Co-organized by Galicia Jewish Museum
Two women, one from the US and one from Poland, were brought together to make sense of one woman’s Holocaust survival story, of the difficult past the story is a part of, its implications in the present, and of each other. Confronting challenges of identity, memory, translation, and place, Michelle Levy and Patrycja Dołowy will perform their experience in conversation, between passionate search and profound discovery. After following Paulina’s story across Poland and Ukraine, the two women will summon archives, personal travel footage, maps, oral histories, foliage, pieces of the earth, speculation, and reflections, as tangible means to share what is truly ungraspable.
Paulina is a research and performance project based on the discovery of a 1945 Holocaust testimony of a Jewish woman from Kraków, and on a growing exchange between artists Michelle Levy and Patrycja Dołowy. When Michelle asked Patrycja to translate the testimony of her ancestor, Paulina, little did they know the roles they would play in a web of events that had been unfolding over decades. Paulina’s testimony—of a woman who lost her family and fended for herself throughout occupied Poland—is an official, impersonal record. It is impossible to really know the woman behind the text. Brought together by this compelling document which had, as it turns out, been given to Michelle in error, the artists have taken deep responsibility for this unearthed story of a woman who can no longer speak for herself. Guided by happenstance and the reminder that things are not always as they seem, they have been following Paulina’s traces through Poland and Ukraine, exploring what happens when one testimony, taken by chance out of thousands, is revisited, in-depth, in the places where it happened. They have some extraordinary tales to tell…