Guest host Dave Davies interviews Rabbi Michael Schudrich, chief rabbi of Poland — and a New York native. He moved to Warsaw in 1990 to help rebuild Jewish communities there. It was a homecoming of sorts: Schudrich's grandparents emigrated from Poland before World War II.
Internationally-renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman. He celebrates his 50th birthday this year. He has several new releases, and a PBS special: "The Beethoven Triple Concert" two live concert recordings with pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim, and cellist Yo Yo Ma. And "In the Fiddler's House," featuring Perlman playing Klezmer music with four Klezmer bands. There's also a PBS Great Performance special on Klezmer music featuring Perlman. (It aired nationally November 27 at 10PM. Check local listings). Both CD's are on the EMI Classics label.
The former New York Times reporter was based in Poland from 1979-1982 during the rise of the Solidarity movement and martial law. Darnton just returned to Poland and wrote about it for the New York Times. He'll talk with Terry about his observations.
Holland made the critically acclaimed and controversial film, "Europa Europa." Her latest film is "Olivier, Olivier," about a woman reunited with her son six years after he disappeared at the age of nine. Many of her movies deal with the life of Polish Jews, especially during World War II.
Journalist Lawrence Weschler is a staff writer for the New Yorker and has been covering Eastern Europe for the past decade. He joins Fresh Air to talk about labor leader Lech Walesa's successful democratic election, and the fallout of Poland's changing government and economy.
Book critic John Leonard reviews the new novel by Tadeusz Konwicki, which fictionalizes the author's family history in Czarist-era Poland. It's complex narrative anticipates the political upheavals by Stalin and Hitler, and the rise of anti-Semitism.
Polish born film director Jerzy Skolimowski (YER-zee skul-ah-MOSS-skee). His films include "The Shout" with John Hurt, and "Moonlighting" with Jeremy Irons. His most recent film is "Torrents of Spring" based on the novel by Ivan Turgenev and starring Timothy Hutton, Nastassja Kinski, and Valerie Golino. The film opens nationwide January 26. Skolimowski has also acted. He played the evil KGB agent in the movie "White Nights." (Interview by Sedge Thomson)
Journalist MICHAEL KAUFMAN. His new book, Mad Dreams, Saving Graces - Poland: A Nation in Conspiracy, charts the rise, fall and resurrection of the democratic movement in Poland. Leading this drive has been Solidarity, the shipworkers' union headed by Lech Walesa. But Kaufman also traces the hidden spiritual undercurrents in Polish history and culture and that make this quest toward self-definition considerably more complex. Kauffman served as Warsaw bureau chief for The New York Times from 1984 to 1987. He has also been bureau chief for the Times in Nairobi, New Delhi and Ottawa.
Writer Eva Hoffman moved with her family from Poland to the Canada when she was thirteen. Her new book about assimilating into the culture of her new country is called Lost in Translation. Hoffman is also an editor for the New York Times Book Review.