Jazz spread like wildfire in Europe in the early 1920s and Poland joined the swing explosion with enthusiasm, merging it with its own fiddle-based traditions.
But the second world war put paid to all the fun. After the war, amid Stalin’s repression, jazz came to symbolise freedom and resistance, so in many ways has a greater resonance here than in the UK, say.
Nowadays such is the audience for the genre that top US jazz acts often play several dates in the country. There is boundless local and national talent, such as pianist Paweł Kaczmarczyk, who’s appearing at the club on 6 February, who have risen to the top at clubs such as Harris and U-Muniaka in Kraków.
These are small places (both about 70 capacity) in near-1,000-year-old brick cellars with bars in adjacent rooms. Harris is on the hugely atmospheric Market Square and lays on mainstream jazz, funk and blues, good food (international mains from £3) and a boisterous vibe. On many nights it’s free of charge.
• Admission €5 (€10 for name international acts), mid-week jam sessions free entry, beer from €2.50, booking advised at weekends, 28 Market Square, +12 421 57 41, harris.krakow.pl
Two British teenagers accused of stealing artefacts from the Auschwitz death camp during a school trip are to face a trial, prosecutors have said.
The pupils, from the independent Perse School in Cambridge, were allegedly seen by guards picking up buttons and fragments of a spoon from the ground. In June, the school said they had been fined after admitting responsibility. But Polish prosecutors said the boys had changed their minds and would now face a trial.
1935: World’s First Female Rabbi Is Ordained, in Germany
Regina Jonas remained outside the Orthodox establishment, but provided spiritual services in the concentration camps where she wound up and died.
Regina Jonas was ordained as a rabbi in Offenbach am Main, Germany. With an ordination certificate signed by the head of Germany’s Liberal Rabbis’ Association, Jonas is thought to be the first woman ever to receive ordination – though the country’s Orthodox rabbinate did not recognize her status. Less than a decade later, she was dead, having been murdered at Auschwitz.
Elton John will headline the next Life Festival Oswiecim.
He will perform in the city of former Nazi death camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, at the festival in June, the festival announces on Thursday.
“Like everyone, I am shocked by the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and elsewhere.
In June, in Oswiecim, we’ll be celebrating life, peace and music,” says John in a statement published on the festival’s website.
Jeremy Armstrong heads underground to Poland’s unusual but unmissable tourist attraction in one of its greatest cities
Agnieszka Santos, a Polish-born resident of the United Kingdom, is the one millionth visitor to the historic salt mine in Wieliczka near Kraków in 2015.
She was given the red-carpet treatment, taken on a special tour of the mine and presented with a very special gift – a barrel of salt.
She is on a few days’ visit to southern Poland with her family.
Foreigners account for about a half of the visitors to Wieliczka, with British tourists topping the list, followed by Germans, Italians, Spaniards and the French.
The Wieliczka Salt Mine was founded in the middle of the 13th century. It features a 3.5-km touring route for visitors that includes historic statues and mythical figures carved in salt. There are also a large chapel, an underground lake, as well as a private rehabilitation and wellness complex.
In 1978 the Wieliczka Mine was included in the original UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.
All the major games of the 2015 Rugby World Cup will be screened at The Dorsz in Krakow.
Fixtures and groups (All times UK)
Friday, 18 September 20:00, England v Fiji, Twickenham Stadium, London
Sunday, 20 September 14:30, Wales v Uruguay, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Wednesday, 23 September 16:45, Australia v Fiji, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Saturday, 26 September 20:00, England v Wales, Twickenham Stadium, London
Sunday, 27 September 12:00, Australia v Uruguay, Villa Park, Birmingham
Thursday, 1 October 16:45, Wales v Fiji, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Saturday, 3 October 20:00, England v Australia, Twickenham Stadium, London
Tuesday, 6 October 20:00, Uruguay v Fiji, Stadium mk, Milton Keynes
Saturday, 10 October 16:45, Australia v Wales, Twickenham Stadium, London
Saturday, 10 October 20:00, England v Uruguay, Manchester City Stadium, Manchester
Saturday, 19 September 16:45, South Africa v Japan, Brighton Community Stadium, Brighton
Sunday, 20 September 12:00, Samoa v United States, Brighton Community Stadium, Brighton
Wednesday, 23 September 14:30, Scotland v Japan, Kingsholm, Gloucester
Saturday, 26 September 16:45, South Africa v Samoa, Villa Park, Birmingham
Sunday, 27 September 14:30, Scotland v United States, Elland Road, Leeds
