LEMKIN 2018-2023

22 January 2019

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The objective of this five-year project, which is supervised by Professor Piotr Madajczyk, is to examine and popularize the achievements of 20th-century Polish legal thought, with a particular focus on Polish intellectuals, chief among them Rafał Lemkin.

Scientific conferences, exhibitions and publications, organized on an annual basis, will centre on a discussion of the new paradigm of sovereignty, human rights, and international law in the wake of the catastrophe of the Second World War.

The full name of the project is “The contribution of Polish legal and scientific thought to the shaping of the concept of genocide. Rafał Lemkin and the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and the Polish experience of occupation by National-Socialist Germany”.

The project is financed under the “Szlakami Polski Niepodległej” Program of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education for the years 2018–2023.

LEMKIN 2019

The Pilecki Institute has the pleasure to announce a call for papers for an international and interdisciplinary conference entitled “The New Dawn of Europe after the Great War: the Theory of the State and Genocide in the 20th Century” (3-5 December 2019, Warsaw).

CALL FOR PAPERS

LEMKIN 2018

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fot. Patrycja Mic

OPENING OF THE LEMKIN COLLECTION [June]

In 2018, a collection of more than 160 publications concerning Rafał Lemkin, his legacy, and genocide studies was donated to the Warsaw University Library. Unique in Poland, the set comprises Polish and English editions of publications in the field of law, history, literature and sociology. The initiative received the support of three law firms based in Warsaw: CMS, GWW, and KKLW.

Partner: Warsaw University Library

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fot. Partycja Mic

SCREENING OF THE FILM “WATCHERS OF THE SKY” (DIRECTED BY EDET BELZBERG) [June]

The opening of the collection was accompanied by a screening of a film documentary directed by Edet Belzberg, which presents the history of genocide in the 20th and 21st century from the perspective of four human rights activists inspired by Rafał Lemkin’s ethos. A debate featuring Prof. Marek Kornat and Dr. Agnieszka Bieńczyk-Missala was held before the screening.

PARTNER: Warsaw University Library

DSC_5492 (c) Grzegorz Karkoszka
fot. Grzegorz Karkoszka

INTERNATIONAL SCIENTIFIC CONFERENCE “LEMKIN. WITNESS TO THE AGE OF GENOCIDE” [December]

During panel discussions held from 3 to 5 December, researchers from four continents talked about the significance and relevance of Rafał Lemkin’s concept. A historical appraisal of Lemkin’s biography was accompanied by a legal analysis of the fundamental assumptions of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 1948, its significance and political impact, and also of the practical application of its provisions.

Speakers: Michelle Anderson, Professor Peter Balakian, Doctor Alicja Bartuś, Professor Agnieszka Bieńczyk-Missala, Doctor Tomasz Ceran, Doctor John Cornell, Doctor Donna-Lee Frieze, Professor Joaquín González Ibáñez, Doctor Edita Gzoyan, Eryk Habowski, Doctor Krzysztof Jurek, Doctor Patrycja Grzebyk, Professor Tushar Kanti Saha, Professor Marek Kornat, Doctor Beata Kozaczyńska, Doctor Oktawian Kuc, Professor Hanna Kuczyńska, Doctor Joanna Kurczab, Professor Piotr Madajczyk, Maciej Mazurkiewicz, Professor Piotr Mikietyński, Doctor Jakub Muchowski, Professor Joanna Nowakowska-Małusecka, Doctor Marcin Panecki, Professor Adam Redzik, Professor William Schabas, Professor Karolina Wierczyńska

Partner: Faculty of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Warsaw

DSC_6607 (c) Grzegorz Karkoszka
fot. Grzegorz Karkoszka

 “WHY LEMKIN?” – A DEBATE [December]

Why Lemkin? What led a Polish lawyer to coin the term “genocide” and develop concepts which were way ahead of his time? Why is Lemkin’s thought still relevant today? With what values has it been identified? How is it perceived by scholars from various countries and continents? We posed these questions to four researchers of genocide and 20th-century history.

Speakers: Doctor Donna-Lee Frieze, Doctor Christhardt Henschel, Profesor Joaquín González Ibáñez, Doctor Wojciech Kozłowski

Partner: Faculty of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Warsaw

DSC_7087 (c) Grzegorz Karkoszka
fot. Grzegorz Karkoszka

“LEMKIN. WITNESS TO THE AGE OF GENOCIDE” – AN EXHIBITION [December–January]

The conference was accompanied by an exhibition entitled “Lemkin. Witness to the Age of Genocide” – the first in Poland to be devoted entirely to Rafał Lemkin. It was held in Kordegarda, the Gallery of the National Centre for Culture in Warsaw, from 4 December 2018 to 6 January 2019.

The exhibition utilised photographs, documents, and audiovisual materials from American archives, the majority of which have not been hitherto presented in Poland. The life and work of Rafał Lemkin were presented against the tragic backdrop of the German and Soviet occupation of Poland and other countries of East Central Europe, which became the site of the mass atrocities perpetrated by these two totalitarian regimes. Individual acts of genocide have been illustrated by the accounts of survivors, and given a very human dimension through the addition of personal items which formerly belonged to the victims.

Co-organizer: National Centre for Culture

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NIEOFICJALNY. AUTOBIOGRAFIA RAFAŁA LEMKINA [December]

Lemkin’s first-hand account of his life and work – “Totally Unofficial. The Autobiography of Raphael Lemkin”, originally written in New York – has now received its first Polish translation and been published by the Pilecki Institute under the title “Nieoficjalny. Autobiografia Rafała Lemkina”.

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