The Choice to Save Lives: Diplomatic Rescue During the Holocaust | conference

The Pilecki Institute has the pleasure to invite you to an international academic conference “The Choice to Save Lives: Diplomatic Rescue During the Holocaust”, which will be held on 19-21 October in Warsaw as part of celebration of the Year of the Ładoś.

The conference serves to present and discuss the results of research on rescue operations undertaken by diplomats, diplomatic missions and the governments that stood behind them around the world to counteract the Holocaust. We are committed to presenting the broadest possible spectrum of such actions. By comparing and contrasting various cases and considering the different contexts, we will be able to present the fullest possible picture of diplomatic efforts to help Jews. At the same time, we hope to broaden general knowledge on the role of diplomacy in confronting a policy of genocide.

The conference will bring together an international body of scholars. Simultaneous English interpreting will be provided. Attached you will find a detailed program of the event.

The conference will be streamed online on the Pilecki Institute’s Facebook profile.

The Conference under the Honorary Patronage of President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda.


The Program of the Conference

The Choice to Save Lives: Diplomatic Rescue During the Holocaust

19–21 October 2021


Day 1

9.00–9.15 Opening of the Conference

9.1510.15 Keynote lecture

Prof. Mordecai Paldiel (Yeshiva University, New York; Sousa Mendes Foundation)

The Ładoś Group – a Beacon of Light

10.15–10.30 Coffee break

10.30–11.45 Panel I. Passports for Life, the Ładoś Group and Beyond

moderation: Dr. Mateusz Werner

Monika Maniewska (Pilecki Institute), Bartłomiej Zygmunt (Pilecki Institute)

The Ładoś List – Findings to Date and Further Research Perspective

Dr. Aleksandra Kmak-Pamirska (independent scholar), Dr. Barbara Świtalska-Starzeńska (Pilecki Institute)

Assistance Actions Undertaken by the Legation of the Republic of Poland in Bern in Support of Jews in the Years 1940–1942

Dr. Efraim Zadoff (Finkler Institute of Holocaust Research at Bar-Ilan University)

Latin American Passports as Protective Documents for Jews During the Holocaust

11.45–12.00 Coffee break

12.00–13.00 Panel II. The Memory of Righteous Diplomats and Its Transformations

moderation: Dr. Agnieszka Konik

Xavier Cornut (Carl Lutz Circle)

Carl Lutz: How Switzerland Managed the Memory of a Righteous While Being Haunted by Its Own Past

Elżbieta Isakiewicz (journalist)

Henryk Sławik – A Hero in Part Regained

13.00–14.30 Lunch break

14.30–15.30 Inauguration of the International Committee of the Ładoś Group

15.45–16.45 Keynote lecture

Dr. Sławomir Dębski (Polish Institute of International Affairs)

Unintended Rescuers – Polish Diplomacy Operations During World War II and the Holocaust

16.45–17.00 Coffee break

17.00–18.00 Panel III. Polish Diplomats and Jewish Refugees. Patterns of Rescue

moderation: Dr. Marcin Panecki

Krzysztof Grzelczyk (Consulate General of the Rupublic of Poland in Toronto)
Not only the Ładoś Passports

Dr. Olga Barbasiewicz (Jagiellonian University)

Polish-Japanese Cooperation in the Pre-War and War Period That Saved Polish Citizens Escaping from the Holocaust and the Soviets. The Role of Tadeusz Romer in Sugihara’s “Visas for Life” History


Day 2

9.00–10.00 Keynote lecture

Prof. Daniel Blatman (Hebrew University in Jerusalem; Warsaw Ghetto Museum)

Alone at the Forefront of Apathy: Diplomats and Rescue Attempts in 20th-Century Holocaust and Genocide

10.00–10.15 Coffee break

10.15–11.15 Panel IV. Public Service and Individual Attitudes. A Predicament

moderation: Prof. Andrzej Zawistowski

Marek Pernal (historian, diplomat)

Polish Diplomats Aiding Jews in Germany, France, Turkey and Cuba in the Years 1938–1944

Grzegorz Łubczyk (journalist, diplomat)

Henryk Sławik: What Motivated Poland’s Great “Righteous”?

