The Patria Nostra Association has begun the implementation of the project “Who was the executioner and who was the victim?”, financed by the NIW CRSO funds as part of the NEW FIO program. The main goal and motivation behind its implementation is the need to sustain and develop the activities of the Patria Nostra Association in the fight for the good name of Poland and Poles, mainly by combating false statements regarding “Polish death camps” and alleged Polish complicity in the Holocaust.
These actions have been carried out by Lech Obara, the president of the Patria Nostra Association, for 11 years. The Association carries out these actions through legal means (lawsuits against foreign media falsifying history) and increasingly through innovative educational activities targeted at the Western public opinion (lectures, press conferences, projects, and publications in German and English, and in the case of the currently implemented project – also “living history lessons”).
The purpose of our project is to be such an unconventional, interesting form of a “living history lesson” on the involvement and role of Poles in World War II, particularly aimed at young people, whose awareness on this topic is scarce. The project also satisfies a very important need, namely the need for historical truth.
Therefore, we have decided that students and researchers from Germany will visit museums, memorial sites, research institutions, and contemporary Jewish cultural institutions. Among the planned program points, it is worth mentioning the Warsaw Uprising Museum, POLIN, the Warsaw Ghetto Museum, the Museum – Place of Remembrance in Palmiry, the Museum of Struggle and Martyrdom in Treblinka, and the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw.
We have jointly developed the outline of such a study visit with our project partner – Touro University Berlin.
An important part of the program is also a meeting with a “witness of history”, Stanisław Zalewski – a former prisoner of German Nazi death camps, at the headquarters of the Polish Association of Former Concentration Camp Prisoners and Death Camp Prisoners. The association is another partner of the project being implemented.
The summary of the visit will be a survey as a qualitative result, measuring the increase in knowledge of the participants of the study visit.
The justification for our actions is the fact that the “Europeanization of the Holocaust” is currently spreading, which means pointing out that other nations, including Poles, collaborated with the Germans and were also responsible for the Holocaust. Poland must counteract this by pointing out the enormous losses suffered by Poland and other nations occupied by the Germans, as well as showing the proper proportions: who was the executioner and who was the victim. An opportunity for a comprehensive discussion on this topic is the aforementioned meeting with the “witness of history”, but also visits to museums and memorial sites, where speakers will explain how the executioner-victim issue looks from the Polish perspective, based on verified historical research.
The implementation of this idea is intended to bring long-term effects, translate into social change in perceiving that Poles are the second most affected nation after Jews as a result of World War II. The planned actions are meant to encourage substantive international discussion, a change in thinking and perception of history.