The École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Centre National de Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and Collège de France are prestigious research institutions in France. They have maintained collaborative ties with the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAS) for many years.
On 21-22 February this year, these three esteemed French research institutions organized an international symposium in Paris entitled “The New Polish School of Historical Research on the Shoah”; among those invited were scholars from PAS institutes: the PAS Institute of Literary Research, the PAS Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, the PAS Institute of Slavic Studies, and the PAS Institute of Political Studies. The conference was organized and funded by the French.
The symposium was of a strictly scholarly nature. Its proceedings were disturbed, however, by individuals unrelated to the world of scholarship, who hampered the exchange of views and knowledge among specialists. A situation of this sort provoked negative reactions towards Poles among the scholarly community in France and among the broader public. A prominent theme in these reactions is the unfortunate assertion that is that it is hard to discuss issues related to Poland’s history openly, without obstinance, prejudice, and xenophobia.
Defending the freedom of dialog in science and scholarship, I would like to express my regret that this situation took place.
President of the Polish Academy of Sciences