2018: Celebrating the Anniversaries of Sendler, Herbert & Poland Itself
The year 2018 will be an extremely important year in Polish history as it will mark the centenary of Poland’s independence. Numerous events and celebrations marking the occasion will be organised across the country and abroad. 2018 will also be known as the year of Zbigniew Herbert and Irena Sendler.
For 123 years Poland was nowhere to be found on the map of Europe. Finally, in 1918, after 123 years of partitions, Poland regained its independence. Institutions and organisations all over the country and abroad are preparing numerous special events to celebrate the occasion.
The Adam Mickiewicz Institute will join in the festivities with its four-year long programme POLSKA 100. Launched in 2017, it will showcase the most important phenomena, projects and people of the last century of Polish culture. It will include over 400 projects in different fields, such as art, design, music, film, theatre and digital culture, spanning several continents.
The year 1918 also marks a an important date in the women’s rights movement in Poland: women were granted the right to vote 100 years ago. There will also be cause for celebration for Polish scouts as the Polish Scouting and Guiding Association turns 100 as well. Furthermore, the Sejm has declared 2018 the year of poet Zbigniew Herbert and Righteous Among the Nations Irena Sendler.
Ten years after her death, Poles will pay homage to Irena Sendler (in Poland commonly referred to as Sendlerowa). Sendler was a Polish nurse, humanitarian and social worker who served in the Polish Underground during World War II. She was the head of the children’s section of Żegota, the Polish Council to Aid Jews, and contributed to saving countless Jewish lives during Nazi occupation in Warsaw. She saved hundreds of Jewish children and, in 1965, was recognised as Righteous Among the Nations.
This year will also commemorate the 20th anniversary of the death of Zbigniew Herbert. Herbert was a celebrated Polish poet, essayist and drama writer. He is one of the most well-known and the most translated post-war Polish writers. He was a writer of great accomplishment and an exceptional artistic and moral authority whose biography was tragically enmeshed in the history of the twentieth century. In 2013, the Zbigniew Herbert International Literary Award was established in honour of the poet and his literary legacy.
Sources: sejm.gov.pl, culture.pl; compiled by MS, Jan 2018