Contemporary eyewitness reports like life and family stories, diaries and reports of escapes, travel notes and interviews are all important doors into the past. But where can I find contemporary eyewitness reports?
The memories and reports of contemporary witnesses about various aspects of German culture and history in Eastern Europe still play a special role in the scholarly, journalistic and public engagement with this subject area. They come from emigrants who, for example, had to leave the eastern provinces of Silesia or East Prussia due to persecution during the Nazi era, from refugees and expellees and those who were resettled from Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia after the end of the war as a result of the Potsdam Agreement, from ethnic German immigrants from Russia or Romania, for example, as well as from people who remained in their homeland. They describe - from a subjective perspective and from different time distances - past everyday and living worlds, historical events and formulate retrospective assessments of their experiences.
Contemporary witness accounts are mainly available in the form of life and family stories, diaries and escape reports, travel notes or interviews. In addition to a few extensive holdings, these are primarily small and medium-sized collections that exist as the results of systematic collecting activities, as unsolicited documents, or as the results of research or exhibition projects. They are stored in state archives and libraries, in research institutions, cultural foundations, associations or museums; in some cases they are easy to research, indexed and accessible, in others, however, they are hardly known and could only be identified through in-depth research.
Contemporary Witness Finding Aid
The contemporary eyewitness finding aid is a guide to relevant holdings and collections of contemporary eyewitness accounts. It lists and presents these holdings in terms of their chronological and regional references, the documents they contain and the topics they deal with. In this directory you will find references to contemporary eyewitness reports on the culture and history of Germans in Eastern Europe that are held in archives, collections, museums and research institutions both in Germany and other countries. You will also find information on the institutions where these reports are housed and on the individual holdings, as well as on the topics dealt with, the circumstances under which they were created and the regions in question.
Published eyewitness accounts and memoirs are not included.
You can search for institutions, regions and terms that appear in the descriptions.
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