Janek Jagielski z''l #poland

Stanley Diamond

It is with great sadness that I share the news of the passing Janek Jagielski, a giant in the
preservation of Jewish memory in Poland.  
In the obituary posted on the Gazeta Wyborcza website, it refers to Janek as "as a walking 
encyclopedia of knowledge about the history of Warsaw's Jews and an unparalleled storyteller."
Those of us who collaborated with Janek in any way, whether we sought his advice, traveled
with him or just had the opportunity to spend time with him will remember both his dedication
to this mission, his good humor and ever present smile.  His desire to help all those who
sought his knowledge and advice is something that I personally will always remember.
Whenever JRI-Poland was involved with a project related to a cemetery, Janek was always
invited to travel to the site with JRI-Poland representative Chris Malczewski. His presence 
was sure to add to the importance of the work, no matter what form it may have taken.  We
will miss his counsel.
Today, Monika Krawczk, Director of the Jewish Historical Institute asked me to share her 
thoughts with the worldwide Jewish genealogical community.  Monika wrote:
   "Jan Jagielski was a pioneer in research and documentation of Jewish material heritage in Poland. 
   His work paved path for two generations of researchers and collection of his materials should serve 
   future generations. We will cherish and honour Janek's achievement at Jewish Historical Institute in 
   Warsaw and will dedicate the room in which he worked in at JHI in his memory. We will also carry 
   on the torch he passed to us".
His obituary appears on the Jewish Historical Institute at:
Obituaries have also appeared online and in various Polish newspapers/sites.  Here are links to two of them.
I have translated the second one from the TVA network using DeepL translation software and 
took the liberty of smoothing a few of the comments as needed:
Warsaw, 16 February 2021 
Jan Jagielski passed away.
Whoever had the opportunity to walk in the Okopowa cemetery with Jan Jagielski will always remember the important sites in this burial ground. He preserved the traces of memory of Jewish communities throughout Poland and documented not only the Jewish cemetery and ghetto in Warsaw, but also other surviving synagogues, houses of prayer and Jewish cemeteries in Poland.
Jan Jagielski, researcher of the history of Jewish community in Warsaw, guide
of memorial sites, advocate of saving the traces of Jewish presence in Poland.
Jan Jagielski came to Warsaw with his parents as an 8-year-old from Lublin in 1945. He grew up as the city rose from the ruins. His great interest was the disappearing traces of Jewish life in the capital.
He matriculated at Staszic, which at that time had Gottwald as its patron saint. After obtaining a master's degree in geochemistry, he worked as a researcher for 30 years at the Institute of Industrial Chemistry in Warsaw.
He combined his passion with work in 1991. At that time he joined the Jewish Historical Institute, where he created the department for documenting material traces of the historical presence of Jews on Polish soil.
Ten years earlier he undertook the mission of caring for places and monuments connected with the culture and history of Polish Jews. He co-founded the Social Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries and Monuments of Jewish Culture, and from 1994 was its chairman.
It was his initiative to undertake numerous activities related to restoring Jewish cemeteries in small towns. He engaged young people from Poland and Israel in these works. He was the chairman of the Eternal Remembrance Foundation, established in 1993 on the initiative of the Polish Government, which deals with the restoration of Jewish monuments and the commemoration of places and events related to the history of Jews in Poland.
Warsaw. An expert and researcher on the ghetto, the Okopowa cemetery, synagogues and Jewish cemeteries in Poland has passed away. He was the best guide on the traces of Jewish culture in Warsaw.
Jan Jagielski left behind a rich legacy in the field that combined his passion with his professional life. He wrote many books about the Jewish cemetery on Okopowa Street, Jewish monuments and the Warsaw Ghetto.
In 2009 he received the Irena Sendler awarded from the Taube Foundation  for his contribution to preservation of Jewish heritage in Poland. He is also a Knight of the Order of Polonia Restituta for his achievements in discovering, collecting and disseminating the truth about the Holocaust, and a recipient of the Jan Karski and Pola Nireńska awards. In 2015, he received the silver medal of Merit to Culture "Gloria Artis".
A donation in memory of Janek Jagielski, to the Jewish Historical Institute, Warsaw would be an
appropriate way to honor a man who so unselfishly gave so much to those of us who benefited
from his presence and his work.  You can do that at: https://www.jhi.pl/en/donate
Stanley Diamond M.S.M.
Executive Director
Jewish Records Indexing - Poland


I am saddened to read this. I met him when my aunt and mutual cousin went to Eastern Europe in 2011. He spent many hours with us in the Jewish Historical Institute, showing us around the museum and taking us back to his office where his walls were filled with binders of Jewish history. 

https://www.mcclatchydc.com/article75169487.html was the story I wrote about that trip.

May memories of him be a blessing. 

Linda Epstein
Grodno and Sokolka: TIKOTZINSKI---> EPSTEIN
Minsk: SPUND