#FundReise Day 2 – Poland

03.12.2022 | cb — No comments

She doesn’t want to just watch anymore. Sibylle, co-founder of Munich Kyiv Queer, travels to Kyiv. She visits our friends and partners, reports and collects donations. Today, her journey takes her to Przemysl, on the border with Ukraine. In the municipal museum, she she just started immersing herself in some paintings when someone suddenly approaches her.

Energy: 24 hours
Temperature: warm
Donation barometer: 380 out of 18,000 euros
Special events: The artist’s son
All blogs: Sibylle’s charity trip to Kyiv in the midst of war

“Thank you, no, I don’t need anything.” I answer kindly and leave the man behind who’s standing puzzled with a donation box in his hand. He was actually collecting money for Berlin’s Bahnhofsmission. Much later I realize that he actually might have wanted something from me. Well, I am still a bit … confused.

I have a whole day’s train journey ahead of me, mostly through Poland. Many of the stops are closely connected to the history of the 20th century. I have even been to some of the places in the past.

Berlin Central Station. With ony three pieces of luggage to Kyiv. Photo: Sibylle von Tiedemann

I hear a lot of Ukrainian on the train. No wonder, since we are travelling to Przemysl, a small town about ten kilometres from the Ukrainian border.

Since the beginning of the war, this border town has been a central meeting point for many refugees.

Berlin Przemysl line. Photo: Sibylle von Tiedemann

Of course I go to the train restaurant recommended by Sergey Sumlenny (“The schnitzels are still freshly fried there”). In fact, they use real cooking pots in the galley.

On the train they answer me in Ukrainian

I order in Polish and feel very flattered when they answer me in Ukrainian. My Russian accent seems to be interpreted as Ukrainian.

I arrive in Przemysl late in the evening. And I am impressed by the beauty of its main station.

I take a day in Przemysl, exchange a few zlotys, do some shopping, go to the tourist information office and have breakfast.

This is what Polish pancakes look like in 2022. I ordered the classic version, to be clear. Not the one for children. Photo: Sibylle von Tiedemann

Strengthened, I continue my day and step to the municipal museum, which has been placed in a 16th century town house. The salons of the upper classes have been lovingly reconstructed. I am the only visitor and take the opportunity to shoot photos.

I am immersed in the biography of a painter when I hear voices. A group of three approaches me, the oldest of them says to me “Jestem synem” (Polish: “I am the son”). It takes me a while to realise that I’m looking at the son of the painter Ludwik Cieslik/Ludwik Heller, whose pictures are on display here.

Biographies like Ludwik Heller’s affect me

While it still has a certain logic for me that Cieslik/Heller’s son is here, he can’t quite understand why I am being here. Biographies like his father’s always affect me deeply and I wish we all had learned more from the crimes of the Germans, i.e. the crimes of my ancestors. It is a reasoning he gets.

The painter’s son, self-portrait of the father and I. © Sibylle von Tiedemann

When his father died in 1990, only then the son discovered that he did not know large parts of his dad’s biography. Like many Holocaust survivors, his father kept silent. He did not speak about his true identity.

Blind spot in his own biography

Ludwik Heller fled from the Germans twice: on 1st if September 1939 (German invasion of Poland) and on 22nd of June 1941 (German invasion of the Soviet Union). He changed identity with his Jewish wife, took the Polish name Cieslik and survived in Warsaw.

After the war he draws: how he survived, running through Europe, for his son, and the new homeland for the film industry. Watching the exhibition, I get the feeling that works of different artists are displayed here.

The father never takes on his Jewish name again. He visits Poland but never returns to his native town of Przemysl.

In 2022, the son brings his father’s paintings back to the town of his birth. And meets a non-Jewish German who travels to Kyiv because she has friends there. And I think again – as so often since 24th of February 2022: We are not yet finished with the last war.

#FundReise #MunichKyivLove #18.000 Euro

Sibylle collects money for

Individual help

Munich Kyiv Queer has its own fundraising campaign via to support people in Ukraine with whom we have worked closely over the past ten years. They are our friends and partners. We know them personally and we miss them. We can help fast, directly and unbureaucratically.

Help for War Victims

The association “Bridge to Kiev” supports people in need, especially children and large families.

Recipient: Brücke nach Kiew e.V.
Bank: Raiffeisenbank München Süd eG
IBAN: DE74 7016 9466 0000 0199 50
Keyword: #FundTravel

A donation receipt can be issued for donations of 200 euros and more.

Help for LGBTIQ* organisations

To support LGBTIQ* in Ukraine we have helped set up the Alliance Queer Emergency Aid Ukraine, in which around 40 German LGBTIQ* Human Rights organisations are involved. All these groups have access to very different Human Rights organisations in Ukraine and use funds for urgently needed care or evacuation of queer people. Every donation helps and is used 100 percent to benefit queer people in Ukraine. Donate here


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