‘NEVER AGAIN’ WELCOMES ICJ RULING ON MYANMAR GENOCIDE AHEAD OF INTERNATIONAL HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association has welcomed the International Court of Justice ruling on the case concerning genocide against the Rohingya minority committed in Myanmar (Burma).

The ICJ, based in The Hague (Netherlands), ruled on 23 January that Myanmar must protect the Rohingya population. The court ordered Myanmar to take emergency measures to prevent genocide against the Rohingya.

Co-founder of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Rafal Pankowski was present in The Hague on the day of the ruling. He said: – ‘We welcome the ICJ decision and hope justice for the Rohingya will be delivered. Myanmar’s greatness is to be found in her diversity and the Rohingya must be treated with respect, their rights as citizens must be fully restored, their suffering must be recognized and compensated. Symbolically, the ICJ ruling was announced just days before the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau on 27th January, the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Genocide and genocide denial must not be ignored by the international community.’

The Rohingya have been described by the United Nations as the world’s most persecuted ethnic minority.

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Members of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association had visited Myanmar in solidarity with the local human rights activists in August 2018. In November 2019, representatives of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Rafal Pankowski and Natalia Sineaeva visited the Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazaar (Bangladesh). During the visit, representatives of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ met with refugees as well as medical personnel and civil society representatives.

Also on 23 January, in the run up to the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association’s representative Anna Tatar delivered a keynote speech at a conference on ‘The Rise of Hate Crimes and the Role of Youth in Countering Them’, co-organized with Warsaw’s Collegium Civitas university and the Youth for Peace student group under the heading ‘Varsovians against Violence’. Students coming from numerous countries and continents demonstrated their solidarity with the victims of hate crimes and hate speech in Poland and elsewhere.

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an independent organization established in Warsaw in 1996. It has campaigned against racism, antisemitism and xenophobia, for peace, intercultural dialogue and human rights both in Poland and internationally.

More information:

www.neveragainassociation.org

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‘NEVER AGAIN’ ACTIVE IN BANGLADESH

Members of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association participated in the international conference ‘Genocide and Justice with a special focus on the Rohingya persecution’ held at the Liberation War Museum in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. They also participated in meetings in other Bangladeshi cities.

The conference was opened by the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh Dr A.K. Abdul Momen and attended by academics and activists from the countries of South Asia and beyond.

It took place on 16-18 November 2019. The discussions covered a broad spectrum of topics related to genocide and human rights.

In her speech during the concluding ceremony Natalia Sineaeva remembered the victims of the Warsaw Ghetto. She stressed: – ‘It is our task, genocide scholars, museum workers, and human rights activists to apply the experience of the past atrocities to prevent future violence and to address contemporary examples of human rights violations.’ Natalia Sineaeva (who is a Rotary Peace Fellow Alumni and IEP Peace Ambassador) was also a panelist during a conference session on ‘Ensuring Justice through Art Forms and Memorialisation’ where she presented several case studies of genocide museums and memory sites in Europe and Asia.

‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association co-founder and Collegium Civitas Professor Rafal Pankowski provided a presentation entitled: ‘The Holocaust in Poland and Genocide in Asia: Does the Tragic Past Bring Us Closer?’ Among other things, he highlighted the current ‘White Rose’ initiative of Buddhist Burmese youth in solidarity with the persecuted Muslims in Myanmar. It was apparently inspired by the anti-Nazi resistance group under the same name during the Third Reich.

Ven. Thirasattho Bhikkhu Lablu Barua, a Buddhist scholar and peace activist based in Thailand (a PhD candidate at the Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University and an IEP Peace Ambassador) who is a longtime friend of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association‎ also actively participated in the conference discussions. He emphasized the importance of intercultural understanding and awareness in addressing conflict and warned against the frequent manipulation of religion by extremist propaganda.

Moreover, members of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ partook in a number of meetings with Bangladeshi‎ intellectuals and community leaders discussing future cooperation. It included a meeting with Shahriar Kabir, the president of the Forum for Secular Bangladesh and Trial of War Criminals of 1971 and general secretary of the South Asian People’s Union against Fundamentalism & Communalism. The veteran writer, journalist and film maker reminisced how the knowledge about the Holocaust and World War II in Poland inspired him in his quest for justice for the victims of the 1971 genocide in Bangladesh.

