The Congress of Social Archives organized by the Center CHART in the POLIN Museum has gone down in history.

On 12th of October the session was traditionally open by the President of the Center CHART. Mr Zbigniew  Gluza this time in the company of Mrs Katarzyna Grochola who read the letter from Director Mr Pawel Pietrzyk from the  Head Office of the State Archives.

120 organizations from all over Poland took part in the Congress.

In order to discuss the subject of responsibility and importance of documenting history Zbigniew Gluza invited Mrs Malgorzata Szejnert, commentator, Mrs Joanna Kordial, curator from  the National Gallery of Art “Zacheta” and Mr Pawel Rodak, Professor from the Institute of Polish Culture of Warsaw University. All above mentioned experts unanimously admitted that  irrespective of the sort of activities – reporting, exhibiting or scientific research the fundamental of reliable message is to be based on authentic sources.

The strength of the social archives constitutes the total historical and ideological independence. This allows for the return to sources of information. It is mutual advantage for reporters and archivists. Thanks to making it available in case of  often private archival collections one can get sometimes interesting information. Disclosing it can support archives in their existence and activities. The experts also stated  that today’s humanities  is based on social archives. Thanks to them so called micro-history is preserved. This applies as well to  the grass-roots history which is not created by external factors. After extremely interesting discussions representatives of five archives presented their ranges of activities.

Mrs Anna Lewiñska told about field research in Olesnica. With great passion she presented activities of her own foundation WAZKA (DRAGON FLY) which were started from the interviews with Lower Silesia residents. With time, these activities turned into a huge effort to encourage these pioneer communities in these areas to develop cooperation and to build bonds with the places where they lived. Discovering the links between the past and present of these lands brought results above all expectations. It was carried out in the cooperation with local press through films, workshops for children, memo games .Inhabitants of Olesnica, since on this town researchers concentrated their interest mainly, finally identified themselves with the local community what undoubtedly was a success of the said project. Mrs Malgorzata Leszko is a resident of the Warsaw housing estate Przyjazn (Friedship) and founder of a social archive ,who is struggling for survival of this estate. It was established in 1952  as the colony of wooden houses for builders of the Palace of Culture. In 1956 it started to serve as a campus for students and scientific staff of Warsaw universities and high schools. Her parents got met and settled there, She still lives there gathering all traces of the past with great effort. The estate which is treated as a sort of ethnographical museum in the city center is threatened by liquidation. Its inhabitants do not want to agree for this however. They  managed somehow to enter the estate in the register of monuments but this does not eliminate the danger of potential liquidation for the estate and its residents. Mr Wojciech Olejniczak from the Foundation TREZ  presented an extraordinary history of his town Zbaszyn . This little town before the war was situated very close to the western border of Poland . It was also the first camp for the Jewish population being brought there. The camp was organized and run by Poles. Wojciech Olejniczak  talked about the enormity of work, that was necessary to put in to overcome prejudices and past among local people. He managed to find in Israel persons associated with Zbaszyn and arranged meetings with them. He was collecting souvenirs. Part of them was sent from all over the world. For 10 years, school youth has been commemorating the stories of Jews in Zbaszyn  with a special theatrical performance. This spectacle which is live monument of those years was repeated by successive generations of pupils. The book with documents of those years was published too. In the closed railway station which was a witness of those years meetings and exhibitions are arranged. In the building of the station itself which by the decision of the town authorities was bought out by town itself the town memorial was created. It is there the archival materials from IPN (Institute of National Memory) and Poznan Archives have been made available. Memory stones are created on the initiative of the foundation Mrs Anna Miler represented the management of the Association ARTERIA from Gdynia. This organization in its activity took up the subject of commemoration of women in the Gdansk Shipyard. This constitutes the eternal problem of women equality of rights , lack of adaptation of working conditions to their needs and possibilities. She mentioned the Anna Lubczyk-Walentynowicz’s fight for suitable overalls since these masculine ones , too large posed a threat to work safety. As a result of its work the Association gathered more than 60 women reports about their work in the shipyard. The Association of Gdansk Shipyard employees was established. The memoirs of workers are collected. It is required to commemorate  the history of women who were rarely aware how important their position in the shipyard was and did not appreciate the weight of  their own memories. The project under the slogan WOMEN ALSO BUILD SHIPS is struggling to adapt working conditions for women since this problem still exists. After this speech the initiative was taken – 100 years told from the perspective of women.  This part of the Conference was ended with the speech of Mr Miroslaw Adam Supruniuk  from Torun. He is an employee of the Nicholas Copernicus University and founder of the Emigration Archive (Foundation). He has been documenting and collecting archival materials since the 90s XX century. Bringing them back to Poland was impossible at the beginning . However thanks to contacts with emigration representatives documents ,art objects , pictures of Polish artists successively started to be brought to Poland . Thanks to the assistance of the University of Nicholas Copernicus 10.000 pictures from Great Britain could brought back to Poland in the years 1992-97. The University provided adequate rooms for the Archives . The Foundation could also take advantage  of the suitable rooms in the University Library.The Emigration Research Center was formed. Publication are issued like “History of the memory of literary writers associated with the London news ’’. The foundation began to grant awards for   master’s and doctor’s  diploma works devoted to emigration.  There were carried out workshops on emigration. Museum of  Emigration Art and Research Institute of Emigration of all  eastern Europe were set up. In this year the Foundation won the prize of CHART,.Speeches of the persons nominated to the award of CHART aroused genuine recognition and great interest for extremely inspiring activities.In the following parts of the Congress numerous panels took place which concerned RODO problems in the social archiving. There were workshops supporting writing applications and individual meetings. Organizers, as previously, ensured good organization of the Conference and first of all interesting program and rich topics discussed by participants.

Wirtualny Świat Polskich Ormian