To whom does history belong? In the midst of Black Lives Matter, colonial history, ongoing debates on the Nazi past, and commemorations of victims of communism, this question remains urgent to Europeans. Where we come from, what our shared history is and how we should understand history, are questions that not only historians deal with. They concern all of us – not just to make sense of the past, but also to make sense of the present.
The Memory Studies Association (MSA) and the European Association of History Educators (EuroClio) have joined their efforts to organise a common project for Europeans to get educated and to educate others – to discuss, to rediscover and to reconstruct the complexity of European history, particularly the way how we treat our totalitarian past. Part of the European Commission’s Europe4Citizens programme, Contested Histories Onsite is a project consisting of podcasts, lectures, online tours and debates on four controversial landmarks in the EU.
Our first event will be at, and about, the Warsaw Uprising Museum. Dedicated to the Warsaw Uprising – an armed uprising by Polish resistance fighters against the Nazis – the landmark is situated in the centre of an emotionally loaded debate in Polish society on the different clashing perspectives of Catholic Poles, Germans and Polish Jews in the war. Which narratives are to be given a voice when commemorating the war?
This question will be addressed in a lecture, where the Second World War is to be discussed as a very contemporary, politicised and polarising topic in the Polish public space, as it is in many other places of Europe. Dr Maria Kobielska, a memory scholar on contemporary Polish memory culture at Jagiellonian University’s Faculty of Polish Studies, will give the lecture.
Coming next, the interactive virtual tour will detail how the museum creates an immersive experience using the ‘time machine’ method and sensory stimulation before coming to the controversy and ethics surrounding the museum. The tour will be guided by Dr Marcin Napiórkowski, who is a scholar at the University of Warsaw’s Institute of Polish Culture, where he specialises in mythology and the memory of the Warsaw Uprising.
The lecture and the online tour through the Warsaw Uprising Museum will take place on July 1st, 2021, from 16:00 to 17:30 (CEST). Educators, guide tours, journalists and anyone with a sparkled curiosity for history and the present are invited to join. Please, click on the following link for registration: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEucOyqqzkvHdRG5-h5sMxQVAHvXqkkTEKC?mc_cid=0e3b3467e4&mc_eid=a0d3db6f20