MAISEH: When it is hard to find the words, we tell stories

In times of political upheaval, emotional hardship or social isolation, stories arm us with humor, hope, courage and love. They are vehicles to grapple with the unspeakable: loss, misfortune, betrayal and broken hearts. They bring us together. 

During the 31st edition of the Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow, we wanted to tell you stories. In the frame of “Maiseh”, which is the Yiddish word for tale, seven legends unfolded in the streets of Kazimierz. Whether they are about a restless phantom roaming the streets, a hidden treasure or the guardian of an ancient synagogue – these stories say more than it seems. Although rooted in Krakow, city of legends, they are meaningful beyond their local and historical context. 

Traditionally passed on orally, legends were told over a meal or next to the campfire in almost all known human societies. Tales transform as they are shared, slightly altered by the storyteller each time they are told. It is in the nature of the story to be adapted. The act of passing on stories creates continuity between generations, communities and genealogies. That is what the spiral stands for.

We told you our version of these legends, and invited you to share your tales with us – an exchange of stories that needed to be told in this particular moment.


If you want to learn more about particular project, please click the name of artist or an icon below.

Wojtek Blecharz

Hadassa Goldvicht

Cecylia Malik

Christoph Rothmeier

Stefanie Oberhoff

Kobi Vogman

Yuval Yairi


Yael Sherill, Lianne Mol, Julia Kawka – Curatorial Collective for Public Art, Berlin
Meydad Eliyahu – HaMiffal, Jerusalem
Paweł Kowalewski – Jewish Culture Festival. Krakow

Maiseh was the second collaborative love child of three organizations; the Berlin-based Curatorial Collective for Public Art (CCPA), represented by Yael Sherill, Lianne Mol and Julia Kawka; Jerusalem-based HaMiffal, represented by Meydad Eliyahu, and the Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow, represented by Pawel Kowalewski. The five have collaborated previously on “Kumzits”, a programme of site-specific public artworks produced over distance and commissioned for the 30th Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow (June 25th – July 4th, 2021). 

CCPA develops curatorial formats for the production, mediation and representation of art in public space, public art and urban interventions. As an agency for site-specific, transdisciplinary, critical and transitory public art, it approaches curatorial practice as a collective endeavor on the intersection of concept, organization and design. The collective combines the members’ interests and expertise in curatorial practice, exhibition and stage design, cultural mediation, research, dramaturgy and project management in the field of site-specific theater, transdisciplinary art in public space and socially engaged practices.

HaMiffal is an art community that turned an abandoned 19th century building in the heart of Jerusalem into a shared platform for art and culture. Meydad Eliyahu is a curator and art educator. Eliyahu’s public, site-specific art projects deal with memory and hidden layers of cultural history.

Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow is one of the most important and recognized cultural events in Krakow and in Poland. For more than 30 years the festival has presented Jewish perspective on the world and its current issues, as well as takes care about Jewish identity of Kazomierz. Paweł Kowalewski is a cultural manager and programme curator for the Jewish Culture Festival. Working in Kazimierz since 2011, he treats this quarter as an endless source of inspiration, trying to create projects that will stimulate a process of changing perception of Jewish culture and Kazimierz.

Maiseh was created especially for the 31st edition of the Jewish Culture Festival in cooperation with the Curatorial Collective for Public Art and HaMiffal, and was supported by the Foundation for Polish-German Cooperation, Goethe Institut and the City of Kraków

photos: Edyta Dufaj, Wojciech Krysiak, Michał Ramus