Polish WWII experience should be acknowledged more internationally: historian

Poland's World War II experience should be more and more present in international discourse, said Wojciech Kozłowski, the head of the Pilecki Institute in an interview with Jonasz Rewiński.

The Pilecki Institute is an organisation that serves to commemorate, document and study Polish history of the 20th century. It has just inaugurated its big project, the digital archives, which is designed to serve as a big hub for exploring history.

Click here to watch the full interview.

The collection includes various pieces of information gathered across Poland and beyond. Much of which comes from the German state archives, which is a result of the cooperation between these two entities. Mr Kozłowski pointed out that a lot of these materials have not yet been used by historians.

In the opinion of the institute’s head, the project is certainly good news for domestic scholars, who may find relevant information in the large digital collection accessible via the Internet instead of travelling abroad in search of relevant pieces, often spending weeks away from home.

The new project of the Pilecki Institute is another step towards raising social awareness about the history of WWII and the Polish experience of confronting two totalitarian regimes. Wojciech Kozłowski stated that the period in question was a part of universal human experience and should be more present in international discussion and available for overseas audiences.

Apart from research, the Institute is conducting various activities to keep society informed about the Polish WWII experience: putting up exhibitions, publishing books in foreign languages and entering partnership programmes.

Speaking about the institute’s patron, Witold Pilecki, considered one of the greatest heroes of World War II, Wojciech Kozłowski stressed his indisputable position in Polish history, and pointed out that he was a symbol of a fight against two regimes.

Mr Kozłowski also recalled Pilecki’s role in informing the world about the German atrocities in concentration camps. He volunteered to infiltrate Auschwitz, where he witnessed the origins of the Holocaust.