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“Creating a Collection of Testimonies Is Very Important for the Future”: Director of the Warsaw Rising Museum Jan Oldakowski Gave an Exclusive Interview to the Museum of Civilian Voices of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation


Jan Oldakowski, the director of the Warsaw Rising Museum, told the Museum of Civilian Voices of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation about why it is important to collect the stories of civilians who suffered from the war with Russia. He also shared his vision of what a modern museum should look like and what role the testimonies of war victims will play in the future.

“We could not even imagine that in the third decade of the 21st century, a war would be possible in Europe where one big power intends to destroy the other state,” Oldakowski says.

In his opinion, Russian troops are using the experience of the Third Reich in this war. They not only commit crimes, but also seek to hide them: they burn bodies and destroy documents. Oldakowski admits that this similarity is shocking because the experience of the Second World War was never to be repeated anywhere. The expert highly commends the struggle of Ukrainians against the enemy.

“The ongoing war has shown Ukrainians as fighters for their freedom and their state. It has shown people for whom freedom is at times more important even than their own lives. They captivate the world with their courage, heroism and motivation to fight.” says Jan Oldakowski.

The expert is sure that dictators always lose because the lessons of history prompt this. And when peace returns to Ukraine and rebuilding begins, the museums and the media in particular will be communicating the true history of the war to future generations. First-hand accounts and testimonies are very important in this process.

“The Museum of Civilian Voices is important because it is impossible to tell people about this war without the stories of its participants (victims and witnesses). To ensure a story is told in a truthful and reliable manner, it must be told by its witnesses – those who went through that experience and saw it. Creating such a large collection of evidence is very important for the future,” says Mr. Oldakowski. The full interview is available for reading and watching at the link

The above exclusive interview of Jan Oldakowski has become part of the collection in the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation’s Museum of Civilian Voices. It is the world’s largest archive of stories from Ukrainian civilians who suffered from the war. The Museum’s archive already numbers more than 50,000 stories.

Every story matters. Share your story too! You can do it as follows:

— post your story on your Facebook page adding the hashtags #Civilian_Voices #share_your_story, and invite your friends to join in

— use the chatbot in Telegram

— visit the Museum’s portal at and click Tell a Story button in the top right corner of the website

— telephone our toll-free hot line: 0 (800) 509 001