cover image of 1989. Changes and challenges project

    About 1989. Changes and challenges

    The year 1989 saw the democratic revolutions which permanently changed the political map of Europe. The Round Table and the following partially free elections in Poland, fall of the Berlin Wall, Velvet Revolution, overthrow of Nicolae Ceaușescu as well as other events of 1989 constituted decisive turning points in the process of finally overcoming the order established after the Second World War. These events influenced global politics and thus became some of the milestones of the 20th century history. The scope of changes which were initiated that year was vast and extended well beyond politics. The fall of the Iron Curtain entailed also deep and abrupt economic transformations, as well as major social and cultural shifts which influenced lives of millions of people.

    Attitudes towards these political, social and economic changes, which range from glorifying to highly critical, still influence current politics in Central and Eastern Europe. However, so far there has been relatively few in-depth academic studies devoted to the memory practices regarding the 1989 transformations.

    On the 30th anniversary of the events, the European Network Remembrance and Solidarity along with its partners seek to address this omission by organizing a series of international conferences dedicated to the memory and legacies of the year 1989. The discussed topics will include, but will not be limited to: successes and failures as well as losers and beneficiaries of the various transformation models; reconciliatory processes within and between societies; coping with legal, political, social, cultural and economic legacies of communism; roles of empires and international organizations in overcoming the burden of communism and ways in which these changes are present in the memory cultures of the regions.

    The conferences will be held in Berlin, Bratislava, Budapest, Bucharest, Prague and Warsaw.

    The list of conferences within the series

    ‘On the downfall of communism. 1989 in Central and Eastern Europe’, 4-5 April, Warsaw, Poland
    Organised by: Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of Poland
    In cooperation with: Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland, Polish History Museum, ENRS, National Library

    Read more about the conference


    ‘How We Remember. The Memory of Communism – Its Forms, Manifestations, Meanings’, 17-18 September, Prague, Czech Republic
    Organiser: Institute of Contemporary History - Czech Academy of Sciences
    Partners: European Network Remembrance and Solidarity, Bundesstiftung zur Aufarbeitung der SED-Diktatur, Deutsches Historisches Institut Warschau, Goethe-Institut Tschechien, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung Prag, Strategie AV21
    Media partner: Český rozhlas Plus

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    ‘1919 – 1939 – 1989. European Turning Points. A Century in Retrospect’, 14 October 2019, Berlin, Germany
    Organised by: Katholische Akademie in Berlin, ENRS, Bundesinstitut für Kultur und Geschichte der Deutschen im östlichen Europa

    Read more about the seminar


    ‘Genealogies of Memory: Myths, Memories and Economies. Post-socialist Transformations in Comparison’, 28-30 October, Warsaw, Poland
    Organiser: ENRS
    Co-organiser: LMU Munich
    Partners: Institute of Contemporary History - Czech Academy of Sciences, Institute of Sociology - Warsaw University, University of Exeter, Leverhulme Trust, Federal Institute for Culture and History of the Germans in Eastern Europe
    Media partners: New Eastern Europe, Rzeczpospolita

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    ‘Annus mirabilis’ 1989 and Slovakia. From a totalitarian regime to democracy’, 12-13 November, Bratislava, Slovakia
    Organiser: Nation's Memory Institute, Club '89, Slovak National Archive, Slovak National Museum, ENRS

    Read the full programme of the conference in English


    '1989 - Annus Mirabilis. Three Decades After: Desires, Achievements and Future', 19-20 November, Bucharest, Romania
    Organisers: National University of Political Science and Public Administration - College of Communication and Public Relations, National Institute for the Study of Totalitarianism, ENRS

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    Transition. International Aspects of the Fall of Communism (1989), 3 December, Budapest, Hungary
    Organisers: Committee of National Remembrance (NEB), National University of Public Service, National Archives of Hungary, Historical Archives of the Hungarian State Security; Partner: ENRS

    Read more about the conference


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