Taube Philanthropies Names Two Scholars as 2016 Irena Sendler Memorial Award Recipients

Award Remembers “Righteous Gentile” Sendler and Honors
Polish Citizens Who Preserve Jewish Heritage

Left: Monika Adamczyk-Garbowska; Right: Maria Piechotka

SAN FRANCISCO — Taube Philanthropies has named two scholars whom it will honor with its 2016 Irena Sendler Memorial Award: Monika Adamczyk-Garbowska, professor of English and Comparative Literature at the Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin, who has made significant contributions, in Poland and internationally, to both teaching and publishing in Jewish and Yiddish literature studies; and Maria Piechotka, renowned architect and author of several groundbreaking publications that have preserved architectural memory of buildings destroyed in the war, especially wooden synagogues.

The Irena Sendler Memorial Awards, named for the social worker who saved hundreds of Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto during the Nazi occupation, will be presented at two different ceremonies. The award will be presented to Prof. dr hab. Monika Adamczyk-Garbowska on Friday evening, July 1st, during the Jewish Culture Festival in Kraków. The award program is followed by the first annual memorial concert for the late Dr. Jan Kulczyk, a 2015 Irena Sendler Awardee. The concert will be performed by Diwan Saz, a world-famous Israeli-based ensemble. The second award ceremony, for Maria Piechotka, will take place in Warsaw at a future date in 2016.  

“These two leading Polish citizens, with their historic visions of a multicultural Poland, have had profound and long-lasting impact on Polish society and helped to preserve Poland’s rich Jewish heritage,” said Tad Taube, Chairman of Taube Philanthropies and Honorary Consul for the Republic of Poland in San Francisco.

Honoree Prof. dr hab. Monika Adamczyk-Garbowska (Professor of American and Comparative Literature, Maria Curie-Skłodowska University, Lublin) has made invaluable contributions to teaching and publishing in Jewish and Yiddish literature studies. She is the author, editor, and translator of many books, including key works on the life and legacy of Isaac Bashevis Singer. Professor Adamczyk-Garbowska has served on the editorial board of Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, was the 2006-2007 Ina Levine Scholar-in-Residence at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and in 2004 was awarded the Jan Karski and Pola Nireńska Prize from the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, in New York, for her research and teaching of Jewish culture and Yiddish literature and language.

Honoree Maria Piechotka was active in the Warsaw Uprising and in 1944 began her efforts to record the architectural detail of destroyed buildings, with a special focus on wooden synagogues. Together with her husband Kazimierz Piechotka, she co-authored several books on the subject, including Gates of Heaven: Wooden Synagogues on the Territory of the Former Republic, published in 1957, which has become the seminal work in the field. In 2000, she and her husband were awarded the Jan Karski and Pola Nireńska award from the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. Many generations of scholars and architects who study wooden synagogues look and will look to their groundbreaking, pioneering research.

About the Irena Sendler Memorial Award

The Irena Sendler Memorial Award was created in 2008 by Taube Philanthropies in memory of courageous partisan Irena Sendler whom Yad Vashem named a “Righteous Among The Nations.” Each year, in commemoration of the May 12 anniversary of Sendler’s passing, the award is presented to Polish citizens who have been exemplary in preserving and revitalizing​ their country’s Jewish heritage.

Nominations for the annual award are reviewed by a panel of Taube Philanthropies advisory board members and Jewish cultural leaders in Poland. Previous awardees include Janusz Makuch, director of the Jewish Culture Festival, Kraków (2008); Jan Jagielski, archivist, Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute (2009); former President Aleksander Kwaśniewski (2010); the late Magda Grodzka-Gużkowska, who risked her life to help Irena Sendler rescue Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto (2011); eminent scholars Prof. Dr. Maria Janion and Dr. Jolanta Ambrosewicz-Jacobs (2012); Bogdan Zdrojewski, former Minister of Culture and National Heritage; Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, Mayor of Warsaw (2013); Małgorzata Niezabitowska, author and journalist; Tomasz Pietrasiewicz, director of the Grodzka Gate—NN Theatre Center (2014); Krzysztof Czyżewski, director of the Borderland Foundation; and the late Dr. Jan Kulczyk, Distinguished Benefactor of POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews (2015).

Irena Sendler Award Ceremony:
Time: 6:00 pm
Place: Tempel Synagogue
Address: Miodowa 24, 33-332 Kraków, Poland

followed by

Dr. Jan Kulczyk Memorial Concert:
featuring Diwan Saz 

Place: Tempel Synagogue
Address: Miodowa 24, 33-332 Kraków, Poland

For more information about the award program or to schedule interviews, 
please email: info@taubephilanthropies.org.