September 1939. Memory and Identity


Little Views – photographs as monuments of history. A pictorial reconstruction of the synagogue in Bielsko. Written accounts of children of the Holocaust.

Galeria Bielska BWA held a number of artistic events on Saturday, 31 August to mark the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War. The day was filled with reminiscences of the War and Holocaust, including accounts of survivors. The central theme of the events was Memory and Identity. The Cafe Club Aquarium hosted an exhibition of photographs by Patrycja Dołowy entitled Little Views and presentation of the book I’ll be back when you sleep. Conversations with children of the Holocaust by the artist. The walls of the gallery’s entrance hall were hung with drawings by Zbigniew Popadiuch which featured the synagogue destroyed in 1939; the square outside the gallery became the venue for a gig by the band ANASHIM playing Jewish music.

Read more about the exhibition Little Views and the book book I’ll be back when you sleep. Conversations with children of the Holocaust by Patrycja Dołowy >>

The walls in the gallery’s entrance hall were hung with a series of drawings showing the former synagogue in Bielsko which was destroyed along with two other Jewish temples in the town by the Germans. Following consultations with historians and active members of the local Jewish Community, the draughtsman Zbigniew Popadiuch created a pictorial reconstruction of the synagogue. In 1960, the site was chosen for the new Exhibition Pavilion, erected on the initiative of the local artistic community. The building, which was expanded in the 1980s, now houses Galeria Bielska BWA.
Complementing the drawings was an oil painting of the synagogue by the same artist. A faithful copy of the synagogue in Szombathely in Hungary, the Jewish temple in Bielsko was designed by Ludwik Schöne and Karol Korn. The front wall of the Gallery has a commemorative plaque dedicated to the Jewish House of Prayer which stood on this very site between 1881 and 1939 (the plaque was unveiled on 5 September, 1991). Visitors also had an opportunity to listen to a lecture which was delivered by Dr Jacek Proszyk, a religious scholar and author of a publication on the religion and culture of Jews who once inhabited the area of the present-day Bielsko-Biała and its environs.

Zbigniew Popadiuch – painter and amateur draughtsman, photographer. He was born in 1955 in Kutno and moved to Bielsko-Biała in 1988. He creates drawings and oil paintings of famous past and present citizens of the city, and of former buildings, including the synagogues in Bielsko and Biała, both demolished during the Second World War.

The exhibition Little Views, featuring the latest work by Patrycja Dołowy, is being held in Cafe Club Aquarium and runs from 31 August to 30 September.
The book I’ll be back when you sleep. Conversations with children of the Holocaust by Patrycja Dołowy is available for sale in the Gallery building.

The exhibition of drawings by Zbigniew Popadiuch was on view until 5 September, 2019.