The representatives of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ also joined in an activity organized by Mohra Century Morning Friends – a unique project in the southern city of Chittagong bringing together members of the Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Christian communities of all ages through joint sports and music activities‎ in a region threatened by communal strife and conflict.

Importantly, members of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ visited one of the world’s largest refugee camps located in the region of Cox’s Bazaar‎ near the border between Bangladesh and Myanmar. The Rohingya refugees from Myanmar are survivors of the ongoing genocidal campaign conducted by the Myanmar military. They have been described by the United Nations as the world’s most persecuted ethnic minority. Bangladesh accepted almost one million Rohingya refugees in the recent years. During the visit, representatives of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ met with refugees as well as medical personnel and workers of humanitarian organizations. They talked about the most pressing needs and challenges of life in the camp as well as ways to express solidarity.

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an independent organization established in Warsaw in 1996. ‘NEVER AGAIN’ has campaigned against racism, antisemitism and xenophobia, for peace, intercultural dialogue and human rights both in Poland and internationally.

More information:

www.neveragainassociation.org

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‘NEVER AGAIN’ AS AN INSPIRATION FOR CIVIL SOCIETY IN ASIA

The activity of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association was the subject of a special workshop held at the prestigious Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand.

The two-day workshop took place on 14-15 September 2019 under the title ‘The People vs Extremism & Populist Radical Right in Europe: Impact and Experiences of European Civil Society Networks’. It focused on the experiences of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ in the field of international cooperation against racism, hate speech and hate crime. The session was conducted by Rafal Pankowski, co-founder of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association and sociology professor at Warsaw’s Collegium Civitas who has been a visiting lecturer at Chulalongkorn University in 2018 and 2019. The workshop was attended by several dozen participants from Thailand and other countries including Bangladesh, China, and France.

Chulalongkorn University was established in 1917 and its name commemorates king Chulalongkorn (Rama V), the monarch of Siam (Thailand) who abolished slavery. It is ranked among the best universities in Southeast Asia.

The workshop is one among numerous activities recently undertaken by the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association together with its friends and partners in Asia. On 25-30 August, Rafal Pankowski participated in the Flying University of Transnational Humanities under the title ‘The Holocaust meets the post-colonial in the global memory space’ held at Sogang University in Seoul, South Korea. During a heated debate at that international forum, the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ representative defended the importance of genocide memory as a cognitive and discursive tool and point of reference in the current-day struggles for moral, social and political progress. On 2 September, Pankowski delivered a lecture entitled ‘Nationalist populism in Central Europe: the case of Poland’ at the University of Tokyo, Japan. The model of Polish-German reconciliation was mentioned by several participants as a possible inspiration for the Korean-Japanese relationship.

On 28-30 August, Natalia Sineaeva represented ‘NEVER AGAIN’ at the international conference on ‘Genocide, Memory and Peace’ organized by UNESCO at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (the former Khmer Rouge prison and extermination centre) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. On 17-20 September, she shared the experiences of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association during the Informal Training Seminar on ‘Human Rights and Prevention of Violent Extremism’ hosted by the Asia-Europe Foundation in New Delhi, India.

Meanwhile in Poland, the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association has been a partner of a new exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw entitled ‘Never Again. Art Against War and Fascism in the 20th and 21st Centuries’. The exhibition provoked another attack against ‘NEVER AGAIN’ on the Polish (state-controlled) television which called it ‘stupid propaganda’. Polish state TV has attacked ‘NEVER AGAIN’ already several times this year. The Polish Human Rights Commissioner (Ombudsman) Adam Bodnar protested against the defamation. In a formal letter to the National Council on Radio and Television, the Ombudsman wrote the attacks had ‘no substance’ and they ‘could be considered an attempt to discredit (…) actions against racism and antisemitism in Poland. The statements (…) are problematic in the light of the mission of the public media and they trivialize the danger of such harmful phenomena as hate speech and antisemitism.’

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an independent organization established in Warsaw in 1996. ‘NEVER AGAIN’ has campaigned against racism, antisemitism and xenophobia, for peace, intercultural dialogue and human rights both in Poland and internationally.

