History matters

Solidarity with Jan Grabowski

June 19, 2017

Esteemed Calin Rovinescu, Chancellor of the University of Ottawa,

We the undersigned scholars of the Holocaust Era, the Second World War, Modern History and other closely related disciplines would like to express our firm support for Professor Jan Grabowski, who most of us have known professionally as a colleague for many years. We can attest to the fact that he is a scholar of impeccable personal and professional integrity. His scholarship holds to the highest standards of academic research and publication, and for such he has earned widespread acclaim in academia, as well as honors and awards.
The contribution Professor Grabowski has made to understanding the Holocaust in Poland and especially the relations between Poles and their Jewish neighbors at the time, has assumed a central place in academic discourse about those subjects. Grabowski has taken a multi-faceted approach to understanding the behavior of Poles during the Holocaust, trying to understand the range of behavior from rescue to participation in murder. His research has demonstrated that there were significant elements among the Poles who took part in the persecution of Jews, and that this must be understood in the context of Polish society and the German occupation during the Second World War. Moreover, his research and that of other scholars, along with many survivor and rescuer accounts, have shown that helping Jews met with widespread indifference and often hostility in wartime Poland. Potential rescuers had their own neighbors to fear more than anyone else, which highlights the rescuers’ courage all the more.
Despite the present climate in Poland that seeks to limit open discussion about Polish society during the Holocaust years, Professor Grabowski, along with other academics associated with the Polish Center for Holocaust Research, has exhibited great intellectual and personal courage in pursuing and publishing his findings.
The current attack on Professor Grabowksi by the Polish League Against Defamation, as in a recent public letter signed by more than 100 academics who have no expertise in the subject, is baseless, putting forth a distorted and whitewashed version of the history of Poland during the Holocaust era. Moreover, the attack on Professor Grabowski is an attack not only on him, but on all scholarship that seeks to understand the processes that allowed the Holocaust to take place, and on all scholarship that seeks to explore the most painful aspects of human history in as balanced and objective a fashion as possible. Their attack is an attack on academic freedom and integrity.
We are confident that your university, which is a bastion of learning and freedom of scholarly inquiry, will give its full support to Professor Grabowski against those who seek to besmirch his reputation and curtail his work, and by extension, ours as well.
Respectfully yours,
Prof. Eliyana R. Adler, History and Jewish Studies, Pennsylvania State University
Prof. Natalia Aleksiun, Modern Jewish History, Touro College, New York
Dr. Hab. Jolanta Ambrosewicz-Jacobs, Center for European Studies, Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego
Dr. Yitzhak Arad, Historian, former Chairman of the Directorate, Yad Vashem
Prof. David Assaf, Jewish History, Tel Aviv University
Dr. Karen Auerbach, History, University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill
Dr. Brigitte Bailer, University of Vienna
Prof. Dr. Frank Bajohr. Head, Institut für Zeitgeschichte, Zentrum für Holocaust-Studien, Munich
Prof. Mark Baker, Director, Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation, Monash University
Prof. Israel Bartal, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Israel Academy of Sciences
Prof. Yehuda Bauer, Academic Advisor, Yad Vashem; Professor Emeritus, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; member, Israel Academy of Sciences
Prof. Omer Bartov, European History, Brown University
Prof. Sara Bender, Jewish History, University of Haifa
Giles Bennett, Researcher, Institut für Zeitgeschichte, Zentrum für Holocaust-Studien, Munich
Prof. Michael Berenbaum, Jewish Studies, American Jewish University, Los Angeles
Prof. Doris L. Bergen, Holocaust Studies, University of Toronto
Dr. Karel Berkhoff, NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Amsterdam
Prof. Charles Bernstein, English and Comparative Literature, University of Pennsylvania
Prof. David Biale, Emanuel Ringelblum Distinguished Professor, University of California, Davis
Dr. Jochen Böhler, Imre Kertész Kolleg, Friedrich Schiller University Jena
Dr. Jacob Borut, Historian, Yad Vashem Archives
Prof. Jonathan Boyarin, Anthropology, Jewish Studies Program, Near Eastern Studies, and Religious Studies Program, Cornell University
Prof. Randolph L. Braham, Emeritus Political Science and Director, Rosenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies, City University of New York
