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Date: 2001
Author(s): Kucia, Marek
Date: 2001
Abstract: Sixty years after KL Auschwitz had been established by the Nazis on the outskirts of Oświęcim, a town in occupied Poland, to serve primarily as a ‘concentration camp’ for the Polish political prisoners and later as the major site of the ‘final solution of the Jewish question’, and 55 years after its nightmare ended through the liberation by the Soviet Army, a national representative survey of public opinion was conducted to measure the significance, knowledge and symbolism of KL Auschwitz among Poles today.1 This was the first comprehensive nation-wide survey of public opinion about Auschwitz in Poland. It covered some of the issues addressed in earlier surveys carried out since 1995.2 The survey was a part of a larger research project that deals with the changing perception and attitudes of Poles to Auschwitz in 1990s. This project also includes archival research, content analysis of the media and school text books, and empirical quantitative and qualitative research among the Polish visitors to the State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oświęcim and the Museum’s staff. The project in general and the survey in particular have been undertaken to fill in the gap of knowledge and understanding of the Polish perceptions of and attitudes to what is a painful historical fact, a complex symbol and a matter of controversies. A research objective also was to provide cognitive background to educational activities about Auschwitz in Poland and world-wide, in particular to the activities of the State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau as well as Polish and international school curricula designers and textbook writers.
Author(s): Morsch, Günter
Date: 2001
Abstract: In 1995 the German federal centre for political education published a collection of essays on the problems arising from public representations of the Holocaust. Angela Genger, director of the Dusseldorf Memorial Centre, expressed her worries about developments at the major memorial centres following the unification of Germany. Under the heading ‘Are we facing a roll back?’, she laments that ‘the discursive and process-orientated practice adopted since the early eighties’ has been playing ‘non-principal role’2 in the memorials’ quest for renewal. As president of the working group for memorials in North Rhine-Westfalia, she particularly regrets that the discourse has since become ‘state-based’. In the old federal republic, the protagonists had often met with solid political opposition from the various municipalities, regions and federal states. Passionate and lengthy debates were carried on between so-called ‘barefoot historians’ and history workshops, trade union and church groups (especially ‘Aktion Sühnezeichen’), engaged activists and local politicians, but most of all former inmates and other victims of National Socialism. They eventually succeeded in bringing about a range of vastly different, decentralized memorials. These are seen in strong contrast to the centralized memorials, which are funded by the federal government and the relevant states, were conceived by historians and other experts, and are headed by academics and administrators enjoying a superior level of social security, with pension benefits and even the provision of housing.
Author(s): Madigan, Kevin
Date: 2001
Date: 2002