Joanna Degler (Lisek)

– a literature scholar, translator and faculty member of the Department of Jewish Studies, University of Wrocław, where she teaches Jewish literature and culture as well as the Yiddish language. Her research interests focus mainly on Jewish poetry and the role of women in Yiddish culture. In 2005, she published the book Jung Wilne – A Jewish Artistic Group in which she presented the history of the Jewish artistic ensemble Jung Wilne (1927-1943) in the historical and social context. She is the editor of Silent Souls? Women in Yiddish Culture (2010), and Mikvah – Ritual and History (2015). Her articles have appeared in “Studia Judaica”, “Pamiętnik Literacki”, “Kultura Ludowa”, “Midrasz”, “Słowo Żydowskie”, “Cwiszn” and “Zadra”. Degler (Lisek) has translated from Yiddish to Polish, among others, works by Chaim Grade, Abraham Suckewer, Pua Rakowska, Kadia Mołodowska, Chana Lewin, Jente Serdacka and Chava Rosenfarb. She was a recipient of a YIVO (Institute for Jewish Research) scholarship in New York (a Maria Salit-Gitelson Tell Memorial Fellow in 2001 and Workman’s Circle / Emanuel Patt Visiting Professorship in 2009). In 2012 she developed and launched an undergraduate degree program in Jewish Studies at the University of Wrocław and then a master’s degree program in 2015. Degler (Lisek) is the initiator and co-creator of the Yiddish Cultural Heritage Protection Project in Lower Silesia. In 2008, she co-organized an exhibition on the Jewish Theater in Lower Silesia presented at the Wrocław City Hall. She has been a member of the board of the Foundation for the District of Four Denominations and Mutual Respect since 2011. She is a member of the board of the Polish Association for Yiddish Studies. Degler (Lisek) has been cooperating with the Jewish Open University in Warsaw since 2009; she has been working with the Center for Urban History in Lviv since 2010, where she teaches Yiddish in the summer school program and lectures on Jewish culture. In 2013-2015, Degler (Lisek) worked closely with the Bente Kahan Foundation on the implementation of the Polish-Norwegian project “Yiddish Far Ale”, as part of which she prepared a major exhibition entitled “Babiniec – Women in Yiddish Culture” presented in Wrocław, Cracow, Oslo, and Trondheim. She has worked on a project for the District of Four Denominations and Mutual Respect as part of their program “Education in Places of Memory – Intercultural Paths.” She has conducted workshops on Jewish culture for children and youth for, among others, the Barak Culture Foundation in Poznan, the Foundation for the District of Four Denominations and Mutual Respect as part of the project “Kids” organized by the Shalom Aleichem primary school in Wrocław as well as for the Arka Christian Primary School and Junior High School. Since 2015 Degler (Lisek) has been cooperating with the Center for Mark Edelman Dialogue for its Polish translation project of Chava Rosenfarb’s trilogy entitled The Tree of Life, funded by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage (Program: Promotion of Literature and Reading, Priority: Literature.) Since 2017, Degler (Lisek) is the project manager of a five-year project entitled “The Literary Canon of Memoirs by Polish Jews” funded by the NPRH (module: National Heritage). In this project, she is also the editor of a series of 28 volumes of translated Jewish memories.


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