The Blog

Suppressing truth

Statement by the Australian Institute of Polish Affairs

In view of the recently concluded trial in Poland of two Holocaust historians: Prof. Barbara Engelking and Prof. Jan Grabowski, as well as the prosecutorial investigation into articles written by Polish journalist Katarzyna Markusz, the Australian Institute of Polish Affairs would like to make the following statement:

There is increasing evidence of attempts by Polish government authorities, and some public institutions that rely on government funding, to use various forms of repression against historians and journalists who, using available evidence, try to give a truthful account of the situation of Jews in Poland, and their relations with Poles, during the Second World War.

The recent civil trial against professors Engeling and Grabowski and the prosecutorial investigation of articles written by Katarzyna Markusz, are the latest examples of this deeply worrying trend.

We join the Open Letter signed by Polish intellectuals and Polish-Jewish representatives, including Michael Schudrich, the current Chief Rabbi of Poland, in stating categorically that the Court should not be where historical truth is determined. We condemn such attempts by Polish authorities and express solidarity with people who are subject to these repressive methods, methods which aim to suppress freedom of academic expression.

The State must not be the arbitrator in historical debates as it inevitably leads, sooner or later, to the incitement of hatred. We unequivocally condemn attempts to victimise those who search for historical truth.

Assoc. Prof. Gosia Klatt

President

The Australian Institute of Polish Affairs