Memory Sites and Cultural Memory

Memory sites, to use the term put forward by Pierre Nora, are not only geographical and real sites in our collective cultural memory. Memory sites (lieaux de mémoire) can also be imaginary sites, persons, biographies, events, legends, myths, literature, works of art, compositions and all other productions of the human spirit that evidently exist in our collective memory.

However when we look at the culture and history of Polish citizens in Germany we see that it is often not clear to provide evidence of any connections with collective memory. For this reason the Porta Polonica documentation centre is offering a dynamic concept with an open and broad understanding of memory sites. Hence the Atlas of Memory Sites will be constantly expanded to include new information, sources and cross references. 

In addition the Atlas will provide readers with an opportunity to discuss memory sites which have faded in our collective memory – places, events or cultural and historical features which have been of great importance to Polish citizens in Germany. We should also not forget memory sites which have disappeared from view or have been consciously wiped out in the course of political and historical upheavals. Thus the Atlas of Memory Sites also intends to provide new impulses and contribute towards an active culture of memory. 

Furthermore, at the end of 2015 we intend to enlarge the Atlas with an “Encyclopaedia Polonica”, a dynamic multimedia lexical and of culture and history of Polish citizens in Germany, primarily dedicated to all those themes which cannot yet be said to be collective memory sites and are therefore not mentioned in the Atlas. 

In this way the whole of the “Porta Polonica““ Internet portal will successively and simultaneously make up a mosaic and an Archipelago of memory (Michel Foucault) of the culture and history of Poles in Germany..

Jacek Barski und Dietmar Osses

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