former kibbutz premises. We helped the students discover the history of the place by going through old photographs and reading the memories of the kibbutzniks. We also did a walking tour of the area, during which teenagers took pictures in the exact same places where the archival photos had been taken.

 

We also address our educational projects to senior citizens. In September 2014, we organized a meeting with a group of senior citizens at the Center for Local Activity and talked about the history of the kibbutz.

 

The Grochów Kibbutz project is involved in various local events. In October 2013, we took part in the unveiling of a mural titled “The women of Grochów”. The women depicted on the cafe wall are Teresa Kruszewska (Academy of Fine Arts professor, a distinguished interior decorator and designer of practical items and educational toys), Pola Gojawiczyńska (a writer and social activist, the author of the novel “Dziewczęta z Nowolipek”), Halina Oberlaende, nicknamed “Kicia Kocia” (the prototype for the eponymous protagonist of the famous Miron Białoszewski cabaret), Alina Przewłocka (a well-known confectioner from Grochów, famous for her cream rolls) and Frida Wołkowyska, the Grochów kibbutznik murdered in 1935. In September 2014, the Grochów Kibbutz project was presented at the Witryna Grochów Picnic in Szembek Square. During the picnic, a “kibbutz office” was opened, where everyone could get a kibbutz membership card, have a look at old photographs and learn the basics of the Hebrew alphabet.

 

We also try to promote our project and the history of the place outside Grochów. We talked about the kibbutz during the Jewish Culture Festival in Kraków (July 2014), the Warsaw Singer Festival (September 2014), at the Museum of the History of Polish Jews (July 2014), at the Museum of Modern Art (July 2014), and during the Urban Garden at JCC Warsaw (June 2014).

 

We promote the history of the Grochów kibbutz in the media. In March 2013, we talked about it on Radio Dla Ciebie. In January 2014, a program about the kibbutz was broadcasted by the Czech radio station Rozhlas 3 Vltava. We also published an article in the journal “Stolica”.