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Extermination of Jews by Nazis in the Polish Territories
The scale of the crimes conducted by the Nazis on Polish citizens of Jewish descent in World War II, as well as the need to base contemporary Polish-Jewish dialogue on reliable historical knowledge, provide the justification for the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) to take up research on issues connected with the Holocaust.
- the activities of the Polish Underground in response to the extermination of Jews;
- the attitude of the Polish Underground press to the Jewish question during the German occupation;
- the influence of the Holocaust on Polish-Jewish relations.
- creating a bank of information on archival records, recollections and biographical materials, concerning the activities of Żegota;
- producing a list of people who cooperated with ωegota, and a list of Jews who received its aid and/or were saved by Żegota;
- compiling a list of initiatives mounted to help Jews, which can be verified by reference to documentary evidence;
- compiling and publishing a selection of source materials concerning Żegota;
- supporting the initiative of the "Committee for the Commemoration of Poles who saved Jews", whose task is to accumulate documentation and witnesses' relations about unregistered cases of providing help for Jewish people.
- the legacy of the Polish underground military and civil authorities and the dispersed recorded recollections (including those held by the Archive of Modern Records (AAN), the Peoples' Movement Historical Institute, the Polish Institute and General Sikorski Museum in London and the Polish Underground Movement Study Trust in London, the Hoover Institute in Stanford, the Eastern Institute in Warsaw);
- the documents kept at the so-called Ignacy Schwarcbart Archive, and the documentary evidence of aid financed by Jewish centres abroad, which was transmitted via the Delegation of the Government of Poland and Żegota (archives in London and the United States - the World Congress of Jews, the American-Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the American Bund);
- the accounts by Jews who were saved and by people who provided assistance to them (from the collections of the Jewish Historical Institute as well as the Israeli Institute of Remembrance Yad Vashem in Jerusalem);
- documents held by Jewish Historical Institute relating to the "honorary courts" (internal arbitration procedures) of the Central Committee of Jews in Poland.
'The Katzmann Report'
The Katzmann Report is one of the most important testimonies relating to the extermination of Polish Jews. It is a report of SS-Gruppenfuehrer Fritz Katzmann, entitled "Loesung der Judenfrage im Distrikt Galizien" submitted on June 30, 1943 to the SS and police chief F. W. Krieger in Cracow The Report was published in German and Polish. A Polish translation of the report had already been published in the 1950s, but with the censors taking out references on the communist underground, and without a scholarly edition that came with the contemporary edition. The present edition is furnished with a scholarly introduction and extensive footnotes.
Collection of studies and source materials regarding 'Jedwabne'
The planned volume, under the provisional title Jedwabne. Documents, Inquiries, Analyses will contain a selection of documentary sources on the crimes committed against Jewish inhabitants of the towns of Jedwabne and other townships in the Białystok region in the summer of 1941.
The basic aim of the publication will be to reconstruct the background, causes and true course of the tragic events, which came to pass in Radziłów and Jedwabne. Establishing the historical truth, whatever it may be, is an essential precondition of a sincere Polish-Jewish dialogue. That is the purpose to be served by the volume which is now being prepared by the IPN. The volume will contain:
- investigation and court materials, both from 1949-1953 and the 1967-1974;
- statements taken from Jews who were saved;
- German and Soviet documents;
- materials belonging to the Polish Underground State.
- historical studies regarding Polish-Jewish relations in the Białystok region in the inter-war period and under Soviet occupation in 1939-1941;
- a chronology of events regarding the "Jedwabne question" (information on existing Polish publications on the murder in Jedwabne);
- an analysis of the court proceedings of 1949 and the investigation of 1967.
The collection of documents will contain a selection of various source materials highlighting the complexity and tragedy of the situation of the Jews who hid on the "Aryan side" and the problems encountered by Poles who brought them help.
The book will contain not only documents speaking of numerous cases of blackmail, extortion, denunciations, the activities of German agents and the Polish Policja Granatowa (so-called Navy-Blue Police), the repressions against people and institutions bringing aid to Jews. In its overall conception, the volume is to reveal the fullest possible catalogue of typical situations with which those who provided assistance and shelter.
The backdrop to the presentation of the fate of individuals, and both the smaller and/or more spectacular demonstrations of solidarity and help extended to the Jews who were being hunted down and murdered will be provided by the official documents, press statements, and the published opinions of influential personages, with a view of revealing the atmosphere of those years: the climate of fear and terror, the daily dangers that could not be anticipated, the economic hardship, the occupant's policy towards the Polish and Jewish populations which aimed at stirring up deep antagonisms towards one another, and finally the varied attitudes of the main Polish underground groupings to the question of helping the Jewish population.