19 June 2017
Chronicles of Terror
A map of locations mentioned in testimonies, historical background of specific events, photographs of victims and witnesses of totalitarian crimes – these are but a few new functionalities available at ChroniclesofTerror.pl, one of the biggest collections of civilian testimonies from occupied Europe.
Chronicles of Terror, a novel project of the Witold Pilecki Center for Totalitarian Studies, published in Polish and English, combines academic research, the popularization of history and the broadly defined culture of remembrance.
The online testimony database – the key part of the project – contains the accounts by Polish citizens of the suffering and persecution to which they were subjected during the wartime occupation of their country by the totalitarian regimes of the Communist Russia and the Nazi Germany. These testimonies reflect the experience of thousands of Polish victims of totalitarian crimes, and also of their families and loved ones.
The development of the database started with the publication of testimonies concerning Warsaw and its environs. These include accounts describing German terror in the occupied capital: street executions, round-ups, daily life in the Warsaw Ghetto, executions of the Polish intelligentsia carried out in Palmiry and at other locations in the vicinity of Warsaw. There are also the testimonies of prisoners of Pawiak and Gęsiówka, and of those who were brutally interrogated at the Gestapo headquarters on aleja Szucha. Some depositions were made by Polish Jews who survived deportation to the death camp at Treblinka.
Finally, the database includes the accounts of Varsovians who survived the Wola Massacre – a systematic genocide carried out by the Germans during the first days of the Warsaw Uprising in 1944. The majority of the accounts available on the portal are witness depositions made by Polish citizens who testified before the Main Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland after World War II.
On 17 September 2017, which marks the 78th anniversary of the Red Army’s invasion of Poland, there will published the first testimonies concerning Soviet crimes, submitted by the soldiers from Anders’ Army and civilians who escaped the Soviet Union.