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History After the Fall - Description

Project starting date: day 1 month 9 year 2004
Project finishing date: day 28 month 02 year 2007

Based on the results of and the lessons learned from major programs of the past few years, OSA is proposing a three-year-long collaborative program on the instability of historical representation after the 1989 "Great Divide". The program aims at contributing to the slowly emerging debate, mostly, but not exclusively in the former Communist part of the world, on critical, and in most cases, tragic issues of recent history. At the moment of European accession, it is imperative for us to contribute to a serious reexamination of the role the Central European political elite and different groups of the societies at large played at tragic turning points of recent European history. Working in close collaboration with professional institutions of international standing in Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Rumania, and collaborating with organizations and institutions in Russia, and the United States, we would like to launch a complex program of presenting and analyzing major representational shifts of twentieth century history. According to the plan, jointly submitted by the collaborating institutions, the program would be designed in a way that would allow, in fact motivate, the participation of the public in the historical debate.

In April 2004 the Hungarian government will open a new Holocaust Memorial Museum in Budapest and the newly rearranged Hungarian exhibition in Auschwitz . Parallel to that occasion, OSA proposes to organize an exhibition and the workshop on "The Communist representation of the deportation and fate of the Jews in Eastern Europe". As an integral part of the exhibition, we would like (re)present the original, post-World War II national Auschwitz exhibitions, which epitomized the way the authorities remembered, represented, in fact, misrepresented the role of the Nazi concentration camps before the Fall of the Dresden Wall and that of the Iron Curtain. For Communist historiography, the history of the twentieth century was but the permanent fight between the forces of Fascism and Communism, thus eliminating all other groups, including the Jews and the Roma from historical memory.

One of the central sub-themes of the program would be "post-Communist anti-Communism", the new reading of the recent past from a post-1989 anti-Communist perspective and the creation a new seemingly authentic reading of an anti-Communist past by the help of historical revisionism. The program would present new or newly discovered methodology and epistemology in the service of recreating the recent past. Special emphasis would be given to historical comparisons, especially to deeply problematic different efforts to compare totalitarian regimes, especially Nazi Germany with state-socialist Soviet Union.

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