Statement of the President of the Board of the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland

Read the statement below.

On behalf of the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland, I would like to express my deepest concern over allegations by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage that falsely accuse Professor Dariusz Stola of breaching POLIN Museum’s statute and POLIN Museum of engaging in political activity under his management.

POLIN Museum was founded by three bodies. The Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland initiated the idea to build the Museum and ran the project unaided until 2005, when the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and the City of Warsaw joined the Association to found the Museum. Every year the three co-founders are presented with the annual report on the Museum’s activities. The POLIN Museum Council, which includes representatives of the three co-founders, is obliged by the statute to assess the Museum’s activities. The Council has never questioned any of the annual reports. On the contrary, during Professor Stola’s term as Director, POLIN Museum has been recognized for its continued success and numerous achievements with the most prestigious museum awards in Poland and Europe. It has received the highest public accolades and garnered praise from representatives of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.

To be sure, everyone has the right to criticize POLIN Museum’s program, but not to falsely accuse Professor Stola of violating the Museum’s statute or of politicizing the institution, as Minister Piotr Gliński has done. Not only are these allegations entirely unfounded, but also they undermine the credibility of one of Poland’s greatest museums and one of the world’s greatest Jewish museums. That credibility is the sine qua non of POLIN Museum’s existence.

I must express growing alarm and great disappointment that all requests for a meeting with Minister Gliński by the Association and by the Mayor of Warsaw have remained unanswered. Without such a meeting, POLIN Museum’s co-founders cannot work together to address the current situation. We must clarify why Professor Dariusz Stola, who won the competition, has not yet been appointed to the post.

I believe that we can still resume the dialogue that we began many months ago and that we can resolve any doubts. I trust that POLIN Museum, in compliance with the will of its co-founders, who represent different milieus, will remain a space of democratic debate, free of politics.

Piotr Wiślicki,
President, Board of the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland