In March 1968, after a wave of student demonstrations defending civic liberties rolled through Poland, the communist authorities of People’s Republic of Poland instigated an anti-Semitic campaign. Both processes affected the Central School of Planning and Statistis (SGPiS), as SGH was known at the time. In response to the brutal suppression of a demonstration by students from University of Warsaw on March 8, on Monday, March 11, a student rally was organised at SGPiS. The rally was attended by rector Wiesław Sadowski, whose words „this rally is legal, because I am taking part in it” went down in history. By joining the students, university employees attempted to ensure safety during the event and – above all – to stop SGPiS students from taking to the streets. These attempts were successful, which allowed for minimisation of repressions that were to follow. Over the next few days, the situation in Poland was heavily impacted by aggressive propaganda with clearly visible anti-Semitic overtones. The time for revenge had come. Various forms of repression impacted 10 students and around 30 employees of the School. As a result of the anti-Semitic campaign, 25 students and 9 employees emigrated from Poland.
In the face of the unexpected test of character, some showed greatness, while others smallness. Many attempted to distance themselves from the events, which – with the perspective of time - did not help put their conscience at ease. Today, it is easy to pass moral judgments and much more difficult to attempt to understand the complexities behind different attitudes. Yet it is this very challenge that we should treat as an obligation.
Today – over 50 years later – Rector and the academic community of SGH Warsaw School of Economics pay tribute to all those who had suffered in the wake of the events of March 1968. We encourage everyone to participate in the official ceremony held to honour the 50th anniversary of suppression of the rally at the University of Warsaw.