Robert Kuwałek (1966–2014) - English version
A historian, pedagogue, employee of the State Museum at Majdanek, author and co-author of many works for academic and general public dedicated to the Jewish community of Lublin and extermination of Jews in the Lublin region.
In 1993 on the conference dedicated to the Sobibor camp I gave a lecture on representation of tjhis camp in Polish historiography. Tomasz Kranz, today’s director of the Museum at Majdanek, who at that time was a head of my department, asked me to elaborate my research and prepare a publication based on it. I was never working on the issue of Extermination and I didn’t know how to start. I wasn’t able to write a word, it was for me very difficult on the emotional level. I had this kind of psychological barrier. Finally, after a year [...] I wrote an article - it took me two weeks, and very soon I wrote another one [...]. I passed over this psychological barrier that didn’t let me to write about these issues. Today I think often about the destiny of these people, that before, when I was interested in the interwar period, I was describing as living people. The memory of them accompanies me in my work.
fragment of the statement published in the book
by Jean-Yves Potel Koniec niewinności. Polska wobec swojej żydowskiej przeszłości
(The End of Innocence. Poland in Face of its Jewish Past), Kraków 2010, p.189-190.
Robert Kuwałek completed the High School No 4 in Lublin and then graduated from the Catholic University of Lublin in the field of historical studies. His MA thesis titled Organizacja Ogólnych Syjonistów w Lublinie w latach 1926–1939 (The Organization of General Zionists in Lublin in 1926-1039 period) was written under the supervision of Prof. Ryszard Bender.
Research and educational work
His professional interest focussed on Jewish issues, especially history of Jews in the city and region of Lublin listen >>
After graduation he started to work in the State Archive in Lublin, where he worked mainly on the research on the topic of Jewish community in Lublin listen >>
In 1995 - 1999 period he worked as a history teacher in the Stanisław Wyspiański Private High School in Lublin and in Social High School in Bychawa.
In 1999 he became an employee of the Research Department of the State Museum at Majdanek.
In 2002 he received a scholarship of the Kosciuszko Foundation for a research in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington and National Archives in College Park. Achieved experience and knowledge were reflected in the research that he conducted.
In 2004 - 2007 period he was the manager of the Museum - Memorial Site in Bełżec which is a local branch of the State Museum at Majdanek. He led to the opening of this institution, turning it into an important point on the map of the Extermination memorial sites in the Lublin region. He was involved in the work with local community through implementation of educational projects in cooperation with schools from Bełżec and other localities in the vicinity.
In 2007 Robert Kuwałek returned to his work in the Research Department of the State Museum at Majdanek. In recent years was doing a research on the issues related to the extermination of Jews in the Lublin region within the Operation Reinhardt.
Membership in associations and societies
Robert Kuwałek was a vice-president of the Society for Polish-Israeli Friendship in Lublin and a president of the Central European Association “Heritage and Contemporaneity”. He was also a member of The Well of Memory Association (Stowarzyszenie Studnia Pamięci).
Awards and honours
In 2008 he was awarded the Order of Polonia Restituta of 2nd class by Polish president for his merits in the field of promotion of Jewish history and culture.
In 2014 he was granted a medal of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising by the Association of Jewish War Veterans and Victims of World War II.
Cooperation of Robert Kuwałek with the “Grodzka Gate - NN Theatre” Centre
Robert Kuwałek cooperated with the “Grodzka Gate - NN Theatre” Centre for many years. He was involved in the implementation of many projects, many times he shared with us his knowledge about the Jewish history and culture, he was advising us in substantial issues, and helping us thank to his experience in recording the oral history testimonies.
He was an author and co-author of many scientific works dedicated to the Jewish community in Lublin and to the Extermination of Jews in the territory of Lublin region.
BIBLIOGRAPHY OF ACADEMIC AND POPULAR WRITINGS BY ROBERT KUWAŁEK >>
A distinguished historian from Lublin, an employee of the State Museum at Majdanek – Robert Kuwałek – died on June 6th in his beloved Lviv. He was only 47 years old. A week before, on May 29th, I interviewed him for the July issue of “Słowo Żydowskie” (“Jewish Word”). We talked about the Jewish past of Lublin and about preserving the memory of it today. Robert Kuwałek was not only an outstanding expert in this field, but also a person who dedicated all his life to this matter.
Mini-lectures of Robert Kuwałek
Operation Reinhardt - a fragment of a lecture
Getta w Lublinie, cz. I
Getta w Lublinie, cz. II
Getta w Lublinie, cz. III
Getta w Lublinie, cz. IV
Getta w Lublinie, cz. V
Zagłada Żydów lubelskich w obozie koncentracyjnym na Majdanku, cz. I
Zagłada Żydów lubelskich w obozie koncentracyjnym na Majdanku, cz. II
Zagłada Żydów lubelskich w obozie koncentracyjnym na Majdanku, cz. III
Robert Kuwałek In Memoriam
Robert Kuwałek died suddenly on June 6th 2014 in Lviv.
The funeral ceremony took place on June 23rd in the chapel of a military-communal cemetery in Lipowa street in Lublin, where the urn with his ashes was placed. A commemorative plaque to Robert Kuwałek was unveiled on July 1st, 2014 at the columbarium at Lipowa Street.
Following our desire to commemorate Robert Kuwałek and share his work with the widest possible audience, the "Grodzka Gate - NN Theatre" Centre started to work on this website that will gather digitized materials from his archive, completed with texts, photos and audio/video recordings from other sources, documenting his scientific and popularizing activity.
We kindly ask all people and institutions which could share such materials and thus get involved in this initiative of inter-environmental character.
We also invite you to share here your personal memories of Robert - an absolutely outstanding person (e-mail).
MEMORIES ABOUT ROBERT KUWAŁEK >>
Compiled by Jakub Chmielewski, Izabela Czumak, Dominika Majuk
English version by Magdalena Dziaczkowska