Kult Pamięci
history - remembrance - oblivion

 the Battle of Tannenberg
 the cult of Marshal Hindenburg
 Hindenburg's funeral
 the history of the appearance of the  monument
 the Tannenberg-Denkmal monument
 a new national symbol
 the ideological nature of the  monument
 the history of the monument
 Stalag IB Hohenstein
 places of remembrance
 traces of memory - trip one
trip second
trip third
 the cult of memory
 the project
 broken links between memory and  history
 Pierre Nora, Between Memory and  History Les lieux de Memoire  (a fragment)
 a mock-up of the monument
 the location
 the monument dispersed
 the erasure of history
 the present condition - debris

 the archive

traces of memory

Włodzimierz Fiszer (excursion three)

"Excursion to East Prussia"

A talk on Pol. Radjo-Lvov on 5 VI. 1935 at 19:15 hours

page 1     To give in a short talk, a synthesis of the phenomenon, the measure of which is today's Prussian reality is unfeasible, if you want to make it comprehensive and with no short-cuts. For this reason, the presentation of my journey to East Prussia must be limited beforehand to only the most important moments, somehow outlining the tone and direction of today's Prussian life, some of whose episodes are worth special attention because of their specific and up-to-date character. One of the certainties which history teaches us is the fact that a decisive significance for collective life lies not in the forms of its devices nor its institutions but in the condition of the human souls in a given society, this condition itself being a result of very many factors, influencing not only man himself but also each person mutually. We know that theatre is the imitation of life but life can be the imitation of theatre even more; legislation is derived from customs but also, and even more so, customs are derived from legislation. This principle of mutual impact also has its counterpart in the field of historical phenomena. If the sentence that man creates an epoch is true (after all we speak about the Napoleonic epoch quite rightly). There is also the axiom that the epoch shapes the man, not only his physical but, also, his spiritual profile. Today's East Prussia is precisely such a country veiled by the breath of a new historic epoch, initiated in the destiny of the German nation by Hitler's victorious revolution

page 2     This revolution, having consolidated the essentials of Prussian-German tradition with the new current of revival brought in by National Socialism, has stamped itself very clearly on the life of Prussian society, changing it not only in its outer colour but also the palette of the most important cells of its inner structure. Although, neither the postulates of loving the German historic tradition nor the reverence for the nation's past heroes and the entire output of former generations have been eliminated from the citizenly catechism of today's exemplary Prussian, all of these constituents have been subordinated to the foremost precepts and pursuits of a reborn Germany with the utmost pedantry and scrupulousness. Consequently, in the specific atmosphere of today's Prussian reality, primordial German passions are awakened, and this is the case with the spirit of the head-strong demand to encapsulate anything which collides with the traditional doctrine of unconditional German supremacy into bundles, marked with the words "ad acta", which, by the way, befalls anything which honourably goes down in history. Today's Prussia is a section of a grand image of the Nazi Germany's reality, while life in Prussia is like the fragment of a huge machine, set in motion by a fly wheel of the polity, not only taking the needs of the country into account but also being based upon exemplary citizenly discipline. Let us now have a look at the palette of this composition, let us look into the eyes and feel the soul of a Prussian citizen – its "common" man

page 3     – a member of the popular masses who, however, is pivotal to the nation's progress and the nation's power as a whole and its external bounds. This man today represents a particular type of individual who is eager neither to make sincere confessions nor abstract intellectual constructs. Instead, he is the embodiment of a purely realistic and disciplined personality, totally in harmony with a general approach to life, embraced in the clasp of an almost statuary seriousness, stiffness and restraint. Although Prussian life flows in a wide and immense wave, pulsating with inflows and a living pulse, it is not clamorous or chaotic, as it has developed in an atmosphere of outright stringency and discipline, kept by the invisible but sensible hand of the Führer. This atmosphere of a harmonious conjunction of elements of a purely external subordination with the (internal) mental consolidation of society is one of the most characteristic traits of the spiritual profile of today's Prussia. It can be especially felt when one observes the disciplined troops of Nazi youth of both sexes in uniforms, marching in the streets of Prussian towns. Considering the younger generation as the most precious creative element in the construction of the future for the new order of things, Hitler's government gives these young people particular attention and care. Therefore, these people today represent a well trained and organised social army where neither slogans nor orders from the watchtowers and flanks of Prussian national life disappear without a response. A modern army of young workers being shaped in daily and systematic work

page 4     who are tied together by the citizenly ideal of work, wrapped in the self-awareness of how significant their role is in building the future of the Nation, as well as understanding their subsequent duties towards the State. It is a noteworthy thing, too, that parallel to the citizenly education of youth, there is also military training, so even the youngest school classes of Prussian children not only undergo drilling, but even – which is even more curious – theoretical military knowledge, instilled in them from their earliest years. – Another, very indicative trait of today's Prussian reality is their bias to keep the strictest possible spiritual contact with the society of the 3rd Reich. – This approach permeates almost all of the domains of Prussian cultural life: from educational methods for children in school syllabuses, through press and literature, which determines their tone, and even to silent artworks, where it finds its expression. – As for the latter, it is impossible, while speaking about Prussia, to silently ignore such a feat of Prussian engineering technology as the "Nationaldenkmal" under Tannenberg, which is where the remains of Marshal v. Hindenburg were placed last autumn to emphasise these traditional moments of Prussian-German links. The monumental Tannenberg Memorial is indisputably a most interesting architectural project, as well as one of the most eloquent of objects which symbolises the history of today's Prussia. Towering over the entire surrounding area with its clinker mass of powerful walls, bristling with its five-storey high bastions, the memorial looks rather like a solid stronghold for defence rather than a monumental piece of work from the field of pure art, supposed to (Sic!)

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