Dr. Florent Brayard, National Center of Scientific Research, Center History and Historiography of the Shoah, Paris
Prof. Richard Breitman, History, American University
Prof. Rachel Feldhay Brenner, Jewish Studies, Hebrew and Semitic Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Prof. Christopher R. Browning, Emeritus, History, University of North Carolina
Dr. Kateřina Čapková, Institute of Contemporary History, Czech Academy of Sciences
Prof. Kimmy Caplan, Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry, Bar Ilan University
Dr. Boaz Cohen, Chair, Holocaust Studies Program, Western Galilee College, Akko
Prof. Nathan Cohen, Academic Director, Center for Yiddish Studies, Bar-Ilan University
Prof. Richard I. Cohen, Jewish History, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Prof. Steven M. Cohen, Jewish Social Policy, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute or Religion
Prof. Alon Confino, History, University of Virginia; Ben-Gurion University, Israel
Prof. Istvan Deak, Emeritus, History, Columbia University
Dr. Rachel Deblinger, Director, Digital Scholarship Commons, UC Santa Cruz University Library
Dr. Christoph Diekmann, Fritz Bauer Institute, Frankfurt am Main
Prof. Hasia Diner, American Jewish History; Hebrew and Judaic Studies; and Director, Goldstein-Goren Center for American Jewish History, New York University
Dr. Paul Dostert, Chair, Section historique, Institut grand-ducal de Luxembourg
Prof. Havi Dreifuss, Jewish History, Tel Aviv University; International Institute for Holocaust Research, Yad Vashem
Prof. Diana Dumitru, History, Ion Creanga State University, Moldova
Prof. Deborah Dwork, Founding Director, Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Clark University
Prof. Glenn Dynner, Religion, Sarah Lawrence College
Dr. Kiril Feferman, Israel Heritage, Ariel University
Prof. David Engel, Holocaust Studies, Hebrew and Judaic Studies, and History, New York University; Fellow, Goldstein-Goren Diaspora Research Center, Tel Aviv University
Dr. Sara Feldman, Program in Jewish Culture and Society, University of Illinois
Prof. Gabriel N. Finder, Director of Jewish Studies; Germanic Languages and Literatures, University of Virginia
Prof. Michael Fleming, History, Polish University Abroad, London
Dr. Ella Florsheim, Editor-in-Chief, Yad Vashem Publications
Prof. Mary Fulbrook, German History and Dean, Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences, University College London
Prof. Edyta Gawron, Jewish Studies, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, and Head, Centre for the Study of the History and Culture of Krakow Jews, Jagiellonian University
Dr. Andrea Genest, Historian, Berlin
Prof. Christian Gerlach, Historisches Institut, Universität Bern
Dr. Haim Gertner, Director, Archives Division, Yad Vashem
Prof. Judith Gerson, Sociology, and Women’s and Gender Studies, Rutgers University
Dr. Idit Gil, Sociology, Political Science and Communications, The Open University of Israel
Dr. Amos Goldberg, Chair Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Dr. Yosef Govrin, Ambassador, and Research Fellow, Harry Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Dr. Yael Granot-Bein, Director, Weiss-Livnat Graduate Program in Holocaust Studies, University of Haifa
Prof. Jan Tomasz Gross, War and Society, and History, Princeton University
Prof. Atina Grossmann, History, Cooper Union
Prof. Wolf Gruner, Director, USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research; Chair in Jewish Studies; and History, University of Southern California
Dr Anna Hájková, D’part of Modern European Continental History, University of Warwick
Prof. Peter Hayes, Emeritus, History and Holocaust Studies, Northwestern University
Prof. Daniel Heller, Jewish Studies, McGill University
Prof. Brian Horowitz, Russian and Jewish Studies Tulane University
Prof. Sara R. Horowitz, Humanities, York University
Rabbi Alan Iser, Theology, St.Joseph’s University
Prof. Laura Jokusch, Holocaust Studies, Brandeis University
Prof. Anthony Julius, Deputy Chairman, Mishcon de Reya; Law and the Arts, University College London
Dr. Sharon Kangisser-Cohen, Director, Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People
Prof. Marion Kaplan, Modern Jewish History, New York University
Prof. László Karsai, History, University of Szeged
Prof. Samuel Kassow, History, Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut
Prof. Steven Katz, Holocaust Studies, Boston University
Dr. Kamil Kijek, Jewish Studies, University of Wrocław
Prof. Alexander Korb, Modern European History, University of Leicester
Dr. Lukasz Krzyzanowski, Osteuropa Institut, Freie Universitaet Berlin
Prof. Thomas Kuehne, Director, Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Clark University
Prof. Marcin Kula, Aleksander Zelwerowicz Academy of Theatre at Warsaw University
