New 'Forgotten Exodus' project to shine a light on Jews expelled from 1960s Poland

The multimedia project, which is now looking for testimonies, seeks to raise awareness of a forgotten chapter of history and utilize it as a means to combat hatred and antisemitism today


A new pioneering initiative dedicated to capturing and disseminating the previously untold stories of Jews who fled Poland in the late 1960s following a wave of antisemitic purges launched this week.

Co-founded by the Vice-President of the Jewish Leadership Council, Daniel Korski CBE, and scholar Dr Daniel Schatz, the “Forgotten Exodus Project” will gather testimonies from victims, many of whom are Holocaust survivors, to “document their experiences and ensure their history is not erased.”

Following the Six-Day War between Israel and its Arab neighbours in 1967, then-communist Poland officially broke off diplomatic ties with Israel. By 1968, Polish Jews were declared enemies of the state and became the center of a Soviet-backed “anti-Zionist” campaign which saw them stripped of citizenship, expelled from political parties, and driven out jobs.

It is estimated that more than half, up to 25,000 people, of Poland’s already decimated post-Shoah Jewish community were forced into exile between 1968-1970.

The project, which will engage various forms of media, including video interviews, written narratives and archival materials to create a comprehensive historical record, will provide a platform for the victims and their families “to share their firsthand accounts, ensuring that their stories are preserved for future generations.”

The effort also aims to “leverage historical narratives as a potent instrument to combat hatred, totalitarianism, and antisemitism in our modern society.”

Korski said: "Forgotten Exodus is an essential effort to commemorate the experiences of those who were expelled from their homes, seeking refuge due to antisemitism. By gathering and documenting their stories, we aim to spotlight this overlooked historical period, fostering comprehension and compassion in today's world.”

The collected testimonies will be “meticulously curated” and made publicly accessible through an online platform to ensure “that the lessons from the past can be learned and applied in the present.”

The Forgotten Exodus project will be partnering with academic institutions, museums, and organisations championing human rights and combatting antisemitism, and encourages victims, their families, and individuals interested in contributing to the project to share their stories.

Schatz said the aim is to do “more than just preserve history; our goal is to encourage action against contemporary hatred and antisemitism.

“By sharing personal narratives, we aspire to galvanise individuals and communities to stand up against anti-democratic trends, promoting tolerance and universal principles as the rule of law, liberal democracy and human rights in any society.”

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