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„My first notebook” – a project for first graders celebrating the Fathers of Independence on the 100th anniversary of Poland’s sovereignty

The year 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of Poland regaining its independence. After the First World War and 123 years of partitions among the three neighbouring powers, Poland restored its sovereignty on 11 November 1918. In recognition of this significant historical jubilee, the Institute of National Remembrance has prepared a wide range of educational and academic projects both in Poland and abroad.

One of them is the exhibition entitled "Fathers of Independence", which presents six leaders of the fight for Poland in 1918: Józef Piłsudski, Roman Dmowski, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Wincenty Witos, Wojciech Korfanty and Ignacy Daszyński. It portrays over two-meter high silhouettes of the politicians with their biographical entries in Polish and English. The exhibition also features a calendar of events concerning the most important stages of the Polish struggle for independence. It has already been on display, among others, in France, Germany, Canada and Australia.

Following the exhibition, IPN has prepared a related initiative - „My first notebook”, aimed at young children entering primary school this year.  On 3 September 2018, at the beginning of the new school year, the Institute of National Remembrance gave the first graders notebooks with images of the Fathers of independence. They also received pens and pencils with an inscription referring to the 100th anniversary of regaining independence. As the project is carried out by all IPN Branch Offices, nearly 40,000 first grade students will receive their notebooks.

Dr Jarosław Szarek, President of the Institute of National Remembrance, also took part in the inauguration of the new school year. He visited a primary school in Stróża, a small town in Małopolska where in December last year President Duda and Dr Szarek officially launched the nationwide celebration of the 100 years of Poland’s regaining independence. Honoring this small town is not accidental. Here, in 1913, at the initiative of Józef Piłsudski, the first Officer Rifle School in Poland was founded.

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