Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena

Cultures of History Forum

Here we provide a preview of our latest publications. Follow this link to the Cultures of History Forum's website to get access to all our articles.


people forming a human chain surrounding the city centre of Dresden to commemorate the bombing

Debating 20th Century History

Commemoration at the Extremes

A Field Report from Dresden 2020

Sabine Volk ·

On 13 February 2020, citizens of the city of Dresden commemorated the 75th anniversary of their city's destruction by Allied bombing attacks in 1945. Subject to great contestation in politics and civil society, political protest and counter-protest also marked this year’s anniversary. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in Dresden before, during and after 13 February 2020, the article reviews the public events and discusses the actors and narratives that shape Dresden’s most important remembrance day.

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Palach Family House in Vstaty, Palach Memorial

Exhibiting 20th Century History

Commemorating a Martyr

The Jan Palach Memorial in Všetaty

Jakub Jareš ·


In October 2019, a new memorial was opened in the former family house of Jan Palach in the small Czech town of Všetaty. With an impressive architecture and a small exhibition, the memorial commemorates the student who, in January 1969, set himself on fire to protest the communist regime. The article places its review of the memorial in the wider history of Palach commemoration in the Czech Republic.

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Border fences being cut down, 1989

Politics of History

From Crumbling Walls to the Fortress of Europe

Changing Commemoration of the ‘Pan-European Picnic’

Emily Gioielli ·

Official narratives about the legacy of 1989 and of Hungary’s role in bringing down the Berlin wall have changed significantly over time. The article zooms in on the public commemorations of one particular event, the 'pan-European picnic' at the Austro-Hungarian border, to show how Hungary’s elite is increasingly turning the original story of this event, a Europe without borders, into a story of Hungary as the sole protector of Europe’s borders and values against unwanted outsiders.

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