11.15–11.30 Coffee break

11.30–12.30 Panel V. Between Aid and Indifference. Diplomacy in Times of Emergency

moderation: Prof. Witold Stankowski

Agnes Hirschi-Grausz (Carl Lutz Circle)

The Rescue Operations of Carl Lutz During World War II in Budapest

Bartłomiej Kucek (Pilecki Institute)

The Involvement of Vatican Diplomacy in Actions Aimed at Saving the Jews of Slovakia

12.30–14.00 Lunch break

14.00–15.15 Panel VI. Diplomacy Working Against the Holocaust. Case Studies

moderation: Emilia Dziewiecka

Dr. Bogusława Filipowicz (University of Warsaw)

From Warsaw to South America via Rome and Paris: Passports for the Family of Prof. Hilary Koprowski

Dr. Mihaela Gligor (Romanian Academy Cluj-Napoca), Dr. Ottmar Trașcă (Romanian Academy Cluj-Napoca)

Portrait of a Diplomat: Constantin I Karadja

Dr. Marta Ansilewska-Lehnstaedt (Silent Heroes Memorial Center in Berlin)

The Role of the German Consul in Romania, Fritz Schellhorn, in Saving 20,000 Jews From Chernivtsi

15.15–15.30 Coffee break

15.30–16.30 Panel VII. Diplomatic Rescue and Grand Narratives on World War II

moderation: Dr. Martyna Rusiniak-Karwat

Dr. Simonas Strelcovas (Vilnius University)

Sugihara’s Activity in Kaunas as Catalysis for a New Approach to History in Japan and Lithuania

Julia Fröhlich (University of Vienna)

Turkey as a “Safe Haven”? The Ambivalence of Turkish Diplomacy and Its Foundations in the Construction of Kemalist Identity

18:00–19:30 Round table debate: Did They Risk Their Lives? Diplomats as Righteous Among the Nations

Keynote lecture: Eric Saul (historian, researcher, educator)

The Importance of Diplomatic and State Rescue of Jews and Other Refugees in the Holocaust

Moderator: Dr. Wojciech Kozłowski

Panelists: Monika Krawczyk (Jewish Historical Institute, Warsaw), Prof. Mordecai Paldiel (Yeshiva University, New York; Sousa Mendes Foundation), Eric Saul


Day 3

10.30–11.30 Panel VIII. A Challenge Unknown: Governments and Diplomats on the Threshold of the Holocaust

moderation: Dr. Krystian Wiciarz

Prof. Milada Polišenská (Anglo-American University in Prague)

Foreign Diplomats in Czechoslovakia and Czechoslovak Diplomacy Vis-à-Vis the Holocaust

Dr. Kinga Czechowska (Institute of National Remembrance, Sub-Branch in Bydgoszcz)

Polish Diplomacy and the Refugee Crisis on the Eve of the Holocaust

11.30–11.45 Coffee break

11.45–13.30 Panel IX. Wartime Diplomacy. How Governments Responded to the Holocaust

moderation: dr Bartłomiej Kapica

Prof. Grzegorz Łukomski (Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań)

The Extent of Polish Military Intelligence and Diplomacy in the Years 1939–1945

Dr. Danuta Drywa (Stutthof Museum)

Citizens’ Committees for the Provision of Care and Aid for Refugees

Eryk Habowski (Pilecki Institute)

Diplomacy in an Age of Terror – The Strategy and Actions of the Polish Government-in-Exile

Dr. İzzet Bahar (independent scholar)

The Stance of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Turkish Diplomats During the Holocaust and Its Misrepresentation Post-1990s

13.30–14.00 Coffee break

14.00–15.00 Round table debate: Diplomatic Rescue. Secrets of the Archives

Moderator: Hanna Radziejowska (Pilecki-Institut in Berlin)

Panelists: Eldad Beck (“Israel Hayom” daily), Martyna Rusiniak-Karwat (Institute of Political Science PAS; Pilecki Institute), Jędrzej Uszyński (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

15.00 Conclusion

15.30 For those interested there will be an opportunity to visit the “Called by Name” exhibition (Krakowskie Przedmieście street 11)


Download the English version of “The Ładoś List” (please see below).