Jewish Heritage Europe

Krzysztof Czyzewski receives 2014 Dan David Prize


Krzysztof Czyzewski in conversation with the late Polish statesman Tadeusz Mazowiecki, 2012. Photo © Ruth Ellen Gruber

Mazel Tov to the Polish intellectual and activist Krzysztof Czyszewski, the founder and director of theBorderland Foundation (Fundacja Pogranicze) in Sejny, Poland, who has received one of this year’s Dan David prizes.

Czyzewski, writes the Jerusalem Post, citing the official announcement, “has dedicated his work to the integration of the Polish past into the creation of a robust civil society in the present, capable of recognizing and including the complications of the past into the country’s present and future foundations.”

Throughout his career, Czyzewski has worked toward inter-ethnic cultural, artistic and social interchange and actively promoted an understanding of Jewish culture, heritage — including built heritage — and memory.  The Borderland Foundation is headquartered in the town of Sejny’s renovated former “white synagogue” and yeshiva, and also has a branch at Krasnogruda, the nearby manor house where the Nobel-prizewinning Polish poet Czesław Młlosz spent holidays in his youth and where the Foundation runs a center for international dialogue.

White synagogue, Sejny. Photo © Ruth Ellen Gruber


The Dan David prize was established by the late businessman and philanthropist Dan David, who died in 2011.

Headquartered at Tel Aviv University, it awards three prizes of $1 million each in fields chosen to represent the past, the present and the future.  This years field included History and Memory; Combatting Memory Loss; and Artificial Intelligent/the Digital Mind.

Czyzewski shares the 2014 prize for “the past” with historian Pierre Nora and Holocaust scholar Prof. Saul Friedlander.

Watch video of announcement of prize recipients