The Polish Consulate General, located at a picturesque spot of the Ontario Lake shore, was packed to the full (extra chairs had to be brought in), when on April 21, on the eve of the great Jewish festival, Passover, the authors of Marek Edelman: Being on the Right Side, Witold Bereś and Marek Burnetko, met with the residents of Toronto and the Toronto area.
Following the screening of a movie about Marek Edelman, which brought parts of the audience to tears with emotion, the authors talked about their private meetings with this great citizen of Poland. This part of the evening led to discussions and arguments about Poland’s modern history, which lasted until the late hours.
It was a very successful meeting but it would not have taken place had it not been for the hospitality of Grzegorz Morawiecki, consul general, and Andrzej Szydło, consul at the Consulate General of the Polish Republic in Toronto, and the grand preparatory work of the following people: Peter Jassem, chairman of the Polish Jewish Heritage Foundation, Prof. Piotr Wróbel, head of the Department of History at University of Toronto, and the Gazeta weekly published by Małgorzata Bonikowska. The authors of the book express their gratitude to all those incredibile people!
There was a lot of emotional moments during the meeting, and, arguably, one of the most intensive was when an old activist of the Jewish party Bund, bridled at an earlier opinion from the authors, that many Jews had found it difficult to accept Marek Edelman. “We lover and admired Marek Edelman,” the old man proclaimed.
In turn, Peter Jassem emphasised the role of Marek Edelman for the contemporary human rights movement and he expressed his appreciation of the fact that the movie gave a good representation of Marek Edelman extraordinary personality.
At the end of the meeting all the guests underlined the importance of the event. Vivek Joseph, the Toronto representative of KGHM, (Polish copper extracting company which has made huge investments in North America, including Canada) congratulated the authors on the launch of the book in Canada and said that KGHM would help promote the book further.
The Polish Consulate General in Toronto: the authors with Consul General Grzegorz Morawski