WARSAW, Poland (JTA) – The Jewish Theatre building in Warsaw was closed at the request of the district construction supervisor’s office.
The official reason given for the closure last Friday night is the poor physical condition of the building. For the past several months, however, a private developer who wants to build an office skyscraper at the site has called for the closing of the theatre.
The Social-Cultural Jewish Association sold the Grzybowski Square building last year because of financial problems.
“The money from the sale of the property was necessary to keep open all of our branches in Poland,” Anna Kiedrzynska-Tui, a spokesman for the association, told JTA. “The building for many years was in bad condition, and we did not have the financial capacity to cover the cost to repair it or build a new one.”
The city of Warsaw owns the building.
“The building is not in the best condition, but in our opinion, it does not threaten the public safety,” Agnieszka Klab, a City Council spokeswoman, said last month in an interview with Radio Eska.
Ghelamco, a developing company, has pledged that there will be a place for the Jewish Theatre in a new building. But the theatre would have to relocate during the construction of a new building. If a temporary location cannot be found during the construction, then all of the theatre’s employees and actors could lose their jobs.
The Jewish Theatre in Warsaw is the only theatre in Poland performing in Yiddish, and one of two in Europe, including the Jewish Theatre in Bucharest. It was created in 1950 and its headquarters were built with funding from the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.
The director of the theater is Golda Tencer, an actress and director, organizer of the Festival of Jewish Culture “Singer’s Warsaw,” and the International Seminar in Yiddish Language and Culture in Warsaw.