From solidarity to unprecedented partnership
When a shipyard electrician named Lech Walesa launched the Solidarity Movement in 1980, AJC voiced its unequivocal support, beginning a decades-long relationship that has broadened and strengthened over the years.
It is exemplified by a pioneering exchange program initiated in 1995 in cooperation with AJC’s Polish partner, the Forum for Dialogue. Each year, a delegation of emerging Polish leaders travels to the U.S. to address issues of concern in Polish-American and Polish-Jewish relations, while an American Jewish group visits Poland for intensive discussions and visits to sites of Jewish interest.
In an unprecedented partnership with the Polish government, AJC helped protect and memorialize the site of Belzec, the infamous Nazi German death camp now in southeastern Poland, where approximately 500,000 Jews were annihilated in less than a year. In the presence of Polish President Aleksander Kwaśniewski, the site was opened in 2004. Watch the Belzec Memorial and Museum dedication ceremony.
Today, AJC maintains a formal partnership agreement with the Union of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland, and AJC’s Warsaw-based Shapiro Silverberg Central Europe Office and Brussels-based Transatlantic Institute engage regularly with Polish officials.