Anniversary of pogrom in Jedwabne

2021/07/10

On 10 July 1941, soon after the Soviet forces’ withdrawal and after the German troops entered the North-East Polish town of Jedwabne, the local Polish people began to gather the Jews from the town and the surrounding area in the town square. The Jews were publicly humiliated, and several were killed. A few dozens, including the rabbi Avigdor Bialostocki, were then selected to destroy a Lenin’s monument nearby. The group was then led to an earlier prepared mass grave in a barn where they were murdered and buried together with the Lenin’s bust. The remaining several hundred Jews were led to the same barn. They were doused with diesel before the barn was locked and set on fire. The mass murder was committed by several dozens of local people with many more witnessing it. The German forces in town didn’t take an active part in the pogrom, but they have most likely encouraged it in the spirit of Reinhardt Heydrich’s doctrine about encouraging local populations to take part in pogroms.

Anniversary of the Kielce pogrom

2021/07/04

Jewish pogrom in Kielce took place 74 years ago. The persecutors of their Jewish neighbours were Poles, and the tragic events took place in Poland just liberated from Nazi occupation.

The events known today as the “Kielce pogrom” took place primarily in the building at Planty 7/9 street, where about 200 people lived and where offices of Jewish institutions (Jewish committee, congregation, Kibbutz Zionist party Ichud, etc) were located.  Pogroms of the Jewish population were also reported in other locations in Kielce, as well as on trains passing through the city on that.

40 people were murdered during the Kielce pogrom (including three Polish nationals). Two people were murdered on Leonard Street. 35 people were injured.

NGO’s against education reform

2021/06/17

“An attack on schools’ autonomy and the long-established, democratic principles of their functioning” – this is how the Open Republic, together with other signatories of a joint statement, describes the reforms being considered by the government. The changes championed by the conservative education minister, Przemysław Czarnek, will allow School Superintends to appoint and dismiss school heads at will and give them complete discretion over which NGO’s will be allowed to work with schools.

NGOs’ protest against Lukashenka’s repressions in Belarus

2021/06/10

Over 50 Polish non-governmental bodies and associations are among the signatories of a protest against Lukashenka regime’s repressions following the unlawful forcing of a Ryanair flight to land in Minsk and the arrest of the activist, Roman Protasevich and his partner. The letter of protest demands immediate freeing of those detained and all political prisoners and people arrested during the protests following the falsified 2020 Belarus general election. The signatories appeal to the Polish government for more active help and support for the Belarus citizens seeking refuge in Poland and the international bodies for sanctions to exert pressure on Lukashenka’s regime.

Open Republic Annual General Meeting

2021/05/20

The meeting elected the following persons to the Association’s board:

Magdalena Czyż, Marek Gumkowski, Jan Herczyński, Katarzyna Kuczyńska – Koschany, Piotr Jakub Piotrowski, Krzysztof Podemski, Irena Wóycicka and Damian Wutke.

The board then elected the following executive board:

Chair – Marek Gumkowski; Vice-chair-people – Magdalena Czyż, Zofia Wójcicka; Treasurer – Jan Herczyński; Secretary – Damian Wutke; Members – Katarzyna Kuczyńska – Koschany, Piotr Jakub Piotrowski, Krzysztof Podemski.

Antoni Sułek, Natalia Woroszylska and Ludwika Wujec will remain the Audit  Committee members.

Dariusz Stoła was elected a member of the Program Board.

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

2021/05/17

17 May was chosen to commemorate the decision to remove homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1990. The day aims to coordinate international events that raise awareness of LGBT rights violations and stimulate interest in LGBT rights work worldwide. LGBTQ+ rights are human rights that still need to be defended.

Helena Datner on “using public money to falsify history.”

2021/05/07

“Tinkering with the historical narrative is nothing new in our country”,– said dr Datner, a historian, sociologist and Jewish community activist, in an interview for the “Dziennik Gazeta Prawna” newspaper. In her opinion, the previous Polish governments were also investing in supporting the Polish historical narrative in the context of the Holocaust.

What sets the current administration apart is a more extensive scale of the effort. “The Polish state is always focused on one issue, on the Righteous. It is the only narrative that’s allowed”, she said. “We’re now seeing the public money used to falsify history with a claim that Poles, all Poles were helping Jews [during the Holocuast].

A deputy fined for homophobic tweets

2021/04/23

The Polish parliament’s Ethics Committee has fined a deputy Janusz Korwin-Mikke for tweets claiming that “Christians (as well a Jews and Muslims) must demand that gays be stoned to death”.

A city councillor: “they will murder us and let the Jews take over”

2021/04/22

The Open Republic has asked the Olecko city council to reprimand one of its councillors following statements made by her during an official meeting.

“They [Jews] have never recognised Jesus; they are the chosen ones waiting for their Messiah. Everybody knows who Bill Gates is and all the rest of them. Like Hitler for the Aryan race, they will do everything to take over the world,” – said the councillor, Janina Anuszkiewicz, asking for her remarks not to appear in the minutes.

Independent Commemoration of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

2021/04/19

Our memory must continue despite the difficulties of our times. This year, once again, we cannot gather physically, but we can still cultivate the memory of the outbreak of the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto. To remember what happened here. Remember those who fought. Remember those who died. And remember those who kept the memory alive: Marek Edelman, Symcha Rotem (Ratajzer) alias “Kazik”, Jacek Kuroń, Zofia Kuratowska, Anka Kowalska, Lechosław Goździk, Mirosław Sawicki, Noemi Korsan, Chawka Raban, Julia Hartwig, Henryk Wujec, Wiktor Drukier, Marek Czekalski and many others.

For us, as for Marek Edelman, the commemoration of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising is a matter of memory. We do not want to take part in official commemorations, appropriated by politicians, in celebrations devoured by an empty national celebration. We believe that memory should be a common good, created from the bottom up.

What are we planning for this year?