Öffentliche Veranstaltung am ZiF - Vortrag

Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk: Crossroads of History, Memory and Politics


Termin: 24. Januar 2019, 18:15
Ort: Plenarsaal des ZiF
Paweł Machcewicz (Warschau, POL / Jena, GER)

The Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk was opened in 2017. This is the largest historical museum in Poland and one of largest historical museums in Europe and in the world. It also turned out to be in the last years the biggest battlefield in the realm of historical memory and politics of history in Poland.

The concept of the museum was from the very beginning criticized by the right-wing as allegedly unpatriotic, attempting to marginalize exceptional features of Polish history by putting it alongside the experience of other nations. It was called 'pseudo-universalistic', 'too European', 'cosmopolitan', 'not Polish enough'. Museum of the Second World War was compared to the House of European History in Brussels and to projects of creating German-French and Polish-German school textbooks. They were all labeled as expressions of the plans of European, cosmopolitan elites to marginalize or even suppress distinct national identities of the member states of the European Union in order to replace them by an artificial, supranational, European identity. This controversy reflects not only ideological splits in Poland but in fact epitomizes clashes in the fields of memory, culture and politics in many other European countries.

Paweł Machcewicz is professor of history at the Polish Academy of Science. In 2008-2017 he was founding director of the Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk, dismissed from his position by the Law and Justice government immediately after opening the Museum to the public; in 2017 he taught at the Université Libre de Bruxelles holding the International Chair for the History of the Second World War; in 2006 -2013 he was professor of the Warsaw University and the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń and in 2000 was a co-founder of the Institute of National Remembrance, in 2000-2006 was its director for research and education; actually he is a fellow at the Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena, in 2017-2018 he was a fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, in 2017, 2013, 2007, and 1994 a Cold War History Project fellow and a History and Public policy fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (Washington DC), in 1997-1998 a Fulbright fellow at the Georgetown University. He received his MA (1989) and PhD (1993) at the Department of History of the Warsaw University.

Please direct questions concerning the organisation to Marina Hoffmann at the Conference Office.


Tel: +49 521 106-2768
Fax: +49 521 106-152768
E-Mail: marina.hoffmann@uni-bielefeld.de