7.12.2020 - online

Memory and Awareness of the Holocaust in Contemporary World

Na obrazie widzimy grafikę debaty rocznicowej.
fot. Muzeum Historii Żydów Polskich

On 7 December 1970 Willy Brandt, a German Chancellor, made a symbolic gesture—he knelt in front of the Monument to the Warsaw Ghetto Heroes in Warsaw and paid his tribute to the victims of the Holocaust. We want to mark the 50th anniversary of this event by inviting you to a debate attended by special guests - Marian Turski, Chair of the POLIN Museum Council, and the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Poland, Dr. Arndt Freytag von Loringhoven. The debate will be hosted by Adam Szostkiewicz.

50 years after Willy Brandt’s meaningful gesture, widely understood as a symbolical asking for forgiveness, we would like to reflect upon what this gesture means today. Are young people 75 years after the end of the war still aware of what had happened? Are the youth in today’s Europe at all interested in the Holocaust? What does the history teach us? In his diaries published in 1989, Willy Brandt wrote: “[…] I did what people do when they are lost for words.” A year later he was named Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Starting with the unique figure of Willy Brandt, his motivations and the effects of his actions, we would like to focus on the subsequent generations.

Special guests: 

  • Marian Turski - journalist, historian, editor of numerous publications. In the years 1956-1957 he was editor-in-chief of Sztandar Młodych weekly. From 1958 associated with Polityka weekly (head of the history section). Mr Turski was a member of the Presidential Council for Polish-Jewish relations for President Lech Wałęsa, Chair of the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute, member of the Auschwitz Council for PM Jerzy Buzek, member of the board (Beirat) of the Wannsee-Konferenz-Gedenkstaette in Berlin.
  • Arndt Freytag von Loringhoven - Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Poland. In the years 2007-2010 he was deputy head of the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) and in the years 2014-2016 he was Ambassador to the Czech Republic. In 2016, he became the first ever NATO Deputy Secretary General for Intelligence and Security.


  • Anna Wolff-Powęska – historian of ideas, professor of arts and humanities, expert in Polish-German relations, former director the Institute for Western Affairs in Poznań, laureate of the Viadrina Prize for her contribution to Polish-German reconciliation and cooperation.
  • Bettina Greiner – German historian and political scientist, Head of the Willy Brandt House in Lubeka.
  • Janusz Reiter – diplomat, expert in international relations, journalist, former Ambassador of Poland in Germany and the USA, Chairman of the Board of the Center for International Relations foundation.
  • Sigmar Gabriel – held several executive posts in the German government, most recently as Minister of Foreign Affairs (2017-2018) and Deputy Chancellor (2013-2018). He was a longtime leader of the Social Democratic Party [SDP]. Chair of the Atlantik-Brücke; Senior Fellow, CES, Harvard University; John F. Kennedy Memorial Policy Fellow, CES, Harvard University.


  • Adam Szostkiewicz - journalist, translator, active in the democratic opposition at the time of People’s Republic of Poland, member of the Polish branch of PEN Club, journalist at the Polityka weekly writing on international affairs and social-religious issues.


Debate Partners:

Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany Willy Brandt House Lübeck

A free Anniversary program is supported by EEA Grants from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, and by the state budget,,


Debate is organized within the GEOP Global Education Outreach Program.

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GEOP Program is supported by the Taube Philanthropies, The William K. Bowes, Jr. Foundation and the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland.

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