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Copernicus Center for Polish Studies pres.

CCPS Lecture. POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews and the Politics of History in Today’s Poland

Dariusz Stola, professor of history, Institute of Political Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences

Dariusz Stola Dariusz Stola
Dariusz Stola
POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews opened its core exhibition less than five years ago, but it has already attracted millions of visitors and massive and favorable media attention both in Poland and internationally, and earned the major European museum awards. However, since it opposed the so-called Holocaust complicity law in early 2018 and organized a large public program for the 50th anniversary of the 1968 “anti-Zionist campaign” in communist Poland, it has become an object of media attacks and criticism by the government. This lecture will present the processes that had led to the establishment of the museum and its remarkable success. It will examine how these processes have changed under a culture war dividing the country; a tendency for expansive government control; and a memory policy, which rejects critical coming to terms with difficult pasts as a “pedagogy of shame” and calls for a glorious vision of national history, focusing on heroism and victimhood.

Dariusz Stola is a historian and professor at the Polish Academy of Sciences. He has published ten books and more than 100 articles on the history of Polish-Jewish relations, the Holocaust, international migrations and communist regime, as well as on Polish debates about these pasts. In 2014-2019, he was the Polin Museum director.

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