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International Summer School - Transnational Perspectives on World War II: A Dialogue on New Research Approaches - Berlin, Germany

Conference venue: Berlin, Germany
Period: September 6-13, 2015
Application Deadline: December 19, 2014



The Centre for Historical Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Institute of National Remembrance in Poland, together with the University of Potsdam and the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń present the first edition of the Berlin International Summer School from 6-13 September 2015.

This year's topic refers, on the one hand, to one of the key research topics of the Centre for Historical Research, which examines German occupation as a fundamental analytical category in the description of World War II (cf. Historie, no 7 2013/2014). The Institute of National Remembrance on the other hand disposes of considerable knowledge and research competences on World War II that can successfully be applied to didactical practice.

The 70th anniversary of the ending of World War II on 8 May 2015 provides us with the occasion to deal with issues concerning the war from multiple perspectives. Recent debates, e.g. surrounding Nazi looted art, the miniseries Generation War, or the judicial proceedings and investigations of Nazi crimes, show that the war still casts a shadow on the relationships between the countries affected by it. Moreover, it still has a considerable influence on the shapes of their cultures of memory. In the context of an increasing Europeanisation of memories it is crucial to deal with this subject scientifically and to discuss recent research problems.

Despite the ever growing amount of literature as well as numerous research projects on political history and everyday history of World War II there are certain issues that would benefit from being subject to research from a transnational perspective. New methodological approaches appear to be promising with respect to new findings, e.g. analyses of everyday life under German occupation.

The Summer School's aim is to offer a platform for discussions for junior scientists of history and neighbouring disciplines. They will have the possibility to present their M.A. and Ph.D. theses and to discuss research problems with specialists from their field. New research approaches as well as innovative research questions concerning World War II will be discussed. Exchanging methodological approaches will help an interdisciplinary enhancement through impulses from other academic disciplines. The participation of junior scientists from different countries offers the possibility to look at World War II from a transnational perspective.

The Summer School is divided into three parts:

  • workshops with short project presentations and lectures by specialists
  • source and library works as well as a movie screening, followed by a group discussion
  • field trips to important documentation centres (NS-Zwangsarbeit Berlin-Schöneweide; Topographie des Terrors, Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas; Gedenkstätte Plötzensee)


M.A. and Ph.D. students from Germany, Poland, and other European countries are invited to participate.


The following issues of World War II will be focussed on:

  • occupation as a system of terror and domination
  • ideology, propaganda and Volksgemeinschaft
  • forced migrations
  • everyday life
  • society between resistance and adaptation
  • women, family, children
  • privacy
  • minorities under the occupation regime
  • collaboration
  • perpetrators and victims
  • witnesses
  • war in film, theatre and literature

The Summer School will be supervised by Prof. Robert Traba, Prof. Igor Kąkolewski, Dr. Jacek Młynarczyk, Dr. Marcin Przegiętka, and Dr. Katarzyna Woniak.

How to apply

We cordially invite you to participate. Please send your abstract in German (ca. 1,500 signs) and an academic CV with contact details and institutional affiliation until 19 December 2014 to: and  (coordination: Dr. Katarzyna Woniak (CBH PAN)and Dr. Marcin Przegiętka (IPN)).

Practical information

Accommodation will be provided, catering is partially covered, travel expenses will be refunded. There is no conference fee.
The Summer School will take place at the Centre for Historical Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences (Majakowskiring 47, 13156 Berlin). Date: 6-13 September 2015 (arrival: 6 September, departure: 13 September).
Project presentations should not exceed 20 minutes and will be accompanied by a comment or introductory speech of an expert in that field. The best project presentations will be published in a conference volume. The Summer School will be held in German; contributions in English are also welcome.


  • Centre for Historical Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences
  • Institute of National Remembrance

Information & contacts

Dr. Katarzyna Woniak
Centre for Historical Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences

Dr. Marcin Przegiętka
Institute for National Remembrance


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