Katyn: Witnesses of the truth and their legacy - Meeting in New York
November 09, 2019
Polish historical policy in the context of publishing in the USA by the Janusz Kurtyka Foundation Tadeusz Wolsza’s Encounter with Katyn." The meeting will be held at the Jozef Pilsudski Institute of America on November 14, at 6 pm.
Jozef Pilsudski Institute of America, in cooperation with The Janusz Kurtyka Foundation and The Kosciuszko Foundation, organizes a meeting with Professor Tadeusz Wolsza titled "Witnesses of the truth and their legacy. Polish historical policy in the context of publishing in the USA by the Janusz Kurtyka Foundation Tadeusz Wolsza’s Encounter with Katyn." The meeting will be held at the Jozef Pilsudski Institute of America on November 14, at 6 pm.
The meeting will start with the screening of a documentary titled "The Graves of Katyn". After this, Professor Wolsza will give a lecture about the Katyn Massacre. The lecture will focus on the story of over 60 representatives of various social groups who visited the Katyn site in 1943. The post-war Communist regime in Poland consistently plugged the Katyn Lie and conducted a campaign of repression and reprisals against witnesses of the Soviet crime. They were accused of collaboration with the Germans, forced to cancel testimonies about the real perpetrators, put under surveillance, and imprisoned. Some of them had to leave the country. The witnesses are the main topic of Professor Wolsza’s book "Encounter with Katyn" published in the USA in 2018 by The Janusz Kurtyka Foundation and Carolina Academic Press.
After Professor Wolsza’s lecture, the President of the Board of The Janusz Kurtyka Foundation, Paweł Kurtyka, will present the topic of Polish historical policy and the activity of the Foundation in this field, especially the awarding, translation, publication, and promotion of Polish historical books abroad. The Polish historical policy will be presented as a mission of dissemination of the truth about Polish history, which will correspond to the Katyn site witnesses – the main topic of Professor Wolsza’s book and lecture.
After Paweł Kurtyka's presentation, Doctor Iwona Korga, President of the Jozef Pilsudski Institutute, and Mr Marek Skulimowski, President of The Kosciuszko Foundation, will present their perspective on promoting Polish history in the USA.
The meeting will include the presentation of Professor Wolsza’s "Encounter with Katyn" book published in the USA in 2018 by The Janusz Kurtyka Foundation and Carolina Academic Press. There will also be book signing and a screening of the book’s trailer.
The meeting at Jozef Pilsudski Institute of America is a part of a series of lectures, discussions and presentations on the Katyn Massacre titled "Encounter with Katyn: A disturbing freedom", held in the USA between November 13 and 20, 2019. The occasion for these discussions is Professor Tadeusz Wolsza’s book "Encounter with Katyn", winner of the Janusz Kurtyka Award in the first edition of the Competition. The book has been translated into English and jointly published by Carolina Academic Press and The Janusz Kurtyka Foundation (2018).
- About the meetings
Between November 13 and 20, 2019, Professor Wolsza will give 6 lectures in 4 American cities: Houston, New York, Chicago and Washington. The program of each meeting was created in cooperation with a local partner, which helped to shape its character in accordance with the profile and the preferences of the local society. The organizer, the Janusz Kurtyka Foundation, creates a unique format for a diversified discussion engaging the audience on topics relative to the Katyn Massacre, which include: the memory of the 20th-century's totalitarianism, methods of sovietization of East Central Europe or international aspects of the Massacre. During each of the meetings, there will be a screening of the book's trailer and signing of the copies. Some of the meetings will include the screening of a documentary titled "The Graves of Katyn" and a presentation of archival materials. The core of the series of meetings with Professor Wolsza is the story of the Gene of Freedom that disturbed (and eventually overturned) totalitarian regimes.
- About the Gene of Freedom project
The meetings are part of a wider project titled “Gene of Freedom”. The project includes initiatives that promote books awarded in the Competition for the Janusz Kurtyka Award abroad. It aims to present freedom as an inherent element of Polish mentality, lifestyle, and history.
- About the Janusz Kurtyka Award
The aim of the Competition for the Janusz Kurtyka Award is to select and highlight the best scholarship in humanities or social sciences published in a given calendar year. The award-winning book should contribute to the commemoration and nurturing of Polish culture and history, and, most crucially, popularize Poland abroad. The winning book is translated into foreign languages and distributed abroad. The series of meetings "Encounter with Katyn: A disturbing freedom" is a natural follow-up to the first edition of the Competition for the Janusz Kurtyka Award, as it promotes the newly published American edition of Tadeusz Wolsza’s book.
- About the book
Encounter With Katyn: The Wartime and Postwar Story of Poles Who Saw the Katyn Site in 1943, by Tadeusz Wolsza.
Generally, there are two major approaches in research on Katyn: the perspective of the victims and, to a somewhat lesser extent, the perpetrators‘ perspective. In his Encounter with Katyn Wolsza has touched upon another dimension of this atrocity, which has not been addressed in the work done so far. He describes the stories of over 60 representatives of various social groups who visited the Katyn site in 1943. The post-war Communist regime in Poland consistently plugged the Katyn Lie and conducted a campaign of repression and reprisals against witnesses of the Soviet crime. They were accused of collaboration with the Germans, forced to cancel testimonies about the real perpetrators, put under surveillance, and imprisoned. Some of them had to leave the country. Wolsza’s book portrays the Katyn Massacre not only as the extermination of Polish elites by a totalitarian regime, but also as a symbol of the struggle for universal values such as memory, truth, and justice. This corresponds to the wider perspective of the struggle of an enslaved society fighting for its freedom and independence.
- About the author
Professor Tadeusz Wolsza
Professor Tadeusz Wolsza is a recognized Polish historian and political scientist (academic affiliations: Institute of History at the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, the Casimir the Great University in Bydgoszcz, Institute of National Remembrance). He was born in 1956 in Poland. He specializes in the contemporary history of Poland, especially in the wartime and post-war Polish political émigré community, the Katyn Massacre, the anti-Communist resistance movement in Poland, and Stalinist crimes in post-war Poland. Professor Wolsza has published over 280 academic papers and books, some of which have been translated into Russian, German, English, Italian, Serbian, and Slovak.
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