Governmental Research Institute – Silesian Institute in Opole is an heir and successor of the Silesian Institute scientific association founded on 15 XII 1933 in Katowice, which has inaugurated its activity on 28 II 1934., but in fact started it on 1 V 1934. Since the beginning of its existence, the Institute pursued its statutory goals, organizing and promoting the results of research on the past of Silesia and its modernity in the aspects of broadly understood history, culture and economy.
After the liberation of Katowice from German occupation, the Institute has resumed its work as a research facility aimed to realize the pre-war objectives of the Silesian province, organizing itself in a new political system. The post-war development of the Katowice facility has been interrupted, first by the limitation of the research freedom, and afterwards, its liquidation in the period of deepening Stalinism – it has occurred in 1949.
Silesian Institute has been reborn in Opole, on May 9th, 1957. The inspirer of the idea was the Presidium of the Voivodship Council in Opole. In contrast to the pre-war Institute in Katowice, mainly organizing scientific work, Opole Institute was to conduct a research about the Silesia region. The research program began to be implemented in 1958, the Institute also began to publish its scientific journal „Silesia Studies,” and its editorial function has been filled by its initiator, Prof. Seweryn Wysłouch.
In the first period of operation, the Institute began to act as the organizer of scholarly life in the region. A turning point for the Institute was the establishment of the Scientific-Research Institute in Opole by the Opole Silesian Institute Association, a newly established institution began to use the powers of government research institutes.
At the beginning of 1991, the Opole voivodship governor, in consultation with the Minister-President of the Committee for Scientific Research and Minister of Finance, has turned the Silesian Institute Scientific-Research Institute into the Governmental Research Institute – Silesian Institute in Opole. From this moment, the Association of Silesian Institute in Opole operates as a separate entity.
The profile of research this facility includes specific issues for the Silesia region, and also important for the process of political transformation and state policy. These include problems – (1) the history of political, social, culture and language, and (2) the social, political, economic, legal, administrative and ecological conditions for development of the region, and (3) the impact of German policy and Polish-German relations on social, economic and political processes in Silesia.
Governmental Research Institute – Silesian Institute in Opole, as heir to the pre-war Katowice Silesian Institute – remains a multidisciplinary scientific institution, of which substantive scope of the study defines the issues specific to the historical upper Oder, in particular the Opole Silesia, the socio-historical and real border area – very important for Poland in the contemporary processes of political transformation of the state and its policies as an important element of the next stages of European integration.
(edited by Michał Lis, prof. dr hab.)