Appeal regarding the humanitarian crisis at the Polish-Belarussian border

Grupa osób w jesiennych ubraniach stoi przed budynkiem Muzeum POLIN. Część trzyma transparenty, część dłonie złożone w symbol serca. Apel ws. kryzysu uchodźczego na granicy Polski i Białorusi
fot. Muzeum Historii Żydów Polskich

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends of POLIN Museum and of the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute!

Over the past several weeks we have been following with deepest concern the developments along the Polish-Belarussian border—the theatre of great suffering of people who have been forced to flee their homeland for political or economic reasons.

We are aware of the political dimension that lies beneath the current situation, and we recognize the fact that Poland has fallen victim to the operations carried out by the Belarussian administration. It is a problem which should be solved through diplomatic action. It is encouraging to know that the European Union has offered Poland its full support. Nonetheless, the political aspect must not obliterate the ethical dimension of the events happening right now along the border. We feel obliged to react in the face of a humanitarian disaster that is taking place before our very eyes.

POLIN Museum is an institution devoted to the thousand-year long presence of a minority—the community of Polish Jews—in our lands. Poland welcomed Jews who sought refuge from persecution and, throughout the ages, helped them grow, develop and achieve prosperity. Poland has always been a multi-ethnic country and we should all seek inspiration from this part of our heritage.

As representatives of POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews and the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland, the two institutions established with the aim to foster mutual understanding and respect between the people of different cultures, religions and worldviews, we simply cannot accept the fact that the refugees—suffering from hunger and disease and seeking shelter—are not offered adequate help and assistance. The vast majority of those people, and surely all of the children involved, are not to be blamed for the situation they have found themselves in. We must not look away from their plight.

We appeal to the authorities at various levels to find a solution to end the humanitarian crisis. We kindly ask people of goodwill to provide the refugees with both financial and practical support through social or charity organisations (to whom we would like to extend our heartfelt thanks for their deep, genuine commitment).

On behalf of the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute and POLIN Museum, we declare our unstinting support to these praiseworthy organisations and initiatives.

Zygmunt Stępiński
Director of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews

Piotr Wiślicki
Chairman of the Board of the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland