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Friday, 21 April 2017

CFP: Cycles of Commemoration. Forced Labor in Europe during World War II. International Forum

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WM International Forum Forced Labour rgb 300


CFP: Cycles of Commemoration. Forced Labor in Europe during World War II. International Forum, Willy Brandt Center Wrocław in corporation with the foundation „Rememberance, Responsibility and the Future” (EVZ), Wrocław/Poland, September 27-30, 2017 


The three day international forum provides the opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences around the commemoration of forced labor in Europe during World War II. In various formats like public talks, workshops and excursions, participants are invited to exchange their views on the history of NS-forced labor and the ways of commemoration in European comparison. The event is interdisciplinary and addresses researchers especially from history, cultural and social sciences, and experts from the historical-political education, as well as representatives of institutions, which deal with the commemoration of NS-forced labor. Young researchers are particularly welcome. Moreover, the international forum is a platform for receivers of research grants by the foundation EVZ on “Forced labor and forgotten Victims”.


The analysis of NS-forced labor was subject to different attention cycles since the end of World War II. At the end of the 20th century the academic and public interest in the history of forced labor was on the rise. With the fall of the Iron Curtain the debates extended their reach to the whole of Europe. A wide range of institutions and organizations dealing with forced labor, paid tribute to the victims and erected monuments and memorials. Not least of all the payments to former forced laborers raised public awareness in many countries of Europe.


As contemporary witnesses pass away we are facing a critical juncture of commemoration, which changes the perspective and the narratives of NS-forced labor and public interest seems to decline. The time of World War II is about to pass from contemporary history to history. Despite the disappearance of the so-called experience generation the subject of forced labor has not stopped being important and contemporary. Violence directed against the civilian population, the exploitation of the occupied territory and its inhabitants, abduction and forced migration are only some historical aspects with current references to the present political development in Europe and the world.


The aim of the international and interdisciplinary EVZ-forum is the search for answers to some basic questions:

  • How can we explain that the topic of forced labor was subject to different cycles during World War II?
  • Which influence did these developments have on the social memory of forced labor and its victims in West, East and Central Europe?
  • How is this subject present in the public of the affected countries (in official symbols, in regions and villages etc.),
  • Is there a cross-generational commemoration in the families and in which form?
  • Which differences exist between the commemoration of the subject in East and West?
  • What is the role of the knowledge about the granting of financial aid to the victims of forced labor in different countries and commemorative cultures?
  • Can new media, especially addressing young people, give new impulses to the engagement with the topic and help to keep the memory alive?
  • How can this subject be anchored in the educational work in schools, museums and memorials?
  • Which links to present political tendencies and debates arise from the commemoration of NS-forced labor?
  • Which new approaches to research on NS-forced labor can be found, especially with regard to gender history and public history?


Experts of the above mentioned disciplines from Western, Eastern and Central Europe are invited to submit contributions which deal with the broad field of the commemoration of NS-forced labor, with forms of commemoration, commemorative cycles, programs of educational services or insights in the subject itself. Contributions with a country comparative perspective are particularly welcome.

Proposals for talks (max. 30 min.) and workshops (to 1.5 hrs.) are welcome. Conference languages are Polish and English.


Abstracts in English (max. 500 words), together with a short curriculum vitae as a PDF file should be sent to:


Monika Szydło, 

E-mail:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Deadline is May 15, 2017


Travel and accommodation can be covered on request.


The conference fee is 150 PLN


Contact and Information:

Agnieszka Grzeszczuk

Centrum Studiów Niemieckich i

Europejskich im. Willy’ego Brandta UWr

ul. Strażnicza 1-3

PL-50-206 Wroclaw

Tel.: 48-71-375 95 03 / Fax: 48-71-327 93 61

E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


The international forum is hosted by Willy Brandt Center for German and European Studies, University of Wrocław in cooperation with the Universities in Bohum, Vienna and Tel Aviv. 


The Scientific Committee of the Forum consists of:

Prof. Krzysztof Ruchniewicz, Willy Brandt Center for German and European Studies, University of Wrocław

Prof. Constantin Goschler, Ruhr University in Bohum/Germany

Prof. Philipp Ther, University of Vienna/Austria

Prof. Jose Brunner, University of Tel Aviv/Israel


The international forum is funded by the foundation „Rememberance, Responsibility and the Future” (EVZ).


Organizers reserve the right to select applications.




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