A historian with a past in the National-Radical Camp became the head of the Wrocław branch of the Institute of National Remembrance. Outraged by this fact is, among others, the vice-president of the city. The Israeli embassy also expressed its opinion.
On February 9, 2021, Dr.Tomasz Greniuch, the former head of the IPN Delegation in Opole, took over the position of acting director of the Department of the Institute of National Remembrance in Wrocław. Renata Wojciechowska was appointed to the position of the head of the IPN Delegation in Opole, the Institute of National Remembrance reported on its website.
The institute also published the biography of Greniuch. It lists, among others graduation from the Faculty of History and Pedagogy of the University of Opole, as well as defended doctoral thesis entitled “History of the Group of Forest Units of the VII National Armed Forces District under the command of Capt. Henryk Flame» Bartek «” at the Catholic University of Lublin John Paul II. In the biographical footer, it is mentioned that until 2013 Greniuch was an activist of the National-Radical Camp. Among the historian’s publications, there is a book entitled “The Way of the Nationalist”.
Defending hailing, organizing a demonstration
It is the past of Tomasz Greniuch that causes the greatest controversy. On the Internet, you can easily find photos from a few or a dozen years ago, in which Greniuch, dressed in a green t-shirt with a characteristic phalanx – a symbol used by Polish nationalists – is marching, speaking in public, and even hailing.
As established by OKO.press, Greniuch was known as one of the founders of the ONR at the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries. He is mentioned as one of the originators of the first nationalist demonstration on the occasion of Independence Day in Warsaw in 2006.
It was supposed to organize anti-Semitic, anti-EU and chauvinist demonstrations, such as the commemoration of the so-called “Myślenice expedition”. It is about the events of the night of June 22-23, 1936, when extreme-right militias took over Lesser Poland’s Myślenice for a short time. Within a few hours, incl. Jewish shops were demolished and plundered, and attempts were made to set fire to the synagogue.
“During the demonstration in 2005, ONR men dressed in replicas of the pre-war ONR Falanga costumes passed through the streets of Krakow – sand shirts with a green armband on their arm. A flag modeled on the banner of the Third Reich was also carried, with a Celtic cross instead of a swastika,” OKO reminds. press.
Greniuch in the local media tried to explain that raising the right hand is not a greeting to the Nazis, but only a Roman salute.
The previously mentioned book by the historian “The Way of the Nationalist” is in praise of the thoughts of Léon Degrelle, a Belgian fanatical Catholic and Nazi, an SS officer sentenced to death in absentia for collaborating with Hitler.
These are just some examples from the past of the new head of the Wrocław Institute of National Remembrance.
Outraged vice president, reaction from the Israeli embassy
Greniuch’s appointment did not go unnoticed. The vice-president of Wrocław, Sebastian Lorenc, expressed his indignation in social media.
“My grandmother was deported to forced labor by the Nazis. After the war, my grandparents rebuilt Wrocław from the Nazi conflagration. Today the memory of that generation is a disgrace to appoint Greniuch to the head of the Wrocław Institute of National Remembrance. there is room for people questioning the Holocaust. There is no room for blunt hatred and anti-Semitism. Please accept that your stay in Wrocław – even if it lasted for one day – is excessively prolonged. sir “- wrote Lorenc on Facebook.
The Israeli Embassy in Poland also reacted to the decision of the Institute of National Remembrance.
“We were surprised to hear that the new director of the IPN Branch in Wrocław, Tomasz Greniuch, sees nothing wrong with raising his hand in the Nazi greeting. In Poland, a country that suffered so much under the Nazi occupation, there should be no place for the use of Nazi symbols. It remains for us to encourage Mr. Tomasz Greniuch to visit the Auschwitz Museum, whose mission is to remind the whole world about the dangers of Nazi ideology, “we read in the post posted on Twitter.
“You cannot cut off anything in life”
We tried to talk to Tomasz Greniuch, but on the phone he replied that “there is no chance for it”.
The Institute of National Remembrance defends its decision in the communication posted on the website, describes the historian as a “good organizer” and points out that he apologized for his behavior from his youth.
“Before assuming the position of acting Director of the IPN Branch in Wrocław, Dr. Tomasz Greniuch worked for over three years in the Delegation of the Institute of National Remembrance in Opole, and for nearly one and a half years he was in charge of it. During this time he became known as a good organizer. on new environments, including veterans and local government. His immediate superiors always spoke of his work with the greatest recognition. The accusations against Dr. Tomasz Greniuch concern his behavior from his youth. He admitted many times over the last decade that they were a mistake and he apologized for them “- we read in the press release.
It is only unknown where and when this apology happened. Back in 2019, when the former ONR leader was appointed to act as the head of the IPN delegation in Opole, when asked if he was cutting himself off from the nationalist organization, he replied: – You cannot cut yourself off from anything in life. It would be unreliable, dishonest. You should be a professional, you should have certain limits in your private and professional life. During this time, when I hold any functions at the Institute of National Remembrance, I conducted a dozen or so lectures and traveled around Poland to popularize knowledge about modern history. Someone apparently appreciated my work, my efforts. Everyone has their own history, their past. In my opinion, it is a great abuse and hypocrisy to stigmatize my person and say that I come from groups that love totalitarian systems – said Greniuch at the time.
Tomasz Greniuch’s promotions are connected with his acquaintance with prof. Jan Żaryn. A former PiS senator, and today the main creator of the party’s historical policy, he worked for the Institute of National Remembrance for 15 years. And it is to him that the employees of the Institute attribute political influence to the filling of positions in the institution. Żaryn was a reviewer of Greniuch’s doctoral dissertation.
In a statement for the reporter of the magazine “Polska i Świat”, prof. Żaryn argued that the ONR is a legal organization in Poland and therefore membership in it “does not exclude taking any public positions”.
TVN24 Wrocław / PAP / OKO.press
Main photo source: TVN24