Living Memorial at Liberty Square

On December 31st, 2013 it was announced that there will be a memorial about the German occupation of Hungary, claiming that Hungary and the Hungarians were victims during WWII. There was no announcement for artists, no public competition. 437 000 Hungarian Jews were brought to Auschwitz or other concentration camps, only a few survived, the deportation was organised with an active role of the Hungarian state and institutions. It is a scandal to say that the Hungarians were only victims.

Activists of the Living Memorial organized a flashmob next to the future memorial, and asked citizens to bring personal objects to the site on 23rd March 2014. People shared the story of the objects with each other. Two white chairs were put in the middle of the site symbolizing the dialogue between the people. Later more and more white chairs have been supplied and until today the activists organized 592 talks with the public.

The official monument was built it was never inaugurated; no official ever came to the site. The activists call it “The dead monument”, it is facing the “Living Monument”, the one that keeps the real memory of the suffering. It provides the site for the public discussions, because Hungarian people must engage in a real memory work of their history of the past century without keeping certain facts in silence.

2nd Partner Meeting: Budapest, 4-5 February 2019

HCZ partners met for the first time personally in a 2 days’ workshop in Budapest, in a research institute, facing the Parliament. First, the participants went to see the Living Memorial at Liberty Square and learnt about its aims and history. During the workshop, the goals and methods of the project were discussed in detail, and all partners presented their plans to organise exhibitions and workshops to raise awareness in their local publics about the importance of remembrance and memory work. The workshop also tackled the planned Toolkit and Website: their structures were outlined, and the partners’ tasks defined, the main categories of conflicting heritage were identified. In the evening, the international partners participated in a workshop organised by the Living Memorial with the participation of members of its memory community. During the meeting photos of various objects (of the future exhibition) were put on display and four members of the public presented the objects they had brought along and told their stories. The event was interpreted in English for the international partners.

3rd Partner Meeting: Marseille, 18-19 June 2019

All partners discuss progress in their local exhibitions and workshops. The website progress is discussed and the urge to communicate project outcomes on social media.

All partners are engaged in a local walking tour that identified contested urban heritage in Marseille.

Two external speakers were invited to present a paper to the partners and local experts Mario Panico, University of Bologna, Italy on ‘Nostalgia’

4th Partner Meeting: Hania 17-18 October 2019

On 18 and 19 October 2019, Etz Hayyim Synagogue in Hania, Crete, hosted the partners of the Heritage Contact Zone consortium for their 4th partner meeting.

At the beginning of the meeting the partners were introduced to the history of the Jewish community on Crete during a guided tour of Etz Hayyim Synagogue and the historic Jewish neighbourhood of Hania. The tour highlighted the role of Etz Hayyim as a heritage site shedding light on the multifaceted and multifaith past of the island of Crete.

During two working sessions the partners focused on a preliminary review of the project: Based on a series of workshops hosted by the project partners in preparation of five local exhibitions, a toolkit for small heritage organisations dealing with contested heritage was drafted.  The toolkit reflects the experience and insights of the project partners and is meant to assist small heritage organisations in developing projects that create heritage communities and engage the public in creative ways.

In the evening of Friday, 18 October, the partners had the opportunity to participate in the Erev Shabbat service at Etz Hayyim Synagogue along with other guests. After that they were invited to a sneak preview of the exhibition “Parallel Points of View”, Etz Hayyim’s contribution to the series of five local exhibitions envisaged by the Heritage Contact Zone project. The exhibition was officially opened to the public on 20 October for a week.

After the end of the partner meeting on 19 October, the partners were invited to a concert by the Greek bank Klezmer Yunan at Etz Hayyim Synagogue. The concert was part of the two-week celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the Rededication of Etz Hayyim Synagogue.

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