More information:

www.neveragainassociation.org
www.facebook.com/Respect.Diversity
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THE MISSING PICTURE: RETHINKING GENOCIDE STUDIES AND PREVENTION

Members of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association were honoured by the invitation to speak at the global congress of the International Association of Genocide Scholars held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

The IAGS conference entitled ‘The Missing Picture: Rethinking Genocide Studies and Prevention’ gathered around 500 intellectuals, researchers, and civil society representatives from all over the world. It was held at the American University of Phnom Penh on 14-19 July 2019. A special meeting with the Oscar-nominated renowned Cambodian filmmaker Rithy Panh was a highlight of the conference programme.

During the conference, Natalia Sineaeva presented a paper on ‘Museums as Spaces for Dealing with Difficult Knowledge: Examples from Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia’, Rafal Pankowski spoke on ‘Polish Entries at Tuol Sleng in 1979 and the Issues of Polish-Cambodian Genocide Analogies’. Nickey Diamond, a friend of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ from Myanmar, presented the subject of ‘Securitization of Islam in Myanmar: Security Discourse Analysis on the Mass Atrocities against Rohingya Muslims’.

After the conference, Natalia Sineaeva, Rafal Pankowski and Ali Al-Asani conducted two full-day workshops in Phnom Penh under the heading ‘An Introduction to the History of the Holocaust’. The well-attended workshops (in English and Khmer languages) were co-organized by ‘NEVER AGAIN’ and the Heinrich Boell Foundation Cambodia and took place at the office of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation on 23 and 27 July. Around fifty participants included Cambodian human rights activists, academics and students. The themes of genocide, resistance and dealing with the past were discussed alongside the parallels and differences between the tragic chapters of European and Asian histories.

– ‘We want to share our knowledge, but our aim is also to learn from our Cambodian friends, from their unique perspective and experiences’ – said Natalia Sineaeva, a ‘NEVER AGAIN’ member and International Rotary Peace Fellow 2018.

The activities in Cambodia illustrate the long-standing commitment of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association to support genocide commemoration and prevention, peace and intercultural dialogue both in Europe and in the region of Southeast Asia. Future Polish-Cambodian meetings, publications and other activities are planned, also in cooperation with the Cambodian diaspora.

Other international events with the participation of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association members and supporters are scheduled to take place over the next weeks and months in Thailand, South Korea and Japan.

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an independent educational and research organization established in Warsaw in 1996. It has campaigned against racism, antisemitism and xenophobia in Poland and internationally.

More information:

www.nigdywiecej.org

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‘NEVER AGAIN’ ASSOCIATION ON A US STATE DEPARTMENT VISIT

The United States State Department and the US Embassy in Warsaw invited a representative of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association to participate in the prestigious International Visitor Leadership Program devoted to combatting violent extremism. During the three weeks (18 May – 8 June 2019) spent in Washington, Chattanooga, Montgomery, San Francisco and Boston, Dr. Anna Tatar took part in a series of meetings with representatives of various American institutions, NGOs, journalists and leaders of local communities. 

– ‘America is a country built by immigrants from many places around the world and I was able to observe what such diversity means. We met many people who had come to the USA from the farthest corners of the globe, as well as first, or next generations immigrants born in the States. Respect for the fact that their identity may be complex and subject to personal choices is one of the most important contemporary issues,’ said Ms. Tatar. – ‘At the same time, racial discrimination is still a serious problem, which is manifested most of all in the American justice system. One of the frequent topics of our discussions was the violent behaviour of the police towards Afro-American citizens.’

During her stay in the USA, Anna Tatar visited places with significant ties to the history of slavery and racial persecution, including Montgomery, Alabama, which in the nineteenth century was the centre of slave trade. She visited the Baptist church at Dexter Avenue, known for its famous pastor, Civil Rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Dr Martin Luther King Jr. She was honoured to meet Mrs. Jeannie Graetz, who together with her husband, Rev. Robert Graetz, supported the so-called bus boycott (a peaceful protest against racial segregation on the public transport system) and then became a leading figure in the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s.

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ representative also visited the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC and the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Centre, which is one of the largest mosques and Muslim culture centres in the USA. At the editorial office of ‘TIME’ magazine she had the opportunity to take part in discussions about the standards of public debate and the levels of hate speech in Poland and the USA. During these meetings, she presented the activities of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association and referred to the examples of xenophobic violence documented in the ‘Brown Book’ prepared by the Association.

Following her US trip, on 14 June, Anna Tatar participated in an international conference on hate speech organized in Vienna by The World of NGOs together with the Faculty of Political Science of Vienna University. As a member of the discussion panel, the representative of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ elaborated on the long-term activities undertaken by the Association against the spread of racist propaganda on the Internet. She talked about the problem of inadequate enforcement of the laws against the propagation of hatred. As an example, she described the fascist concerts which have been freely organized in Poland for many years now.

