Academic research

The “Remembrance and Future” Centre implements academic and publishing projects, and organises debates, conferences and seminars, in the most part concerning the post-war history of Poland, Wrocław and the Western and Northern Lands. In our research, we exploit oral history methodology – we record witnesses to history and document collected biographical reminiscences.

For years, the Centre has been developing the oral history methodology, undertaking a range of activities connected to the dissemination of oral history and also the development of research in this field. Periodically, at least twice a year, we organise oral history workshops which are open to people interested in this topic. We also organise lectures and workshops at various institutions, including schools, where we teach and also encourage young people to use this method and conduct their first interviews with witnesses to history. As part of our partnership with the Institute of History at the University of Wrocław, we offer classes dedicated to oral history; these are aimed at masters-level history students. In addition, every year the Centre organises “Grant Oral History”, which aims to support young researchers (2020 is the 10th year of this project). For 10 years the Centre has also published an academic journal, “Wrocławski Rocznik Historii Mówionej” (Wrocław Oral History Annual). Narratives collected by the Centre are archived and made available at our Documentation Centre.

The Research Department also includes a library focusing on the contemporary history of Poland.

For information on work completed by the Research Department choose the projects tab.

Post-war history of Poland

„Millennium Letters”
In progress since 2018, the “Millennium Letters” project involves wide-ranging academic research concerning 56 letters of invitation to the celebration of the Millennium of the Baptism of Poland issued during the Second Vatican Council by the bishops of Poland to the bishops of Europe and the world. Research work continuing in 2020 relates to locating the letters and then analysing them in terms of the message contained in the documents and their reception in the environments to which they were sent. This research will result in the publication of a monograph. The project is co-financed from funds from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage within the framework of the multi-year NIEPODLEGŁA (INDEPENDENT) programme for the years 2017–2022.

Post-war history of Wrocław

Millennial Commemoration Schools in Wrocław. Implementation in Wrocław of the Programme to Build 1000 schools for the millennium of the Polish state.
This is a project whose aim is to observe the process of implementing the programme for building memorial schools in Wrocław. The project exploits archive sources (New Records Archive and Archive of Wrocław Technical University), projects (Town Planning Archive of the City of Wrocław – Architecture Museum Branch), social documentation (newspapers, documentary films), published literature and narratives from witnesses to history (designers, and former head teachers, teachers and pupils). The aim of the project is the implementation of the following assumptions: a school as a monument – depicting the propaganda context of building schools and its impact on societal perception of facilities, as well as identifying the original assumptions motivating the authors of the programme in the light of what was ultimately achieved; a Millennial Commemoration School as a “typical” school – the example of Wrocław and the architectural diversity of some of the schools; and also both a comparison of Millennial Commemoration Schools with other schools and an indication of existing architectural differences in programme differences.

For more information: Millennial Commemoration Schools

Depot is on strike
In connection with the 40th anniversary of the Solidarity strikes in Wrocław (August 2020), the Centre is focusing on commemorating the events which took place in the Zajezdnia bus depot number 7 – for it was here that “Solidarność” Wrocław was born and it was here that the centre of the Lower Silesian strikes was located, led the newly formed Interworks Strike Committee. Our Research Department is concerned with the academic aspects of the project, and we are focusing on contacting as many of the participants in the strikes at the Zajezdnia as possible to collect their narratives and conduct surveys whose results will help to create a temporary exhibition. The opening of the exhibition will be accompanied by a ceremony, during which we hope to honour individuals who took part in the events at Zajezdnia number 7 during the period 26 August to 1 September 1980.

Post-war History of the Western and Northern Lands

The Western and Northern Lands. Region or Regions (1945–2020)?
Since 2019, as part of the implementation of the Research Programme of the Western and Northern Lands Network, a team of 30 specialists representing both Polish academic centres and institutions involved in forming the Network have been conducting research, the results of which are to be published in a multi-author, peer-reviewed scholarly monograph dedicated to an analysis from a regional perspective of the lands attached to Poland as a result of the Second World War. The key question which the authors asked themselves was: Should the Western and Northern Lands be considered a single region or rather a collection of smaller regions?
The aim is to produce a two-volume monograph, where volume one will encompass the years 1945–1989 and volume two 1990–2020.
Consideration of the above complex issue will be conducted in six research teams, each of which will analyse the titular issue from the perspective of different phenomena. This will determine the following structure of monograph:

1. Region(s) – history and geography
2. Region(s) – demography
3. Region(s) – religion
4. Region(s) – economy
5. Region(s) in the light of the political history of the state and local government
6. Region(s) in the light of grassroots initiatives

As part of the work of the individual teams, each author will concentrate on a selected part of the Western and Northern Lands, that is: Silesian Opole, Lower Silesia, the Lubuskie region, Pomerania or Warmia and Masuria. Such a layout allows, in a comparative approach, the dominant similarities and differences between these smaller regions to be captured; and consequently, it will be possible to state to what extent and with reference to which spheres of social life it is meaningful to talk about the given area as a region. This latter task rests with the coordinator of each of the chapters, whose observations, along with the research postulates, will be included in texts introducing and concluding each chapter.

In total, volume one will consist of 48 texts, preceded by an introduction (how to research regions). The volume will be supplemented with discursive texts. The planned publication aims to fill a gap which has been identified in contemporary research on the Western and Northern Lands. And although in all probability there will be no unambiguous answer to the research question, it is hoped that the collected materials will be able to form the starting point for further regional research.

The project is planned to run from 2019 to 2022, while publication of the first volume of the monograph is envisaged by the end of 2020.

Oral history

100 100-year-olds for 100 years
The aim of the project is the collection of 100 oral history narratives from interviews conducted with 100-year-olds – people born in 1923 and earlier. Through the prism of their biographical stories, we want to present 100 years of Polish history, including important social and political events, outstanding individuals and ordinary, everyday histories. The final outcome of the project will be a publication. An exhibition has also been put on – “Rówieśnicy Niepodległej” (Contemporaries of Polish Independence) – which presents the stories of selective interviewees and also reproduces fragments from oral history narratives. The project received financial support from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage within the framework of NIEPODLEGŁA (INDEPENDENT), its multi-year programme for the years 2017–2022.

See the exhibition on-line: click here

Handball in Wrocław
This a research project where the focus will be on the handball section of “Śląsk” Military Sports Club (WKS) in Wrocław. Our aim is to collect narratives from players representing WKS in the 1960s, 70s and 80s and to present the history of this multi Polish title-winning club from the personal perspective of the players themselves. We also want to acquire archive materials related to the club (e.g. from the Military Archives in Oleśnica, New Records Archive in Warsaw, and the Wrocław branch of the Institute for National Remembrance). To date, we have collected the reminiscences of several dozen icons of this Wrocław sports club: Jan Milewski, Alfred Wrzeski, Antoni Turkiewicz, Piotr Ruśniok, Andrzej Michalak, Bogdan Kowalczyk, Antoni Przybecki, Bogdan Falęta, Andrzej Sokołowski, Piotr Czaczka, Włodzimierz Frąszczak and Ryszard Konieczny. All the recordings are available from our Oral History Archive.

„Grant Oral History”Begun in 2011, “Grant Oral History” is an annual competition aimed at students in and graduates from higher education and also young researchers who are using oral history methods in their research. The “Remembrance and Future” Centre finances the implementation of research projects connected with the post-war history of Wrocław and the Western and Northern Lands. The outcome of each implemented grant is the recording of 10 narratives from witnesses to history, together with their transcription. Previous competitions have led to more than 30 awards, and all the collected reminiscences are available in our Oral History Archive.

Grant Oral History Prize Winners.

1st edition:

· Tamara Włodarczyk, „Życie żydowskie na Dolnym Śląsku”;
· Marcelina Jakimowicz, „Okres zasiedlania ziem Dolnego Śląska w pamięci osób przesiedlonych z terenów kresów wschodnich”;
· Piotr Zubowski, „Historia Zeidlitz/Siedlec, mieszkańców, którzy przyjechali na "Ziemie Odzyskane" z Kresów II Rzeczpospolitej i innych rejonów, organizacja wsi po II wojnie światowej i jej dalsze losy, aż do, "powodzi tysiąclecia" w 1997 r.”;

2nd edition:

· Elżbieta Grodzka, „Działalność zawodowa prof. Edmunda Małachowicza”;
· Marcelina Jakimowicz, „Okres zasiedlania ziem Dolnego Śląska w pamięci osób przesiedlonych z terenów kresów wschodnich”;
· Krzysztof Wasilewski, „Jak Feniks z popiołów. Powstanie, likwidacja i odrodzenie prasy drugiego obiegu w województwie gorzowskim (1980–1989)”;
· Sebastian Górski, „Uchodźcy polityczni z Grecji na Dolnym Śląsku po 1948 r.”;

3rd edition:

· Ewa Sowińska, „Relacje osób zamieszkujących ziemię Złotoryjską w latach 1945–1956”;
· Paweł Lewandowski, „Mit pionierów. Heroizacja przeszłości na przykładzie osadników polskich Ziem Zachodnich”;
· Marek Szajda, „Historia I Liceum Ogólnokształcącego im. Stefana Żeromskiego w Jeleniej Górze w relacjach absolwentów, pracowników, nauczycieli i uczniów w latach 1945–1989”;

4th edition:

· Arkadiusz Więch, „Życie codzienne mieszkańców Gór Sowich w latach 1945–1970”;
· Krzysztof Wasilewski, „Po stronie Frontu Jedności Narodu. Gorzowskie elity polityczne 1945–1989”;
· Agnieszka Ilwicka, „Życie kulturalne i społeczne Żydów we Wrocławiu i na Dolnym Śląsku w latach 1945–1989”;
· Anna Kurpiel, „Historia mówiona reemigrantów z Francji na Dolnym Śląsku”;
· Michał Siekierka, „Przesiedlenia z Kresów Wschodnich. Pamięć o rodzinnych stronach na tzw. Ziemiach Odzyskanych”;

5th edition:

· Grzegorz Kaczorowski, „Villardczycy i Batinolczycy na Ziemiach Zachodnich. Relacje świadków”;
· Tomasz Kosiek, „Z batkiwszczyny na czużynu”. Pamięć i postpamięć starych i nowych ojczyzn w narracjach osób wysiedlonych w ramach Akcji Wisła i ich potomków”;
· Agnieszka Ilwicka, „Żydowska twarz Dolnego Śląska w Izraelu. Opowieść o Dolnym Śląsku w latach 1945-1968 w pamięci mieszkańców Izraela”;
· Weronika Rybarczyk, „Po dwóch stronach rzeki. Wspomnienia z (po)granicza”;

6th edition:

· Aleksandra Karmelita, „Wiatr od morza”;
· Małgorzta Łukianow, „Zapomniani pionierzy. Narracje biograficzne osadników z Polski Centralnej na Powiślu”;
· Karolina Domańska, „Powojenne życie codzienne na ziemi opolskiej we wspomnieniach mieszkańców”;

7th edition:

· Anna Maciąg, „Pamięć traumy II wojny w relacjach mówionych mieszkańców Warmii i Mazur”;
· Dagmara Staniszewska, „Pamięć internowania z nowej perspektywy. Analiza narracji dzieci osób internowanych”;
· Arkadiusz Cincio, „Lubuska Wytwórnia Win w relacjach jej pracowników i mieszkańców Zielonej Góry”;

8th edition:

· Aleksandra Paprot-Wielopolska, „Krajobraz kulturowy Żuław a praca rolnika w narracjach powojennych osadników zamieszkałych na obszarach wiejskich”;
· Łukasz Piotr Pintal, „Z niemieckiego Kamenz do polskiego Kamieńca". Życie społeczno-kulturalne, polityczne i gospodarcze gminy Kamieniec Ząbkowicki w okresie kształtowania się polskiej administracji i Polski Ludowej”;
· Izabela Korniluk, „Hegemonia ZASTALU w Zielonej Górze. Dzieje Zaodrzańskich Zakładów Przemysłu Metalowego Zastal w latach 1945–1992 we wspomieniach byłych pracowników”;

9th edition:

· Małgorzata Laburda-Lis, „Odcienie roku 1945 we wspomnieniach mieszkańców Bytomia i okolic”;
· Tomasz Kosiek, „Z batkiwszczyny na czużynu II. Pamięć i postpamięć starych i nowych ojczyzn w narracjach osób wysiedlonych w ramach Akcji "Wisła" do Giżycka i okolic”;
· Aleksandra Kurowska-Susdorf, „Adaptacja i praca w narracjach ludności rodzimej i powojennych osadników w gminie Gniewino”;

10th edition:

· Katarzyna Targosz, „Wrocławskie żłobki we wspomnieniach personelu w latach 1956–1989”;
· Beata Józków, „Stacja Polkowice czyli Sami swoi w Polkowicach”;
· Agnieszka Wrzesińska, „Związek Harcerstwa Polskiego na Dolnym Śląsku w latach 1945–1951”.

Wrocławski Rocznik Historii Mówionej (Wrocław Oral History Annual) is an academic periodical which aims to create a basis for methodological reflection on the oral history method and for exchange of experiences between different centres and individuals – representatives from various academic disciplines – interested in oral history, as it is broadly understood. The periodical publishes the findings of academic research using oral history sources, discussion of the method itself, and also academically worked sources. Wrocław Oral History Annual is listed in the Polish Citation Index POL-index, and also in other indices: The Central European Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities, The Central and Eastern European Online Library, The Humanities and Social Sciences Periodicals Index and the European Reference Index for the Humanities and Social Sciences (ERIH PLUS). In 2019, the Ministry of Science and Higher Education accorded the Annual a score of 20 research points.
For further information:

The Village in the Western and Northern Lands
In May 2019, the “Remembrance and Future” Centre hosted a national academic conference entitled: The Village in the Western and Northern Lands – continuity or change? The outcome of the event was the preparation of a multi-author monograph dedicated to the theme of the village in the lands attached to Poland post 1945. The publication is academic in character and contains nearly 20 articles written by authors from a range of academic centres, representing a variety of disciplines: history, cultural and religious studies, geography, architecture, urban studies and sociology. This title is to be published mid 2020 in the “Remembrance and Future” Centre’s monograph series.

Millennium Letters
The outcome of the “Millennium Letters” project will be a monograph which will present critical editions and translations into Polish and English of the said letters. The publication of the monograph will coincide with the celebration of two important anniversaries: 55th anniversary of the sending of the letters (November 2020), and 1055th anniversary of the Baptism of Poland (spring 2021). The project is financially supported by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage as part of their multi-year NIEPODLEGŁA (INDEPENDENT) programme for the years 2017–2022.

