Polish Center for Holocaust Research
Center: To emphasize the importance of the problem of the Holocaust and genocide prof. Henryk Domański, Director of the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Science on July 2nd, 2003 created the Polish Center for Holocaust Research. The main goal of the Center is to create an interdisciplinary (historical, sociological, psychological, anthropological, literature and art) environment for researchers working on the Holocaust.
1. Conducting scientific research; editing books; organizing seminars and conference; cooperation with other institutions working in the same area; receiving exchange scholars.
2. Educational activities - seminars and lectures at the university level; cooperation with educational institutions interested in Holocaust education in Poland and abroad. It seems that joint effort of people using different approaches will bring an interesting result in this complex research area.
The Holocaust-related research has been conducted for sixty years and its results are impressive. The accomplishments notwithstanding, significant work still remains to be done. The vast and little- known holdings of the Polish archives are aan excellent example of challenges and opportunities ahead. The recently created Institute of National Remembrance could facilitate access to many other documents, letters, reports etc. which until now have been sealed. There is a need to compare and exchange the information about sources and about archival documents as well as to foster and enhance cooperation between researchers on international scale. There are many Holocaust Research Centers in various countries, and cooperation with them requires an establishment of a similar center in Poland.
The Holocaust happened on our soil, in full view of the Polish society. The Holocaust is an integral part - whether one wants it, or not - of Polish history. For Poles, the experience of the Holocaust remains a unique event and carries with it extraordinary responsibilities. Nevertheless, in terms of social awareness, Shoah seems to belongs to Jewish rather than to Polish history. Even today many Poles feel ill at ease, threatened or outright disappointed by the Jewish perceptions of the Holocaust and oftentimes the Jews are seen as rivals in the martyrology competition. Despite the recent historical research and public debates, culminating with the discussion around the Jedwabne crime, Polish society largely ignores the issues related to the Holocaust. Still too many myths and lies are finding their way to the public sphere and enter public circulation. This state of affairs is related, to a certain extent, to the sad legacy of decades of censorship and neglect under the communist rule. We believe that this should change. This is why we shall link research with educational activities in order to foster the knowledge of the issues related to the Holocaust.
Associate Professor Barbara Engelking-Boni - (Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Science), psychologist, shall lead the Center. Prof. Engelking-Boni has been involved in the study of the Holocaust for 15 years. She is the author of several books, (among them - together with Jacek Leociak- The Warsaw Ghetto. A Guide to the Non-Existing City); for several years she gave seminars and lectures concerning the everyday life in the Warsaw Ghetto.
Polish Center for Holocaust Research
Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Science
Nowy Swiat St. 72, 00-330 Warsaw; Poland; room no. 120
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