“When my father was in the Kraków Ghetto he was still taking photos, and those photos were buried in Plaszow and discovered after the war. He hid them in a glass jar in Plaszow. So I sat with him in his home with these photographs and I asked him who everyone was in the photo. And he told me.
He remembered their names, he remembered if they survived the war, he remembered everything about them.”
– Michelle Ores
We don’t know what exactly was contained in the glass jar that Richard Ores buried on the grounds of Płaszów, where he was a prisoner from February 1943 to January 1945. We know that there were photographs taken before World War II, photographs taken during the early years of the year, and some taken inside the Kraków Ghetto, which was created in March 1941.
The jar was located and dug up after the war, in 1945 or, at the latest, 1946. According to different accounts, the jar was recovered by Richard himself, by his friend and future wife Irena Keller, or by the two of them together.
Original photos from the temporary exhibition “Sweet Home Sweet. A Story of Survival, Memory, and Returns” are on display at the Galicia Jewish Museum. However, digital copies with descriptions based on Ryszard Ores’s memoirs are also available at the specially designed website: www.photosfromthejar.com.
In addition to the photographs, the website also features a special section for you. We would like to encourage you to upload a short video responding to the prompt: “What does Poland mean to you?”
For Richard Ores, Poland was a country that he constantly returned to, despite the trauma and pain associated with the Holocaust. For some members of his family, Poland is a place that they come back to looking for traces of family history and from which they build new relationships. For others, Poland can be an indifferent place that does not arouse much emotion – they do not feel the need to be here.
And what does Poland mean to you?