On May 29, 2019, the Warsaw-Praga District Court dismissed criminal proceedings brought against Anna Tatar. She had been accused of libel in connection with critical statements made about an extreme-nationalist event known as the Eagle’s Nest Festival. The court upheld the verdict of the court of first instance and confirmed that there was a ‘complete lack of factual grounds for the accusation’. It was emphasised in the judgement that the representative of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association had the right to speak in a legitimate defence of the public interest. 

In May 2019, Anna Tatar and Joanna Naranowicz were awarded prizes by the Australian-based Jerzy Boniecki Independent Foundation for the Promotion of Polish Culture (Polcul) for their roles in the activities of ‘NEVER AGAIN’. The award ceremony took place at the Warsaw Uprising Museum on 25 May. Joanna Naranowicz is a vocalist of the rock band Qulturka and the animator of the ‘Music Against Racism’ campaign – she received a distinction for ‘the continuous and extremely effective propagation of pluralism and tolerance, and her efforts in combating ethnic and religious prejudices’. Anna Tatar received one for ‘propagating tolerance and pluralism in relation to ethnic and religious minorities and for her journalistic and scientific work over many years relating to the sources of xenophobia and racist violence.’

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an independent organization established in Warsaw in 1996. ‘NEVER AGAIN’ has campaigned against racism, antisemitism and xenophobia, for peace, intercultural dialogue and human rights both in Poland and internationally.

More information:

www.nigdywiecej.org
www.facebook.com/Respect.Diversity
www.twitter.com/StowNIGDYWIECEJ

THE GLOBAL AND LOCAL STRUGGLE AGAINST RACIST EXTREMISM

The team of the ‚NEVER AGAIN’ Association has been working tirelessly on global and local challenges of xenophobia, discrimination, hatred and extremism. In the last days, members of the Warsaw-based anti-racist organization have actively taken part in several important initiatives on international, national, and grass-roots levels.

On 1-3 November, Adam Kuczynski represented ‚NEVER AGAIN’ at the international seminar ‚United for Equality’ organized in Paris by Maisons des Potes, focusing on the rise of the far right across Europe.

On 1-4 November, Natalia Sineaeva-Pankowska (a ‚NEVER AGAIN’ member and a Rotary Peace Fellow) participated in the ‚Lessons and Legacies of the Holocaust’ conference held at Washington University in St. Louis (USA) as a panelist on the topic of ‎’Forgetting the Holocaust in the global era of remembrance’. ‎The biannual international conference is the premier intellectual gathering in Holocaust studies.

On 5-8 November, Collegium Civitas Professor Rafal Pankowski‎, co-founder of ‚NEVER AGAIN’, shared the association’s experiences at the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Seminar on Human Rights and Preventing Violent Extremism held in Yogyakarta (Indonesia). The ASEM is a forum for dialogue and cooperation established in 1996 to deepen relations between Asia and Europe. Members include 53 countries from both continents.

On 6 November, a public meeting about cooperation and solidarity with Polish anti-racists was held at Leith Community Education Centre in Edinburgh (organized by the Stand Up To Racism Scotland coalition) and the ‚NEVER AGAIN’ Association was represented by Witold Liliental.

On 10 November, an inclusive celebration of the centenary of Polish independence takes place in Hamilton (Canada), reaching out to Jewish, Muslim and other communities. The event, organized by members of the Polish-Canadian community and supported by the ‚NEVER AGAIN’ Association, is among a number of activities in the run-up to Poland’s Independence Day (11 November). In the last years, the national holiday was dominated by a large far-right march organized in the streets of Warsaw by extremist groups. Another such march is expected to take place on 11 November 2018, with the participation of islamophobic, antisemitic and neo-fascist groups from all over Europe.

