Pruzzenland as a Region of Broken Memories.

Reconstruction and Representation of European Historical Space in Germany, Poland, Lithuania and Russia since 1900

Children in front of the school building in Plauten, unknown phot., about 1900, in: Fotograf przyjechał Mieszkańcy dawnych Prus Wschodnich na fotografiach pochodzących ze zbioru Urzę du Konserwatora Zabytków w Królewcu / Der Fotograf ist da! Die Bewohner des ehemaligen Ostpreußens auf alten Aufnahmen des Denkmalamtes Königsberg, Warszawa 2005, S. 65.

Object

East Prussia - Warmia and Mazury - Oblast Kalinigrad - Mazoji Lietuva: The variety of names indicates how peculiar the position of this region in north-eastern Europe is. First, it existed as an exclave over several historical periods, a status which still determines the relationship between the European Union and Russia today. Second, in the aftermath of the Second World War, not only did the borders of nation-states change, for at the same time there occurred an almost complete exchange of population which caused far-reaching breaches in memory. Although initial attempts have been made to overcome distorted images, nationalist interpretations of the region and its history still confront each other. This is clearly evident in textbooks, since researchers ascribe a specific identity-building function to this one-time ‘mass medium’ in all nation-states.

By using textbooks as sources, this project examines how the Pruzzenland, with its extremely varied and fragmented history, has been constructed, perceived and represented via various cultural memory narratives from 1900 onwards.

International comparative textbook analysis is the first step towards breaking down nationalist representations in textbooks, and is therefore designed to explore the different ways in which border crossings and integrative elements are represented. This focus is more effective than attempts to denationalise history lessons and offers access to transnational historical approaches, which are currently being discussed in Europe. A further goal of this project is to set up a multilingual internet platform presenting sources which examine historical aspects of multiculturalism in this area anew, and thereby strive to foster a dialogical approach to European history in the classroom.

Aims

  1. Cultural memories are predominantly nationally constructed and have hitherto been analysed in national contexts. By focusing on the region, with its changing relation to the state and its multiethnic, historically dynamic character, and by carrying out an international and symmetrical comparison of the region from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present day, this project will explore the way in which cultural memories evolve and are represented in textbooks.

  2. Analysis of textbooks in the past and the present relates to the historical and educational contexts of participating countries including Germany, Poland, Lithuania and Russia respectively the former Soviet Union. This analysis should take account of popular perceptions, for whereas scholars in western Europe critically reflect on national master narratives and gradually dissolve them, those in eastern Europe generally still adhere to a national understanding of collective memory.

  3. The project should yield three results.The first is a monography containing the comparative analysis of textbooks and new concepts for the teaching of history of a European region beyond the context of nationally determined memories. The second aim of the project is to ensure that its theoretically well-founded, multilingual selection of teaching materials is available on Edumeres, the information and communication platform for international educational media research developed by the Georg Eckert Institute which has been sponsored by the German Research Foundation since 2009. Finally, the results of the project and its implications for historiography and didactics will be discussed at a final international research conference.

Methodology

The project combines qualitative, context-oriented school textbook analysis with the research of memory cultures and memory politics and with the historiographical history of ‘Pruzzenland’. By selecting textbooks as sources and by considering numerous historical and political turning points in the region, textual analysis should follow the lines of structural history and help to define central topoi. Supplemented by an introduction, short comment and relevant sources, these topoi will be also adapted for the Multilingual Open Access Internet Edition.
The study therefore provides an original contribution to the international development of applied research in didactics, responding to an ongoing need for universal learning material designed for this European region.

Project website

Project leaders

Duration

  • September 2010 to March 2015

Cooperation Partner

Sponsors

  • German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG)
  • Foundation Remembrance, Responsibiltiy and Future
  • Polish Ministry of Science (Ministerstwo Nauki i Szkolnictwa Wyższego)

Contact

Robert Maier

Head / Department Europe

Branch Office B1.14.1
Phone: +49 531 59099-550
Send email

Stephanie Zloch

Department Europe

Branch Office B1.08
Phone: +49 531 59099-340
Send email

Publications

Books:

  • Stephanie Zloch und Izabela Lewandowska (eds): Das ,Pruzzenland‘ als geteilte Erinnerungsregion. Konstruktion und Repräsentation eines europäischen Geschichtsraums in Deutschland, Polen, Litauen und Russland seit 1900 [Schriftenreihe des Georg-Eckert-Instituts – Leibniz-Instituts für internationale Schulbuchforschung, Bd. 135], Göttingen 2014 http://www.v-r.de/de/das_pruzzenland_als_geteilte_erinnerungsregion/t-1/1032965/
  • Izabela Lewandowska und Stephanie Zloch (eds): Ziemie pruskie w podręcznikach Polski, Niemiec, Litwy i Rosji. Porównawcza analiza regionalnych konstrukcji tożsamości w XX-XXI wieku, Olsztyn 2013.

