In the beginning of December Hatikva Foundation will present a series of performances titled the “Passports of Life”. The events will take place at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York, the Associated Polish Home in Philadelphia, Warsaw – Polish National Home in Brooklyn and a special presentation for Polish Schools at the Polish and Slavic Center in Greenpoint.
The performance tells the story of the forgotten Polish heroes of World War II – Aleksander Ładoś and the Polish diplomats and Jewish organizations associated with him at the Polish legation in Bern, Switzerland. These people, known as the “Bern Group” or “Ładoś Group”, saved Polish and European Jews by issuing them false passports. The passports of Latin American countries they obtained were then sent to Jews in occupied Europe. Passports from Paraguay, El Salvador, Honduras, Bolivia, Peru and Haiti protected their holders in the ghettos from deportation to German extermination camps. Their owners were sent to internment camps, where some of them lived until the end of the war. These activities took on the scale of a gigantic rescue operation conducted by the Polish State and its Legation in Bern, during which, in extreme conditions and risking their lives, Polish diplomats and their Jewish associates fabricated Latin American passports for at least 8,000 people. This operation is still considered one of the most puzzling threads of World War II.
“Passports of Life “ spectacle
The spectacle directed by Małgorzata Sarnecka-Papis, Małgorzata Ułamek and Iwona Witkowska, is conducted by actors from VIII Adam Asnyk High School in Lodz, Poland. The teachers and students of this high school are currently implementing many artistic and cultural projects in Israel, Poland and the United States. The spectacle will feature a special guest performer , a well known Polish cantor Symcha Keller.
“Polmission. The Secrets of Passports” – documentary movie
The performances will be accompanied by the screening of the “Polmission. Secrets of Passports” documentary movie directed by Jacek Papis. The film is a continuation of the film “Passports of Paraguay” presenting the rescue of Jews by the Bern Group. It tells about the further fate of the Survivors that were rescued by the “Lados Group” which makes the film a fascinating and unique record of individual fates, each of which could become the basis for a thriller-espionage production. The film also features historians and researchers trying to solve unexplained issues and answers to the most bothering questions of the story. After the screening there will be an interview with the director and a discussion.
“Passports of Life” – exhibition
The Hatikva Foundation will also present an exhibition presenting the history of the activities of the Bern Group created by Dr. Aleksandra Kmak-Pamirska. The exhibition includes a collage presenting the history of Jews before and during the war, as a background for the story of the activities of the Bern Group, as well as source materials, maps, photographs, documents and letters. The presented materials come from e.g. from the correspondence of the Polish Legation in Bern, the archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in London from 1939-1945 and scientific studies.
About Hatikva Foundation
The Hatikva Foundation – the producer and organizer of the performance and accompanying events – has extensive experience in the production and distribution of artistic events. Over the last few years, the foundation has prepared a number of performances, debates and exhibitions devoted to the subject of the Righteous – Poles saving Jews during the Holocaust. The spectacular success of the Foundation was the performance “Irena Sendlerowa – Righteous Among the Nations” staged in 2019 in Warsaw, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and five other Israeli cities. It met with an enthusiastic reception everywhere, gathering about 5,000 people in the audience. The staging of the play at the Knesset in Jerusalem was a historic event. The project was under the honorary patronage of the President of the Republic of Poland. The last project of the Foundation was the premiere of the theater play “Passports of Life” at the Theater of the Royal Institute in London and the presentation of the exhibition in the halls of the Institute’s library. These events were accompanied by a debate in London’s Pewterers Hall, attended by well-known, opinion-forming personalities from the world of science and politics. Supported By The financial project is funded by the Chancellery of the Prime Minister as part of the competition Polonia and Poles Abroad 2022. The sponsor of the project are the ORLEN Foundation, The Polish Army Veterans in America, The Perceman Law Firm, The Global Incubator, Polish Association of Puerto Rico, The Polish Slavic Federal Credit Union, Polaron, Polish Cultural Institute New York and the Pulaski Association of Business and Professional Men Inc. The project is under the honorary patronage of the Consul Republic of New York. The official logistics partner is the Polish Lot Airlines . The organizational partner is Gram-X Promotions.