The 2010 Jan Karski & Pola Nirenska Prize



 Nalewajko The Award Committee of the Jan Karski and Pola Nirenska Award has the pleasure to announce that Dr Joanna Nalewajko-Kulikov of Warsaw, Poland, is this year’s recipient of the Jan Karski and Pola Nirenska prize. Endowed by Professor Jan Karski at YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in 1992, the $5,000 prize goes to authors of published works documenting Polish-Jewish relations and Jewish contributions to Polish culture.


The winner  was chosen by the Award Committee, whose members are Prof. Jerzy Tomaszewski, Prof. Feliks Tych, Dr. Eleonora Bergman (director, Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw), Dr. Jonathan Brent (director, YIVO Institute), and Marek Web (YIVO Institute). The award ceremony will be held in September at the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw.


Dr Joanna Nalewajko-Kulikov


Born in 1976 in Warsaw, Dr. Nalewajko-Kulikov is Assistant Professor at the Institute of History of the Polish Academy of Sciences. She is also associated with the Jewish Historical Institute and with the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, and she collaborates with other research institutions in various countries which specialize in the history of Jews in Poland and the Holocaust. Dr. Nalewajko-Kulikov’s fields of interest are, among others, Yiddish-based Jewish culture in Poland in the 19th and 20th centuries, Polish Jews during the Holocaust, the Jewish community in Poland during the post-war period until 1968, and Polish-Jewish relations. She is the author of two monographs: Strategie przetrwania. Zydzi po aryjskiej stronie Warszawy (Strategies of Survival: Jews on the Aryan Side in Warsaw, 2004), and Obywatel Jidyszlandu. Rzecz o zydowskich komunistach w Polsce (Citizen of the Yiddishland: About the Jewish Communists in Poland, 2009), among others. “Strategies of Survival” received prestigious awards from the Polish Ministry of National Education and the Aleksander Gieysztor Foundation. “Citizen of Yiddishland” is a biography of the Yiddish poet and leader of the Jewish community in Poland prior to 1968, Dawid Sfard, intertwined with the community’s history until its disintegration in 1968 in the wake of government-supported antisemitic campaign.


The late Professor 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 (Wiłno, Poland; now Vilnius, Lithuania), as the Yiddish Scientific Institute, YIVO is dedicated to the study of the history and culture of Ashkenazic Jewry and its 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 holds about 20 million archival items.