Saturday, 3 October 14:30, Samoa v Japan, Stadium mk, Milton Keynes
Saturday, 3 October 16:45, South Africa v Scotland, St. James’ Park, Newcastle
Wednesday, 7 October 16:45, South Africa v United States, Olympic Stadium, London
Saturday, 10 October 14:30, Samoa v Scotland, St. James’ Park, Newcastle
Saturday, 11 October 20:00, United States v Japan, Kingsholm, Gloucester
Saturday, 19 September 12:00, Tonga v Georgia, Kingsholm, Gloucester
Sunday, 20 September 16:45, New Zealand v Argentina, Wembley Stadium, London
Thursday, 24 September 20:00, New Zealand v Namibia, Olympic Stadium, London
Friday, 25 September 16:45, Argentina v Georgia, Kingsholm, Gloucester
Tuesday, 29 September 16:45, Tonga v Namibia, Sandy Park, Exeter
Friday, 2 October 20:00, New Zealand v Georgia, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Sunday, 4 October 14:30, Argentina v Tonga, Leicester City Stadium, Leicester
Wednesday, 7 October 20:00, Namibia v Georgia, Sandy Park, Exeter
Friday, 9 October 20:00, New Zealand v Tonga, St. James’ Park, Newcastle
Sunday, 11 October 12:00, Argentina v Namibia, Leicester City Stadium, Leicester
Saturday, 19 September 14:30, Ireland v Canada, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Saturday, 19 September 20:00, France v Italy, Twickenham Stadium, London
Wednesday, 23 September 20:00, France v Romania, Olympic Stadium, London
Saturday, 26 September 14:30, Italy v Canada, Elland Road, Leeds
Sunday, 27 September 16:45, Ireland v Romania, Wembley Stadium, London
Thursday, 1 October 20:00, France v Canada, Stadium mk, Milton Keynes
Sunday, 4 October 16:45, Ireland v Italy, Olympic Stadium, London
Tuesday, 6 October 16:45, Canada v Romania, Leicester City Stadium, Leicester
Sunday, 11 October 14:30, Italy v Romania, Sandy Park, Exeter
Sunday, 11 October 16:45, France v Ireland, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Sir Nicholas Winton, who organised the rescue of 669 children destined for Nazi concentration camps, has died aged 106.
Sir Nicholas, then a stockbroker, arranged for trains to carry Jewish children out of occupied Prague.
The prime minister described him as a “great man” and the chief rabbi praised his “exceptional courage”.
He died on the anniversary of the departure of a train in 1939 carrying the largest number of children – 241.
His son-in-law Stephen Watson said he died peacefully in his sleep at Wexham Hospital, Slough.
Sir Nicholas brought the children to Britain, battling bureaucracy at both ends, saving them from almost certain death, and then kept quiet about his exploits for a half-century.
He organised a total of eight trains from Prague, with some other forms of transport also set up from Vienna.
A jubilee edition of the 25th Jewish Culture Festival in Kraków began on Thursday, bringing thousands of visitors to the city.
This year’s edition will see as many as 300 events, led by artists and speakers from countries including Israel, the US, Hungary, Germany, Austria and Poland.
Concerts, lectures, workshops, exhibitions, guided tours and film screenings (among the latter special showings of Oscar-winning Polish movie ‘Ida’) are all in store.
The programme is divided into four sections: Classic, Off (Offbeat), Ideas and Art.
This year, organisers are placing a special emphasis on Kraków’s Kazimierz quarter, the district that for many centuries was the centre of Jewish life in the city.
As always, the ‘Shalom on Szeroka’ open-air concert will help wrap up the festival on Saturday 4 July, although there will also be some events on Sunday 5 July.
For the full programme, see the festival’s official Jewish Cultural festival website.
Two British teenagers have “apologised unreservedly” for “picking up items without thinking” from the former Auschwitz death camp, their Cambridge school says.
The Perse School says the 17-year-old boys “attempted to keep some items which they had found on the ground”.
They were detained at the site on Monday and released with suspended prison sentences on Tuesday.
Polish police said the boys denied any wrongdoing, and were spared a fine.
The teenagers were charged with unlawfully possessing items of special cultural importance, which carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence. They were not made to pay a fine because they were not in employment.
The BBC’s Adam Easton in Warsaw said that, as with similar cases in the past, the boys were given suspended prison sentences and released.
“Incidents like this happen about once or twice a year, museum staff said, despite the fact notices warn visitors not to pick anything up.”
A Kraków edition of the classic game Monopoly is due to be released this autumn, and the most expensive and cheapest properties have already been decided in a public vote.
The first Warsaw edition of Monopoly was released in 1992, and Gdańsk was given its own version in November 2014. Kraków joins the group 80 years after the first ever edition was released in the US in 1935, when Atlantic City served as the prototype.