Ireneusz Socha (1964) is an independent activist and researcher who works to explore and propagates the knowledge about the history of the Jewish community of his hometown Dębica.
In the 1980’s, he helped save the Jewish cemetery in Dębica. In 2014, he published his first Polish translation of the Sefer Dembitz (The Yizkor Book of Dębica). On July 21, 2016, he started annual commemoration ceremonies to honor the local Jewish families who perished in the Shoah and mark the first liquidation action in the local ghetto – now co-organized by the municipality. Between 2017 and 2019, he developed a revitalization plan for the building of the former New Town Synagogue in Dębica. Since 2007, he has cooperated with the Dębica Originated Jewish Organization in Israel.
In 2015, he was named a Leader of Dialogue and since then has cooperated with the Warsaw-based Forum for Dialogue foundation.
In 2017, he received a prestigious distinction from POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews for saving traces of Jewish culture and Jewish presence in Dębica, including the Jewish cemetery and the ghetto area that have survived or have been sorted out thanks to his initiative and cooperation.
In 2018, during a special event organized by Michael Traison Fund for Poland, Galicia Jewish Museum, Jewish Community Centre of Krakow, Emile Karafiol, Sigmund Rolat, Joshua Erlichster and University of Haifa, he received the “Preserving Memory” Award in appreciation of his protection of Jewish heritage.