Dealing with a Difficult Past: Poland’s Transitional Justice in a Comparative Perspective

Dealing with a Difficult Past: Poland’s Transitional Justice in a Comparative Perspective

Tuesday, 31 May 2016 - 5:00pm to Wednesday, 1 June 2016 - 10:00pm
Nissan Lecture Theater and European Studies Centre, St Anotny's College
Professor Ruti Teitel (New York Law School)
Professor Adam Czarnota (University of South Wales)
Dr Magdalena Gawin (Ministry of Culture and National Heritage)
Agnieszka Holland (Film director and scriptwriter)
Timothy Garton Ash, Andrzej Rapaczynski (Columbia University), Mikołaj Kunicki (University of Oxford), Karolina Wigura (St Antony's College, University of Oxford)
POMP Core Events

The Programme on Modern Poland (POMP) at Oxford University warmly invites you to the international conference “Dealing with a Difficult Past, Looking into the Future: Transitional Justice in Poland in a Comparative Perspective”.

Lustration, opening the files, compensation for damages, Nazi and Communist crimes, Jewish-Polish relations, educating the public, atonement, forgiveness, reconciliation, justice. These are just a few notions repeated numerously over the past 27 years in Poland since embarking on a democratic trajectory. While other countries like Germany, Japan and South Africa have struggled to reconcile with difficult pasts, the Polish case proves to be one of the most complicated. Poland’s geopolitical location in the 20th century resulted in a series of atrocities, including the consequences of two totalitarian regimes, two wars, genocide and the fallout from a long-lasting authoritarian communist regime. Poles were treated as victims, perpetrators, passive observers – all these roles were very often interpenetrating within one single biography.

Has Poland managed to deal with its past? How does the Polish case compare with the experiences of other countries which have faced comparable challenges?

Conference panelists include Polish and international scholars who are experts in the field of transitional justice and related fields: Timothy Garton Ash, Adam Czarnota, Roman David, Magdalena Gawin, Jan Tomasz Gross, Kriszta Kovács, Jan Kubik, Jarosław Kuisz, Eva-Clarita Pettai, Aleks Szczerbiak, Ruti Teitel, Karolina Wigura, Jan Zielonka and others.

When: 31 May – 1 June 2016

Where: St. Antony’s College, Oxford University

Portions of the conference will be broadcast online via Kultura Liberalna’s You Tube channel Tuesday 5 PM (GMT+1).

Viewers will have the opportunity to ask the panellists questions and comment on their speeches on St Antony’s College’s Twitter (@StAntsCollege / #difficultpast).

More information can be found on the event Facebook page:

Why is it important to support Polish studies initiatives worldwide?

Despite Poland’s economic and political successes and geopolitical significance, Poland recognisability as a global player is not readily manifest. The Programme on Modern Poland is seeks to help rectify this by robustly supporting initiatives to heighten the profile of Poland’s location in international relations. Educational projects situated at top world universities will reach thousands of outstanding students. It is intended for these programmes to become a breeding ground for “ambassadors and friends of contemporary Poland”, a place where future leaders and decision-makers from throughout the entire world, specialists in economy and international relations, will get to know Poland as a regional leader.

The Programme on Modern Poland at the Oxford University is the first programme of studies on contemporary Poland and transformations after 1989 based outside of Poland itself. The programme was initiated by outstanding scholars, including Professor Norman Davies and Professor Timothy Garton Ash. The programme’s honorary patrons include former Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki (1927-2013) and Professor Zbigniew Pelczynski. Dr Leszek Czarnecki, of the Noble Bank and the Oxford Noble Foundation, founded the Programme on Modern Poland in 2012.