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One place, different memories

Remembrance of Nazi concentration camps and central work camps in Poland through the example of Potulice

This project will study the central Nazi work camps (1944-50) in contemporary Poland, particularly Potulice, a former field warehouse of the Stutthof concentration camp, and how they were later used by the Polish state for imprisoning „ethnic Germans“, prisoners of war and opponents of the socialist system. The significance of the central work camps and the crimes committed there by Poles against Germans and the Polish opposition is often marginalised and the perpetrators and unnamed. Sometimes the historically and morally questionable attempt is made to offset the crimes committed by the Nazis against those committed by the subsequent Polish camp leaders. The continued use of the camp is seem in popular discourse as a direct consequence of the German reign of terror. Responsibility for the more recent crimes is evaded by claiming that the postwar perpetrators had been victims under the Nazis. In Germany the victim status of the imprisoned Germans is emphasised, giving rise to a distorted view of the camp in popular discourse.

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