“Europe’s historical memory is particularly connected with sites: history takes place. If there is a genius of Europe then it is certainly manifest in its cities. It has shaped the respective distinct faces. Europe somehow revolves around its metropolises, which are points of maximal condensation of all that defines civilisations and their history. Life, imagination, memory revolves around them. Europe is also a landscape of memory.” (Karl Schlögel)
A series of courses hosted by the ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius enable young scholars to trace European memorial sites. The aim is to allow scholars to recognise the “spectre of Central and Eastern Europe” (H. v. Keyserlingk) in eastern European metropolises as topoi of memory and history. The summer academy proposes to bring together an international group of scholars from all historically oriented humanities and cultural studies. It invites young historians as well as art historians, literary scholars, anthropologists and sociologists working on historical perspectives to participate; it addresses advanced students as well as PhD students and postdoctoral scholars.
While in 2003 and 2005 “History Takes Place“ investigated the historical topography of St. Petersburg and Wrocław, respectively, the focus in 2007 is on Lviv. The architecture of Lviv offers an exemplary case of Eastern European urban topography of the 19th and 20th centuries, and participants are given the opportunity to study it more immediately and vividly than anywhere else.
This is not to say that Lviv was spared the cataclysmic dislocations that devastated the region, particularly during the short 20th century. The traditional mosaic of multiple ethnicities and multiple faiths was shaped into a coarser pattern. In the last 100 years, Lviv’s inhabitants repeatedly had to adapt to new governments and new masters; even more frequently, frontlines ploughed through the city during both World Wars, bringing with them different occupational regimes. Existing as a part of the Soviet Union for 50 years, Lviv is also an example of an Eastern European city remodelled by socialism.
However, the myth of the “City of the Lions” is based less on Lviv’s representative character than on its specificity. Under the double monarchy, Lviv was the flourishing capital of a Habsburg Crown land; however, in the Polish interwar period, and even more so when the city existed on the western periphery of the Soviet Union, it became more and more provincial. Today, the Ukrainian Lviv is beginning to emerge once more as the cultural metropolis of an increasingly confident Western Ukraine.
The fact that Lviv retains the architectural traces of its past as a typical Central European city as well as remaining a quite unique metropolis up to the present day makes it a site of memory par excellence.
The ten-day summer academy directed by Dr Christoph Mick (University of Warwick, UK) aims to recall Lvivs’ dramatic history in the 19th and 20th centuries and to trace it through the local topography, architecture and monuments – the city as the source. The lead questions of this interdisciplinary course are briefly sketched in the outline enclosed. The participants will use historical spaces and topographical sources for their historical research. Specialists and eyewitnesses will hold lectures and excursions through the city on all the topics.
Participation and application
The participants will be selected on the basis of independent applications as well as recommendations by respective specialists.
The precondition for all applications is knowledge of modern Polish and Western Ukrainian history as well as the history of Austrian Galicia, interest in the historical phenomenon “city” as well as an ongoing research project in the thematic field. Participants are not necessarily expected to work on Lviv themselves, but to be interested thematically and methodologically in new approaches and unusual sources. Discussions and lectures will be conducted in Ukrainian, German and English. While reading skill in two of these languages is a prerequisite for application, knowledge of all three languages is desirable. Participants will be expected to prepare for the academy on the basis of course materials and reading lists and to prepare a presentation and a guided tour. The respective interests and skills will be taken into account with regard to topics.
The ZEIT-Stiftung will cover the costs of travel and accommodation and will pay for the costs on location according to the income of the respective participants. Publication of the academy’s results is intended.
Suitable candidates are requested to send in their applications (CV, certificates in copy, abstracts of their suggested topic) together with a letter of recommendation from a specialised scholar until 31st January 2007 to the postal address of the ZEIT-Stiftung (Feldbrunnenstraße 56, D-20148 Hamburg, Germany). More information can be obtained from our website: www.zeit-stiftung.de.
Lviv has many names, but they all mean the same thing. L’viv (Ukrainian), Lwów (Polish), L’vov (Russian), Leopolis (Greek), Lemberg (German) – all of these names refer to the son of the city’s founder Danylo, the Ruthenian prince Lev – the Lion. This is why Lviv is a city of lions; visitors find images of lions everywhere: seated lions, standing lions, walking and reclining lions – there is even a winged St. Mark’s lion in the market square.
