Research on Transgenerational Holocaust-memory in Central Europe supported by Visegrad Fund


The project is co-financed by the Governments of Czechia, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia through Visegrad Grants from International Visegrad Fund. The mission of the fund is to advance ideas for sustainable regional cooperation in Central Europe.

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Title: Research on Transgenerational Holocaust-memory in Central Europe

Supported by:  Visegrad Fund

Identification number: 22210229

The amount of the sponsorship: 53790 Euro

The proposed period of the project: 01. 05. 2022 - 01. 10. 2023.

Coordinating institution: 

Project coordinator:  

  • Richárd Papp, director of institute. E-mail: Phone: 0036-1-372-2500/6738.

Partner institutions:


The goal of our research is to be able to interpret both the generational changes and further inher-ited processes of Holocaust memory in three localities per country by examining three generations. The three selected settlements include the capital, towns, and rural localities of each country. All this provides an opportunity for a comparative analysis of the similarities and differences between Holocaust memory in the capital and in the countryside.


Nearly eighty years have passed since the tragedy of the Holocaust. The living, communicative memory of a generation of victims and witnesses is slowly being transformed into patterns of cultural memory. Meanwhile, in Central Europe, there has been no collective confrontation in recent decades, no public and comprehensive open social discourse on the memory of the tragedy. The problems of forgetting and silence range from the persistence of anti-Semitism, hatred of ethnic, cultural, and sexual minorities, political hatred of refugees, to Holocaust denial, and are still present in Central European societies today. In the three decades since the political regime changes, more detailed Holocaust education has been introduced into school history curricula, and commemorative monuments, museums, archives, books, and films have been created to help remember the Holocaust. However, the ques-tion arises as to how all this contributes to the perpetuation of Holocaust remembrance. What meanings does Holocaust remembrance have today among different generations? There has been a lot of excellent historical and quantitative sociological research on this so far. However, this research fails to explore and analyse the local and personal empirical depths of the patterns of memory that are constructed and reconstructed in personal narratives. Thus, the aim of our research is to process and interpret recent meanings of Holocaust memory using qualitative social science methods in Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland.

The aim of our research is to gain an in-depth empirical understanding and interpretation of the contemporary meanings of Holocaust memory. We believe that an indispensable way of doing this is to explore transgenerational and translocal differences and contexts in Central Europe. A necessary corollary of this is meticulous, up-close and person-focused research. The intensive empirical case studies of our research can enable a detailed understanding of the personal narratives of Holocaust memory. We consider it essential to understand the narratives of the present-day bearers of Holocaust memory, in addition to the victims who lived through the horrors of the Holocaust. Only by doing so can we face up to the current state of holcaust memory in Central Europe and its challenges.

The novelty of the research is that it also includes the meanings of non-Jewish transgenerational memory patterns, the hitherto less explored aspect of the Central European Holocaust memory. This does not mean, of course, that Jewish memory patterns are not covered. Wherever possible, research will also examine the differences and similarities between Jewish and non-Jewish meanings of local Holocaust memory. The research will also address the local memory of non-Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Thus, our research examines the issues mentioned above in three locations per country. At each site, through focus group interviews, we examine the local aspects of Holocaust-memory across three generations:

  • 70+ years;
  • 40-70 years;
  • 18-30 years generation.

The interview questions comprehensively examine the historical and current processes, changes, and socio-cultural contexts of memory. The focus group interviews are also recorded visually and filmed. The recorded interviews can thus be used as sources of further analysis as well as exhibition products. The interviews will be preceded by one week of fieldwork in each locality. The fieldwork will include the examination of local history and socioeconomics, analysis of local memory spaces, possible commemorative symbols, and visits to the focus group interview partners. Our research therefore specifies the localities of the fieldworks and interviews:

  • Budapest, Miskolc, Körösladány (Hungary);
  • Bratislava, Krupina, Čaňa (Slovakia);
  • Prague, Kolín, Kosova Hora (Czech Republic);
  • Warsaw, Tarnów, Wąsosz (Poland).

Our research plan and further plans can be used in museum exhibitions related to the Holocaust memory (film recordings, interviews) or in the repertoire of programs planned in addition to the exhibitions (organization of socio-drama events using research results and experiences, discussions related to the visual documentation of the research and other sensitizing films, organization of clubs). In addition to the above, the research results could contribute to the studies of social memory in the social science courses and research programs of Central European universities. Our research plan’s long-term goal is to compare, through as many examples as possible, the recurring features, transgenerational and translocal meanings of Holocaust memory in Central Europe. Our present application is the first, introductory phase of this project. If our application is successful, we will reapply for researching in three additional localities per country after the completion of the research undertaken in the application.