"Conscience cannot be delegalized". On the closure of Memorial International - Instytut Pileckiego

"Conscience cannot be delegalized". On the closure of Memorial International

On 28 December, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation endorsed the request from the Prosecutor General’s Office of Russia and ordered the closure of Memorial International.

                                                                                 

                                                                                   Suwałki, 17 January 2022

"Conscience cannot be delegalized". On the closure of Memorial International

 

On 28 December, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation endorsed the request from the Prosecutor General’s Office of Russia and ordered the closure of Memorial International. This is a major blow in the fight for the memory of millions of victims of Communist terror in the former Soviet Union and other countries of East-Central Europe – including the victims of the Augustów Roundup.

Since its establishment in 1989, Memorial International has been fighting for historical truth – truth based on a thorough and accurate analysis of documents, especially those held in Russian archives, access to which is either restricted or in some cases completely denied. The achievements of historians affiliated with Memorial include finding Lavrentiy Beria’s note of 5 March 1940 in which he approved implementation of the Katyn Massacre, as well as documents concerning the Polish Operation in the USSR in the years 1937–1938. They also established a monumental database of victims of political terror in the USSR, which comprises more than 3 million people, including hundreds of thousands of Poles who had suffered repression at the hands of the Soviet regime.

It was the Memorial historians who discovered and published numerous crucial documents on the course and aftermath of the Augustów Roundup – the greatest crime committed against the Poles after the Second World War. Among these documents is a Soviet dispatch dated 21 July 1945 which was disclosed to the public in 2011 and confirms that those who were detained in the Augustów Forest in July 1945 were executed by the repressive apparatus of the Soviet regime in an unknown location. The families of the victims of the Augustów Roundup were thus confirmed in their suspicions that their loved ones had been brutally murdered.

We know that Russian archives still hold classified documents that could help answer the most pressing questions, especially concerning the location of the death pits that contain the remains of the victims of the Augustów Roundup. In this way, after so many years, it would be possible to find them, identify them and give them a proper burial. We are deeply convinced that one day all these documents will be disclosed, and the truth about Communist crimes will be revealed. For this reason, the decision to abolish Memorial International, one of the last guardians of that truth in Russia, has been met with strong objection on our part.

We send our feelings of appreciation and support to Memorial International – all its members, activists and friends. We sympathize with persecuted Russian historians, archivists and champions of human rights. We wish to thank you for your patient hard work during all these years and declare our readiness to support all activities aimed at promoting the historical truth and the memory of the victims of 20th-century communist crimes.

Memorial is “the conscience of Russia”, and conscience cannot be delegalized.

 

Initiators:

Dr Wojciech Kozłowski, Deputy Director of the Pilecki Institute 

Bogna Janke, Secretary of State in the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland

Ambassador Andrew Bremberg, President & CEO of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC)

David Satter, Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC)

Dr Elizabeth Edwards Spalding, Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC)

James Bartholomew, Director of the Museum of Communist Terror

Prof. Ewa Thompson, Rice University

Prof. Claudia Weber, European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder)

Prof. Richard Butterwick-Pawlikowski, University College London

Prof. Wojciech Śleszyński, Director of the Sybir Memorial Museum in Białystok 

Prof. Małgorzata Dajnowicz, Podlasie Voivodship Monument Conservator

Prof. Tadeusz Rutkowski, University of Warsaw

Prof. Patrycja Grzebyk, University of Warsaw

Prof. Maciej Urbanowski, Jagiellonian University

Prof. Grzegorz Berendt, Institute of History of the University of Gdańsk

Prof. Zbigniew Stawrowski, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw

Prof. Paweł Kaczorowski, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw

Prof. Wojciech Fałkowski, University of Warsaw

Prof. Marek A. Cichocki, Collegium Civitas

prof. Małgorzata Gmurczyk-Wrońska, The Institute of History of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw

Prof. Mariusz Wołos, The Institute of History of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, The Pedagogical University of Cracow

Prof. Włodzimierz Bolecki, Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences

Prof. Marek Kornat, The Institute of History of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw

Prof. Maciej Janowski, The Institute of History of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw

Prof. Piotr Madajczyk, The Institute of Political Science of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw 

Prof. Paweł Skibiński, University of Warsaw

Prof. Jakub Wojtkowiak, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań

Prof. Grzegorz Kucharczyk, The Institute of History of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, The Center for Totalitarian Studies of the Pilecki Institute

Prof. Andrzej Zawistowski, SGH Warsaw School of Economics, The Center for Totalitarian Studies of the Pilecki Institute

prof. Witold Stankowski, The Center for Totalitarian Studies of the Pilecki Institute

Prof. Roger Moorhouse, University of London 

Prof. Piotr Nowak, University of Białystok, "Kronos" quarterly

Prof. Piotr Kulicki, John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin

Dr Oktawian Kuc

Dr Filip Doroszewski, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw

Dr Maciej Pieczyński, Institute of Literature and New Media of the University of Szczecin, the weekly "Do Rzeczy"

Dr Karol Nawrocki, President of the Institute of National Remembrance

Dr Maciej Wyrwa, Center for Polish-Russian Dialogue and Understanding 

Dr Marcin Zwolski, Sybir Memorial Museum in Białystok

Dr Tomasz Danilecki, Sybir Memorial Museum in Białystok

Dr Wojciech Stanisławski, Polish History Museum

Dr Dmitrij Panto, Museum of the Second World War

Dr Paweł Ukielski, Deputy Director of the Warsaw Uprising Museum

Dr Jerzy Brzozowski, Director of the District Museum in Suwałki

Dr Adolf Juzwenko, Director of the Ossoliński National Institute

Dr Łukasz Michalski, Director of State Publishing Institute PIW

Dr Mikołaj Mirowski, editor-in-chief of "Pleograf" quaterly, National Film Archive – Audiovisual Institute FINA

