Dear AIPA members and friends,
As I am traveling through Poland on a new and fresh regional train (co-funded by the European Union) I am reflecting on my three months as the President of AIPA.
It has been a very busy three months for AIPA as we have been organising several activities including two AIPA events to occur in March and April 2020. We have just announced the visit of our first international guest for 2020. This time it is professor Roman Kuźniar, prominent academic and expert on international affairs from the University of Warsaw. Professor Kuźniar will visit Melbourne, Hobart, Canberra and Sydney and the details of events in each city will be advertised shortly. I have just met Prof Kuźniar and his wife in Warsaw, and they are very excited about the trip. I really hope you will enjoy Professor’s lectures and their company.
Furthermore, as the year 2020 marks the 40th anniversary of Polish trade union Solidarność, AIPA will be celebrating the arrival of the Solidarity Migration Wave from Poland to Australia. Under this special humanitarian program, approximately 25,000 Polish refugees, fleeing political unrests and imposition of martial law, arrived in Australia in the 1980s. On 21 April in Melbourne, under the skilful leadership of Adam Warzel, AIPA will organise a function with several Australian official representatives in attendance. This function is supported by the Department of Premier and Cabinet through the Multicultural Festivals and Events grant.
We have also marked two important anniversaries. First was, the 100th anniversary of the birth of Prof Jerzy Zubrzycki, with a ‘centenary reminiscence’ written by Prof Jan Pakulski who was also interviewed by the radio SBS. Second was the 75 years of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau so I represented AIPA in the event organised by the Jewish Holocaust Centre. It was especially moving to hear the survivor Eva Slonim OAM speak about her memories of the liberation.
One more activity I would like to report on was the letter to the Minister of Culture and National Heritage in Poland, signed by me and Bernard Korbman, Co-President of the Polish Jews and their Descendants, calling for appointment to the position of a director of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Polin. We were pleased to see the report in the Polish newspapers that finally such decision has been taken with a nomination of Zygmunt Stępiński (previously the deputy director) for the position of Polin's Director which ends a year-long conflict.
I have been enjoying a lot of your support since taking on this position which has been important to me. I must acknowledge the very active contribution to organising of the above events of many wonderful people including Janek Pakulski, Adam Warzel and Nina Bassat and the AIPA board members.
I hope to see many of you soon.