Warsaw residents join Shabbat dinner to mark anniversary of start of World War II

WARSAW, Poland (JTA) – Warsaw residents participated in a Shabbat dinner to mark the anniversary of the outbreak of World War II.

Gołda Tencer, the director of the Jewish Theatre and the Shalom Foundation, organized a Shabbat dinner Friday night for the inhabitants of Warsaw on the square in the centre of the Polish capital. A few hundred people took part, most of them non-Jews who had never sat participated in a Jewish Shabbat meal.

Among the guests were David D’or, an Israeli singer; Krystyna Willenberg, the wife of Samuel Willenberg, a Treblinka survivor who died last year, and representatives of the Righteous Among the Nations, non-Jews who saved Jews during the Holocaust.

“On September 1, 1939, 78 years ago, World War II broke out. Just like today, it was Friday,” Tencer said during the evening. “When the Polish Jews sat down to the Shabbat dinner in the evening, they had to feel fear, but none of them could have foreseen that the end of their world would begin that day. Let us remember them today at this Sabbath dinner, and remember them always.”

Until it was demolished earlier this year, Warsaw’s Jewish Theatre building stood next to the square where the Shabbat dinner was held. A modern skyscraper is to be built in its place.

“Our building is no there today, but the ‘dybbuks’ of that place stay with us,” Tencer said, using the Yiddish word for dislocated spirits.

The Jewish Theatre in Warsaw continues to perform. Formed in 1950, it and a Bucharest theatre are the only two in Europe that perform in Yiddish.

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