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Information about project "Banished from Warsaw in 1944 - the Plight of Children"


     "Banished from Warsaw in 1944 - the Plight of Children" is a project consisting of several parts; its aim is to disseminate in-depth knowledge about deportations from Warsaw that took place from August to October of 1944. No European city suffered as much during the Second World War as Warsaw and its inhabitants. After heroic defence of the city in September 1939, German occupiers unleashed ruthless and murderous repression lasting throughout the occupation. 
     About 200,000 people were killed (including 70,000 who were murdered) and 700,000 were driven out of the city. Following capitulation on 2 October 1944, those who had stayed in the city centre until the end of fighting were expelled and became refugees.
     From 6 August to 10 October 1944, 550,000 Varsovians and 100,000 people from places in the vicinity of Warsaw passed through the Pruszków camp. 150,000 camp inmates were sent to Germany as forced labourers and 50,000 were shipped to concentration camps. Those who were injured or incapable of work were transported to various places in the General Government.

Project partners

     The project is a joint undertaking of the Historical Museum of Warsaw and the State Archive of the Capital City of Warsaw, in cooperation with the Stiftung niedersächsische Gedenkstätten Foundation in Germany.
     The authors of the project believe that it will make a significant contribution to mutual understanding and dissemination of knowledge about deportations and their impact on the lives of individuals - Poles, Germans and members of other European nations alike. 
     The Historical Museum of Warsaw has focused on the Second World War in Warsaw for many years and has been collecting various objects connected with these events. The Museum's task, therefore, will be to provide website content, set up the exhibition, organise the panel discussion and produce the catalogue. 
     Many documents held by the State Archive of the Capital City of Warsaw will become available to the public thanks to the project. The Archive, in addition to making its holdings available, will also participate in work on the exhibition, the panel discussion and the website. The State Archive of the Capital City of Warsaw had been supported by EU during realization its previous project: Leaving Europe for America - early EMIgrants Letter stories (EMILY), which was part of a "Culture 2000" programme.
     The Stiftung niedersächsische Gedenkstätten foundation is engaged in similar work in Germany; it is responsible for a museum in the former Bergen-Belsen extermination camp, where some of the deportees from Warsaw were incarcerated. The German partner will provide access to rich documentary material found in German archives and museums, and will also make contributions to the exhibition, the panel discussion and website promotion.

Programme

     Eyewitness accounts in the form of audio and video recordings will be collected and edited; written accounts, documents, photographs and various other objects falling within the scope of the project will be collected and digitised. These materials will be used to create an on-line virtual archive in order to make them available to viewers in Poland, Germany and beyond (all materials will be provided in English translation). The three-language exhibition (in Polish, English and German) will be shown in museums and other venues in Europe. An international open panel discussion, organised by the Historical Museum of Warsaw, will be an opportunity to canvass research on the deportation of Warsaw's population in 1944 and on similar events in the history of Europe; it will also facilitate exchange between scholars (historians, sociologists and political scientists), eyewitnesses and the young generation.
     The most interesting materials produced by the project, including the most noteworthy photographs, documents and memorabilia, will be presented in an album-like catalogue.

Objectives and target group

     The project's purpose is to examine several issues that have not been given the attention they deserve (first and foremost, the plight of children deported from Warsaw) and that call for an interdisciplinary approach, one that involves not only historians, but also sociologists, psychologists and political scientists.
     A rich portrait of the war generation will emerge from accounts recorded and written down by eyewitnesses and the young generation of today will become inspired to study the history of their families and the families of their neighbours, to investigate their own roots. It is also the goal of the project to protect European cultural heritage by digitising documents and memorabilia now held in private family archives. 
     The target audience includes many different groups. The subject will be of particular interest to members of the young generation, helping them empathise with those who were young in 1944. Teachers and researchers will be another important group to benefit from the project. 
     It is only natural that the generation born in the 1930s, its childhood overshadowed by the unspeakably tragic events in the history of Poland and Europe, will also be drawn to the project. It is important that eyewitnesses of these events be urgently contacted in order to gather as much documentary data as possible. 
     We are sure the project will be of interest not only to Varsovians and Poles, but also to foreigners and tourists from other European countries; it will allow them to compare the recorded accounts with their own experience. Hopefully, the project will also afford a look at past events from a new angle and will contribute to mutual understanding between European nations.

 

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Copyright © Muzeum Warszawy :: 2007

   
  The project is implemented by the Museum of Warsaw in cooperation with the State Archives of City of Warsaw, and the Niedersachsische Gedenkstatten Foundation