Throughout November, ‚NEVER AGAIN’ organizes and supports initiatives promoting an inclusive approach to Polish identity, challenging the growth of ethno-nationalism through a social media campaign using a ‚Poland for All’ hashtag, a literary competition for young people and grass-roots activities including a series of rock concerts under the headline ‚Music Against Racism’, some of them linked with the commemoration of the anniversary of the Kristallnacht pogrom (9 November 1938). For example, on 2 and 3 November, the well-known Polish band Dezerter played concerts with the ‚Music Against Racism’ theme in Malbork and Ostróda. On 3 November, a special ‚Music Against Racism’ show took place in Warsaw, featuring bands such as Human Rights, Uliczny Opryszek and RHL Ensemble, a new band formed by the legendary bard Janusz Reichel. ‚NEVER AGAIN’ activist Izabela Glowacka prepared and coordinated the promotion of anti-racist messages at the event.

On 9 November, Polish and Belorussian rock bands play under the ‚Music Against Racism’ banner at a festival co-organized in cooperation with ‚NEVER AGAIN’ by the local Museum and Belarussian Cultural Centre in Hajnowka.

On the same day, ‚NEVER AGAIN’ supports a conference entitled ‚Stop hate speech’ taking place in Zagorow with the participation of Bartlomiej Grzanka, director of the Kulmhof Death Camp Museum in Chelmno, and law enforcement representatives. A series of presentations and workshops takes place in local schools using materials provided by the ‚NEVER AGAIN’ Association.

On 12 November, the Warsaw Jewish Film Festival starts in Warsaw, also with the support of the ‚NEVER AGAIN’ Association. This year’s edition of the festival has a special significance in the context of an unprecedented wave of antisemitic statements in Polish media and politics which swept the country earlier this year.

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association was founded in 1996 by Marcin Kornak (who passed away in 2014). ‘NEVER AGAIN’ has campaigned against racism and xenophobia, for peace, intercultural dialogue and human rights both in Poland and internationally.

Additional information:

www.nigdywiecej.org
www.facebook.com/Respect.Diversity
www.twitter.com/StowNIGDYWIECEJ

NEVER AGAIN: Activities in South-East Asia

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association has actively participated in South-East Asian initiatives for intercultural dialogue, peace, and genocide commemoration.

On 22-25 July 2018, members of ‘NEVER AGAIN participated in the conference on ‘Dealing With The Past: Aspects of Trauma and Healing’ held in Phnom Penh by the Heinrich Boell Foundation (Cambodia Office) in cooperation with Metahouse Cultural Centre and First Step Cambodia. The conference was a follow-up to the seminars on dealing with the past and genocide commemoration organized by the Heinrich Boell Foundation (Cambodia) and the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association in Phnom Penh and Warsaw in 2017.

Representatives of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ once more paid tribute to the victims at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and met with Chum Mey, one of the seven survivors of the Tuol Sleng torture and extermination centre, the leader of the Association of Victims of the Khmer Rouge Regime. During the conference, members of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ presented their perspectives on Holocaust commemoration and the current efforts in the global fight against hate speech and hate crimes.

The Phnom Penh conference was coordinated by Ali Al-Nasani, the director of the Heinrich Boell Foundation Cambodia Office and Dara Bramson, an interdisciplinary researcher and a longtime friend of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association.

On 30 July, the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association initiates a movie evening and a panel discussion about Angelina Jolie’s recent film on the Cambodian genocide, ‘First They Killed My Father’. The event is held at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok (Thailand) in cooperation with the Rotary Peace Fellowship Program, with the participation of expert speakers from Cambodia, Thailand, Poland, the US, and Germany.

On 19 July, representatives of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ took part in the launch of the report ‘They Gave Them Long Swords. Preparations for Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity Against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State, Myanmar’, published by the South-East Asian human rights NGO Fortify Rights. The event took place at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Bangkok. The report was presented by Kerry Kennedy, daughter of the late US attorney general Robert F. Kennedy and president of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, who had concluded visits to Myanmar and Bangladesh with a high-level delegation in the preceding days. Ms Kennedy was joined by the former US Congressman Tom Andrews and the Myanmar human rights advocate Nickey Diamond. – ‘License to slaughter one group is license to slaughter others’ – said Kerry Kennedy. – ‘From Germany to Cambodia, from Bosnia to Rwanda, again and again we have learned the same lesson, until there’s accountability, the risk of repeated attacks of increasing severity is not just likely, it’s guaranteed.’

– ‘The motto of NEVER AGAIN must not stop with the commemoration of past atrocities, but it has to be a living commitment. We have a long-term dedication to cooperation with our partners across South-East Asia and are determined to assist in all efforts for peace’ – said a representative of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association, Natalia Sineaeva-Pankowska, who is also a Rotary Peace Fellowat Chulalongkorn University.

