What is it about?
Modern architecture alienated East and West Germans alike from their cities' historic cores by the 1960s and 1970s. The so-called "Polish school of monument preservation" scorned in the early Cold War suddenly appeared to offer an attractive solution to ugly German reconstruction. This was especially ironic, because it meant that Germans were at times envious of reconstruction outcomes in Polish cities like Wroclaw and Gdansk which, before 1945, had been German.
Photo by Reiseuhu on Unsplash
Why is it important?
My findings break down ideological differences between East and West Germany to illustrate a common concern with apparent aesthetic failures in Cold War modernist reconstruction. They also highlight cross-fertilization of architectural insights across Cold War borders from East to West, undermining the idea that the East had to learn from the West. Finally, they offer something of a contextual backdrop to explain the current fad for historical replicas across Germany, from the Stadtschloss in Berlin to the palace "shopping mall" in Braunschweig.
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This page is a summary of: A Polish Approach for German Cities? Cement Old Towns and the Search for Rootedness in Postwar Leipzig and Frankfurt/Main, European History Quarterly, January 2020, SAGE Publications, DOI: 10.1177/0265691419886277.
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Presentation on "Demolition on Karl Marx Square" at Wilson Center, DC
Presentation on my second book, which details the limits of protest in East Germany through analysis of the buildup to demolition of the University Church in Leipzig in 1968 by Communist Authorities
Smithsonian Talk by Demshuk on the Politics of the Karl Marx Monument in Post-Communist Leipzig
Presentation at Smithsonian African American History Museum in Washington, DC on the politics of the erection, removal, and re-presentation of the Marx monument in Leipzig.
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