News from Open Republic


ECRI report on Poland

Since the adoption of ECRI’s fifth report on Poland on 20 March 2015, progress has been made and good practices have been developed in a number of fields.

By an Act of 7 July 2022, Article 256.1 of the Criminal Code was amended to the effect that the punishment for the promotion of totalitarianism, nazi, communist or fascist ideologies, or hatred based on national, ethic, racial or religious differences, was increased, while the same Act introduced an explicit reference to hatred on the grounds of a victim’s national, ethnic, racial, political or religious affiliation, as an aggravated circumstance listed in Article 53.2a of the Criminal Code, which courts will be obliged to take into account in their sentencing.

Police training about tackling antisemitism has recently been initiated, as provided by the Union of Jewish Communities, and the President of the Republic has on several occasions reacted with counter-speech against antisemitic hate speech.

ECRI further welcomes that Article 68 of the 2003 Act on Granting Protection to Foreigners within the Territory of the Republic of Poland was amended to include, as of 2015, victims of violence committed on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity as vulnerable persons eligible for special treatment in the proceedings for granting international protection, and that at least a few asylum seekers have been granted international protection on these grounds.

ECRI commends the city of Gdansk for its immigrant integration model, which was developed in 2015-2016 and which still successfully serves as a basis for the integration of foreigners in the municipality through actions in inter alia the areas of education, culture, health, employment, social assistance and housing, as well as measures against violence and discrimination. Linked to the integration model, Gdansk has created an immigrant council, a consultative body consisting of EU and third country immigrants, to advise the City in immigration and integration matters.

ECRI notes with satisfaction that progress was made in Roma children’s attendance and graduation rates. The proportion of Roma children in so-called special schools for children with learning disabilities has dropped significantly.

ECRI report on Poland


International Day of Democracy

The International Day of Democracy is celebrated around the world on 15 September each year. It was established through a resolution passed by the UN General Assembly in 2007, encouraging governments to strengthen and consolidate democracy.

The International Day is an opportunity to review the state of democracy around the world. Each year highlights a specific theme. Past themes have included stronger democracies, the importance of democracy for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, strengthening the voices of citizens, dialogue and inclusiveness, accountability, and political tolerance.


Day of Solidarity and Freedom

Day of Solidarity and Freedom is a national holiday in the Republic of Poland celebrated on August 31. It commemorates the August Agreement of 1980. Despite its status as a national holiday, it is normally a working day, unless it falls during the weekend.

In the early 1970s, Poland’s economic growth rate was one of the highest in the world. However, the country’s centrally planned economy was unable to use the borrowed capital and new resources properly. In 1979, Poland was struck by economic crisis.

In 1980, the government authorized the increase in food prices. This led to labor strikes across the country. In August, workers of the Lenin Shipyard in the city of Gdańsk began to protest against the firing of the trade union activist Anna Walentynowicz. The protesters demanded greater civil rights and labor reform.

Gdańsk workers gained support of other striking groups and Polish citizens. This made the government give in to their demands. On August 31, 1980, the Gdańsk Agreement, also known as the August Agreement, was signed. This agreement led to the establishment of the trade union called Solidarity.

Day of Solidarity and Freedom was proclaimed by the parliament of Poland in 2005. The first official celebration took place on August 31, 2005 in Gdańsk.


The Great Synagogue Restores Memory 2018-2023

A ceremony of the Virtual Reconstruction and outdoor projection of Warsaw’s Great Synagogue

The Great Synagogue Restores Memory about Jewish Community and Reappears as Warning and Sign of Hope

19 April 2018, 2019, 2023 Bankowy Square, Warsaw

„May remembrance and ליבע (love) overcome destruction and death”

Special thanks to Paula Sawicka and Piotr Wiślicki who believed from the beginning that impossible is possible.


“Around Us a Sea of Fire” exhibition

An exhibition entitled “Around Us a Sea of Fire. The Fate of Jewish Civilians During the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising” has been opened at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. This is the first exhibition about the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising presented from the perspective of civilians. During the uprising, they descended into bunkers and hiding places, resisted the Germans and the system they imposed of murdering defenseless people in extermination camps. Instead of reporting for transport, they hid. Their quiet resistance was just as important as that with weapons in hand.

The exhibition can be seen from April 18, 2023, until January 8, 2024.

During its opening, Piotr Wislicki, Chairman of the Board of the Jewish Historical Institute Association, spoke among other things:

When the curators started developing the concept, their objective was to focus on human suffering and drama.  Unfortunately, last year, Putin’s Russia brought back the demons of war. Once again, in Europe, there are people hiding in basements and dugouts from the beasts who want nothing but to destroy, steal, rape and murder.

They are fighting for survival their dignity. We can watch the suffering of innocent people on TV.

“Never again” – this slogan gets repeated over and over again. This is merely a naive wish. Unfortunately, history repeats itself. Evil turns up in a number of places all over the world.

