Szymon Szurmiej, actor and Polish leader, dies
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Szymon Szurmiej, actor and Polish leader, dies

After surviving anti-Semitic purges of 1968, he became a member of Poland's parliament in the 1980s

Szymon Szurmiej, the director of the Jewish Theatre in Warsaw, during a Purim party in March 2009. (Henryk Kotowski, CC-BY-SA, via wikipedia)
Szymon Szurmiej, the director of the Jewish Theatre in Warsaw, during a Purim party in March 2009. (Henryk Kotowski, CC-BY-SA, via wikipedia)

The Jewish actor and director Szymon Szurmiej, the longtime head of Poland’s State Jewish Theatre, has died.

Szurmiej, a leading Jewish figure for years during the post-Holocaust communist era, died Wednesday in Warsaw. He was 91.

He survived the widespread anti-Semitic purges of 1968 and, in addition to heading the theater since 1970, served as the longtime president of the Social and Cultural Association of Polish Jews, or TSKZ, a secular, state-allied body that was one of the few Jewish organizations permitted to operate under communism.

Szurmiej also served as a member of Poland’s Parliament in the 1980s and represented Polish Jewry in international Jewish organizations.

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