Statement of the Institute of National Remembrance

In recent days, the media have been turning to the Institute of National Remembrance with questions about the attitudes of Poles towards the Holocaust. Therefore, we would like to invite you to the IPN’s Educational Center in Warsaw, at Marszałkowska 21/25 str., on 24 April  (Tuesday) 2018, at 4 pm to a panel discussion entitled "Attitudes of the population of the Second Republic of Poland under Occupation". The participants will include : Dr hab. prof. Grzegorz Berendt (Deputy Director of the Museum of the Second World War), Dr hab. Sławomir Kalbarczyk (Historical Research Office, IPN), Dr Maciej Korkuć (Office of Commemorating the Struggle and Martyrdom in Krakow, IPN), Dr Marcin Przegiętka (Historical Research Office, IPN ), Dr Mateusz Szpytma (Deputy President of the Institute of National Remembrance). The discussion will be moderated by Dr Tomasz Domański (Historical Research Branch Office in Kielce, IPN).

The Institute of National Remembrance would like to stress the fact that the Holocaust was primarily a state enterprise -  genocide planned and executed by the German Reich. In order to implement the programme of the extermination of the Jewish population, the German Reich used its armed forces and administrative apparatus as well as police formations and forces created during the war under German rule, also from the populations of the occupied states. The draconian provisions of German law imposed by the Reich on occupied communities were the starting point for the Holocaust.

The Republic of Poland fought against the German Reich from the first to the last day of the war as an integral part of the Allied Forces. Unlike many other European countries, Poland did not participate in any form of cooperation with the genocidal regime of Adolf Hitler.

The German Reich rewarded and protected those citizens of the conquered states who, taking advantage of the circumstances created by the Germans, not only submitted to the occupational regulations, but also took part in crimes. Under the conditions created by the Germans on  occupied Polish territories, there were individuals, groups and circles of people ready to use the pathological principles of the occupation authorities to their own advantage. Negative phenomena of this kind found their reflection among the attitudes of some of the inhabitants, and no national group was free of them. The strong will to survive the war and the fear for loved ones were linked to both heroism and sacrifice, as well as to shameful collaboration and the strive for material goods at the expense of others' lives.

Since its establishment, the Institute of National Remembrance has been examining the history of the Holocaust, the mutual relations of various groups of the population and the diversity of attitudes - also within Polish and Jewish communities during the years of German terror. The Institute consistently emphasizes the obligation of scholars to obey the rules constituting essential competences of a historian, the need for reliable use of sources and their verification, as well as a solid factual basis for published theses and conclusions.

The Institute of National Remembrance points out that it continually participates in scientific discussions devoted to the history of Poland in the 20th century. The freedom of scientific research is also consistent with the freedom of public debate on published papers. Each scientific publication is subject to critical analyzes indicating the strengths and weaknesses of the publications available on the book market.

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