I ask of all of you: When you commemorate the Jews murdered during the ghetto uprising, keep in mind the people who are currently hiding in basements and dugouts in Ukraine, Syria, Yemen and many other places. In places that are closer to us than we tend to imagine. Precisely 150 km away from here, at the Polish-Belarusian border. The border in which refugees from different countries try to cross. Innocent people, children, women and men, who dream of a better future, but are forced to hide like animals in the forests, ditches and swamps. They are also fighting for survival and dignity – and often die doing so.

Don’t we all continue to be too indifferent to their faith?

The whole speech of Piotr Wiślicki


The Great Synagogue Restores Memory 2023

The Great Warsaw Synagogue will symbolically return to the Bankowy Square. Join us for a stunning light and sound show.

The Open Republic Association will commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising with a multimedia event created by the artist Gabi von Seltmann.

On the night of 19th April, of the anniversary of the Uprising, the image of the synagogue rising from the rubble will appear on the wall of the Blue Skyscraper which was constructed on its site.The Great Synagogue,destroyed by the Germans after the fall of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, will be symbolically reconstructed through image, sound and emotion.

„May rememberance and ליבע (love) overcome destruction and death”

Archival recordings of the cantor of the Great Synagogue, Gerszon Sirota, who died in the Warsaw ghetto, and fragments of the poem “Bashert”, read by its author, Irena Klepfisz, daughter of Michał, Bund activist, a soldier of the Jewish Combat Association, will be played during the ceremony.

The performance will last six minutes (the sequence will be repeated from 9:00 to11:00 pm CET.)

The event will be broadcast live at

Description of project
More details on event on Facebook.


“MultiMemo. Inclusive Memory of Warsaw”

JCC Warsaw Foundation in partnership with Festivalt, Fundacja Urban Memory, Fundacja Zapomniane, Hochschule Fur Jüdische Studien Heidelberg, Ceji, Fundacja Dokumentacji Cmentarzy Żydowskich, Fundacja Formy Wspólne, Otwarta Rzeczpospolita, Wydawnictwo Czarne, Makabi Warszawa invite you to the series of events “MultiMemo. Inclusive Memory of Warsaw”, which will take place on April 16-23, 2023, to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

  • April 16, 2023, 5:00 PM, Shucked memory:

Meeting about Warsaw Ghetto Uprising heroins around the book “A Question of Character. Women fighters from the Warsaw Ghetto” (Czarne).

Shana Penn, Taube Foundation, Network of East-West Women in conversation with Sylwia Chutnik (editor) and Patrycja Dołowy, Zuzanna Hertzberg, Natalia Judzińska, Karolina Sulej (authors). With an introduction by Monika Sznajderman (editor and publisher). || Location: JCC Warsaw, Chmielna 9A st

  • April 18, 2023, 7:00 PM, Sound memory:

Michał Michalski, piano concert tribute to inhabitants of Warsaw Ghetto. The program includes Chopin’s Nocturne in C-sharp minor and Moscheles’s Sonata Melancholique, among others. || Location: JCC Warsaw, Chmielna 9A st

Our memory must continue despite the difficulties of our times. This year, we gather again beacause we remember. We remember what happened. We remember those that fought. We remember those that died. And we remember those that kept that memory alive. 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. We believe that memory should be a common good, created from the bottom up. || Location: Monument on Szmul Zygielbojm square

The Great Synagogue Restores Memory, a projection by Gabi von Seltmann organised with Open Republic. || Location: Bankowy Square

  • April 20, 2023, 12:00 PM

A guided walk with Paula Sawicka, following the traces of Marek Edelman and Michał Klepfisz. Organized by Open Republic.

Registration is required via the form

  • April 20, 2023, 2:00 PM, Personal memory:

Zikaron BaSalon with Józef Hen, the oldest Holocaust survivor from Warsaw. || Location: JCC Warsaw, Chmielna 9A st

  • April 21, 2023, 12:00 PM, Marginalised memory: 

A guided walk with Paula Sawicka, following the traces of Marek Edelman and Michał Klepfisz. With Open Republic and Makabi Warsaw

II Location: Franciszkańska 14 (corner of Bonifraterska)

  • April 21, 2023, 8:00 PM, Marginalised memory:

Shabbat with Irena Klepfisz. lesbian poet, child Holocaust survivor from Warsaw Ghetto and political activist  and with her poems searching for diverse memories and identities, read by actors, translators and invited guests || Location: JCC Warsaw, Chmielna 9A st

  • April 23, 2023, 12:00 PM , Entangled memory:

Women’s Civic Disobedience – a guided walk with Jagna Kofta. || Location: Palace of Culture in the front of Studio Theatre

  • April 23, 2023, 4:00 PM, Entangled memory:

Patrycja Dołowy in conversation with the children of Holocaust: Inka Sobolewska-Pyz, Matti Greenberg and Anna Liro. || Location: JCC Warsaw, Chmielna 9A st

The events will be held in English and Polish. Participation is free, but due to limited seating, registration is required via the form:


2022 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken released the 47th annual Human Rights Report.

The entire report can be found on the U.S. Department of State’s website:

The Poland chapter is available on the U.S. Embassy website: