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YIVO Institute for Jewish Research
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The 2011 Jan Karski & Pola Nirenska Prize at YIVO Awarded to Marcin Wodziński
Born in 1966 in Świdnica, Poland, Prof. Wodziński, a Polish historian and linguist, has been associated for many years with the University of Wrocław where he had completed his graduate studies specializing in the history and culture of Polish Jews. He is now Professor of History and Literature and, since 2005, Director of the Department of Jewish Studies at the University of Wrocław. His special fields of interest are social history of the Jews in nineteenth-century Poland, regional history of the Jews in Silesia, and Jewish sepulchral art.
He has been active for a long time in the academic endeavors and gatherings inside and outside Poland relating to Jewish history and culture, and has published extensively on related topics. Among the books that Prof. Wodziński has written, worth mentioning are: Haskalah and Hasidism in the Kingdom of Poland: A History of Conflict (Polish, 2003; English, 2005), Hasidism and Politics: The Kingdom of Poland (Polish, 2008; English, 2011), The Graves of Tsadikim in Poland (Polish, 1998), and Bibliography on the History of Jews in Silesia (German, 2004). Additionally, he is the co-editor of the Bibliotheca Judaica series which is published by Wrocław University Publishing. Marcin Wodziński also serves as the chief consultant for history at the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw.
The late Prof. Jan Karski, the founder of the prize at YIVO, was the envoy of the Polish government-in-exile during the Second World War, who brought to the West firsthand testimony about the conditions in the Warsaw Ghetto and in German death camps. The prize is also named in memory of Professor Karski's late wife, choreographer Pola Nirenska.
Founded in 1925, in Vilna (Wilno, Poland; now Vilnius, Lithuania), as the Yiddish Scientific Institute, YIVO is dedicated to the study of the history and culture of Ashkenazic Jewry and their continued influence in the Americas. Headquartered in New York City since 1940, today YIVO is the preeminent global resource center for East European Jewish Studies; Yiddish language, literature and ethnography; and the American Jewish immigrant experience. The YIVO Library holds over 385,000 volumes; the Archives hold approximately 20 million archival items.