March 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the so-called "March Events" in Poland, which saw unprecedented student protests and their brutal pacification. The communist government blamed the events on the Jewish community, which was accused of being the fifth column working against the national interests of Poland and its citizens. The accusations were followed by the dismissals of people of Jewish descent from their jobs or academic posts and, if they were students, from the institutions of higher learning. These reprisals resulted in mass emigration, encouraged by the political rulers, of the remnants of the Jewish community, those few thousands survivors of the Holocaust and their families. The emigrating members of the Jewish community were forced to renounce their Polish citizenship and leave the country stateless and in most cases with very few resources.
The program will include fragments of the film The ordinaryMarch (Zwyczajny marzec, 2008) by Maria Zmarz-Koczanowicz
Irena Grudzinska-Gross was involved in student movement and emigrated from her native Poland after the unrest of 1968. She resumed her studies in Italy and received her PhD from Columbia University in 1982. She taught at several American universities and is now Professor in the Institute of Slavic Studies of the Polish Academy of Science. Her books include "Golden Harvest" (with Jan T. Gross), 2012; "Czestaw MHosz and Joseph Brodsky: Fellowship of Poets'; 2009, and "The Scar of Revolution: Tocqueville, Custine and the Romantic Imagination'; 1995.