On 22-29 November 2019, a group of representatives of the IPN’s Historical Research Office headed by its Director, Prof. Włodzimierz Suleja along with scholars from various research centers in Poland visited Georgia.
The delegation took part in the 4th Conference of the Polish-Georgian Historian’s Commission (22-25 November), a conference devoted to communist repression against the Churches and clergy in Bakurciche (25-26 November) and in lectures given at the National Defence Academy in Gori (23 November ) for the members of the Polish Cultural and Educational Union in Georgia (28-29 November). Lessons at the St. Queen Jadwiga Polish School in Tbilisi were also conducted.
During the stay in Georgia, two exhibitions prepared by the Institute of National Remembrance devoted to the service of Georgian officers in the Polish Army were also presented (Gori, November 23) and Saint. Grigol Peraga (Tbilisi, November 22 and Bakurciche, November 25-26), along with the IPN’s publications:
Polish-Georgian Historian's Commission Collected Works, vol. 1. David Kolbaia,. IPN, Warszawa 2019
Devoted to Georgian emigration - (D. Kolbaia, Pod skrzydłami Rzeczpospolitej. Emigracja gruzińska w Polsce 1921-1939, Warszawa 2019, presented in Gori on 22 November)
A textbook for the polish community (W. Suleja, Dawniej to było. Przewodnik po historii Polski, Warszawa 2019, presented on 29 November in Tbilisi).
In addition, the members of the delegation took part in meetings and talks devoted to scientific cooperation and future joint scientific activities - with the Polish Ambassador in Tbilisi, Mariusz Maszkiewicz, the Vice-Chancellor of the Gori State University, the management of The Soviet Past Research Laboratory, and the authorities of the "Polonia " Polish Cultural and Educational Union in Georgia.
The Polish-Georgian Historians’Commission was established in 2017 to undertake research on Polish-Georgian relations in the years 1917–1921. The Commission, consisting of recognized specialists in this field – both Polish and Georgian, conducts research under the patronage of the Presidents of Poland and Georgia. The Chairman of the commission is Dr Dawid Kolbaia from the University of Warsaw.
Lectures and the presentation of the exhibition at the National Defence Academy in Gori
On Saturday, 23 November 2019, the representatives of the IPN’s Historical Research Office and the Polish-Georgian Historians’Commission were received in Gori by the Vice-Chancellor of the National Defence Academy Brigadier General Malkhaz Makaradze (ეროვნული თავდაცვის აკადემია / National Defense Academy) and visited the Chamber of Remembrance , prepared, among others, thanks to the substantive support of one of the members of the Commission (Dimitri Silakadze). Professor Włodzimierz Suleja gave a lecture on Józef Piłsudski, his contacts with Georgians and the struggle for independence to the Academy's students. The next item on the agenda was the presentation of the album by Dawid Kolbai devoted to Georgian emigration in Poland in 1921–1939 (Pod skrzydłami Rzeczypospolitej. Emigracja gruzińska w Polsce 1921–1939, Wydawnictwo IPN, Warszawa 2019). During the stay at the National Defence Academy, an exhibition devoted to Georgian contract officers in the Polish Army prepared by the Institute of National Remembrance in 2018 was presented.
The Polish delegation met with the Vice-Chancellor of the Gori State University, Prof. Giorgi Sosiashvili. The Gori State University is currently one of the most dynamically active Polish language teaching centers in Georgia, and has numerous contacts with Polish universities and research institutes. During the meeting, the Vice-Chancellor declared his readiness to support the work of the Polish-Georgian Historians’Commission and the Institute of National Remembrance. The possibilities of establishing scientific cooperation were also discussed.
The ”Repression against Religion in the Communist Countries” conference
The second part of the Conference of the Polish-Georgian Historians Commission took place on Monday, 25 and Tuesday, November 26, 2019 at the Museum of St. Grigol Peradze in Bakurciche (Kachetia).It was followed by the conference "Repression against Religion in the Communist Countries" organized by the Institute of National Remembrance and The Soviet Past Research Laboratory (SovLab) in cooperation with the University of Ilia Chavchavadze in Tbilisi, the H. Bol Foundation, the Polish Embassy in Tbilisi and the Embassy of Georgia in Warsaw. The ceremonial opening of the conference was made by the Polish Ambassador in Tbilisi, Mariusz Maszkiewicz, and representatives of local authorities, including the Mayor of Gurdjaani - Arał Chandamaszwil.
The conference devoted to repression against Churches and clergy in communist countries was the second Polish-Georgian conference devoted to repression in communist countries, organized jointly by the Institute of National Remembrance and The Soviet Past Research Laboratory. This time the goal was to compare communist policy towards churches and clergy in the interwar period and after 1945 in various countries of the Eastern Bloc. Over 25 researchers representing over a dozen universities and research institutions from Poland and Georgia took part in the conference and discussion. The proceedings took place in Bakurciche and in Telavi. During the conference, an exhibition of the Institute of National Remembrance dedicated to the figure of Saint. Grigol Peradze (Saint Grigol Peradze (1899–1942), priest, scholar, martyr) was presented. It will be on display at the Museum of St. Grigol Peradze until the end of March 2020.
Lectures, lessons and meetings with the Polish community in Georgia
On November 28 and 29, 2019, meetings were held with the local Polish community in Georgia. The IPN representatives had the opportunity to meet with Prof. Maria Filina, chairwoman of the “Polonia” Polish Cultural and Educational Union in Georgia as well as with outstanding representatives of Georgian Polonia such as Prof. Henryka Justinska, a researcher of the history of Polish artists in Georgia.