Letter from Warsaw, a musical co-authored by the American musician and composer Gary Guthman, and the Polish playwright Doman Nowakowski was performed again in Warsaw on September 22 and 23 at the Palladium Theater. It had its grand premiere in November 2019. Officials attending the performance included James Wolfe, the U.S. Embassy’s Counselor for Public Diplomacy, Dan Hastings, U.S. Cultural Attaché and Wanda Zwinogrodzka, Undersecretary of State from Poland’s Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. The performances were co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage from the Culture Promotion Fund and produced by Fundacja otokultura.org.
Letter from Warsaw tells the emotional story of a family of American Jews that rediscovers their Polish-Jewish roots in Poland. The central theme of the musical is Polish-Jewish relations and the biases, stereotypes and difficult experiences from the past that continue to influence perspectives and relations to this day. The musical’s message — understanding, respect, and acceptance of others — is universal and as relevant today as during the darkness of the Holocaust. Letter from Warsaw also alludes to the Poland of courageous and welcoming people, and Poland’s rich historical and cultural legacy that for 500 years was called the Paradiso Judeorum (Jewish Paradise) and where Jews were able to enjoy relative freedom and their own unique culture.
The U.S. Embassy has been a proud supporter of the musical, as part of the U.S. Department of State’s worldwide mission to promote mutual understanding, inclusion, and diversity – and to foster constructive dialogue among those with divergent perspectives regarding the Holocaust and Polish-Jewish relations today.