JHI statement on the publication by the OKO.press portal


Regarding the article published by the OKO.press portal on 5th February 2024, the Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute states that the article is unreliable, consists of defamatory slanders and is a form of press mobbing.

Contrary to his claim, the author of the article had neither contacted the director of the Jewish Historical Institute nor persons responsible in the Institute for media relations prior to publication, nor had he verified the statements made in the anonymous letter. The article is therefore based on a letter that was not signed by anyone and contains false statements (the anonymous letter contains even more). It is unacceptable for the reputation of the Jewish Historical Institute and individuals to be damaged in the public domain by an anonymous letter for which no one wants to take responsibility.

Above all, the main allegation expressed in the mentioned text, concerning the supposed mistreatment of employees of the Research Department, whose employees are said to have complained about having to submit proposals, plans or reports on their tasks, is false. It should be pointed out that the principle of equal treatment of employees and the terms and conditions of employment law oblige the employer to formally control the entrusted tasks and their implementation.

Other accusations against the Director of the Institute, and quoted in the OKO.press article, also result from the lack of knowledge of the specifics of the Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute, which since 2008 has been a cultural institution and not a scientific institute, which implies the need to carry out extensive cultural activities (including publishing, exhibitions, education and popularisation) in comparison to a strictly scientific institution.

It should be clearly pointed out that the Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute is one of the most important cultural and scientific centres documenting the history of Polish Jews and a partner of many scientific and cultural institutions (research institutes, archives, museums) dealing with the subject worldwide, including Yad Vashem and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, which it regularly cooperates with.

Over the past three years, Jewish Historical Institute has organised numerous conferences with the attendance of international academics, e.g. on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Institute - on the subject of civil and armed resistance of Jews during World War II, on the anniversary of Operation Reinhardt, as well as conferences on the literary works of Marek Hłasko, Józef Hen, Michał Głowiński and Hanna Krall, which attracted the wide interest of the general public.

Between 2021-23, the Institute - within the framework of an international Programme of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of Poland - also carried out projects addressed to German teachers (in cooperation with the Berlin Senate) and to Israeli youth tour guides (in cooperation with the Mordechai Anielewicz Centre and the Polish Institute in Tel Aviv), as well as exhibitions in Munich, Leipzig, Madrid and Rome, among others. 

A large-scale, multi-year research project of the National Science Centre, "Jewish religious life in Poland (1944-1989)", is also affiliated with the Jewish Historical Institute. The final work on a volume of a synthesis of the post-war history of Polish Jews is underway.

The publications of the Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute in 2022-23 have received numerous literary and publishing awards, including the 'Polityka' History Award for debut, KLIO awards and distinctions, The Yad Vashem International Book Prize for Holocaust Research, the Józef A. Gierowski and Chony Shmeruk awards and the Museum Book of The Year Award.

The attendance at the Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute in 2023 reached 45,000, which was the highest in the institution's history.

Therefore, the article published by OKO.press cannot be treated in any other way than as an attempt to decrease the credibility and prestige of the institution, which is a centre caring for good Polish-Jewish and Polish-Israeli relations, and a violation of its good name, which may result in appropriate legal steps being taken by the Jewish Historical Institute.


Monika Krawczyk

Director of the Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute