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Pawel Machcewicz

Museum of the Second World War in Poland: Intersections of History, Memory, and Politics

Lecture | August 28 | 4-5:30 p.m. | 180 Doe Library

Pawel Machcewicz, Professor, Department of Recent Political History, Institute of Political Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences

Institute of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ISEEES)

The Museum of the Second World War in Gdansk was opened in March 2017. This is the largest historical museum in Poland and one of largest historical museums in Europe and the world. The museum also turned out to be in the last year’s biggest battlefield in the realm of historical memory and politics of history in Poland. This project evoked the most heated debates and controversies, and the very opening of the museum was severely jeopardized by the counter-measures from the current Polish government. The concept of the museum was criticized as “pseudo-universalistic,” “too European,” and “not Polish enough.” The story of the museum reflects the pressures to which history and culture are exposed in the era of growing nationalism and isolationism in Poland.