The Jewish Historical Institute was founded just after World War II and is the oldest institution in the world whose mission is to conduct research on the Holocaust and the history of Polish Jews. For several dozen years it operated within the framework of the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland. Our main goals were to document the Holocaust and the history of Polish Jews, to build collections, conduct academic research and popularize the findings. These activities were possible because the Institute was always headed by outstanding scholars of Jewish history in Poland, including Bernard Mark, Szymon Datner and Maurycy Horn. It was thanks to their work that a collection was created, which today is used by the researchers and staff of the Institute as well as by visiting scholars from all over the world.
In 1994, in agreement with the relevant ministries, the Association split off the Jewish Historical Institute – Academic and Research Institute (currently the E. Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute) which was overseen by the Ministry of Culture and Art. This institution continued its academic and research work under the direction of further outstanding scholars: Prof. Daniel Grinberg, Prof. Feliks Tych, Dr. Eleonora Bergman, and Prof. Paweł Śpiewak. Its activities, crucial when it comes to the history of Jews in Poland, could be carried out thanks to the Association’s archival, library and museum collections kept in the building of the former Main Judaic Library, which is also owned by the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland. The functioning of the Institute is possible thanks to a public-private partnership with the Association, as confirmed in the provisions of the statutes of both institutions. It is also worth emphasizing that the Institute has gained an excellent reputation in the world and its statutory activity is an element of Polish-Jewish and Polish-Israeli dialogue.
Ever since the Institute was separated from the Association, each successive director has been chosen in agreement with us. We are surprised that this year this long-standing practice has been discontinued and we were not invited to discuss the selection of candidates. Our Association is very interested in entrusting the helm of the Institute to a person who meets the substantive and formal requirements set both by the Ministry and the owner of the vast majority of the collections on which the Institute’s work is based. Thinking about the qualifications of the future director, we believe that this person must meet the following criteria:
1) have recognized academic achievements in the field of the history of Polish Jews or related fields;
2) have many years of experience working in a public cultural or academic institution;
3) have extensive international academic contacts;
4) have an untarnished reputation and enjoy the support of the Jewish community in Poland, broadly understood;
5) have a substantive plan approved by the Institute’s academic council.
It is our wish that the future director be a guarantor of maintaining the international position of the Institute, which is one of the six most important institutions in the world preserving the legacy of Polish Jews and the testimony of the Holocaust. He also should guarantee that all agreements reached so far be maintained and cooperation with our Association.
Taking into account the above criteria, the Board of the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland decided to support and still supports the proposition of the Programme Board of the Institute to appoint prof. Anna Landau Czajka to the position of director of the E. Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute.
On behalf of the Board
Chairman of the Board
Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland