Statuette of Felek Scharf awarded in 2006
to Professor Antony Polonsky

The Judaica Foundation - Center for Jewish Culture

Meiselsa 17, 31-058 Krakow, Poland
www.judaica.pl   info1@judaica.pl

November 19, 2006

The 'Felek' statuette, dedicated to the memory of Rafael F. Scharf has been awarded for the year 2006 to Professor Antony Polonsky of Brandeis Universit, Waltham, Massachusetts in the United States.

This award, established by the Judaica Foundation in Krakow in 2004, is awarded in recognition of outstanding achievement in preserving and making known the heritage of Polish Jewry. The statuette is awarded by a committee made up of Betty Scharf (London), Janina Ruth Buczyńska (Krakow), Lili Pohlman (London), Prof. Jan Błoński (Krakow), Michał Sobelman (Warsaw) and Joachim S. Russek (Krakow, secretary of the committee).

The statuette commemorates Rafael F. Scharf, born in Kazimierz in 1914, graduate of the Krakow Hebrew Gymnasium and of the Faculty of Law of the Jagiellonian University, and long-time journalist of Nowy Dziennik, Krakow. Although he spent most of his life in London where he settled in 1938 he always remained a devoted amicus Cracoviae, engaged in Polish-Jewish affairs and committed to the concept of building bridges between Jews and Poles.

During the last fourteen years of his life he was a co-founder and creator of the Judaica Foundation and its Center for Jewish Culture in Kazimierz, where he frequently spoke and shared his experiences and knowledge of the richness of Jewish life in prewar Kraków. He died in London in September 2003.

Professor Antony Polonsky is an eminent historian at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts in the United States and at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. He is an expert in the history of the Jews of east-central Europe and in particular on Polish-Jewish relations. In 1999, he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Order of Merit by the President of the Polish Republic.

Professor Polonsky is a co-founder of the Institute of Polish-Jewish Studies in Oxford and of the American Association for Polish-Jewish Studies. He is the Chair of the Editorial Collegium of POLIN: Studies in Polish Jewry  which has appeared since 1986 and which is the most important English-language scholarly publication devoted to this topic.

He is the author, co-author and editor of numerous publication devoted to the history of Poland and of Polish Jews, including Jews in Eastern Poland and the Soviet Union 1929-1946 (with Norman Davies, 1991), A Cup of Tears: A Diary of the Warsaw Ghetto (London, 1990), My Brother's Keeper? Recent Polish Debates about the Holocaust (London, 1989), Jews in Warsaw (with Dr. Władysław T. Bartoszewski jr., 1991) and Politics in Independent Poland (Oxford, 1972). 

The ceremony of awarding the statuette to Professor Antony Polonsky will take place in the Center for Jewish Culture during a New Year's Eve concert on 31 December 2006.

The 'Felek' statuette is the work of the Krakow sculptor, Jerzy Noworól.