On 17 May, 2017 the IPN hosted a delegation of Bulgarian journalists, scientists and representatives of the Shalom Foundation. The guests included PhD Valery Katzunov, Director of the Scientific Archive of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Michajlina Pavlova, editor-in-chief of the weekly "Ewrejski westi" ("Jewish News") and the magazine "La Estreya" devoted to Jewish culture, traditions and history, Alberta Alkalay, member of the Council of the Organisation of Jews in Bulgaria "Shalom", founder of the Association of Jewish-Bulgarian Cooperation ALEF in Burgas, Vice-President of the Association of “Nations for Peace” in the United Nations. The visit was organised in cooperation with the Polish Institute in Sofia.
One of the purposes of the meeting was to present the ways in which Poles preserve the memory of the Polish Righteous and conduct Polish-Jewish dialogue. The visit was aimed at an exchange of experiences, methods of conducting research and good practice. Owing to the participation of journalists dealing with historical issues, the event may be followed by publications in Bulgarian state media. Through the engagement of Bulgarian historians and academics, the Polish methods of teaching, passing on knowledge and understanding history will be made available to a wider audience.
The Institute of National Remembrance was represented by Dr Pawel Libera, Deputy Director of the Historical Research Office, Robert Kopydłowski, Prosecutor of the Chief Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation, Agnieszka Jędrzak, Head of the Division of International Relations and Dr Marcin Urynowicz, researcher and scholar from the Historical Research Office, specialising in the period of and issues related to World War II, with particular focus on Polish-Jewish relations.
At the beginning of the meeting the guests had a chance to familiarise themselves with the structure, mission and main activities of the Institute. They also learned about the types of investigations conducted at the Chief Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation and posed questions relating to the prosecution of both German and Communist crimes. The visitors were interested in the work of the IPN’s prosecutors, the types of cases they deal with as well the results of their investigations.
Dr Pawel Libera, Deputy Director of the Historical Research Office, discussed one of the most important and largest research projects on Polish-Jewish relations in the period of 1918-1968 – the extermination of Jews conducted by Germans on Polish territories. In addition, selected publications and research papers on the topic were presented as well as a catalogue of IPN’s publications - Jewish extermination and Polish-Jewish relations during World War II. It was emphasised that the dissemination of information on Polish-Jewish relations, involves close cooperation between the Institute’s scholars and educators. Projects implemented by the IPN’s Research and Educational Divisions aim at expanding and improving knowledge about our common history.
The meeting ended with a proposal of future cooperation between Polish and Bulgarian historians in the field of joint research into the history of the Jews.