The Bente Kahan Foundation is committed to furthering mutual respect and human rights through the perspective of the tragic European Jewish experience. The Foundation started its activities in 2006 with the specific goal of restoring the White Stork Synagogue and creating there a vital center for Jewish culture and education that honors and preserves the 800 year-old-history of Jews in Wroclaw and Lower Silesia.
The restoration project was completed thanks to founds from a European Economic Area grant (EEA – Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein), the City of Wroclaw, the Union of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland and its Wroclaw Branch as well as the Foundation itself. The White Stork Synagogue officially re-opened on May 6,2010. From the Statute of „The Bente Kahan Foundation”
Center for Jewish Culture and Education in the White Stork Synagogue in Wrocław in Bente Kahan’s words:
CHAPTER II Goals and Principles
§ 10. Goals and objectives of the Foundation:
- Overcoming stereotypes and preventing antisemitism, racism and intolerance.
- Preserving the material and spiritual heritage of Jewish culture – including but not limited to Wrocław and Dolny Śląsk [Lower Silesia].
- Presenting Jewish cultural heritage, history and religion in Poland and abroad.
- Developing Jewish culture in Poland and worldwide.
- Launching and supporting educational and research initiatives in the area of Jewish culture.
- Documenting and commemorating the history of Jews with emphasis on the Holocaust.
- Launching and supporting initiatives that promote communication among nations, cultures and religions.
- Revitalising the buildings and facilities of the Jewish Community in Wroclaw, ul. Wlodkowica 7.
- Supporting such activities of individuals and organizations that may coincide with the above-mentioned goals and objectives of the Foundation.
- Launching fund-raising initiatives for the purpose of any and all of the above goals and objectives.
§ 11 Non-exclusive acts that the Foundation may engage in in pursuance of the goals listed in § 10:
- Organization and financing of:
- festivals, concerts, stage productions, workshops, exhibitions, radio and television broadcasts, film shows,
- research and studies; conferences, seminars,
- educational activities, training, lectures.
- Granting of scholarships and financial support to competition winners.
- Cooperation with:
- government administration and local authorities,
- domestic and/or overseas organizations that pursue like objectives,
- educational, research and cultural institutions.
Special Silesian Culture Award for the Bente Kahan Foundation 2010
The Silesian Culture Award of the Lower Saxony State is awarded to exceptional Silesians. The Polish-German jury granted this year’s Polish edition of the Award to the historian Arno Herzig, to Ewa Michnik, director of the Wroclaw Opera and to the Bente Kahan Foundation. The awards ceremony took place on Saturday, September 4th, at the Wroclaw Town Hall. Professor fr. Antoni Kiełbasa was posthumously honored an award funded by the Marshall’s Office of the Lower Silesia province.
The Silesian Culture Award of the Lower Saxony State has been awarded since 1977. Many of the Silesians who had to leave this region during and after World War II settled in the State of Lower Saxony, where they contributed significantly to its reconstruction. For this reason the government of the State of Lower Saxony funded this award as an acknowledgement of the ties between that State and the Silesians living in the Federal Republic of Germany. The award is designated for creative individuals who come from Silesia or whose activities are closely linked to the region. It has been awarded for outstanding individual and group projects in the fields of literature, the arts and music.
After 1991, the government of Lower Silesia, in response to current events and mindful of the need for understanding and reconciliation between Germans and Poles, amended the award guidelines and made the overarching goal of the award recognition of efforts to preserve and develop of Silesian cultural heritage and cultural creativity of all Silesians. From that point on, the award has been granted to various outstanding accomplishments by Poles living in the region and working in the fields of literature, art and music. The award will also be used to recognize exceptional efforts to preserve, develop and nurture the cultural legacy of Silesia.
Bente Kahan named Wroclaw Ambassador 2010
Bente Kahan has become the fifth Ambassador of Wroclaw – the winner the annual award sponsored by Wyborcza.
“The result of Bente’s meeting with Wroclaw is the White Stork Synagogue. The city of meetings has gained yet another wonderful meeting place – thanks to Bente Kahan. Her persistence, energy, faith, passion, commitment and enthusiasm. Bente, Wroclaw thanks you” wrote Jerzy Sawka, editor-in-chief of the Wroclaw edition of Gazeta Wyborcza in the jury’s statement naming this year’s recipient of the award.
Bente thanked the jury for the distinction and added that it was a great honor but also a responsibility. She then sang an a capella version of the song “Happiness” in Yiddish.
“I love Wroclaw,” said Bente. “It is an open city full of open people who want to work together to build a better future.”
Read more: Bente Kahan named Wroclaw Ambassador 2010