The International Scientific Conference „To be a witness of the Holocaust“

The conference is dedicated to the memory of Shmuel Zygielbojm.

Wide konferencja z ipn

On 22–23 April the Jewish Historical Institute in cooperation with the Institute of National Remembrance, the Committee on the Investigation of Crimes Against the Polish Nation and the Center for Holocaust Research IFiS PAN is organizing an international academic conference „To be a witness to the Holocaust” on the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The conference is dedicated to the memory of Shmuel Zygielbojm, a Bund politician and since 1942 a member of the National Council of Poland in London.

The Honorary Patronage over the exhibition has been assumed by the President of Republic of Poland Bronisław Komorowski.

More, on the website devoted to the events commemorating the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising: Resistance and the Holocaust

Program of the conference

April 22, 2013, Monday

9.00–9.15 – Opening of the conference

9.15–11.15 – Session I – Helplessness, indifference and silence of the witnesses
Chair: Dr Jacek Leociak (Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences; Polish Center for Holocaust Research)

  • Prof. Irena Grudzińska-Gross (Princeton University) – Grammar of the witnesses’ silence

  • prof. Joanna Tokarska-Bakir (Warsaw University) – On generating indifference
  • prof. Michael Marrus (University of Toronto) – International witnesses to the Holocaust in historical perspective
  • prof. Jean Charles Szurek (CNRS – National Centre for Scientific Research) – The Holocaust after the disappearance of direct witnesses
  • dr Aleksandra Namysło (Institute of National Remembrance) – Inhabitants of the so-called Ostoberschlesien toward the Jewish population during the German occupation
  • Discussion

11.15–11.30 – Coffee break

11.30–13.30 – Session II – Churches towards the Holocaust
Chair: Dr Bożena Szaynok (University of Wrocław)

  • prof. Stanisław Obirek (University of Łódź) – Catholic Church in Poland towards the Holocaust
  • prof. John Conelly (University of California) – Catholics who tried to stop the Holocaust
  • prof. Adam Rotfeld – Archbishop Andrzej Szeptycki and Greek Catholic Church towards the Holocaust
  • prof. Anna Wolff-Powęska (Institute for Western Affairs) – Churches in Germany towards the Holocaust
  • prof. Paweł Śpiewak (Jewish Historical Institute; Warsaw University) – Judaism towards the Holocaust
  • Discussion

13.30–15.30 – Break

15.30–17.30 – Session III – European resistance movements towards the Holocaust

Chair: Dr Krzysztof Persak (Institute of National Remembrance; Institute of Political Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences)

  • Claire Zalc (CNRS, National Centre for Scientific Research) – Facing persecution in France
  • prof. Grzegorz Motyka (Institute of Political Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences) – Ukrainian partisans to the Holocaust
  • dr Adam Puławski (Institute of National Remembrance) – Polish Underground State towards the Holocaust
  • Michał Trębacz (Institute of National Remembrance; University of Łódź) – Jewish underground political parties towards the Holocaust, 1941–1945
  • dr Kiril Feferman (Russian Research and Educational Holocaust Center) – Soviet partisans towards the Jews and the Holocaust
  • Discussion

April 23, 2013, Tuesday

10.00–12.00 – Session IV – European societies towards the Holocaust
Chair: Dr Andrzej Żbikowski (Jewish Historical Institut; Polish Center for Holocaust Research)

  • dr Beate Kosmala (Silent Heroes Memorial Center) – ‘Ordinary Germans’ and the Deportation of Jews from Berlin, 1941–1945
  • dr hab. Tomasz Stryjek (Institute of Political Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences; Collegium Civitas) – Ukrainian society towards the Holocaust
  • prof. Dan Michman (Yad Vashem; Bar Ilan University) – Dutch society towards the Holocaust
  • Radu Ioanid (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum) – Romanian society towards the Holocaust
  • Adam Sitarek (Institute of National Remembrance; University of Łódź) – Through the ghetto by a tram. A closed district through the eyes of residents of Litzmannstadt – Poles and Germans, 1940–1945
  • Discussion

12.00–14.00 – Lunch break

14.00–15.30 – Session V – Jews: the witnesses of the Holocaust
Chair: Dr Barbara Engelking (Polish Center for Holocaust Research)

  • prof. Jan Grabowski (University of Ottawa; Polish Center for Holocaust Research) – Jews: witnesses on the basis of unpublished journals
  • Alina Skibińska (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum; Polish Center for Holocaust Research) – Jews: witnesses in criminal trials
  • Aleksandra Bańkowska (Jewish Historical Institute) – Witnesses of the Holocaust: accounts from the underground archive collections of the Warsaw and Bialystok ghettos
  • dr Dariusz Libionka (Polish Holocaust Research Center) – Fates and testimonies of the Bełżec concentration camp escapees
  • Discussion

15.30–15.45 – Coffee break 

15.45–17.15 – dyskusja panelowa

15.45–17.15 – Panel discussion – What is left of the Hilberg triad „Perpetrators – victims – witnesses“?
Chair: Prof. Paweł Śpiewak (Jewish Historical Institute)


  • Prof. Jan Tomasz Gross (Princeton University), 
  • Prof. Paweł Machcewicz (Museum of the Second World War; Warsaw University), 
  • Dr Grzegorz Berendt (Institute of National Remembrance)
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