Rendez-vous with History. Weimar, Germany (4-6 November, 2011)

City hall of Weimar

“Hatred is something peculiar. You will always find it strongest and most violent where there is the lowest degree of culture.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Today I’ll be traveling to Weimar, Germany to participate in the Festival “Rendez-vous de l’histoire”.  The theme of the 3rd. Year of this “Rendez-vous with history” in Weimar is: Human Violence, Human Violence.

AS the website of the conference reads,

‘Violence’ is complex and disturbing. It is a historical, present and future threat. “Violence” in all its forms, including counter-violence and non-violence as a deliberate departure from the traditional and new power relationships will be discussed at the Weimar festival. Human societies as always dream of peace – but at the same time, violence is a constant and seemingly unavoidable part of our personal and political relationships.

Weimar’s international history festival will address not only the cruel dimensions of violence in history, but also ask for their anthropological origins and its liberating potential.

In about 20 panel discussions and lectures be at Weimar history festival tensions between freedom and violence, beauty and violence, explored “legitimate” and “illegitimate” violence – the relationship between media and violence, language, literature and violence, violence and reconciliation presented. The spectrum ranges from the Middle Ages to the year 2011, and is not geographically limited. But the focus is primarily on Europe – in particular the countries of the Weimar Triangle – and also to Weimar and Thuringia.
A film series and cultural evenings will complete the program.

Some of the lecturers are:

And many other wonderful lecturers!

I hope to share with you news and insights from this interesting event!

Paper: Eugene Kulischer, Joseph Schechtman and the Historiography of European Forced Migrations

Map of Jewish Migrations

Yesterday I had the honor of attending a lecture organized by the Centre for Area Studies titled “Migration and Transnational History” with Prof. Dirk Hoerder as lecturer.

Prof. Hoerder is the author of one of my favorite books: Cultures in Contact: World Migrations in the Second Millennium (Comparative and International Working-Class History). The book is an encyclopedic historical treaty that reviews the story Global Migrations in the last 1,000 years.

Today’s paper is related to two other great specialists in Migrations: Eugene Kulischer and Joseph Schechtman whose works are among the most relevant for the study of Migrations and Globalization.

About the Article:

This article deals with two prominent figures in the historiography of twentieth-century European forced migrations: Eugene Kulischer and Joseph Schechtman. Their studies, although published between 1946 and 1962, are still among the standard works on the subject and are as yet unsurpassed in their scope and breadth of outlook, despite the flurry of new publications on the subject after the opening of East Central European archives after 1989. In this article I strive to explain how and why they were able to accomplish such a scholarly feat, paying special attention to their biographies which I have tried to reconstruct, using, for the first time, not only their own writings but also personal testimonies from their students and disparate archival sources located in the United States and Israel. I also discuss the strengths and weaknesses of their works by comparing them with more recent works on the same subject. This is, to my knowledge, the first attempt to reconstruct on the basis of archival evidence the lives and works of the two most important historians of a phenomenon whose impact on the overall history of Europe (and especially of its East Central part) is now generally recognized.

Continue reading: Eugene Kulischer, Joseph Schechtman and the Historiography of European Forced Migrations from Journal of Contemporary History recent issues by Ferrara, A.

At the Monument to the Battle of the Nations

Location Leipzig, Saxony, Germany. Designer Bruno Schmitz Material Granite-faced concrete. Length 80 metres (260 ft) Width 70 metres (230 ft) Height 91 metres (299 ft). Beginning date 1898-10-18. Opening date 1913-10-18. Dedicated to Battle of Leipzig. Coordinates 51°18′44″N 12°24′47″E

The Battle of the Nations was fought during 16-19 October, 1813  and the commemoration of such an important battle in Leipzig kept me busy during this weekend.  Yesterday, the Reenactment of the Battle was fantastic and today I went to the GIGANTIC monument that celebrates the victory of the allied nations against Napoleon.

What is the importance of this building?

  • Architecturally; the structure is amazing.  It is 91 meters tall and its base is 124 metres (407 ft) large and 124 metres (407 ft) wide.
  • Aesthetically; the sculptures of the four legendary historic qualities ascribed to the German people: bravery, faith, sacrifice and fertility are simply exquisite if understood in the context in which they were made.1 It was bravery for defending what is yours; faith (courage) to fight against the vicissitudes; sacrifice (fighting until the last moment in order to protect Life); and fertility (to overcome the mass murder caused by this war). IThe statues of the monument were sculpted by Christian Behrens and his apprentice Franz Metzner with a fantastic technique.
  • Historically; it commemorates the establishment of a German community that united different nations into a common goal.1

For further images; I invite you to check this Flickr album with the snapshots I took.

1Koshar, Rudy. (2000) From monuments to traces: artifacts of German memory, 1870-1990. University of California Press. p.44