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Polish Center for Holocaust Research

The Polish Center for Holocaust Research (Polish: Centrum Badań nad Zagładą Żydów) is an academic and research center at the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, Poland. Historian Barbara Engelking serves as the centre's director.[1]



Created in 2003, the Center is an interdisciplinary research facility devoted to study of the Holocaust in historical perspective. The Center gathers psychologists, sociologists, literary historians, cultural anthropologists, and other scholars in order to provide knowledge on the nature, scope, and effects of the Holocaust. In order to support and expand the Center's activities, the Association of the Polish Center for Holocaust Research was created in 2007.

The Center coordinates research and educational projects, grants, seminars, conferences, and workshops, and publishes books and papers by Polish scholars as well as translations of works in other languages. Since 2005, the Center has published an academic journal, Holocaust Studies and Materials.

In February 2018, Jakub Petelewicz, speaking as academic secretary of the Polish Center for Holocaust Research, expressed concern that a 2018 Polish law criminalizing discussion of negative Polish actions in the Holocaust may hinder the work of Poland-based academics and institutions. While the law contains an exemption for academic and artistic work, he said the lack of definitions could lead to confusion. For instance, he expressed concern that presenting materials to schools and discussing findings publicly might be prevented. Another concern he raised was the possibility of being sued personally or as an institution by right-wing groups under provisions of the law allowing for lawsuits to defend "the good name of the Polish nation." Petelwicz described the overall effect of the law as pressuring academics to play down negative actions by Poles and emphasize suffering by Poles.[2]

Political statementsEdit

Apart from pursuing its research functions, the Center has issued statements critical of the Polish governement, writing of the Center's "embarrassment and sorrow" over Polish government refugee policies and alleged non-fulfillment of European Union member-state obligations. The Center has also "viewed with dismay" the Polish government's adoption of "racist" slogans and "glorification of native fascism"; the Center has described a Polish Independence March as a party holiday[clarification needed] "taken over by extreme nationalists".[3]


David Engel, Professor of Holocaust and Judaic Studies at New York University, criticizes other works by historians of this group and their self-assumed "national mission" to help the Polish people confront some of their alleged atrocious deeds and become "more mature", in lieu of their "whining self-image of victims". Engel writes that that is not the role of historians, who rather should pursue objective, scholarly research in the interest of broad academic and international discourse.[4].

Dalej jest nocEdit

In 2018 the Center released a Polish-language study on The Fate of Jews in Selected Counties of Occupied Poland (Polish title: Dalej jest noc, Night Goes On), co-edited by Jan Grabowski and Barbara Engelking, and co-authored with 7 other Center members. The 1,600-page, two-volume study covers nine counties in German established General Government out of 63. The study identified small Polish towns as particularly dangerous, or "death traps", for Jews in hiding.[5] Historian Jacek Chrobaczyński notes that all nine studies in the study were prepared with the same methodology and style and highlights the study's importance in deconstructing political myths and propaganda partially present in Polish history, journalism, church, and politics.[6]

The director Barbara Engelking protested against a memorial of the righteous near the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. [7]

2019 Paris ConferenceEdit

In February 2019, the Center co-organized a conference in Paris. The organizers were addressed by several Polish Polonia groups, who protested the invitation of some of the speakers, whom they accused of being xenophobic and anti-Polish, as well as the make-up of the conference, which they viewed as one-sided and lacking representatives from respectable scholarly institutions that disagree with the invitees.[8] During the conference, lecturers were interrupted by protesters and both groups traded accusations. French Education Minister Frédérique Vidal sent a letter of protest to his Polish counterpart, expressing regret over the appearance of support for the attack by Polish state representatives, in particular from the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN).[9] The IPN investigated the matter and issued a statement that it had investigated the events and could not identify any antisemitic incidents.[10]. Polish Minister of General and Higher Education Jaroslaw Gowin condemned any acts of antisemitism, whether in France or Poland, and issued a statement saying that he could not identify in the transcripts provided any antisemitic attacks, while pointing out that conference organizers had deviated from the original topic of the conference and had attacked Polish authorities.[11] IPN President Jarosław Szarek requested full transcripts of the event and promised to take any necessary actions.[12]



  1. ^ "Barbara Engelking". Polish Center for Holocaust Research. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  2. ^ David Matthews (February 21, 2018). "Historians fear 'censorship' under Poland's Holocaust law". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 2018-04-02.
  3. ^ [1] Robimy swoje - najnowszy numer rocznika Zagłada Żydów. Studia i Materiały 08.02.2018 Zagłada Żydów. Studia i Materiały pismo Centrum Badań nad Zagładą Żydów nr. 13 R. 2017 Od Redakcji
  4. ^ Daniel Blatman . Holocaust scholarship: towards a post-uniqueness era. Journal of Genocide Research, 17(1), 21–43. pages 34-35
  5. ^ Study says Polish neighbors betrayed many more Jews than previously thought, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, 11 May 2018.
  6. ^ Chrobaczyński, Jacek. "Osaczeni, samotni, bezbronni... Refleksje po lekturze książki Dalej jest noc. Losy Żydów w wybranych powiatach okupowanej Polski (Polish with English abstract), T. I, II, pod redakcją Barbary Engelking i Jana Grabowskiego, Warszawa 2018." Res Gestae 6 (2018): 266-301.
  7. ^ [2]
  8. ^ [3] Do Rzeczy Konferencja "Nowa polska szkoła historii Holokaustu" w Paryżu. Polonia protestuje 16.02.19
  9. ^ La Pologne minimise les incidents lors d’un colloque sur la Shoah à Paris, Le Monde, 4 March 2019
  10. ^ [4]
  11. ^ [5]
  12. ^ [6]

External linksEdit