The IPN visited by the Australian Ambassador

Mateusz Szpytma, Ph.D., Deputy President of the Institute of National Remembrance, met with the Australian Ambassador to Poland, Mr Lloyd Brodrick, at the Institute's seat. The meeting was held on the initiative of the Australian side.

Ambassador Brodrick, interested in the history of Poland and the nature of the IPN's activities, inquired about the scope, aspects and form of the institution’ operation. President Szpytma outlined the structure of the Institute of National Remembrance – emphasizing that the investigative, archival, as well as scientific and educational mission carried out from the outset, in later years expanded to include such important tasks as the search and identification of victims of totalitarianism and their commemoration. Speaking about the history of the Institute, its Deputy President referred to the German Gauck Institute, on which the IPN's creators largely modelled its Polish counterpart. Among other things, thanks to the Institute of National Remembrance, as he pointed out, Poland could in turn become an example to follow for other countries of the former communist bloc as far as coming to terms with their totalitarian past was concerned.

Ambassador Brodrick expressed the opinion that the experience of totalitarianism may affect not only the witnesses and participants, but also the next generations – their mentality, identity and national awareness. At the same time, the ambassador was curious if the Institute of National Remembrance continued the program of recording oral testimonies – micro-historic accounts of key episodes of the past. President Szpytma informed his guest that the recordings database already contained several thousand items and was still growing, and stressed how easily accessible oral and written sources kept by the Institute of National Remembrance are: out of over 95 kilometers of files, as he said, only half a metre is classified as secret, while in other countries these restrictions go much further.

During the meeting, the activities of the Institute in the field of commemorating, identifying and proper burial of victims were also discussed. Ambassador Brodrick was impressed by the complexity of the IPN's operation, thanks to which the memory of historical events and their participants can be preserved.

Both sides also addressed the issue of past and future cooperation. The Australian initiatives of the Institute of National Remembrance to date – such as the "Time of Heroes" series of exhibitions devoted to Captain Pilecki, the Warsaw Uprising (initiated by the Pilecki Projekt Committee with the cooperation of the Home Army Ex-Servicemen Association, the Polish Community Council of Victoria and the Polish Political Prisoners Association of 1981-1989) and the accompanying IPN’s exhibitions on "Żegota" and the Ulma family have been well received, among others, at the state parliaments in Melbourne and Perth, or the "Kadimah" Jewish Center. The "Fathers of Independence" exhibition also reached the Down Under, and on this year’s 100th anniversary of the Battle of Warsaw, the Institute provided the Federation of Polish Associations in New South Wales with the "War of the Worlds" project. Committed to continuing such good cooperation, President Szpytma and Ambassador Brodrick discussed more joint undertakings and the commemoration of upcoming important anniversaries.

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