Since its foundation in the mid-13th century, Lviv has been a multi-ethnic city. Ruthenians/Ukrainians and Armenians, Germans and Greeks, Russians and Italians, Jews and Poles, and many more lived here. All of them have left traces; together they created Lviv’s unmistakable appearance. From 1340 on, the city belonged to the Polish Crown for more than 400 years, except for a brief – Hungarian – interlude. In 1772, as a result of the first partition of Poland, it fell to the Habsburg Empire and became the capital of the Crown Land of Galicia and Lodomeria. After reforms in the 1860s the city witnessed an unexpected upturn: it became the “capital of the province” (Karl Schlögel), a cultural and political centre of Eastern Europe. By 1914, the city had grown into a metropolis of more than 200,000 inhabitants. Half of the inhabitants were Poles, about one quarter were Jews, and one sixth were Ukrainians. It was a Ukrainian and Polish Piemont and a centre of Jewish life in Eastern Europe.
During both World Wars, the city was a theatre of war. Between 1914 and 1944, it changed hands seven times and was additionally besieged three times in vain. Neither Poles nor Ukrainians could imagine a Polish, or Ukrainian, state without Lwów or L’viv. In the Polish-Ukrainian War in 1918/19, Poland prevailed and the region was integrated into the Second Polish Republic as Eastern Lesser Poland (Małopolska Wschodnia). During the Second World War, the city was occupied first by Soviet, then by German troops. The war did not destroy the buildings but it changed the city’s appearance fundamentally. Lviv lost its multi-ethnic face. Lviv’s Jewish population fell victim to the Holocaust; the Soviets, after their return, forced the Polish population to leave the city. Lviv’s Ukrainian inhabitants suffered terribly, too. Many thousands were deported or killed. One focus of the summer academy “History Takes Place“ will be on the interaction of Poles, Ukrainians and Jews: how they lived together in the decades before the First World War, and how, afterwards, people were classified, often with murderous consequences, into national, racial or class categories.
For years, nationalist Ukrainian partisans resisted Sovietisation. At the same time, regional farmers, Ukrainians resettling from Poland, and Soviet citizens from all parts of the Union came to live in the city. In 1950, only a fraction of the city’s citizens had already been living in Lviv in 1939.
The city adjusted to its new inhabitants, but it also changed them. During Soviet times, but particularly after Ukraine’s independence, Lviv became and has become more Ukrainian. It has become different, but the old has not fully disappeared. A walk through the graveyard in Lychakiv illustrates how deeply the past and the present are intertwined. Polish, Ukrainian, Armenian and Soviet graves and memorials are side by side. It is also the site of the most important Polish military cemetery of the Polish-Ukrainian War of 1918/19. Arguments concerning its restoration show the impact that conflicts of the past still have today; however, they also show that they do not necessarily dominate the present. Lviv is the collective creation of all the people that have lived in this “city of blurred borders” (Joseph Roth) over the centuries. The summer academy “History Takes Place“ wants to uncover the historical layers in order to investigate the Ruthenian-Ukrainian, Polish, Jewish, Armenian, Habsburg, but also the German and Russian traces and memorial sites.
Approaches to the early urban history
Lviv has had a changeable and controversial history. Irrespective of the question “to whom does the city belong”, we want to trace its history from its foundation. We want to illuminate its Ruthenian period as well as the centuries during which it belonged to the Polish Crown. It was under Polish rule that the structures and relations of power developed that would still be effective after the Polish Partition and the city’s incorporation into the Habsburg Empire. Which geographical factors influenced the city’s development? What were the effects of the changes of rule? What economic role did Lviv play as a regional centre and for international trade? Who lived in the medieval and the early modern city? How significant was the city for the history of Poland and Poland-Lithuania? How was the Jewish community organised, and what was its relationship to the Christian population? What was the Armenians’ position? What were the effects of the Union of Brest and of the Cossack Wars?
Nationalisation and the development of the modern city: the k. u. k. times
Habsburg nostalgia is everywhere. Poles, Jews and Ukrainians often feel a melancholy regret remembering the time before mutual violence polluted their cohabitation and before it was finally ended by the Second World War. The reforms of the Habsburg Empire in the 1860s and 1870s fostered local and regional autonomy. Lviv developed into a modern European city. Street lights were installed and a modern sewage system was built. Lviv was one of the first European cities to have an electric tramway. Its university was one of the best in Eastern Europe; the Polytechnical University educated architects and engineers. In 1910, Lviv’s theatres offered performances in Polish, Yiddish, Ukrainian and sometimes in German; at the opera house, the better-off citizens enjoyed European musical culture. At the same time, the Ukrainian and Polish nationalist movements as well as Zionism recruited increasing numbers of followers. Educational societies and printing houses followed Galician, but also decidedly Polish, Ukrainian and Jewish lines. Lviv’s culture was European, Habsburg, Galician and nationalist – Ukrainian, Polish, Jewish. Were the last decades before the First World War really that idyllic? What was everyday life like? Who were the modernizers? What were the aims of the urban developers? What were the consequences of modernisation? What was the role of cultural institutions within the process of nationalisation? How great were the chances for a peaceful solution of ethnic conflicts? What were the most important Ukrainian, Polish and Jewish memorial sites before 1914?
