About

The cultural dynamics of former camps poses a challenge in the growing research on ‘heritagescapes’ (Garden 2006)  and processes of heritage designation.  Key campscapes across Europe whose meanings are often used, misused and abused provide the background for an innovative critical analysis and perspective on “terrorscapes” (Laarse 2014). Since these present, interpret and educate on violent pasts and ideologies of the 20th century, such heritage sites influence the notions of the past in memorial knowledge and practice. Competing stories and visibility of pre-war anti-fascist refugees, political Communist prisoners, the Romani community, forced labourers, collaboration and opposition, or the growing transnational norms of the totalitarianism perspective and a “double occupation” are all created and expressed by such spaces.

As many of the sites have been preserved and co-opted in discourses regarding the nation state, or have only recently been recovered in public memory due to new political shifts of EU enlargement and ongoing boundary negotiations of Europe, it is proper to consider them now from the perspective of Europe as a dynamic transnational historical and social space. By adjusting these sites and museum contexts to new, reflective trajectories and new means of transmission, the project considers historical knowledge through unexplored methodologies for conflicted sites (forensic archaeology, critical oral history and memory studies). Furthering debates regarding significations and validations of heritage, research conducted within iC-ACCESS also proposes new areas of research concerning the ethical and social meanings of heritage as “constructed” through competing memories, politics of recognition and often disjunctive regional, national and transnational interpretations.