Simon Wiesenthal Lecture: Coming to Terms With the Holocaust in Poland. From Soul-Searching to Backlash
05.03.2020 18:30 Uhr - 05.03.2020
Dachfoyer des Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchivs, 1010 Wien, Minoritenplatz 1
After decades of communist distortions and marginalisation of the Holocaust in public remembrance, democratic Poland emerged as a leader in efforts to come to terms with this diffcult past. Several major debates on Polish reactions to the crime intensively engaged public opinion. New monuments, educational programs and works by writers, fillmmakers and other artists have contributed to the growing awareness and interest in Polish-Jewish history, and the Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews opened in Warsaw to great acclaim. These developments synergised with a substantial progress in Holocaust research. However, in recent years we have seen a backlash against this tendency. Prominent politicians and media of the right have rejected it as a “pedagogy of shame” and called for a glorious vision of national history, focussing on heroism and victimhood. Holocaust distortion has assertively expanded. The memory of the Shoah remains a key battle eld of the culture war that divides Poland today.
Dariusz Stola is a historian and professor at the Polish Academy of Sciences. From 2014 to 2019, he was the director of the Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. He has published ten books and many articles on the history of Polish-Jewish relations, international migrations and the communist regime, as well as on Polish debates on these topics, including Kampania anty-syjonistyczna w Polsce, 1967-1968 (The anti-Zionist campaign in Poland, 1967-1968, Warsaw 2001) and Kraj bez wyjścia: migracje z Polski 1949-1989 (A country with no exit? Migrations from Poland, 1949-1989, Warsaw 2010).
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