Dr Danielle Drozdzewski
This project explores the historical and contemporary geopolitics of Polish memory. It considers how Polish cultural memory has been operationalised, with political purpose, to ensure the continuance of Polish cultural memories that (re)affirm certain narratives about the nation. To do so it draws on field data generated on November 11, 2018, in Poland. On this day, Armistice Day, Allied countries commemorate the end of the First World War (WWI). In Poland, this day has extra significance as it marks the (re)creation and restoration of the Second Polish Republic, post-WWI following 123 year-long partition by the Russian, Austrian and Prussian empires. Narodowe Święto Niepodległości (National Independence Day) as a calendar ritual, has both commemorative and celebratory characteristics – its solemnity marks war dead, but it also specifies the triumphant return of the Polish state. Recently however, the events held on this date have stratified public opinion. Pro-nationalist and those identifying with far-right politics have co-opted the theme of ‘independence’, instituting a March for Independence with a distinctly xenophobic atmosphere. This research examines contested sentiments about November 11 in Poland, placing the happenings of that day amid contexts of remembrance and nation building.