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Frontpage News 2009 Jewish life in Oslo and Wroclaw


Jewish life in Oslo and Wroclaw

The Bente Kahan Foundation and the Wrocław Center for Jewish Culture and Education have been awarded a grant to organise a series of concerts and cultural events to spread information to the Norwegian and Polish public about Jewish culture and traditions.

The Polish Cultural Exchange Fund of the EEA and Norway Grants supports the joint exhibition of the Wrocław Center for Jewish Culture and Education and the Jewish Museum in Oslo on the history of the Jewish communities in Oslo and Wroclaw. Sidsel Levin of the Jewish Museum in Oslo stressed the importance of the cooperation project: "Most Norwegian Jews have their historical roots in Poland and Eastern Europe, so establishing networks and initiating cooperation projects with institutions in these countries has a high priority and is very useful for disseminating knowledge about our common European and Jewish history".

Wrocław and Wergeland

The "Jewish life in Oslo and Wrocław" project consists of 2 separate exhibitions, one in each country, which will open in May 2010 in connection with the finalisation of the restoration of the White Stork Synagogue that month. Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway have supported the restoration of the synagogue with a €2 million grant

In Wrocław, the "It’s Written on the Wall" exhibition will present the history of the White Stork Synagogue and the history of Wrocław's Jewish communities in English, Norwegian and Polish. During fall 2010, parts of this exhibition will be displayed at the Jewish Museum in Oslo.

The Norwegian part of the exhibition, called "Wergeland's Legacy", will document the life of Norwegian Jews from 1851, when the Norwegian constitution first allowed Jews entry into Norway, through 1940/1945. The exhibition is named after Henrik Wergeland, a Norwegian writer known for championing the rights of religious minorities in 19th century Norway.

This exhibition has previously been held at Norsk folkemuseum in Oslo and at Beth Hatfusot, the Nahum Goldmann Museum of the Jewish Diaspora in Tel Aviv. The Jewish Museum in Oslo, which opened in September 2008, is housed in a former synagogue which was in use from 1921 until 1942 and never reopened after World War II.

The Cultural Exchange Fund

The €4.4 million Cultural Exchange Fund has been established under the EEA and Norway Grants to strengthen cultural ties between Poland and Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Grants are awarded to cultural projects carried out in partnership between musicians, actors, artists and entities in Poland and the donor states. The cooperation activities can be within the fields of music and performing arts, cultural heritage, plastic and visual arts, or literature and archives.