5.09.2023 Events, Literature

For the first time! National Reading in Israel

"On the Niemen" by Eliza Orzeszkowa. We invite you on 5 September, at 19.00, The Ada & Edmund Neunstein’s Library, at the Polish Institute in Tel Aviv.

National Reading

The National Reading has become already an annual tradition of reading together a selected reading from the canon of Polish literature. For both individuals as well as public institutions in Poland and outside its borders. The first National Reading was initiated in 2012 with a joint reading of Adam Mickiewicz’s “Pan Tadeusz”. In addition to the obvious places such as libraries and community centres, the National Reading takes place in such places as: parks, museums, squares, promenades, schools, nursing homes, prisons and hospitals.

The Polish Institute in Tel Aviv joins this year’s edition of the National Reading. We cordially invite you to join us and to read together “On the Niemnem” by Eliza Orzeszkowa.


“On the Niemnem” is the most famous novel by Eliza Orzeszkowa. It was created in the years 1886–1887, and the book was published in 1888. Due to the colorful descriptions, expressive characters and historical references, the work was compared to Mickiewicz’s “Pan Tadeusz”. No other book by the writer has been so enthusiastically received by reviewers. Praised, among others an efficient combination of didacticism with artistic values and a well-thought-out composition. “On the Niemen” River enjoyed popularity and recognition of subsequent generations of readers. In the Second Polish Republic, cinema became interested in the novel. The film adaptation of the book was completed in 1939, but the picture was lost during World War II. Another film was shot in the mid-1980s. “On the Niemnem” is one of the most important works of Polish literature dealing with the subject of the January Uprising, whose 160th anniversary is celebrated in 2023.literature dealing with the subject of the January Uprising, whose 160th anniversary is celebrated in 2023.


Eliza Orzeszkowa was a Polish novelist and a leading female writer of the Positivism movement during foreign Partitions of Poland. Her works include: 30 novels and 120 powerful sketches, dramas and novellas, dealing with the social conditions of her occupied country. Her novel “Eli Makower“(1875) describes the relations between the Jews and the Polish nobility; and “Meir Ezofowicz” (1878), the conflict between Jewish orthodoxy and modern liberalism. In 1888 Orzeszkowa wrote two novels about the Niemen River (now part of Belarus): “Cham” (The Boor) focused on the life of fishermen; and her most famous novel, Nad Niemnem (On the Niemen)—often compared to Pan Tadeusz—dealing with the issues of Polish aristocracy against the backdrop of political and social order. Her study on patriotism and cosmopolitanism appeared in 1880. A uniform edition of her works was published in Warsaw between 1884 and 1888. 

In 1905, together with Henryk Sienkiewicz and Leo Tolstoy, Orzeszkowa was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Yet, the prize was awarded to Sienkiewicz.

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