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association was founded in 1996 by Marcin Kornak, a Polish poet and activist.6. It has campaigned against racism, antisemitism and xenophobia, for peace, intercultural dialogue and human rights both in Poland and internationally. It has conducted anti-racist educational campaigns in the field of music and sports and it has been personally supported by numerous figures including Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders, Lech Walesa, the Dalai Lama and the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton. Stieg Larsson, the late Swedish jo‎urnalist and crime writer, was among the first friends and supporters of ‘NEVER AGAIN’.

Additional information:

www.nigdywiecej.org
www.facebook.com/Respect.Diversity
www.twitter.com/StowNIGDYWIECEJ

 

“NEVER AGAIN” SUPPORTS HOLOCAUST AWARENESS IN EASTERN EUROPE

The “NEVER AGAIN” Association, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, the Jewish Community of Moldova and the Oral History Institute in Chisinau co-organized a series of lectures and discussions with the distinguished historian and War and Society professor at Princeton University, Jan Tomasz Gross.

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The initiative took place in Chisinau (Kishinev), the symbolic site of several centuries of life in a multicultural society as well as the anti-Jewish pogroms in 1903, 1905 and 1941.‎

The events took place at the “House of Nationalities” – the Interethnic Relations Bureau of Moldova (on 13 September) and at the Moldova State University (on 14 September). They were accompanied by numerous interviews, publications and media broadcasts. There was also an additional lecture by a “NEVER AGAIN” member on critical history and identity studies at the Mark Bloch Library/Higher Anthropological School on 11 September, which was attended by dozens of intellectuals, journalists and officials.

The discussions were framed around the publication of Jan Tomasz Gross’s most recent book “Golden Harvest: Events at the Periphery of the Holocaust” in Russian by the St.Petersburg-based renowned publishing house Nestor History with the assistance of the “NEVER AGAIN” Association (translated by Leonid Mosionjnik). Excerpts from the book in Romanian were published by platzforma.md (translated by Viorica Ursu and Vitalie Sprinceana).

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The dialogues were held in English, Russian and Romanian/Moldovan languages. ‎The discussion on 13 September was preceded by a special performance of Nicoletta Esinencu’s ‘Clear History’ by Theatre Spalatorie – Moldova’s foremost alternative theatre group, dealing with the often forgotten issue of the Holocaust in Bessarabia.

Jan Tomasz Gross was born in Warsaw in 1947 and emigrated from Poland having participated in student protests of 1968. In 1975 he defended his doctoral thesis at Yale University. Not only has he served as a guest lecturer at the most prestigious American universities, including Harvard and Stanford, but also at universities in Paris, Vienna, Krakow, Tel-Aviv and other cities. His most recent books “Neighbours” (2001), “Fear” (2006) and “Golden Harvest” (2011) have played a breakthrough role in the consciousness of Eastern European societies. He has drawn attention to the role of the local population (the neighbours) in the Holocaust across Europe. He has inspired many Polish and European historians to study the complexity of the Holocaust and initiated a debate concerning the relations between Jews and their Christian neighbours, antisemitism and post-war violence against Jews in Poland and beyond. The Polish edition of “Golden Harvest” (written with Irena Grudzinska-Gross) became the most important book event in Poland in 2011, when it was published by Znak publishing house in Krakow. The authors were awarded Sybil Halpern Milton Book Prize for the best book on the Holocaust written in 2011 by the German Studies Association (USA).

– “The debate continues and has become essential to the critical identity of Eastern European countries in the post-totalitarian era” – said Natalia Sineaeva-Pankowska who has coordinated the initiative on behalf of the “NEVER AGAIN” Association.

Mark Weitzman of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in New York wrote in his essay prepared especially for the “NEVER AGAIN” Association: “There are historians like Jan and Irena Gross who use history to force us to confront our consciences and to take an unblinking look at the destructive power of unexamined inherited traditions and distorted national myths. We are in their debt for their courage; we would greatly enhance our world if we could follow their examples.”

“NEVER AGAIN” is a Warsaw-based Polish and East European NGO established in 1996, dealing with the commemoration of the Holocaust as well as contemporary issues of diversity and tolerance.

Additional information:

www.nigdywiecej.org
www.facebook.com/Respect.Diversity
www.twitter.com/StowNIGDYWIECEJ