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Letter To German Historical Institute

10/31/2016

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Warsaw, Poland

Embassy of the Republic of Poland
Washington, D.C.

Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany
Washington, D.C.

German Historical Institute
Washington, D.C.

Your Excellency Minister Witold Waszczykowski,
Your Excellencies Ambassadors, Mrs. Director,

The Polish American community fully supports the proposal by Dr. Marek Błażejak (Polish Media Issues, Oct 25th, email to Mr. Pisarski, Chargé d’affaires) to clarify the invitation to the panel discussion “A Joint Past for Europe’s Future”, which will take place on November 3, 2016 at the German Historical Institute in Washington D.C. and we recommend that it reads as follows:

”Given the fact that the Poles and the Germans have a complex history and must grapple with the legacy of German crimes perpetrated during the Second World War, this was a particularly ambitious, but important, idea  (of the joint Polish-German history textbook).”   This proposal substitutes the terms “German crimes” for “Nazi crimes” .

We are aware now that the invitation was revised to simply remove the part of the sentence that read: “Nazi crimes perpetrated during the Second World War”, however, a new problem is created by doing that, as a major issue is swept away, truthful and difficult history topics are avoided, and the participants in the seminar are made to avoid meaningful dialogue.  As per the proposal of Dr. Błażejak, we affirm that the change is necessary to support the truth about the Second World War, to prevent the erroneous suggestion that Poland was co-responsible for ”Nazi” atrocities, and to assist the Polish diaspora in their opposition to the defamation of Poland’s good name, and prevention of  distortions of history, whether unintentional or otherwise caused, so that Poles can be encouraged about this joint venture.

We would like to express our deep concern over the missing control instances resulting in an approval of the invitation text which puts Poles in a role of “Nazi” collaborators. We want just to make sure, that such mishaps never happen again and we would be  very grateful, if the following questions could be answered:

*   who was responsible for the failure?
*   why were the guidelines concerning the fight against defamation violated?
*   what steps will be taken to avoid such failures in the future?

Lastly we wanted to ask the Polish Embassy, why does the Embassy frequently shows passive approach to various Polonia initiatives like for instance the initiative of Polish Media Issues to organize a meeting of Polish and American scholars on the Polish-Jewish relations at Princeton or another location? If the debate at the German Historical Institute can be supported, surely another scholarly meeting regarding Polish-Jewish relations should be supported as well.

On behalf of the Polish American community:

Stanisław Śliwowski, President & National Director
Polish American Congress New Jersey Division

Edward Wojciech Jeśman, President & National Director
Polish American Congress Southern California Division

Andrzej Prokopczuk, President & National Director
Polish American Congress Northern California Division

Zygmunt Staszewski, VP & National Director
Polish American Congress New York Long Island Division

Ania Karwan, Secretary & National Director
Polish American Congress Southern California Division

Leszek Pawlik, VP & National Director
Polish American Congress Southern California Division

Andrzej Burghardt, VP & National Director
Polish American Congress New Jersey Division

Barbara Blińska, VP & National Director
Polish American Congress Eastern Massachusetts Division

Edmund Lewandowski, National Director,
Polish American Congress Northern California Division

Marie Lewandowski, National Director
Polish American Congress Northern California Division

Halina Koralewski
Polish American Congress New York Long Island Division

Zbyszek Koralewski, Secretary & National Director
Polish American Congress New York Long Island Division

Tadeusz Walkowiak, VP & National Director
Polish American Congress Eastern Massachusetts Division

Marek Konopnicki
Polish American Congress Northern California Division

Jerzy Rozalski, National Director
Polish American Congress Michigan Division

Submitted by Edward Wojciech Jesman
President & National Director
PAC of Southern California