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Jan. 30, 2017 – The Branch Office of the Institute of National Remembrance – the Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation in Kraków and Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oświęcim holds opening ceremony related to the granting of public access to the records of the Auschwitz concentration camp personnel.

The briefing on the database will be held in the Miedziana Room of the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków, at Rynek Główny 35, on Monday, 30 January 2017, at 11.00.

The “Auschwitz concentration camp personnel” database is a joint initiative of Prof. Aleksander Lasik and the Branch Office of the Institute of National Remembrance – the Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation in Kraków. Prof. Aleksander Lasik originated the database in 1982 while he was developing his doctoral thesis, presented at the Institute of History of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań in 1988. Originally, the database only included personal records of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp personnel. The database was gradually extended to include the information concerning the personnel of other German concentration camps, finally reaching the number of 25,000 records, of which 9,686 were related to the Auschwitz concentration camp personnel.

In May 2014, after the appointment of Prof. Aleksander Lasik as an expert historian, the Kraków Office Branch of the Institute of National Remembrance gained access to the database for the investigation of the crimes committed at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, conducted by the Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation Branch Office in Kraków. In May 2015 the Commission took the decision to give online access to the records to the public, and initiated work on its publication, which is going to take place on 30 January 2017.

During the ceremony the following persons shall address the audience:

Dr Piotr M. A. Cywiński, Director of the Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oświęcim,

Dr Jarosław Szarek, President of the Institute of National Remembrance,

Prok. Waldemar Szwiec, Head of the Branch Office of the Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation of the Institute of National Remembrance in Kraków,

Prof. Aleksander Lasik, sociologist and historian who specializes in the history of the Third Reich, Professor of the Casimir the Great University of Bydgoszcz, expert in the investigation concerning the Auschwitz concentration camp conducted by the Public Prosecutors of the Branch Office of the Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation of the Institute of National Remembrance in Kraków,

Jacek Kwilosz,Deputy Head at the Institute of National Remembrance Archive in Kraków.

About the IPN

The Institute of National Remembrance – Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation (IPN) was established by the Polish Parliament by virtue of the act as of 18 December 1998. Its actual activity began in the middle of 2000, the moment the first President of the IPN was chosen by the Sejm. This post was taken by a lawyer, Professor Leon Kieres, who held it till December 2005. In 2005-2010 the function was held by Professor Janusz Kurtyka. Since 28 June 2011 until 22 July 2016 Dr. Łukasz Kamiński was President of the Institute. Dr. Jarosław Szarek was appointed President on 22 July 2016.

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The resolution on the establishment of the IPN, made by the coalition of parties, stemming from the Solidarity movement (which took over the power from the post-Communist coalition) and having the majority in the Polish Parliament, was connected with an attempt to solve the problem of documents left after the Communist State Security Bodies dissolved in 1990. This concerned the establishment of an institution which was apolitical and independent from the government.

The institution would take control over the archives of the Communist political police which were controlled by Secret Service. It would also make the documents available to people who were objects of invigilation. Earlier, citizens could not acquaint themselves with their own “files”. The collected documents were also to be used in order to check the past of people who hold public positions.

The Institute of National Remembrance is a special institution having the functions of state and justice administration, of an archive, an academic institute, an education centre and (since 2007) of a body which conducts vetting proceedings.

The following organizational units operate at the Institute of Remembrance:

The Chief Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation

The Archive of the Institute of National Remembrance

The Office for Commemorating the Struggle and Martyrdom;

The Office of Search and Identification;

The National Education Office;

The Historic Research Office;

The Vetting Office.

www.ipn.gov.pl

Brief History of Poland 1939 – 1989: http://www.ipn.gov.pl/en/brief-history-of-poland/1,Brief-history.html