International conference

Divided – united! Preservation of monuments and sites in Central Europe at the Time of the Iron Curtain and Today

International conference ot the HAWK and ICOMOS Deutsches Nationalkomitee in cooperation with Geisteswissenschaftliches Zentrum Geschichte und Kultur Ostmitteleuropas an der Universität Leipzig (GWZO) and the working group of German and Polish Art Historians and Conservators

Venue: HAWK, Hildesheim, Hohnsen 1, Aula
Time: 25 to 28 September 2013

The Conference focused on the latest and often neglected chapter in the history of European conservation: the time after 1945 on both sides of the iron curtain. The conference papers demonstrated the significance of this period for today’s heritage assets and for our understanding of history. The identity-giving role of monuments for specific groups of the population, religions and countries as well as the ideological misuse of monuments, was an area under discussion.

The conference was based on a multiannual research project, that more than twenty years after the reunification of Germany has been exploring basic considerations and the practice of conservation and restoration in the former GDR and the pre-1990s Federal Republic of Germany and its impact on conservation and restoration practice in the reunified Germany.

In addition to the paper presentations there was a panel discussion with contemporary witnesses of heritage preservation in the old Federal Republic of Germany and in the former German Democratic Republic.

A study tour led to monuments and memorial sites of the late 19th and 20th century around the Harz Mountains: KZ memorial Mittelbau Dora and Kyffhäuser Monument.

Programme  (pdf, 2,2 MB)

Abstracts of the conference papers

The conference was sponsored by the "Niedersächisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kultur".

Proceedings published

With the financial support of the “Deutsche Stiftung Denkmalschutz„ and the “Niedersächisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kultur“ and 25 years after the reunification of Germany 17 scientific conference papers are published in a richly illustrated book. The publication has been edited by Ursula Schaedler-Saub and Angela Weyer, who organized this conference.

The proceedings illustrate the preservation of monuments and sites after 1945 in central Europe on both sides of the Iron Curtain. With contributions by 18 authors from five different countries, the situation of monument’s preservation in a divided and reunited Germany is integrated in its Central and Eastern European context. All these countries look back on common preservation traditions which were affected most heavily by the division.
This complex issue is discussed under the different perspectives of regions and generations, with contributions from eyewitnesses and young professionals.
The conference proceedings are published in the Series of publications by the Hornemann Institute, volume 16, and by the German National Committee of ICOMOS, volume 59, by Michael Imhof Verlag.

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Conference poster Divided - United!; (c) HAWK Taebel 2013

Gate to the concentration camp of Buchenwald; (c) Andreas Trepte, www.photo-natur.de

Sculpture by Fritz Cremer in front of the bell tower of the Buchenwald concentration camp near Weimar; (c) Sören Marc Uka

Marktkirche Halle an der Saale: The late Gothic hall church of today is characterized by an extensive restoration which was carried out after the explosion of the steam heating 1967 - 84; (c) U. Schädler-Saub