On 3-4 July, a meeting of the Committee on Cultural Affairs of the Central Europe Initiative (CEI) Parliamentary Dimension (PD ) was held in Łańcut. The talks focused on the matters related to the protection and restoration of the cultural heritage damaged as a result of Russia’s aggression of Ukraine .
The meeting brought together delegations from Poland, Albania, Moldova, Romania, Ukraine, Hungary and Italy, with Poland acting as host for the second time. The General Committee on Culture was chaired by Mr Tomasz Głogowski MP, who represented both chambers of the Polish Parliament in the Central European Initiative.
The National Institute of Cultural Heritage (NID) was represented by Ms Anna Fortuna-Marek, the Head of the Regional Office in Rzeszów, who presented the Polish experience related to the protection of cultural heritage and restoration and renovation of monuments . Poland has a wealth of achievements in this area and extensive experience in rebuilding after the devastation of the Second World War. Also discussed were the aid activities undertaken by Poland for the protection of the cultural heritage of Ukraine, which is facing huge losses as a result of Russian aggression. Such aid is provided, among others, by the Polish Support Center for Culture in Ukraine, operating within the National Institute of Cultural Heritage, which coordinates initiatives aim at saving Ukraine’s cultural heritage.
During the meeting, excerpts from the documentary film ‘Erase the Nation’ by Tomasz Grzywaczewski were screened. “Erase the Nation” by Tomasz Grzywaczewski, showing Russian crimes against Ukraine’s cultural heritage and attempts to protect it. The film is available on the NID TV channel on YouTube, with subtitles in 12 languages (Polish, English, Ukrainian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Persian – Farsi, Romanian, Italian, Slovenian and Japanese).
The participants in the debate stressed the urgent need for relief efforts and the involvement of the international community. Cooperation should include not only financial and material support and exchanges of experience with Ukraine, but also widespread information to the societies of democratic countries about the extent of the destruction perpetrated by the Russian aggressor. The importance of putting international pressure on Russia to stop the deliberate destruction of Ukraine’s cultural heritage was also stressed.
The delegates also had the opportunity to learn about the concept, presented by Dr Daniel Reniszewski, Head of the Library and Archives Department of the Łańcut Castle Museum, of creating a network of museums and cultural institutions called Via Culturale. The idea is to create a network of culture related establishments along the Transit Route Via Carpatia.
After the deliberations, the meeting participants visited the Łańcut Castle Museum , the Ulma Family Museum of Poles Saving Jews during World War II and the nearby Markowa Village Museum.