On February 9, 2021, Professors Jan Grabowski, a University of Ottawa professor and Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and Barbara Engelking, a Member of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, received the verdict of a libel lawsuit case against them, involving their research on the Holocaust in Poland. The case was based on the book Night Without End: The Fate of Jews in Selected Counties of Occupied Poland, a two-volume historical work in Polish co-edited by Grabowski and Engelking. The court did not demand the historians pay compensation, but ordered them to apologize for defamation. Although Professors Engelking and Grabowski can appeal, the outcome of this case will determine the fate of independent Holocaust research under Poland’s nationalist government. The court proceeding received support by the Polish Anti-Defamation League and through it by the Polish Government, which has tried to suppress research into Polish complicity in the Holocaust since arriving into power in 2015.
SARCAN condemns such deliberate government intervention and calls for the protection of the right of free inquiry in academic research. We urge other members in the SAR Network and colleagues in the academic community at large to join efforts to denounce these attacks and protect the integrity of historical research.