100 centenarians for 100 years
The outcome of the “100 100-year-olds for 100 years” will be a monograph containing fragments of statements from witnesses to history, their portrait photographs, archival documents and other valuable photographs. This book will present the centenary of the history of our country through the prism of the experiences and reminiscences of people from different walks of life, whose common denominator will their age – they will all have lived 100 years. Among the most important events touched upon by the witnesses to history will be their childhoods spent before 1939, their experiences of the Second World War and everyday life in communist Poland. The project is financially supported by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage as part of their multi-year NIEPODLEGŁA (INDEPENDENT) programme for the years 2017–2022. Planned publication date is mid 2020

Conflict – stabilisation – assimilation? The consequences of migration in the lives of inhabitants of Lower Silesia post 1945. A comparative approach

The branch of the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) in Wrocław, the “Remembrance and Future” Centre and the Faculty of Historical and Pedagogical Sciences of the University of Wrocław are pleased to invite you to participate in an interdisciplinary conference: Conflict – stabilisation – assimilation? The consequences of migration in the lives of inhabitants of Lower Silesia post 1945. A comparative approach. The conference will take place on 28–29 September 2021 at the Depot History Centre in Wrocław.

The end of World War II coincided with the fateful decisions of the victorious powers, whose aim was to establish a new order on the European continent. As a result of territorial changes, the post-war face of Europe was shaped, inter alia, by population movements; including forced resettlements and deportations. At the same time, there were mass migrations of prisoners of war, forced labourers, concentration camp prisoners and other groups that in 1945 found themselves dislocated from their previous places of residence. It is estimated that around 20 million people were on the roads of Europe at that time. As a result of the redrawing of Germany’s borders, Lower Silesia also changed its national allegiance, finding itself within the new borders of Poland. The expulsion of a significant part of the German citizenry and the simultaneous appearance of Poles and representatives of other nationalities abruptly changed the ethnic structure of this region.

The aim of the conference will be to consider the processes occurring as a consequence of the migration; above all, the complex mosaic of social and ethnic inter-relations as well as relations between the citizenry and the emerging / departing authorities. Central will be an in-depth discussion of various aspects of this phenomenon in a broader perspective, while not forgetting the individual experience, which will allow for a comprehensive assessment and comparison of these events, as well as showing the long-term effects that are still felt to this day. We will not limit ourselves only to those phenomena taking place in Lower Silesia; rather, we are treating this area as pars pro toto or a point of reference for comparative research.

We propose that the following issues be raised during the meeting:

1. Relations between different social groups (settlers, displaced people, ethnic and national conflicts)
2. (Re)building identity (issues of belonging, community building, alienation, exclusion)
3. Assimilation processes (adaptation, stabilisation, acculturation, social integration, the sense of transience)
4. Internal migrations, emigration, re-emigration (moving to larger or smaller centres, political and economic aspects, differences between the countryside and city)
5. Long-term effects of migration (post-migrational society, multiculturalism, tangible and intangible heritage, economic potential, “growing into a new landscape”, (de)mythologisation)
6. Remembrance of migration (memories, mythologisation of pioneers, shaping permanent frameworks of remembrance, transmission and reception of memory)
7. Summation of post-war migrations in Lower Silesia (state of research, different time perspectives, political, economic and social aspects, historical policy, language and communication).

We would like the above issues to form the main avenues of discussion and to serve as an inspiration. We would also welcome submissions from researchers from a range of academic fields (history, cultural and religious studies, sociology, psychology, linguistics etc) undertaking an innovative approach to the above issues. Above all, it is important to us to pose new research questions and confront the current state of knowledge with new findings.

The organisers have decided to eschew the traditional format of presentations in favour of a formula which will allow for the full exploitation of the meeting’s research potential. The conference will be based on papers and co-reports prepared at least a month earlier as well as broad-ranging discussion. Further details will be made available once the speakers have been selected.

Please submit your application form (in Polish or English) by 30 November 2020 via Email contact to organizers: [email protected].

The organisers will provide accommodation, meals and conference materials. Moreover, it is envisaged that authors of articles accepted for publication in the form of a peer-reviewed monograph will receive remuneration.