Dr Radosław Wiśniewski, Borderland Museum in Działdowo

Dr Dariusz Karłowicz, Teologia Polityczna

Dr Joanna Kurczab, The Institute of Law Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences

Dr Mikołaj Getka-Kenig, The Institute of History of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw

Dr Wojciech Łysek, The Institute of Political Science of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw

Dr Dorota Sadowska, University of Warsaw

Tomasz Stefanek, Plenipotentiary of the Director for Program Affairs in the Pilecki Institute

Dr Martyna Rusiniak-Karwat, The Institute of Political Science of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, The Center for Totalitarian Studies of the Pilecki Institute

Dr Krystian Wiciarz, The Center for Totalitarian Studies of the Pilecki Institute

Dr Agnieszka KonikThe Center for Totalitarian Studies of the Pilecki Institute

Dr Jerzy Rohoziński, The Center for Totalitarian Studies of the Pilecki Institute

Dr Marcin Panecki, The Center for Totalitarian Studies of the Pilecki Institute

Dr Bartłomiej Kapica, The Center for Totalitarian Studies of the Pilecki Institute

Dr Anna Ciałowicz, The Center for Totalitarian Studies of the Pilecki Institute

Dr Mateusz Werner, The Center for Totalitarian Studies of the Pilecki Institute

Dr Barbara Świtalska-Starzeńska, The Center for Totalitarian Studies of the Pilecki Institute

Dr John Cornell, The Center for Totalitarian Studies of the Pilecki Institute

Dr Dominika Uczkiewicz, The Center for Totalitarian Studies of the Pilecki Institute

Dr Mariola Serafin, The Center for Totalitarian Studies of the Pilecki Institute

Dr Anna Stróż-Pawłowska, Pilecki Institute

Bartosz Gralicki, Plenipotentiary of the Director for the Commemoration of the Augustów Roundup (the Pilecki Institute)

Halina Matvijenko, The Center for Totalitarian Studies of the Pilecki Institute

Emilia Dziewiecka, The Center for Totalitarian Studies of the Pilecki Institute

Albert Stankowski, Director of the Warsaw Ghetto Museum

Robert Kostro, Director of Polish History Museum

Barbara Schabowska, Director of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute

Artur Hofman, Chairman of the Social and Cultural Association of Jews in Poland

Tadeusz Radziwonowicz, Director of the National Archives in Suwałki 

Katarzyna Meissner, Director of the National Institute of Music and Dance

Ewa Sznejder, Director of the Museum of Nature in Drozdowo

Katarzyna Ziętal, Director of the Center of Community Archives

Małgorzata Pankowska-Dowgiało, Center of Community Archives

Barbara Bojaryn-Kazberuk, Director of the Podlaski Cultural Institute 

Piotr Legutko, Director of TVP Historia

Dariusz Jaworski, Director of the Book Institute

Zbigniew Gluza, President of the KARTA Center

Natalia Krzywicka, The Institute of National Remembrance

Alina Nowobilska, The Pilecki Institute

Monika Maniewska, The Pilecki Institute

Olga Lebedeva, The Pilecki Institute

Anna Łozińska, The Pilecki Institute

Krzysztof Wiśniewski, The Pilecki Institute

Bartłomiej Zygmunt, The Pilecki Institute

Jakub Fornalczyk, The Pilecki Institute

Kamila Sachnowska, The Pilecki Institute

Paulina Wiśniewska, The Pilecki Institute

Weronika Dorociak, The Pilecki Institute

Iwona Jabłońska, The Pilecki Institute

Agnieszka Kleczkowska, Lodz University of Technology

Adam Zawadzki, Chairman of the “Thank you for Freedom” Foundation

Małgorzata Gorczewska, Vice Chairman of the Freedom and Peace Foundation 

Henryka Rzepecka, Association for the Remembrance of Siberian Exiles

Dariusz Zalewski, Vice Chairman of the Freedom and Peace Foundation 

Marek Krukowski, Chairman of the Council of the Freedom and Peace Foundation 

Witold Kowalewski, the Starost of Suwalki County

Artur Łuniewski, the Vice Starost of Suwalki County

Mirosław Karolczuk, the Mayor of Augustow

Alicja Dobrowolska, Chairman of the Augustow City Council 

Andrzej Matusiewicz, “Suwalski Słownik Biograficzny”

Krzysztof Kosior, great-grandson of Witold Pilecki

Tomasz Wróblewski, journalist

Piotr Semka, journalist

Piotr Gursztyn, journalist

Magdalena Łysiak, journalist

Bronisław Wildstein, journalist

Dawid Wildstein, journalist

Filip Memches, journalist

Callum Wall

Ryszard Waszkiewicz

Katarzyna Szatkowska 

Urszula Mozol

Wojciech Stankiewicz

Wojciech Zagrajek 

Jan Łuczyszyn

Paweł Bortkiewicz

Robert Okinczyc 

 

The statement is open for signing. We encourage both organizations and individuals to voice their support for Memorial. Contact us at: augustow@instytutpileckiego.pl

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