The mission of the Centre for Holocaust Studies is twofold: to consolidate studies of the Holocaust in one academic research centre and to support and promote young researchers in this field. The mandate of the Centre for Holocaust Studies is to carry out research as well as to teach about the Holocaust and related subjects and in addition to disseminate knowledge about the Holocaust and other genocides by organizing conferences, seminars, summer schools, meetings, readings, lectures. We also publish our own research and are setting up electronic databases, instituting innovative teaching methods and revising educational materials used for fighting anti-Semitism, racism, xenophobia and discrimination. We act as a documentation centre on Holocaust research in Poland’s academic centres as well as on educational projects in both formal and informal settings. The CHS guarantees students and teachers access to educational materials from Europe, Israel and the USA that deal with the Shoah in order to ensure that the memory of Auschwitz is maintained. It is also our responsibility to support third parties who work to disseminate knowledge about the Holocaust and other genocides. We are especially interested in popularizing the memory of the Shoah according to Milchman and Rosenberg’s definition of memory, which leaves room for difference and for pluralistic ‘communities of memory’ that do not serve a mythologized past but rather the problematic present, and which do not need to be unilateral.
The Centre for Holocaust Studies is not the first and only centre to tackle these difficult issues. What, then, is unique about the centre; what is its added value? Amongst all the goals set by the founders of the Centre, academic research and teaching are the most important. The Centre also tries to develop initiatives in which the results of academic research are not only available through specialised publications, but also through readings, lectures and panel discussions open to the public in attractive locations in Kraków, such as the Galicia Museum and the High Synagogue (in cooperation with Austeria Publishing House). The Centre aims to be present locally and to play a part in fostering the memory of the Holocaust not only amongst specialists, but the public at large.
A crucial aspect of our work is youth education. The Centre for Holocaust Studies, along with the Institute of European Studies, is currently running courses that aim to familiarize young people with the Holocaust and its various related aspects.