The Local Perspectives on Different Histories: an open exchange for best practices in Memory Work seminar brought together extraordinary people, mainly from central and eastern Europe. Being with them was an inspiration. I was there, as a heritage interpreter, to help the group consider the future of the personal memories and how memories can become community, society or world stories that will endure through time. A weighty and lofty endeavour and one which I hope to be able to work on more.
The seminar attendees came from a range of organisations. They had dedicated themselves to piecing together fragments of memory and evidence relating to the impact of National Socialism.
Very often our work in TellTale takes us to amazing places and into conversations with fascinating people. But, even by our high standards, going to Lublin was an exceptional experience. It opened my eyes, touched me deeply and I am hugely grateful for all I learned there.
Brama Grodzka, the Jewish Gate, once marked the transition between the Christian and Jewish parts of Lublin. It now houses the Brama Grodzka Theatre Company and was a hugely appropriate venue for our seminar.
In Lublin, I came to understand better the scale of the forced labour and the size of the communities that were wiped out. For many of the participants this was commonplace, for me it was shocking. I felt, maybe for the first time, the scale of the dislocation that National Socialism caused across Europe. On my small island we were isolated from that.
This lamp at Brama Grodzka shines continuously on one of Lublin’s empty places, in memory of the Jewish Quarter that stood here and the 42,000 people who lived here.