On 4 June, the Polish Freedom Day, President Bronislaw Komorowski awarded a high-level state distinction, the Officer’s Cross of the Order Polonia Restituta, to Marcin Kornak, the founder and chairman of the anti-racist ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association.

‘Poland really needs your activity. Thank you!’ said President Komorowski congratulating the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ leader. The President met with a group of civil society activists including Jerzy Owsiak, the founder of the charity WOSP and organizer of the annual Polish Woodstock rock festival. A delegation of five ‘NEVER AGAIN’ members was present during the meeting, too.

Marcin Kornak is a co-founder and chairman of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association as well as the editor-in-chief of the anti-fascist ‘NEVER AGAIN’ magazine. He has initiated the campaigns ‘Music Against Racism’ and ‘Let’s Kick Racism Out of the Stadiums’. He is the principal author of the ‘Brown Book 1987-2009’ and ‘Brown Book 2009-2010’ (published with the support of the EVZ Foundation), which contain results of hate crime monitoring conducted by ‘NEVER AGAIN’.

Marcin Kornak said: 'In the autumn of this year it will be 15 years since the Association "NEVER AGAIN" has been funded, but for last few weeks we came across amazing things. First, Dr. Rafal Pankowski, coordinator for FARE Eastern European Development Project, founded by 'NEVER AGAIN' with the support of UEFA, was invited to the meeting with the President Barack Obama. Now I have received one of the highest state awards from the hands of the Polish President...

For me personally this award that I received from the hands of the President is a great honour. I think that in this way, Mr. President wanted to stress how important it is to tackle racism and xenophobia in Poland. Emphasis is also treated as a long-standing commitment to appreciate all the staff working at the associations 'NEVER AGAIN', and the commitment to further actions against intolerance.'

Joyce Cook, MD at CAFE said ”Everyone at CAFE is delighted by this wonderful news. This prestigious award is so richly deserved and reflects Marcin's years of dedication and his many great achievements. He is a true inspiration to us all and we are privileged that he is also one of our ambassadors.”

Born in 1968, Marcin Kornak has used a wheel chair since the age of 15. He is renowned as a poet and author of lyrics for several independent rock bands.

After the ceremony, during a reception in the presidential garden, Prime Minister Donald Tusk received copies of the ‘Brown Book’ from ‘NEVER AGAIN’ members and discussed the problem of racism in Polish football with them.


The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an anti-racist educational and monitoring organization established in Poland in 1996. In 2011, the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association received the Honorary Medal of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising awarded by the Association of Jewish Ex-Combatants and Victims of World War II as well as the European Football Supporters Award.

Since 2009, ‘NEVER AGAIN’ has coordinated the FARE East European Development Project supported by UEFA in the lead up to EURO 2012 in Poland and Ukraine. ‘NEVER AGAIN’ has set up the East Europe Monitoring Centre documenting racism and xenophobia across the region.

A version of this article is also available in Polish.

Published 10/06/2011