On Friday, June 23, in Copernicus Bilingual High School in Kołobrzeg, a unique ceremony took place. On the ground floor of the school, a commemorative plaque was unveiled in honor of the eminent politician Shevah Weiss, who visited Kołobrzeg during the Days of Tolerance (2001-2003).
The ceremony was attended by parliamentarians, local government officials and a group of students from Israel with their guardians, as part of the student exchange that has been going on for over a decade. The plaque was unveiled by Yacov Livne, Israeli Ambassador to Poland, Tomasz Tamborski, Kołobrzeg District Head, and a special guest – Albert Stankowski, Director of the Warsaw Ghetto Museum.
I have the impression that you – your school, students, teachers – you all do a better job than many diplomats, when it comes to building bridges – stated in his speech Yacov Livne, emphasizing that Shevah Weiss also built bridges of understanding between Poland and Israel his whole life. He also reminded that it is difficult to imagine Polish history without the Jewish citizens of Poland. The mutual history of Poles and Jews is very long, extending over a 1000-year period of coexistence. At one point in history, more than half of all Jews lived in Poland. It is hard to imagine Israel today, our Jewish heritage without roots here in Poland. You will probably agree that it is equally difficult to imagine Polish heritage without the contribution, without the history of Polish Jews.
Artur Dzierkowski – Principal of the Copernicus Bilingual High School – emphasized that the school wants to use this plaque to commemorate a man who preached tolerance, reconciliation and friendship between nations with his life and actions. We want young people to be inspired by this great friend of Poland and Polish youth to build new bridges in a school that focuses on openness and respect for other people.
Albert Stankowski, WGM director, graduate of the Copernicus Bilingual High School in Kołobrzeg and co-creator of the Days of Tolerance, did not hide his emotions at the ceremony. I am deeply moved that our activities, which we started over 20 years ago in this city, are developing so beautifully. No matter what the political situation is, Kołobrzeg is a city that I give as an example of friendship that develops, friendship between young people, because this is the future.
Shevah Weiss was born on July 5, 1935 in Borysław; he died on February 3, 2023. He was an Israeli diplomat, politician and professor of political science. He survived World War II thanks to the help of a Ukrainian, Julia Lasotowa, and Poles: Anna and Michał Górala, Julia Potężna and her son Tadeusz. After the end of hostilities, the whole family moved to Wałbrzych, and later to what is now Israel. Shevah Weiss conducted scientific, journalistic and political activities there and was an outstanding sportsman. He was the Israeli ambassador to Poland from 2001 to 2003. He was awarded the Order of the White Eagle for his services to Poland.
The plaque unveiled in Kołobrzeg is the first such commemoration of this outstanding politician and scientist. Its author is a local sculptor Romuald Wiśniewski.