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International Forum “Cycles of Commemoration. Forced Labor in Europe during World War II” (Wrocław, 27-30 September 2017)

Willy Brandt Center Wrocław in corporation with the foundation „Rememberance, Responsibility and the Future” (EVZ), Wrocław/Poland, September 27-30, 2017

The three day international forum provides the opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences around the commemoration of forced labor in Europe during World War II. In various formats like public talks, workshops and excursions, participants are invited to exchange their views on the history of NS-forced labor and the ways of commemoration in European comparison. The event is interdisciplinary and addresses researchers especially from history, cultural and social sciences, and experts from the historical-political education, as well as representatives of institutions, which deal with the commemoration of NS-forced labor. Young researchers are particularly welcome. Moreover, the international forum is a platform for receivers of research grants by the foundation EVZ on “Forced labor and forgotten Victims”.

The analysis of NS-forced labor was subject to different attention cycles since the end of World War II. At the end of the 20th century the academic and public interest in the history of forced labor was on the rise. With the fall of the Iron Curtain the debates extended their reach to the whole of Europe. A wide range of institutions and organizations dealing with forced labor, paid tribute to the victims and erected monuments and memorials. Not least of all the payments to former forced laborers raised public awareness in many countries of Europe.

As contemporary witnesses pass away we are facing a critical juncture of commemoration, which changes the perspective and the narratives of NS-forced labor and public interest seems to decline. The time of World War II is about to pass from contemporary history to history. Despite the disappearance of the so-called experience generation the subject of forced labor has not stopped being important and contemporary. Violence directed against the civilian population, the exploitation of the occupied territory and its inhabitants, abduction and forced migration are only some historical aspects with current references to the present political development in Europe and the world.

The aim of the international and interdisciplinary EVZ-forum is the search for answers to some basic questions:

Experts of the above mentioned disciplines from Western, Eastern and Central Europe are invited to submit contributions which deal with the broad field of the commemoration of NS-forced labor, with forms of commemoration, commemorative cycles, programs of educational services or insights in the subject itself. Contributions with a country comparative perspective are particularly welcome.

Proposals for talks (max. 30 min.) and workshops (to 1.5 hrs.) are welcome. Conference languages are Polish and English.

Abstracts in English (max. 500 words), together with a short curriculum vitae as a PDF file should be sent to:

Monika Szydło,

Deadline is May 15, 2017

Travel and accommodation can be covered on request.

The conference fee is 150 PLN

The international forum is hosted by Willy Brandt Center for German and European Studies, University of Wrocław, Chair of Prof. Krzysztof Ruchniewicz in cooperation with the Ruhr University, Chair of Prof. Constantin Goschler, University of Vienna, Chair of Prof. Philipp Ther and University of Tel Aviv, Chair of Prof. Jose Brunner. The international forum is funded by the foundation „Rememberance, Responsibility and the Future” (EVZ).

Organizers reserve the right to select applications.


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

until 3.30 pm          Enrollment

3.30 – 5.00 pm       Sightseeing Tour

6.00 – 6.15 pm       Welcome and Introduction

6.15 pm                 Keynote Lecture


Thursday, September 28, 2017

9.00 – 10.30 am     Panel 1: Cycles of Memory, Clarification of the concepts from the perspective of the different disciplines

Coffee Break

11.00 – 12.00 am   Panel 2: Forms of commemoration of NS-forced labor and its evaluation

Lunch Break / Exhibition opening

Parallel Panels/Workshops

1.00 – 3.30 pm       Panel 3: Remembering or Forgetting the NS-forced labor in country comparison

1.00 – 3.30 pm       Panel 4: Forms of commemorative political educational work: school books on trial (selected European examples)

Parallel Panels/Workshops

4.00 – 5.30 pm       Panel 5: Research of the history of forced labor by young researchers and their main topics

4.00 – 5.30 pm       Panel 6: Forms of presentation: Graphic Novel, Internet, WebDocu, Geo-Bache, exhibition, pamphlet, historical commemorative place etc.

6.15 pm                 Keynote

Friday, September 29, 2017

Parallel Panels/Workshop

9.00 – 10.30 am      Panel 7: Competition of commemoration of forced labor in West and East Europe

9.00 – 10.30 am      Panel 8: Commemoration by the affected and their descendants

Coffee Break

10.30 – 12.00 am    Panel 9: open topic

Lunch Break

1.00 – 8.00 pm        Excursions

Saturday, September 30, 2017

9.00 – 10.30 am      Panel 10: Discussion: Which commemoration of NS-forced labor do we need?

Coffee Break

10.30 – 12.00 am    Panel 11: Closing discussion

Contact Info: 

Agnieszka Grzeszczuk
Willy Brandt Center for
German and European Studies
University of Wrocław
ul. Strażnicza 1-3
PL-50-206 Wroclaw
Tel.: 48-71-375 95 03 / Fax: 48-71-327 93 61
Contact Email:

For more details please visit website.


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