With great sorrow, we advise that Janina Ludawska passed away in Warsaw, on 4th December 2019, at the age of 98. Born in Warsaw, she was a March’68 emigree, a theatre specialist and a volunteer. She was one those who featured in our exhibition “Estranged – March’68 & Its Aftermath” at POLIN Museum.
In Warsaw, she attended the Kalecka Junior High School, a Jewish girls’ school in which she discovered her passion for Swedish theatre and culture. On the eve of the outbreak of the War, she left for Sweden on a language scholarship. She spent the War years there, working.
In 1945, she returned to Poland. In 1948-1953, she undertook theatre studies in Moscow. Upon returning to Warsaw, she worked, successively, in the Scandinavian Affairs Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the State Higher School of Theatrical Studies, the State Arts Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences and in the Dramatic Theatre. She also served as the Director of the Central Bureau of the Amateur Artistic Movement.
As a result of the events of March 1968, she was dismissed from her position. Together with her son Tomek, she emigrated to Sweden. After a few years, she began work at the Theatrical Institute of Stockholm University, where she gained her doctorate, writing her thesis on the subject of the adaptation of Gombrowicz’s “Wedding”. From the late 1980’s, she was involved in helping people infected with the HIV virus and in raising awareness about it in Poland and in Sweden. She wrote about her experiences in a book entitled Z doświadczeń wolontariuszki (From the Experiences of a Volunteer), which is available online at: https://aids.gov.pl/publikacje/z-doswiadczen-wolontariuszki/. In 2001, for her humanitarian work, she was honoured with the Bancos Humanpris award.
May her memory be a blessing to all who knew her.