Festung Archive - Instytut Pileckiego

Fortress Archive - a Polish-German Seminar Series

Well-organized, securely stored and easily accessible archives are essential for the development of democracy. Their collections document the history of a respective society and the development of its priorities, as well as its culture of thought and action. Contact with a “living” document or its digitized form brings us closer to the past. At the same time, it is important to know the context of a document’s creation in order to understand it properly.

We want to use our series of lectures to outline the landscape of archives in Poland and Germany, and take a closer look at selected institutions. We invite archivists specializing in particular subjects to attend the lectures as speakers.

The title of the seminar series refers to the history of the “Berlin Fortress” as described in Jens Bisky’s book “Berlin: Biography of a Great City”. Construction of the German capital began in the 17th century, following the trauma of the Thirty Years’ War, a task that required about 30 years and consumed enormous resources. Almost half of the city’s residents took part in the construction work. Two centuries later, the fortress was completely demolished and a vibrant and tolerant city grew in its place. It may be speculated whether it was not this exact experience that later enabled Berlin to open up to the world.