‘Hidden Jews’ Get Their First Polish-Language Guide to Chanukah


australia-chanukahThe Shavei Israel organization has released the first Polish-language guide to the Yom Tov of Chanukah  geared toward Poles who have only recently discovered their Jewish roots.

Lights for Polish Jewry will be circulated for free during the week of Chanukah  throughout Poland.

According to Michael Freund, chairman and founder of the outreach organization,the reason for the sudden publication of the guide is due to the fact that many Poles have of late learned that they are “hidden Jews” and wish to reconnect with the traditions they know little about.

“In recent years, an increasing number of Poles have rediscovered their Jewish ancestry, seeking to reclaim the precious heritage that was so brutally taken from them and their forebears,” he said.

“It is our hope that this book will, in some small way, enable a new generation of Polish Jews to celebrate Chanukah with joy, as well as gain a better understanding of our eternal faith, its principles and beliefs,” Freund added.

Although there are only 4,000 Jews officially registered in Poland, the organization estimates that there are tens of thousands of others who have concealed their true identity, or are simply unaware of it.

Many people have lost their connection to the Jewish tradition in Europe, and often did even know of their Jewish ancestry due to years of anti-Semitism, communist regimes which denied the Jews from practicing their Judaism. Many older Polish Jews who were brought up by Catholic families during the Holocaust also lost all connection to the religion, and only now have learned the truth of their ancestry.

Shavei Israel was founded by the American-born Freund following his immigration to Israe. His goal is to strengthen ties between Israel and descendants of Jews around the world.

{Haaretz/Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Israel}


  1. I got a Facebook Friend request from a woman in Germany. I asked if we are related and she sent me her yichus. Her great grandfather ,Oberstein, came from Grodno, as did mine. After that, they are mixed with gentiles. Her grandmother turned in her Jewish husband to the Nazis. What should my relationship be with my cousin who is anxious to find her Jewish roots, not necessarily to become a Jew? Any ideas?