Prof. Otto Dov Kulka, Jewish History, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Prof. Konrad Kwiet, (former) Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies, University of Sydney; Emeritus, Macquarie University; former Chief Historian, Australian Nazi War Crimes Commission; Resident Historian, Sydney Jewish Museum
Prof. Berel Lang, Emeritus, Philosophy, State University of New York at Albany
Prof. Eli Lederhendler, Vice-Dean for Research, Faculty of Humanities, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Dr Jan Láníček, Jewish and Modern European History, University of New South Wales
Prof. Stephan Lehnstaedt, Holocaust-Studien und Jüdische Studien, Touro College, Berlin
Prof Jacek Leociak, The Institute of Literary research, Polish Academy of Sciences; Polish Center for Holocaust Research, Institute of Philosophy and sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences
Prof. Deborah E. Lipstadt, Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies, Emory University
Prof. Meir Litvak, Director, The Alliance Center for Iranian Studies, Tel Aviv University
Dr. Ingo Loose, Institut für Zeitgeschichte München-Berlin
Dr. Andrea Löw, Deputy Head, Institut für Zeitgeschichte, Zentrum für Holocaust-Studien, Munich
Dr. Jason Lustig, History, UCLA
Dr. Ekaterina Makhotina, History of Eastern Europe, University of Bonn, Germany
Prof. Michael R. Marrus, Senior Fellow, Massey College and Chancellor Rose and Ray Wolfe Professor Emeritus of Holocaust Studies, University of Toronto
Dr. Jürgen Matthäus, Historian, Washington DC
Dr. Rafael Medoff, The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, Washington, DC
Dr. Geoffrey Megargee, Historian of WWII and the Holocaust, Washington, DC
Prof. Michael Meng, History, Clemson University
Prof. Joanna Michlic, Honorary Senior Research Associate, University College London Institute for Advanced Studies, Centre for Collective Violence, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, and UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies, SSEES
Prof. Dan Michman, Head, International Institute for Holocaust Research, Yad Vashem; D’part of Jewish History, Bar-Ilan University
Dr. Avraham Milgram, Historian, Yad Vashem Archives
Prof. Michael L. Miller, Nationalism Studies Program, Central European University
Prof. Guy Miron, Chair, History, Philosophy, and Judaic Studies, Open University of Israel; Director, Center for the Study of German Jewry in the Holocaust, International Institute for Holocaust Research, Yad Vashem
Prof. Judit Molnár, Political Science, University of Szeged
Markus Nesselrodt, Lehrstuhl für Kultur und Geschichte Mittel- und Osteuropas, European University Viadrina
Jacek M. Nowakowski, Historian, Washington, DC
Prof. Dalia Ofer, Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Dr. Miriam Ofer, Holocaust Studies Program, Western Galilee College
Dr. Iael Nidam-Orvieto, Director, International Institute for Holocaust Research, Yad Vashem; Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Prof. Avinoam J. Patt, Modern Jewish History and Judaic Studies, University of Hartford
Prof. Marjorie Perloff, Professor Emerita, Humanities, Stanford University
Dr. Anat Plocker, Holocaust Studies, Stockton University
Prof. Anatolii Podolskyi, Head, Ukrainian Center for Holocaust Studies, Kyiv
Prof. Dieter Pohl, Institut für Geschichte, University of Klagenfurt
Dr. Hannah Pollin-Galay, Director, Goldreich Family Institute for Yiddish Language, Literature, and Culture, Tel Aviv University
Prof. Antony Polonsky, Emeritus, Holocaust Studies, Brandeis University; Chief Historian, POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Warsaw
Dr. Lea Prais, International Institute for Holocaust Research Yad Vashem; lecturer, Herzog Academic College
Dr. Dan Porat, School of Education, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Prof. Dina Porat, Chief Historian, Yad Vashem; Head, Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry, Tel Aviv University; Jewish History, Tel Aviv University
Prof. Alexander Prusin, History, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
Dr. Ljiljana Radonic, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna
Dr. Wojtek Rappak, History, University College London
Prof. Avihu Ronen, Galilee Studies, Tel Hai Academic College, University of Haifa
Dr. Alan Rosen, Lecturer on Holocaust literature and testimony, International School for Holocaust Studies, Yad Vashem
Prof. Alvin H. Rosenfeld, English and Jewish Studies; Director, Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism, Indiana University
Prof. David G. Roskies, Yiddish Literature and Culture, Jewish Theological Seminary of America
Prof. Moshe Rosman, Jewish History, Bar-Ilan University
Dr. Grzegorz Rossolinski-Liebe, Freie Universität Berlin
Dr. Robert Rozett, Director, Yad Vashem Libraries and Co-Chairman of Working Group Holocaust Denial and Distortion, Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism
Prof. Per Anders Rudling, History, Lund University; Senior Visiting Fellow, National University of Singapore