Organising committee:
♦ Prof. Robert Klementowski (IPN Wrocław, University of Wrocław)
♦ Prof. Jarosław Syrnyk (University of Wrocław)
♦ Dr Wojciech Kucharski (“Remembrance and Future” Centre)
♦ Magdalena Gibiec (IPN Head Office, University of Wrocław)
♦ Agnieszka Klarman (IPN Wrocław)
♦ Marek Szajda (“Remembrance and Future” Centre)

Research team

dr hab. Wojciech Kucharski

– historian and archaeologist, PhD. His interests are mediaeval and contemporary history, in particular religiosity, Church history and diplomatic relations between Communist Poland (PRL) and the Apostolic See, the history of everyday life and oral history methodology. He has published a number of monographs, the most important of which are: Beatus Ceslaus natonie Polonus. Dzieje kultu błogosławionego Czesława (Beatus Ceslaus natonie Polonus. History of the Cult of the Blessed Czesław), Kraków 2012; and Komuniści i Watykan. Polityka komunistycznej Polski wobec Stolicy Apostolskiej 1945 – 1974 (Communists and the Vatican. The Politics of Communist Poland Towards the Apostolic See 1945–1974), Warszawa 2019. He is the author of works concerning the history of the address from the Polish bishops to the German bishops of 1965 and founder of “Wrocławski Rocznik Historii Mówionej” (Wrocław Oral History Annual). Using oral history methodology, he has completed and supervised a range of research projects related to the post-war history of Lower Silesia. He is deputy editor of “Śląski Kwartalnik Historyczny Sobótka” (Silesian Historical Quarterly Sobótka) and a member of the Polish Historical Association, the Polish Oral History Association and also the Academic Advisory Committee of the Silesian Institute in Opole.

ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1599-5659

dr Katarzyna Bock-Matuszyk

historian, PhD, graduate of the Institute of History, University of Wrocław, director of the Research Department at the “Remembrance and Future” Centre, deputy chair of the Polish Oral History Association and deputy editor of “Wrocławski Rocznik Historii Mówionej” (Wrocław Oral History Annual).

ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4693-1460

Kamil Borecki

– historian, full-time doctoral student in History and senior specialist in the Research Department at the “Remembrance and Future” Centre. He is interested in the political and social history of the Second Republic and topics connected with anticommunism – combating communist influence in the Second Republic and the attitude of the National Democratic Party and other political parties to the communist ideology. He is a historical consultant for the Performing Arts Theatre production of “Spólnota” (Community).

ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1502-0357

dr Ewa Maj

– American Studies specialist, History graduate from the University of Wrocław, PhD. She works on the relations between the PRL leadership and Iran and the USA in the 1980s, and she also conducts research into oral history. She is the lead specialist in the Research Department at the “Remembrance and Future” Centre. Since 2019 she has been temporary manager of the Research Department.

ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0015-4523

Marcin Musiał

– graduate in History and Art History from the University of Wrocław, doctoral student in the Silesian History Centre at the Institute of History, University of Wrocław, worker in the Research Department of the “Remembrance and Future” Centre. His research interests concentrate on cultural history, while as part of his doctoral thesis he is researching the process of forming the organisational identity of the Silesian Reformed Franciscans in the modern period.

ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8661-9290

Marek Szajda

– graduate in History and Ethnology from the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences and the Centre for Jewish Culture and Languages, University of Wrocław. He has also studied in Kraków, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Doctoral student at the Institute of History, University of Wrocław. He is interested in Jewish history and culture, contemporary Polish history, Silesian history, regional studies and oral history. He is a member of the editorial committee of “Wrocławski Rocznik Historii Mówionej” (Wrocław Oral History Annual) and secretary of “Rocznik Jeleniogórski” (Jeleniogóra Annual). He is co-author and/or editor of: Wielka Wojna w cieniu Karkonoszy (The Great War in the Shadow of the Sudeten Mountains) (2018); Pamięć o szkole i mieście (Memories from School and the City) (2018); and Jelenia Góra i region Karkonoszy w XX wieku (Jelenia Góra and the Sudeten Region in the 20th Century) (2019).

ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1938-6762