Articles:

  • Stephanie Zloch: Ideas of Landscape Influenced by Forced Migration: The Historical Region East Prussia in German, Polish, Russian and Lithuanian Textbooks, in: Martin Zückert and Heidi Hein-Kircher (eds.): Migration and Landscape Transformation. Changes in Central and Eastern Europe in the 19th and 20th Century [Veröffentlichungen des Collegium Carolinum, Bd. 134], Göttingen 2016, p. 153 - 174.
  • Stephanie Zloch: Minderheiten im Kontext - eine neue Form der Regionalgeschichte? Schulbuchanalyse und Unterrichtsmaterialien zum "Pruzzenland", in: Gerhard Seewann und Robert Maier (eds): Deutsche Minderheiten im Fokus. Schulbücher und Schulbuchprojekte zur Geschichte der Deutschen in einzelnen Ländern Europas [Eckert. Dossiers, Bd. 5], 2015, p. 108 - 123 http://www.edumeres.net/fileadmin/publikationen/dossiers/2015/ED5_dt_Minderheiten.pdf
  • Stephanie Zloch: Ostpreußens Nachleben. Ausbildung bzw. Konstruktion regionaler Identität bei Kindern und Jugendlichen im polnisch-russischen Vergleich von 1945 bis heute, in: Burkhard Olschowsky, Robert Traba, Matthias Weber und Andrea Huterer (eds): Region, Staat, Europa. Regionale Identitäten unter den Bedingungen von Diktatur und Demokratie in Mittel- und Osteuropa [Schriften des Bundesinstituts für Kultur und Geschichte der Deutschen im östlichen Europa, Bd. 50], München 2014, p. 87 - 100.
  • Simone Lässig: Räume und Grenzen. Außenperspektiven und Innenansichten durch die Linse des Schulbuchs, in: Geschichte in Wissenschaft und Unterricht, 64, 2013, p. 6 - 12.
  • Stephanie Zloch und Izabela Lewandowska: Grenzüberschreitungen im Schulbuch, in: Geschichte in Wissenschaft und Unterricht, 64, 2013, p. 30 - 45.
  • Stephanie Zloch: Das Gebiet zwischen Weichsel und Memel, in: Historie. Jahrbuch des Zentrums für Historische Forschung Berlin der Polnischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 5, 2011/12 (Themenheft: Regionalkontexte), p. 188 - 194.
  • Stephanie Zloch und Izabela Lewandowska: Polsko-niemiecki projekt "Pruzzenland. Regionalne konstrukcje tożsamości w podręcznikach szkolnych Niemiec, Polski, Litwy i Rosji", in: Zapiski Historyczne, 77, 2012, p. 103 - 118. [with Eng. abstract]
  • Stephanie Zloch: Das ehemalige Ostpreußen im Geschichtsunterricht. Ein Vergleich deutscher, polnischer und russischer Schulbücher/Byvšaja Vostočnaja Prussija v prepodavanii istorii (na materiale nemeckich, pol’skich i russkich učebnikov), in: I. I. Devjatajkina (Hrsg.): Kul’turnaja pamjat‘ i memorial’nye kommunikacii v sovremennych učebnikach i učebnoj literatur: Opyt Rossii i Zapadnoj Evropy. Sbornik dokladov i materialov meždunarodnoj konferencii (Saratov, 25 – 28 sentjabrja 2001 g.), Saratov 2012, p. 358 - 376 [Ger./Russ.]
  • Stephanie Zloch: Vergessen und neu entdeckt: Das ehemalige Ostpreußen als imaginierter Raum im Geschichtsunterricht. Eine vergleichende Analyse historischer Narrative und didaktischer Konzepte am Beispiel Deutschlands, Polens und Russlands, in: Zeitschrift für Geschichtsdidaktik, 10, 2011, p. 22 - 42. 
  • Stephanie Zloch:Jüdische Geschichte im preußischen Osten, in: Eckert. Das Bulletin, nr 10 (Winter 2011), p. 18 - 19.

Workshops

  • "Das ,Pruzzenland' als gebrochene Erinnerungsregion. Konstruktion und Repräsentation eines europäischen Geschichtsraums in Deutschland, Polen, Litauen und Russland seit 1900", kick-off meeting of the project partners Braunschweig and Olsztyn, 2 to 4 March 2011, Braunschweig
  • "Zwischen Nogat und Memel. Was erfahren Schüler in Deutschland, Russland, Polen und Litauen über diesen gemeinsamen historischen Begegnungsraum?", 28 to 30 November 2007, Braunschweig (see conference reports in Eckert and on H-Soz-u-Kult)