Dr. Eleonora Bergman Awarded Knight of the French Legion of Honor (Chevalier dans l'Ordre National de la Légion d'Honneur)

Dr. Eleonora Bergman, leading authority in the conservation of Jewish monuments in Poland, former director of the Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, and current Taube Center for the Renewal of Jewish Life in Poland board member, was awarded the Order of the Knight of the French Legion of Honor on October 25, 2012. In a moving ceremony at the French Embassy in Warsaw, Ambassador Pierre Buhler stressed that the monuments saved by Dr. Bergman belong not only to the Jewish legacy, but also to that of Poland and indeed of all humanity. “So few of the synagogues which once were a common sight all over Poland still stand,” Ambassador Buhler remarked.

Accepting the award, Dr. Bergman thanked all those with whom she had worked, and concluded quoting Rabbi Tarfon from Pirke Avot (Sayings of Our Fathers): "It is not incumbent upon you to complete the work, but neither are you at liberty to desist from it" (Pirkei Avot 2:21). Among those in attendance were former Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki, now chief adviser to President Bronislaw Komorowski, Chief Rabbi of Poland Michael Schudrich, Vice-mayor of Warsaw Wlodzimierz Paszynski, and Danuta Kuron.  Dr. Bergman was joined by Director of the Taube Center for the Renewal of Jewish Life in Poland Helise Lieberman, Taube Center for the Renewal of Jewish Life in Poland Scholar-in-Residence Konstanty Gebert, and Director of the Jewish Genealogy & Family Heritage Center Yale Reisner.