Skip to Content

Statement of historians on the current humanitarian crisis in Europe

Jan Kunnas
Dear colleagues, 
We have discussed the current humanitarian crisis unfolding at our borders, and have decided to issue the underlying statement, we wish you all to join. I hereby ask everyone who wish to join the statement to send me the following details: Your name, academic title and affiliation so we can update signatures to this statement.
We are also compiling an appendix that would contain examples of knowledge transferred by immigrants to underline our point. If your work would provide such evidence, please provide us a few lines describing your results, and if possible reference link to your source, project, article, publication. Please also provide the time period of your example, for ordering them into a nice list.
You are also more than welcome to spread the statement and call for signatories trough your own networks of historians. Note due to the content of the text, we are looking for historians. Other groups are encouraged to issue their own statements.
all the best,
Jan Kunnas, Post-Doc, KTH, Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden

Viktor Pál, PhD, WU Wien, Austria
We are shocked by the current humanitarian crisis in Europe, by the plight of refugees from war and persecution at the borders and shorelines of the EU. Simultaneously we are upset by the harsh and antagonistic attitudes by some of our fellow citizens and elected leaders who deny help and assistance to fellow humans in distress and life threatening danger.
At this crucial moment, we want as historians to highlight the importance of the knowledge that migrants, regardless if they have escaped persecution or war, or are just looking for a better future for themselves and their children, have brought with them to Europe in the past. How that knowledge helped building our societies and creating the current wealth we enjoy in Europe. Migration and mobility have been and is fundamental part of our society, to highlight this we are adding to this statement a continuously updated list containing examples of the knowledge transferred by immigrants to underline our point.
Although migration and migrants were beneficial to Europe in the past, we know that the potential usefulness of a person to society should not be the reason why we help fellow humans. We must help people in need because they need help. It was that simple in the past, and so it is today.
The 20th century taught us to accept and embrace our diversities. In this very moment we Europeans must stand for our values.
Contact Info: 

Jan Kunnas

KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment

SE-100 44, Stockholm, Sweden

Contact Email: