The Plan

The project took place in five cities: Berlin, Prague, Budapest, Vilnius and Weimar. There was a group of core participants who attend all five events. This was organised in order to keep an element of continuity across the events and to ensure that there were effective points of comparison throughout the project. Furthermore, the partner organisations arranged the presence of local participants from each host country. Through this process the project created a heterogeneous group of people from different ages, countries and backgrounds to provide a diverse background for the projects’s intensive discussions. 

Lecturers were involved in order to contribute insight and background to these discussions. We invited local tour guides to take participants to the historical sights of the city where they could analyse how monuments and public museums invite local citizens and tourists to remember their totalitarian histories. Finally we involved ‘time witnesses’ who had actually lived through these eras in order to ask them personally about their thoughts, feelings and reflections on this time. 

During the first event, we developed a concept for a series of visits and interviews (people on the street, time witnesses, experts) in each of the cities and a framework for their documentation to be used at all locations. The concluding event in Weimar would be used to sum up, analyse and draw conclusions from across these experiences The project not only analyses differences and similarities in the way fascist and stalinist histories are portrayed. We analysed the way in which our collective histories affect our attitude toward freedom, democracy and human rights.

We brought together citizens of different ages, cultures and professions and encouraged them to discuss and excavate their histories. We seek to understand our shared history not from a ‘European Affairs’ perspective which is delegated to ‘high political officials’, but give participants the authority and autonomy to reclaim European history for themselves.

How We Shape Our Past