The time of the Shoah in Breslau/Wrocław is a widely neglected topic that has been the subject of a research project at the TU Dresden in recent years – extending across the boundaries of national historiographies and temporal caesurae. Participants from Germany, Poland, Israel, Belgium, Italy and Sweden, representing different scientific disciplines, have approached this subject through the aspect of topography.
The research project "Topography of the Shoah in 
deu. Breslau, lat. Wratislavia, lat. Vratislavia, ces. Vratislav

Wrocław (German: Breslau) is one of the largest cities in Poland (population in 2022: 674,079). It is located in the Lower Silesian Voivodeship in the southwest of the country.
Initially under Bohemian, Piast and at other times Hungarian rule, the Habsburgs took over the Silesian territories in 1526, including Wrocław. Another turning point in the city's history was the occupation of Wroclaw by Prussian troops in 1741 and the subsequent incorporation of a large part of Silesia into the Kingdom of Prussia.
The dramatic increase in population and the fast-growing industrialization led to the rapid urbanization of the suburbs and their incorporation, which was accompanied by the demolition of the city walls at the beginning of the 19th century. By 1840, Breslau had already grown into a large city with 100,000 inhabitants. At the end of the 19th century, the cityscape, which was often still influenced by the Middle Ages, changed into a large city in the Wilhelmine style. The highlight of the city's development before the First World War was the construction of the Exhibition Park as the new center of Wrocław's commercial future with the Centennial Hall from 1913, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2006.
In the 1920s and 30s, 36 villages were incorporated and housing estates were built on the outskirts of the city. In order to meet the great housing shortage after the First World War, housing cooperatives were also commissioned to build housing estates.
Declared a fortress in 1944, Wrocław was almost completely destroyed during the subsequent fightings in the first half of 1945. Reconstruction of the now Polish city lasted until the 1960s.
Of the Jewish population of around 20,000, only 160 people found their way back to the city after the Second World War. Between 1945 and 1947, most of the city's remaining or returning - German - population was forced to emigrate and was replaced by people from the territory of the pre-war Polish state, including the territories lost to the Soviet Union.
After the political upheaval of 1989, Wrocław rose to new, impressive heights. The transformation process and its spatial consequences led to a rapid upswing in the city, supported by Poland's accession to the European Union in 2004. Today, Wrocław is one of the most prosperous cities in Poland.

 1933-1949" was conducted from 2018 to 2021 under the direction of Junior Professor Dr. Tim Buchen at the TU Dresden in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Marcin Wodziński, Head of the Department of Jewish Studies at the University of Wrocław/Wrocław and was funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM).
For the first time ...
... the practice of excluding Jews from public spaces has been examined
  • on the basis of the diaries of Willy Cohn and Walter Tausk;
  • using the example of Jewish residential home foundations and their 'Aryanization' as well as looking at the consequences for the residents;
  • which were a a result of forced admissions to the Breslau 'Judenhäuser', where Jews had to live under the constant threat of being deported;
  • which the Lower Silesia Regional Association of the Central Association of German Citizens of the Jewish Faith in Wroclaw countered through its efforts to defend Jews against comprehensive degradation by National Socialism.
... Spaces and interstices of religion and politics have been brought into focus
  • through the example of the history of the Jewish Theological Seminary Fraenckel'scher Stiftung from 1854 up until the Nazi era;
  • by analyzing the history of the gap created by the destruction of the New Synagogue Am Anger on the night of the pogrom in 1938, which is considered a symbol of the extermination of Wroclaw's Jews;
  • through the example of the history of the Jewish cemetery on Claassen Street/ul. Gwarna;
  • through the example of the multiple social, legal and remembrance culture transformations of the New and the Old Jewish Cemetery.
... Jewish art and cultural spaces and their displacement from the city center have been located and their destruction depicted
  • as exemplified by the radio media site (Silesian Radio Hour);
  • through the example of the tense relationship between the Jewish community and Jewish architects;
  • through the example of the Silesian Jewish art associations, museum and art collections.
**... Sites of euthanasia, forced labor, camp imprisonment, and deportations as final stations in the lives of Wroclaw Jews ****have been examined **, including
  • "invisible places" such as Jewish infirmaries and nursing homes;
  • Jewish forced labor camps in Wroclaw ('extermination through labor');
  • Collection points and train stations as local 'Holocaust landscapes';
  • The disappearance of Wroclaw Jews and their sites from contemporary maps.
... Places of the Shoah in Breslau/Wrocław and Lower Silesia have been shown from a distance
  • in travel reports of Jewish journalists and testimonies of Shoah survivors 1946-1949;
  • in the public space exemplified by the exhibition of the Recovered Territories in 1948 and the exhibition of rescued works by Jewish artists;
  • through the analysis of Breslau places and memories in narrative interviews with surviving Breslau Jews in Israel ("Israel corpus");
  • using the example of the holdings of the Arolsen Archives on the topic of researching the history of Wroclaw Jews, their persecution and extermination, and their survival.
The international team met for a workshop in Wrocław in 2018 and at a conference in Dresden in 2019 to jointly develop results that comprehensively and coherently present the most diverse aspects of the topography of the Shoah in Wrocław/Wrocław and make clear the manifold connections and cross-connections. The interdisciplinary collaboration of the project team included contributions from Polish and international research literature as well as various theoretical concepts of space (Michel de Certeau's "Art of Action," Michel Foucault's "Heterotopias," Victor Turner's concept of liminality, Tim Cole's "mobile Holocaust landscapes", and digital 3D spatial reconstructions).
The contributors' research was complemented by presentations given by two contemporary witnesses during the program of public events accompanying the conference in Dresden in April 2019: Abraham Ascher (New York), historian and native of Wroclaw, examined the 1938 "Polish Action" that he witnessed as a child in Wroclaw. Jerzy Kichler, longtime chairman of the Wrocław Jewish Community, introduced the "March of Mutual Respect," with which the progrom night of 1938 in Wrocław has been commemorated every year on November 9 since the 1990s and of which he is the initiator.
As part of the project, a separate map of Wrocław was also created, which depicts the historical sites studied and allows them to be traced in today's street network, making it possible to experience the history of Jewish life and its heritage. The map will soon be available digitally on the site of the BKM Junior Professorship Social and Economic Networks of Germans in Eastern Europe in the 19th and 20th Centuries at the Technical University of Dresden. 
A volume of project results was published in 2023.

Siehe auch