A city at war: 1914 to 1920
At the beginning of the First World War, the city was a site of patriotic enthusiasm that focused on Polish or Ukrainian hopes for national autonomy or even an independent nation state. Soon, however, Russian troops arrived, and the city was occupied for almost one year. After the Austrian return, the k. u .k military took control. In November 1918, Lviv became the site of clashes between units of the newly proclaimed Western Ukrainian Republic and Polish volunteers, who fought for the integration of the city and region into a Polish state. After the withdrawal of the Ukrainian units, a violent pogrom was carried out against the Jewish inhabitants. What were the effects of the First World War and of the Polish-Ukrainian War on life in the city? To what extent did it change the relation between Ukrainians, Poles and Jews? What were the political aims of the Russian occupiers?
From the capital of the province to a provincial town in Poland: the interwar period
From being the capital of a Habsburg Crown Land, Lviv became a simple centre of a voivodship. This loss of importance was particularly hard for the Polish inhabitants to bear. Times were hard economically, too. In the 1930s, the workers’ situation became desperate. In the period between the wars, ethnic antagonisms were aggravated. The minority politics of the Polish government were repressive, the climate in the city harshened. Latent anti-Semitism turned into open discrimination and violence, Ukrainian nationalists assaulted Polish politicians and symbols of Polish rule. Yet there were still people who lived their daily lives together in peace. The cultural life was open to modern influences. Jazz arrived in the city, a radio station was founded, the two comedians Kazimierz Wajda and Henryk Vogelfanger (Szczepcio and Tońcio), who performed there, were known all over Poland. How was the urban administration organised? What were the effects of the city’s decreased importance on its urban development? How did the city develop economically in the time between the wars? What were the political landscape and the cultural scene like? What were the roles of radio and film? Where and how did Poles, Ukrainians and Jews meet? What effects did the experiences of war have on memorial culture?
The city in the Second World War
World War Two brought the end of multi-ethnic Lviv. The city was first occupied by Soviet troops and then integrated, together with other Eastern Polish regions, into the Soviet Union after a pseudo-referendum. Sovietisation began, together with mass deportations, terror and murders. At the same time, the ethnic conflicts increased, ending, after the German occupation, in a horrific pogrom of the Jewish inhabitants. The German occupiers killed almost all the Jews, and the city’s population was segregated according to racist categories. The Polish-Ukrainian antagonism manifested itself in acts of terror and resulted in the death of ten thousands of Poles and Ukrainians. What were the aims of the German and the Soviet occupiers? How did the local population perceive the policies of occupation? What were the effects of war and occupation on the relationship between Poles, Ukrainians and Jews? What was everyday life like? How were the ghetto and the camp Janów organised? What options did people have?
While the return of the Red Army liberated the city from the Nazi regime of terror, it also meant new forms of oppression. For years, nationalist Ukrainian partisans resisted the violent incorporation of Western Ukraine into the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic and thus into the Soviet Union. In an exchange of population with Poland, conducted on a large scale, the Lviv Poles were forced to leave the city. The city and the region were sovietised, the Ukrainian people forced to adapt to the new conditions. During the 1950s and 1960s, Lviv was industrialised. The population increased from 300,000 in 1939 to almost one million at the end of the 1980s. New quarters with Soviet-style blocks of flats sprang up like mushrooms. Today, on its outskirts, Lviv looks like Minsk or Almaty. Everyday life, too, was sovietised. Shopping was done Soviet style, branches of Soviet clubs and mass organisations were established. How was the Soviet power implemented and justified? Where did the new inhabitants come from? How did they change the city, how did the city change them? What was the strategy of the Soviet leaders with their urban planning? What was everyday life like in this period? How did cultural life develop after 1945? What was the relation between Ukrainisation and Sovietisation? How were the Holocaust and the Second World War remembered? How much did the incorporation into the Soviet Union influence the city and its inhabitants? What monuments were erected, which festivals were celebrated?
In 1991, Ukraine became independent, and a re-codification of urban spaces began. Soviet monuments were torn down. Streets were renamed and Ukrainian monuments were erected. However, neither Sovietisation nor Ukrainisation solved the city’s pressing problems. Ineffective state companies, pollution, rapidly growing unemployment and the gap in society between the winners and losers of the transformation are part of the legacy of the Soviet Union. At the same time, cultural life – liberated from the ties of Soviet rule – has experienced an enormous revival. Tourism is an increasingly significant factor. Which intellectual debates were important over the last 15 years? What consequences did the decline of the Soviet Union have for the economic situation? How many Soviet things have remained? What is the relation between Ukrainians, Russians, the Polish minority and the small Jewish community? What were the effects of the Orange Revolution? What is the relationship with Kiev? What about the special Western Ukrainian identity? What about cultural life today? What is the role of tourism?
Lviv in literature – literature in Lviv
Galicia was the poor house of the Habsburg monarchy. However, literature flourished despite economic backwardness. Important writers came from Galicia or they travelled in the region. They made great contributions to the German, Polish, Yiddish and Ukrainian literature of the 19th and 20th centuries. They described their impressions of the province where time seemed to have come to a standstill, and of the dazzling Lviv. There are traces in Lviv of Sholem Alejchem and Joseph Roth, Karl Emil Franzos and Józef Wittlin, Stanisław Lem and Soma Morgenstern, Stanisław Wasilewski and Ivan Franko, Lesja Ukrainka, Czesław Miłosz and Zbigniew Herbert, and many more. Today, Lviv is a centre of Ukrainian literature. The perhaps best known contemporary Ukrainian author, Jurij Andruchovych, studied at Ivan-Franko-University. Anyone who wants to understand the flair of the city is well-advised to look for Lviv’s traces in literature. Is there a specifically Galician literature? What artist circles were and are there in Lviv? What was Lviv’s role in the writers’ lives and works and in the respective national literatures?
Religions and churches
Lviv was the only city, apart from Rome, which had three Catholic archbishops in residence: a Roman-Catholic, an Armenian and a Greek-Catholic archbishop. Lviv had one the biggest Jewish communities in Eastern Europe. At the same time, the city also had Russian-Orthodox and Protestant churches. The churches were closely related to the processes of nationalisation. Without the Greek-Catholic church, the Ukrainian national movement in Galicia would have never grown as dynamically as it did. Under Polish kings, Austrian emperors, Russian tsars up until the time under the Soviet rulers, church politics were important for securing and expanding power and for the control of national movements. Today, the question of faith remains a political one. The current situations of the Ukrainian-Orthodox, the Russian-Orthodox, the Roman-Catholic and the Unified Greek-Catholic church have to be discussed. What is the role played by faiths and religions in the process of nationalisation? What was the internal structure of the Jewish and Christian communities?
Lviv as a memorial site
“Once upon a time in Lviv …“ Many memoirs of former Lviv Poles can be summarised under this heading. In different ways, the whole city is a single memorial site. It is a memorial site for many people who have lived in or visited Lviv. The city is an important setting for numerous memoirs. Lviv’s significance in national narratives can hardly be exaggerated. The city holds an important place in Polish, Ukrainian and Jewish history. What exactly is Lviv’s role in Polish, Ukrainian and Jewish historiography? Who remembers Lviv, and how?
Memorial sites and traumatic places: meeting points and settings
Lviv is a memorial site in its own right, but it also contains many sites of memory. Since its inauguration in 1904, the Mickiewicz Memorial has been the place where rallies took place and demonstrations started. During the Second World War, Poles and Ukrainians alike prayed at the Statue of St Mary. Where once the Synagogue of the Golden Rose stood is an empty space today. Memorials from Soviet times like the Lenin Memorial were pulled down, or they lost their significance as in the case of the Memorial for the Red Army. New Ukrainian memorials have been set up. Meeting places such as cafés and cultural places like the opera, the theatre and poets’ houses are memorial sites. However, part of Lviv’s memorial sites are sites of terrible crimes, too; key places of Soviet and German occupation – prisons, the former ghetto, the camp in Janów as well as the sites of the Holocaust – evoke people’s memories. What Jewish, Polish and Ukrainian memorial sites are there in the city? Are there communal, comprehensive memorial sites? What meetings points were there and are there? How do people deal with such memorial sites today?
Dr. Christoph Mick
RCUK Academic Fellow at the Department of History
University of Warwick
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