Prof. Suzanne D. Rutland, Emerita, Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies, University of Sydney
Prof. Paul Sanders, Economie, Culture et Affaires Internationales, NEOMA Business School – Campus de Reims
Prof. Susanna Schrafstetter, History, University of Vermont
Prof. Joshua Shanes, Jewish Studies, College of Charleston
Prof. Raz Segal, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Stockton University
Prof. Jeffrey Shoulson, Chair of Judaic Studies and Director, Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, University of Connecticut
Prof. Martin Shuster, Director of Judaic Studies Center for Geographies of Justice, Goucher College
Prof. Marcos Silber, Chair, Jewish History, University of Haifa
Dr. David Silberklang, Senior Historian and Editor Yad Vashem Studies, International Institute for Holocaust Research, Yad Vashem; Lecturer, Holocaust Studies, University of Haifa and Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Prof. Amy Simon, Chair Holocaust Studies and European Jewish History, Michigan State University
Dr. Roni Stauber, Wiener Library, Kantor Center and Jewish History, Tel Aviv University
Prof. Gerald Steinacher, Judaic Studies and History, University of Nebraska
Prof. Sybille Steinbacher, University Professor, Goethe Universität, Frankfurt am Main
Prof. Alan Steinweis, Holocaust Studies; Director, Miller Center for Holocaust Studies, University of Vermont
Dr. Katrin Stoll, German Historical Institute, Warsaw
Prof. Dan Stone, Modern History and Director of the Holocaust Research Institute, Royal Holloway University of London
Dr. Lynne Swarts, Honorary Research Affiliate, History, and Sessional Academic, Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies, University of Sydney
Dr. Jean-Charles Szurek, Emeritus, CNRS, Paris
Prof. Jarrod Tanny, Jewish History, University of North Carolina Wilmington
Prof. Adam Teller, History, Brown University
Dr. Wichert ten Have, Director Emeritus, Holocaust and Genocide Studies and Director A.i. Emeritus NIOD, Dutch Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Amsterdam
Prof. Rabbi David A. Teutsch, Emeritus, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
Prof. Dr. Habil. Joanna Tokarska-Bakir, Institute for Slavic Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences
Dr. Dominique Trimbur, Associate Researcher, French Research Center, Jerusalem
Dr. Susanne Urban, Historian, Worms
Dr. Scott Ury, Jewish History, Tel Aviv University
Dr. Daniel Uziel, Historian, Yad Vashem Archives; Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Haifa University
Prof. Robert Jan van Pelt, Cultural Historian, University of Waterloo
Dr. Alana M. Vincent, Jewish Studies, University of Chester; Co-Chair of Religion, Holocaust and Genocide Unit American Academy of Religion
Prof. Theodore R. Weeks, History, Russia and Eastern Europe, Southern Illinois University
Dr. Juliane Wetzel, Zentrum für Antisemitismusforschung TU Berlin
Dr. Laurence Weinbaum, Chief Editor, The Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs
Mark Weitzman, Director of Government Affairs, Simon Wiesenthal Institute
Agnieszka Wierzcholska, Institute for East European Studies, Freie Universität Berlin
Dr. Annette Wieviorka, Historian, CNRS, Paris
Prof. Dr. Michael Wildt, Lehrstuhl Deutsche Geschichte im 20. Jahrhundert mit Schwerpunkt im Nationalsozialismus, Institut fuer Geschichtswissenschaften, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Prof. Marcin Wodzinski, Judaistyka, University of Wrocław
Prof. Sebastian Wogenstein, German and Comparative Literatures, University of Connecticut
Prof. Piotr J. Wróbel, Konstanty Reynert, Chair of Polish Studies, University of Toronto
Dr. Anna Wylegała, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences
Prof. Hanna Yablonka, Holocaust Studies, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev; Staff Historian, Ghetto fighters’ House
Prof. James E. Young, Founding Director, Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Dr. Ephraim Zadoff, Latin American Jewish Studies, Jerusalem
Dr. Hab. Marcin Zaremba, History, Warsaw University
Dr. Sarah Ellen Zarrow, Research Fellow, New Europe College, Bucharest, Romania
Prof. Andrzej Żbikowski, Jewish Historical Institute, Warsaw
Prof. Claire Zalc, Director of Research, CNRS-Commission Histoire de la Fondation pour la mémoire de la Shoah
Dr. Arkady Zeltser, Director, Moshe Mirilashvilli Center for Research on the Holocaust in the Soviet Union, International Institute for Holocaust Research, Yad Vashem
Dr. Joel Zisenwine, Director, The Pan-European Deportation Database and Research Project, International Institute for Holocaust Research, Yad Vashem; Lecturer, Tel Aviv University
Prof. Henri Zukier, Rothberg International School, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Dr. Efraim Zuroff, Director, Simon Wiesenthal Center – Israel office and Eastern European Affairs Coordinator, SWC Nazi war crimes research worldwide

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