European Remembrance - Symposium of European Institutions dealing with 20th Century History

2016 Budapest

1956. Contexts – Impacts - Remembrance


If you are a registered participant of the Symposium, please register for the workshops here.

1st session: 25 May, 14:45

1. Religion and religious policy in the period of the Cold War and détente
  • ORGANISER: Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Research Centre for the Humanities, Institute of History
  • 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall it is an apt time to reconsider the role of religion after the Second World War in East and Central Europe. In a departure from previous Hungarian research experiences, the workshop intends to discuss the dynamics of confrontation and dialogue between religious factors and state power on the global and local level in the context of the Cold War and détente. The workshop proposes to examine by comparative means the complex relationship between religion and resistance as well as the changing attitude and strategies of international religious centers vis-a-vis local churches and communist governments. It will also discuss elements of continuity and discontinuity in communist religious policy before and after 1956.
  • MODERATOR: András Fejérdy
2. Can we write the history of 1956 from a “bottom up” perspective on the basis of Regime Archives?
  • ORGANISERS: Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, Charles University in Prague
  • A permanent negotiation process was at play between rulers and the ruled. On the one hand, Communist authorities were deeply concerned with the approbation that the ‘public’ might confer on their policies. Conversely, people accepted this rule under conditions that they negotiated to some extent (‘I sign this paper, but you let my child go to university’, etc.); sometimes, they even participated in the repression policy (denunciations, People’s Militia.) But is a ‘bottom up’ historical approach useful? And is it possible to overcome the methodological challenges that stem from writing a history ‘from under’ with sources ‘from above’? The two workshop leaders will position themselves against each other and mobilize participants to take sides.
  • MODERATORS: Dr Muriel Blave, Dr Nicolas Maslowski
3. Commemorative events at school – developing inquiry-based, thought-provoking, student-oriented event scenarios
  • ORGANISER: University of Wrocław, Institute of History
  • One of the duties of history and civic education teachers in Poland is to prepare commemorative events on the occasion of national holidays and ‘round’ anniversaries. Usually these take the form of an ‘akademia’, i.e. a combination of poetry readings, songs or theatrical performances by a group of students. In the Internet portals addressed to the teachers, one can quite easily find various school events scenarios, but most of them assume the passive participation of the audience. The workshop will begin with a brief presentation of the projects that the moderator of the workshop has implemented in her career as a primary school teacher and professor of public history, involving activity and individual tasks for every student. This will encourage participants to develop their own lesson- project- or event plans, related to the commemoration of 1956 that could be implemented at schools in various countries.
  • MODERATOR: Prof. Joanna Wojdon

2nd session: 25 May, 15:30

1. Historical Sources of Totalitarian Regimes
  • ORGANISER: Hungarian Committee of National Remembrance
  • The workshop ‘Historical Sources of Totalitarian Regimes’ will deal with methodological problems. Concerning written sources, one of the key issues is archiving and the availability of documents. The impact of the archival revolution may be discussed while another crucial point would be the issue of credibility. Researchers face the problem that documents prepared by political forces were often falsified files. A possible means of clarifying this could be through international comparisons. This workshop will thus act as a platform to elaborate comparative projects. To show recent results of research to the public, other kinds of sources (such as audio-visual ones) are necessary as well, while another important source is oral history. The pros and cons of such sources will be discussed at the workshop as well as the methods of gathering oral history interviews at scientific institutions.
  • MODERATOR: Dr Áron Máthé
2. Giving the Victims a name – Register of Resistance Fighters and Persecuted Persons in Communist Europe
  • ORGANISER: Gedenkstätte Berlin-Hohenschönhausen
  • The overall aim of the project is to create an international database, filled with names and biographical information of all the victims and opponents of communist regimes in Europe, similar to the famous database of the Yad Vashem Memorial. The first task is to define the criteria regarding which person is considered a victim or opponent of communism. The second task is to reach an agreement about the form of the data. Initially the database should include such data as: first name, last name, date of birth, gender, mode of oppositional action, mode of repression. The third task is to reach an agreement between the most important institutions for enabling the process of coming to terms with the communist past in communist countries within the European Union, so they can practically implement the idea.
  • MODERATORS: Dr Hubertus Knabe, Dr Stefan Donth
3. Centre for Information on the Victims of World War II. Modern tools of archival research for humanitarian purposes
  • ORGANISER: The Institute of National Remembrance in Poland
  • This workshop intends to present the activity of the Centre for Information on the Victims of World War II and uncover a unique archival collection concerning victims of Nazi Germany and Stalin’s USSR, held in the Institute of National Remembrance, Warsaw. The most valuable WWII documents will be showcased, including concentration camp files, documentation of the Gestapo, personal correspondence of the persecuted. Furthermore, two databases will be presented: OuS Archiv of the International Tracing Service in Bad Arolsen (consisting of digitized documents concerning the fate of ca. 17 million people, the INR being the only institution in Eastern Europe having access to the database), and the Polish programme - Index of the Repressed (1,200,000 records on Polish citizens persecuted by the Soviet Union between 1939-1956).
  • MODERATORS: Katarzyna Kienhuis, Jacek Ryżko

You can apply

for travel grant

after registration