Kulturtechniken und ihre Medialisierung

Research Cluster of the Landes-Offensive zur Entwicklung Wissenschaftlich-ökonomischer Exzellenz (LOEWE)

Project Leaders: Prof. Dr. Peter Haslinger

Funding: Landes-Offensive zur Entwicklung Wissenschaftlich-ökonomischer Exzellenz (LOEWE), The Hessen State Ministry for Higher Education, Research and the Arts

Duration: 2008 – 2012

The digitisation of the Chronicle of the Ghetto of Lodz/Litzmannstadt

Project Staff: Dr. Markus Roth

This digital editing project is a sub-project of the LOEWE cluster “Cultural techniques and their medialisation” and is being implemented in collaboration with the Centre for Media and Interactivity (ZMI) and the Holocaust literature section at the Justus Liebig University, Gießen.

Under the leadership of Prof. Peter Haslinger and Prof. Uwe Wirth, this is dedicated to the creation of an online version of the “Chronicle of the Ghetto of Łódź/Litzmannstadt”, published in 2007 in book form, in which daily reports are provided on  life and death in the ghetto between 1940 and 1944. The aim is not solely the digitisation of the material but also its expansion to include information in other media formats, and also, if necessary, from
holdings of the Herder Institute, and in a further step to extend this to form a multimedia information portal in which additional Internet resources are incorporated through interfaces. In parallel with the project, an audio version of the Ghetto Chronicle is being produced by Hessischer Rundfunk (Hessian Radio), which will also be incorporated in
the portal. Close collaboration on this has been agreed with the Łódź/Lodz state archive. A Polish version of the last twelve months of the Ghetto Chronicle will also be developed there in parallel with the German version, and will be integrated in the portal. In addition, the Łódź/Lodz state archive will also provide facsimiles of the original, as well as numerous documents named in the Chronicle or commentaries on it, as well as photos from the ghetto.

Communistic policies on history and the media in Poland 1944-1989: The depiction of the Holocaust and its reception

Project Staff: Michael Zok M.A.

The “caesura of 1979” (Frank Bösch), the broadcasting of the US series “Holocaust”, is associated with a radical change in cultural memory, which firmly anchored the memory of the murder of European Jews by the National Socialists in the cultural remembrance of the USA and West Europe. At this time, the cultural memory of Polish society was also subject to radical changes, which also affected the memory of the Holocaust.

This dissertation project aims to investigate the depiction and relevance of the Holocaust on Polish television in the years from 1968 to 1989. In particular, the constructs of perpetrators and victims and the broadcasting policy of the state television broadcaster will be taken into account. The investigation of televisual memory and memory policy will be contextualised with discourses on the Holocaust within historical scholarship and journalism, and an investigation will be made into the dividing lines of what can be said (and shown) in the various arenas of discourse, as well as their interdependencies.

The investigation will focus on the one hand on the decade of “organised forgetting” (Marcin Zaremba), i.e. the 1970s, in which the Holocaust was almost completely marginalised on Polish television (and elsewhere). An investigation will be made into whether this marginalisation also prevailed within society or whether attempts were made to break this marginalisation, particularly at troublesome moments of remembrance such as the anniversary of the uprising in the Warsaw ghetto. In doing so, this question will also be embedded in a cultural-historical framework.

The end of the 1970s, and the radical change in cultural memory, will also form a further focus of the investigation. The series “Holocaust” may not have been broadcast during the communist rule in Poland, but it represented an impetus for the debate on the murder of the European Jews and its remembrance. As in West Europe and the USA, an increased interest in broadcasts on the subject of the Holocaust could also be observed on Polish television in the early 1980s.

In 1985, in view of the delicate problem that came from abroad with Polish-Jewish relations during World War II Polish television acted differently. In view of the sensitive difficulties coming from abroad that tackled Polish-Jewish relations during World War II, Polish television acted differently in 1985 compared to how it had acted previously in the case of “Holocaust”: When Claude Lanzmann’s film “Shoah” was broadcast in West European television programs, Polish television followed this example and broadcast an abridged version of the documentary film, which showed all the elements that affected Poland.

The broadcasting of Claude Lanzmann’s film was the start of a greatly increased examination (not only on television) of the subject, which can be seen in an increase in frequency of broadcasts on the subject of the Holocaust that could almost be described as an “explosion”. Finally, the investigation will attempt to discover which factors in the years 1978/79 to 1985 – from the non-broadcasting of “Holocaust” until “Shoah” – and beyond, to the end of communist rule, were subject to essential shifts within the policy and culture of memory, which promoted the “rediscovery” of the memory of the extermination of European Jews and the broaching of the subject of Polish-Jewish relations during the occupation (including on television). At this point, the particular question of new narrative elements should also be investigated.

Cover Studienband 34 Michael Zok
Cover Studienband 34 Michael Zok

The history of the holdings of the Herder Institute – Cultural
techniques and their application as practices in searching and finding


Project Staff: Antje Coburger M.A.

Within the scope of the LOEWE sub-project B 4 “Practices in searching and finding”, the task is the reappraisal of the history of the holdings of the Herder Institute since its foundation in 1950. In this, questions will be posed regarding the history of the records, their provenance and the motivation for collection. Various participants were involved in the formation of the collections. Their involvement in setting up knowledge orders, in the sense of knowledge of existing holdings, is one of the questions being examined. The holdings have been able to grow in very different ways during various phases of development of the Institute. Some were acquired specifically, others are the product of exchange negotiations, and yet others arrived by chance through bequests to the Herder Institute. The collection of specialist literature was facilitated very early on through the building of a library. Images and archives were included later on as collection groups internal to the Institute. As the subject is to be addressed whilst considering the “Practices of searching and finding”, the findability strategies used so far must be analysed at the start. Later an enquiry can be made into innovative opportunities for interaction between the users and providers with the aim of expanded findability.

The practice of the application of cultural techniques is to be addressed in archival, economic and socio-political contexts. The searching for, and provision of data is subject to selective practices by the searcher (user) and provider (find facilitator). For this reason, an enquiry must be made into comprehensible yet calculable findability, for example. The collections of the Herder Institute are considered to be an archive in which providers make their various holdings findable in different ways, and users have various routes for finding data.