Edyta Bach

Born in Wrocław, she lives in Warsaw, sometimes in Tel Aviv. She was supposed to become an actress, but life decided otherwise. With passion, she went in for broadly understood communication. She works on the border of art, culture, and business. She has been promoting culture for over 20 years. Owner of the iPublicity PR agency, founder and president of the Warsaw-Tel Aviv Foundation.

I  was brought up by a single Jewish father, and for a long time had no idea about my roots.  The life of a little girl with an elderly parent who survived the Holocaust was probably not ordinary, though to me it seemed wonderful. When I went to school, I discovered that children also met in the evenings – at religion classes in the church. I was convinced that dad had forgotten to sign me up, so I reminded him to do so. It was then, at the age of 7, that I found out about my Jewish origins.

I began to slowly emerge in the world of a different alphabet, different language. In our mailbox I found Christmas cards written in Hebrew, those for the New Year would arrive in the Autumn. At home, we had matzah and matzah flour sent from Israel. We were visited by my dad’s friends, with whom he spoke Yiddish (so that I could not understand), and apart from “Polityka” and “The Law and Life” weeklies, my father would also read “The Folks Sztyme”. Our life, however, was rooted in Poland.  Polish and Jewish motives perfectly intertwined in it. I treated it as an honour, I felt richer thanks to that.

On Christmas Eve, my dad prepared Jewish-style carp in jelly made of fish and onions.

My father celebrated Yom Kippur, the most festive Jewish holiday, very strictly. He fasted, did not touch electricity, did not drive a car. The day before, he would go elegantly dressed for the Kol Nidre prayer to synagogue, which it this case was a prayer room in a tenement house nearby  the destroyed Wrocław synagogue at Włodkowica Street.

Christmas Eve, in turn, we spent at our catholic neighbours’. I was always playing with their daughters, who were of a similar age, and we went on holidays together. Their mother made the same dresses for the three of us. I was very fond of them, and also our parents  were dear friends. On Christmas Eve, my dad prepared Jewish-style carp in jelly made of fish and onions. We would eat dinner together with our neighbours, sing Christmas carols which I knew out of nowhere, and then move to another room where, in the meantime, “The Angel” left some presents under the Christmas tree. There was also a large, real Christmas tree in my room, under which I would find gifts. I quickly began to leave there souvenirs for my father as well – the legend of the angel did not last long. Today I organise the Jewish New Year and Hanukkah for my friends, but also Christmas Eve.

My fascination with these two rich and fantastic cultures, desire to mutually promote them, to bring my two countries closer together, Polish-Israeli projects – all that gave birth to the Warsaw-Tel Aviv Foundation (…).

All his life my dad tried to “sell” me to my family abroad, because both of his age (he became a father at 56), and anti-Semitism he experienced in Poland. When I was two, I went to Israel for the first time. I cannot remember it, but several decades later, when I landed at Ben-Gurion airport for the second time in my life, I could not resist the overwhelming feeling of returning home, to something familiar, something which was mine. It has stayed that way. Even though I still live in Poland, I always feel at home when I go back there.

My fascination with these two rich and fantastic cultures, desire to mutually promote them, to bring my two countries closer together, Polish-Israeli projects – all that gave birth to the Warsaw-Tel Aviv Foundation, which I launched in 2017 together with a group of people involved in the Polish-Israeli life in Poland. We are currently working on a large project with the aim to inspire a dialogue between both cultures.