Members of the Team:
Associate Professor Jacek Leociak (Institute of Literary Research, Polish Academy of Sciences) – Team Leader
Dr. Dorota Krawczyńska (Institute of Literary Research, Polish Academy of Sciences)
Dr. Sławomir Buryła (Warmia and Masuria University)
Ms. Monika Polit, M.A. (Jewish Historical Institute – Research Institute)
Ms. Marta Janczewska, M.A. (Jewish Historical Institute – Research Institute)
Scholars cooperating regularly:
Ms. Ewa Koźmińska-Frejlak, M.A. (monthly Midrasz)
Mr. Piotr Matywiecki (Polish Writers’ Association)
On May 1, 2004, the Directorate of the Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences made the decision to create a team of Holocaust literature researchers (at present, the Holocaust Literature Research Team).
Presentation of research plans and publishing activities
The research projects that we conceive and carry out aim at describing the evidence that the Holocaust has left in Polish literature and culture. However, the cognitive range of the team’s research is much broader. Its ultimate aim is to capture a particular asset of the Polish-Jewish relationship in history and culture, and open up to multiculturalism and the cultural borderland, both understood as a value. Research work is accompanied by the collection of materials, archival and library search queries, the organization of scholarly conferences, seminars, and lectures, the establishing of national and international academic cooperation.
The first research project run by the team is the monograph Literatura polska wobec Zagłady [Polish Literature Facing the Holocaust]. The project will include the team’s work on developing a comprehensive presentation, analysis, and interpretation of literary testimonies of the Holocaust during World War II in the historical, political, and sociological contexts. It will also take into account the public discourse in Polish and Jewish press, film production, and photographic documentation, all against the background of world literature. Intended on such a large scale, the project is unprecedented in Polish literature on the subject. The monograph is divided into two volumes: volume I covers the years 1939-1968 and volume II the period after 1968.
The team has launched an initiative to establish a Library of the Holocaust Testimonies to be developed jointly with the Polish Center for Holocaust Research at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences and with the KARTA Center. The initiative springs from the conviction that, as compared to the existing archival resources, still too few texts have been published and made available to readers. The texts are scarce considering the research needs and readers’ interests, as well as the appeals present in almost every surviving inscription, imposing on future readers the moral obligation of reading.
The planned publication series will put forward the source materials for the history of the Holocaust, especially personal documents, such as diaries, memoirs, letters, recollections, and reports, which have not been published anywhere until now (stored in the Archives of the Jewish Historical Institute, the Yad Vashem Archives, the Archives of the Ghetto Fighters’ Kibbutz, the New Records Archives, the Archives of the Capital City of Warsaw, and others). They will also include the documents in the possession of the authors’ families. At the beginning, we wish to concentrate our efforts on the Warsaw ghetto sources. In the future, we may expand the thematic areas and include the publication of translated materials or the reedition of the prints that are rare and difficult to reach.