Anna Frajlich

Polish poet of Jewish origin, a Senior Lecturer Emerita at Columbia Universtiy. The fate of emigration runs in her family. Her mother emigrated from Lviv to Kyrgyzstan, where Anna was born in 1942 and spent the first year of her life there. Later the family lived in Szczecin. Anna emigrated from Poland to USA as a result of the anti-Semitic campaign in 1968–1969 at the age of twenty-seven, together with her husband and a small son. For three decades she taught at Columbia Universityʼs Slavic Studies Department. She is the author of a long series of poetry collections in which the motif of wind returns obsessively (Aby wiatr namalować, Znów szuka mnie wiatr, Between Dawn and the Wind) and the theme of emigration (Łodzią jest i jest przystanią), for which she received numerous awards, such as the prestigious Koscielski Foundation Prize. In her professional work she has dealt with, among others, the works of two Polish Nobel Prize winners Czesław Miłosz and Wisława Szymborska. At the festival she will give a lecture on Bruno Schulz and present her poems about emigration.

Viola Wein

Polish-Israeli Jewish writer, translator and pianist, born in 1946 in Poznan. She spent her childhood and studies in Warsaw, from where she emigrated with her parents and younger brother to Israel at the age of 22 as a result of the anti-Semitic campaign in 1968–1969. She received her musical education in Poland, which she continued in Israel by studying art history and musicology at the Hebrew University. She worked, among other things, as an accompanist in a ballet school, a private piano teacher and a music therapist for disabled children, interpreter at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and coordinator of Israeli-Polish cultural contacts at the Polish Institute at the Polish Embassy in Tel Aviv. She entered the literary scene at a mature age and published four books of razor-sharp short stories, namely Mezalians, Rachmunes, The Sea of Jerusalem and The Cup of Bread. Her short stories are characterized by a colorful image of the characters, their social marginality, terseness or non-negotiables. They are not avoiding the most difficult topics, such as cancer, mental illness, alcoholism, strained family relationships, drugs, prostitution, uprooting or the search for one’s own identity in a foreign environment. At festival, the author will present an excerpt from her book Mezalians, translated by Hanele Palková, for which she received the Culture Magazine Foundation Award.

Maciej Zaremba Bielawski

Polish-Swedish Jewish journalist and writer, born in 1951 in Poznan. In 1969 he emigrated to Sweden due to increasing anti-semitism in Poland. There he started out as a messenger boy, hospital orderly or construction worker. Today, he is a journalist for Sweden’s largest newspaper, Dagens Nyheter. Form 1981 on he travelled to Poland writing about Solidarity and published these articles in Sweden under the pseudonym Zaremba. In 1997 he exposed the case of forced sterilisations of “unwotrhy” people by the Swedish Kingdom of Sweden between 1935 and 1976. He contributed to the payment of compensation to the victims in the amount of 250,000,000 Swedish kronor, and at the same time sparked a heated debate on the same issue in other countries. Author of the brilliant reportage books The Polish Plumber and Other Stories from Sweden, The Pure and the Others: On Forced Sterilization, Racial Hygiene and Original Sin, or The Forest We Inherited. Together with his wife, Swedish writer Agneta Pleijel, he translated poems and essays of Zbigniew Herbert into Swedish. At the festival he will present an excerpt from his book Dom z dwiema wieżami (The House with Two Towers), translated by Jan Faber, for which he received the Ryszard Kapuściński Prize for Literary Reportage.

A glejzele lechajim – Yiddish songs and klezmer in one

The vocal-instrumental trio consisting of Barbora Jirásková (vocals), Anežka Gebauerová (accordion) and Jiří Macháček (violin) will present a concert of mainly Yiddish songs accompanied by instrumental klezmer songs.

Barbora Jirásková

Vocalist living in Prague. She studied singing at JKO in Ostrava, HAMU in Prague, Conservatorium van Amsterdam and also at FKU Ostrava. She has performed as a soloist with renowned ensembles in the Czech Republic and abroad such as JFO Ostrava, Śląska Orkiestra Kameralna, Ensemble Terrible, MFO Olomouc. Barbora is dedicated to music across genres and regularly collaborates with contemporary composers and experimenters.

Anežka Gebauerová

Accordionist based in Ostrava. She studied accordion at JKO in Ostrava and Music Academy in Katowice. She works with contemporary classical music, collaborates with theatres and performs with groups of various genres.

Jiří Macháček

Violinist, poet, publisher, one of the movers and shakers of cultural events in Ostrava. He studied violin privately with violinists Miroslav Petráš and Ondřej Bednarčík in Ostrava. As a performer, he is mainly devoted to Romani and Jewish music, he performed for example at KlezFest in London, he is also active in the klezmer band Mamalör. He is the editor-in-chief of the Protimluv magazine and organizes the ProtimluvFest show.

Ewa Węgrzyn

Dr Ewa Węgrzyn is an assistant professor at the Department of Jewish History at the Institute of Jewish Studies, Jagiellonian University in Krakow. She received her PhD in Humanities from Jagiellonian University in 2012. Her research interests include the history of Polish Jews after 1945 and the emigration of Jews from Poland to Israel after World War II. Her research interests also include the history of modern Israel and the Hebrew language. She is fluent in Hebrew, as evidenced by her PTOR certificate (awarded by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2011). At the festival, she will give a lecture on the Jewish emigration from Poland between 1968–1969.

Mikołaj Łoziński

Polish Jewish writer and photographer, born in 1980 in Warsaw. He comes from an important artistic family – his father Marcel is a film director and documentary filmmaker, his older brother Paweł is also a documentary film director and producer, and his younger brother Tomasz is an actor. Mikołaj Łoziński studied sociology at the Sorbonne University in Paris. During his studies he worked as a room painter or assistant to a blind psychotherapist. His experience with the landlady of the apartment he was subletting to in Paris, who suffered from unsettled relations with her son was reflected in his mature debut novel, Reisefieber. A series of constantly identical questions from a blind Parisian psychotherapist about his family led the author to a reconstruction of his own family history, which he later captured in a second book, seemingly titled simply, yet very Jewishly, The Book. Finally, the other novels Stramer and Stramers also benefit from family history. He is an author who has won literary prizes such as the Kościelski Foundation and the Paszport Polityki, and has been repeatedly nominated for Poland’s most prestigious Nike Literary Award. At the festival, he will present an excerpt from The Book translated by Lenka Kuhar Daňhelová.

Marcin Wicha

Polish Jewish graphic designer, essayist and author of children’s books, born in 1972 in Warsaw. As graphic designer, he designs book covers, magazines and posters. He collaborates with the magazines Charaktery and Gazeta Wyborcza. For children he has created, among others, new stories of the well-known characters Bolek and Lolek: Genius Detectives. He applied his sharp and intelligent humour in his essayistic books Why I Stopped Loving Design, Things I Didn’t Get Rid of, and The Direction of the Tour, for which he collected numerous literary prizes, and most recently in his book of feuilletons Nothing Less Will Be. At the festival he will present, in a translation by Bára Kolouchová, an excerpt from his book Things I Didn’t Get Rid of, for which he received the Paszport Polityki, Nike and Witold Gombrowicz literary prizes.