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"Microhistories. The Memory of Dorohucza as a Cultural Heritage" is an activity in cultural education that recalls the memory and the history of one particular place. Historical heritage will frequently constitute the sole and the most crucial resource from the perspective of a given place`s identity; it is thus worth channelling its potential into cultural activities that will encourage the local young and old in an effort to learn the history of their hometown. The project is largely based on the memories of Dorohucza residents. Nowadays, when the formal education reserves hardly any time for cultural and local education, the relevance of the activities like ours becomes even greater, inasmuch as it enables us to embrace the potential of the places we live. What is important is that the methodology developed as part of the project will be openly published and provided for implementation in future initiatives.

The project aims to collect and bring to the spotlight the history of a small town, where, during the Second World War, a Nazi forced labour camp was located. This part of the Dorohucza`s history remains relatively unknown, and yet the witnesses of those events are still alive. It is through our project that this memory may become restored – by recording those accounts and presenting them to a wider audience. This is, however, but one of the secondary objectives of the project, whose primary goal is to demonstrate how through reaching for history we may boost cultural education activities and simultaneously engage local communities in a more active involvement in the matters of their "small homelands.” While history is an area particularly highly valued by Poles, at the same time many of its threads, particularly the local ones – on which no material traces exist, remain completely unknown. Not knowing the history of one`s own place is a serious blocker for building a sense of community or to forge a connection with a given place that would be stronger than merely through family ties. This project attempts to transform the history of people living in Dorohucza into a community-building force, which will additionally strengthen the intergenerational bonds. Under the project, we plan to collect the spoken accounts, conduct a query, and develop materials and methodology, which will be subsequently made openly accessible online for future development and reproduction. One of the project`s key target outcomes is to boost the interest of the young and the old members of the community in partaking in the process, without the involvement of whose it would be impossible to recreate their "microhistory." This is expected to raise the cultural potential of the town, whose history is its greatest asset. However, the history cannot ever be reduced to dry numbers and dates – it must be recreated from people`s memories, past sensations, thoughts and knowledge fished out from the stories from the past. Memory and culture are two key binders of identity, and as such, must be fostered, unleashing the potential of such initiatives as this.

Oral history - fragments of recorded relations

Below you will find accounts of people living in Dorohucza who shared with me their memories of the camp. Some stories are recorded – you can listen to them by selecting the audio files attached below them. Some of the interviewees have agreed to have their image published. The photos of those who did can be found in Photos. Other memories of the Dorohucza camp are in Published Stories.

The Camp in Dorohucza
The Jewish camp was here, where the crossroad is. There were those barracks here, and they built a watchtower there. This is where the Germans stayed. And this is where they were bringing all those Jews to, I don’t know where from. And they rushed them to those barracks. There were those barracks, and between them, there was that gap. The guards walked and watched. In the morning, the better ones dug peat here, they worked here, they sorted it, they did what they could do. Some were being taken away, some were being brought in. It was such a mixture, cars with trailers were coming. And they sat on these trailers. I don’t know if it’s still there but there was a German swastika in front of the bridge on one stone. I don’t know if it’s still there. A big stone and that German swastika.

What did it look like then? Behind the wires were those Jews. And those Germans had like a kind of a carriage [barrack], they had their kitchen there, they cooked there, they did everything there. And here they tortured those [Jews].

The project is a brainchild of Magdalena Kawa, graduate of Political Science and Tourism and Recreation. She has received her doctorate in the Holocaust in public discourse. She`s a lecturer at the State School of Higher Education in Che³m, co-operating with For the Earth Association where she is responsible for intercultural education, co-founder of Digital Culture Institute Foundation where she is in charge of media education projects.
Author of the The Map of (Un)Consciousness project

Project is realised from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage fund.