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Director of Polish Cultural Institute Fired for ‘Too Much Jewish Content’

Польша / Poland
Following a new direction in cultural policy, the conservative government of Poland has fired the director of the Polish Cultural Institute in Berlin, Katarzyna Wielga-Skolimowska, allegedly for focusing too much on Jewish topics, German media reported Tuesday.

Poland's ruling Law and Justice party (known by its Polish initials as PiS) dismissed Wielga-Skolimowska because her programming included "too much Jewish-themed content," according to the German left-leaning daily TAZ.

Wielga-Skolimowska has headed the institute in Berlin since 2013. Her contract was due to expire in summer 2017, but the government dismissed her Friday.

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Initially, Wielga-Skolimowska's programming was welcomed by many critics who considered it ‘thoughtful.' However, the new ruling party, in power since October 2015, did not make the same cultural judgment. A recent internal assessment of the institute conducted by the foreign ministry considered her work as too focused on Jewish subjects, according to the Berliner Zeitung.

Earlier this year, Poland's Minister of Culture, Piotr Gliński, advocated the end of the "culture of shame" regarding the country's role in the Holocaust. He reportedly complained that the cultural Institute in Berlin was promoting this concept.

According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, observers believe that an ideological split, between the Polish nationalist conservatives currently in power and those who view modern Polish history objectively, is the source of the issue. Wielga-Skolimowska is seen to be of the latter persuasion, the agency suggested.

There are 24 Polish Cultural Institutes worldwide, among which 13 have had their directors replaced recently due to intervention by the current Polish government.

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