Ed. Marian Turski holds an honorary doctorate at UMCS

A well-known social activist, historian and journalist, Redactor Marian Turski, received an honorary doctorate from UMCS. The ceremony took place on 23rd March of this year. At the University Hall of the Faculty of Law and Administration of UMCS, gathered representatives of the academic community, many distinguished guests and people wishing to honour the award of Marian Turski.

The UMCS Senate decided to award the title of doctor honoris causa to Marian Turski for the noble fulfilment of the mission of the guardian of the standard memory of Polish-Jewish history, restoring faith in the driving force of free speech and the deep moral dimension of the commandment "Do not be indifferent", which becomes a universal human obligation towards others and the world. Awarding the title of doctor honoris causa is the highest distinction and, at the same time, the most significant recognition by the University for people of particular merit for science and worth following.

The event was officially inaugurated by the UMCS Rector, prof. dr hab. Radosław Dobrowolski welcomed all the gathered and the guest of honour.

During the ceremony, the laudation was delivered by prof. dr hab. Iwona Hofman, director of the Institute of Social Communication and Media Sciences, and at the same time the promoter of awarding the honorary title to Turski.

- The selection of Marian Turski's speeches and interviews published in 2021 is entitled "XI Do not be indifferent" and is dedicated to Roman Kent, long-time president of the International Auschwitz Committee. The latter used this phrase when speaking on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the camp's liberation. Marian Turski, explaining the essence of evil resulting from indifference, as well as omission, conformism, thoughtlessness, lack of empathy and compassion, placed in the centre of consideration the commandment formulated by Kent to give it the value of universal truth, a vector of the future addressed to humanity - emphasized Prof. I. Hofman.

In connection with the war on our eastern border, there were many references to the situation in Ukraine during the ceremony and the fact that the words "do not be indifferent" now mean.

- Today, the first requirement is to understand that people are dying next to us, that this is not an internal conflict, it is aggression. At this point, it does not matter if there were formerly any war conflicts, accusations, an attack that kills and destroys at the same time. It kills people - civilians, children, mothers - and destroys culture. If we understand this, our indifference must be overcome with whatever form of help we can afford. They [Ukrainian society] are fighting for freedom in a way, so each of us has to think about how to help them. Today it is about not remaining indifferent - said editor Turski.

During his speech, the guest of honour at the ceremony returned to the topic related to the current situation in the world but also emphasized the importance of friendship in human life: If there are currently 86 names on your list of honorary doctors, let me mention one of them which is why I am so glad that I can be next. This is one of my closest friends, Leopold Unger, whom I will never forget. However, the most important part of my happiness is that you are here. (...) To paraphrase Mark Twain's words, happiness is when you can share your joy with your loved ones; happiness is when those closest to you want to be partakers of your joy.

Then, editor Marian Turski gave a lecture entitled Why did the uprising break out so late? Which concerned the uprising in the Warsaw ghetto.

The eighty-seventh honorary doctor is the head of the historical section of the Polityka weekly. He is also the long-term chairman of the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, president of the International Auschwitz Committee from 2021, one of the co-founders of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews and the chairman of the Museum Council. He devoted his entire life to working for culture and the fight for human rights, for which he received high awards, both Polish and foreign, incl. Commander's Cross with the Star of the Order of Polonia Restituta, the Gold Medal for Merit to Culture Gloria Artis and the Honorary Award of the UN Commissioner for Human Rights.

Marian Turski has been cooperating with the Faculty of Political Science and Journalism at UMCS for many years. He visited the unit many times, incl. as a participant of conferences and meetings in the "Polityka" salon. Since 2012, he has been a member of the Chapter of the Scholarship of Leopold Unger, affiliated with UMCS. He looks after the scholarship winners and apprentices from our University in the editorial office of Polityka. In recognition of his ties with UMCS and Lublin, on 14th January 2019, he was awarded the Amicis Universitatis Medal and the Medal of the 700th Anniversary of the City of Lublin.

Celebration broadcast:


    Monika Kusiej
    Date of addition
    25 March 2022

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