This year, the awards were presented to six individuals and one organization for their outstanding achievements in preserving and promoting knowledge of recent Polish history
The Director of the IPN’s National Education Office Adam Hlebowicz presented the profiles of this year's winners. The President of the Institute of National Remembrance, Dr Jarosław Szarek, thanked the laureates for the enormous, daily work that they have taken upon themselves to preserve Polish history and culture abroad. After the decoration, the laureates expressed their gratitude for the award. Instead of giving a speech, Maria Sulima recited her poems devoted to Polesie and Polish history inseparably woven into it.
A list of laureates of the IPN’s 'Witness of History' award:
Svetlana Filonova and Olena Udovenko (Ukraine) – both laureates, although they do not cooperate with each other, work for the same cause - the Katyn case, restoring memory and publicizing information about it in various ways- through participation in the activities of Polish exhumation teams in Katyn, Mednoye, Kharkiv and Kiev-Bykivnia, presenting exhibitions, publishing articles on the subject in the media, organizing, conducting lessons on the theme of Katyn, popularizing knowledge on the Katyn heroes, organizing events commemorating the victims of the crimes in Katyn.
Małgorzata Miedwiediewa (Ukraine) - in her activities aimed at reviving the Polish language, culture and history, she devotes special attention to nurturing and commemorating places in Bar related to the martyrdom of the Polish nation, including the commemoration of the victims of the NKVD's "Polish operation" and caring for the burial sites of Polish soldiers.
The Polish Hearth Club Polish in Turin (Italy) - the oldest Polish community organization operating in Italy promotes Polish history and culture, especially taking into account the memory of soldiers of the 2nd Polish Corps in Italy through numerous publications, the organization of exhibitions and conferences. The organization and also takes care of other burial places of Polish soldiers in Italy.
Maria Sulima (Belarus) - is active in the field of teaching Polish, popularizing Polish culture and knowledge of our national history; thanks to her activity, numerous monuments, plaques and crosses commemorating Polish history have been erected in the Brest region.
Attila Szalai (Hungary) - longtime editor of "Głos Polonii" - the magazine of the Hungarian Polonia, as a witness to history - the author of an extensive and extremely valuable publication „Na polskiej ziemi – zapiski z lat 1976–1990” /"On Polish soil - notes from 1976–1990", which documents his stay in Poland
Aleksandra Ziółkowska-Boehm (USA) - the author of popular books devoted to figures significant for the recent history of Poland, familiarizing the American reader with Polish history in an accessible way.
The “Witness of History” is an honorary distinction established in March 2009 by ordinance of the IPN's President and conferred by the Institute. It is granted to individuals and organisations in recognition of their outstanding contribution to commemorating the history of the Polish Nation and supporting the IPN in its statutory activities in the field of education and research. The laureates coming from Poland comprise a large group of combatants, teachers, social activists and local government officials. Since 2014, by decision of the President of the Institute, the award may also be granted to persons active abroad.
The laureates are individuals and institutions active outside Poland and especially involved in cultivating Polish historical memory, committed to preserving, promoting and enhancing the knowledge of the recent history of our country, and to uncovering.