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Two groups of students from Kazan and Berlin met in November and December 2007 in their cities to discuss different perceptions of history in the German Democratic Republic, the Federal Republic of Germany and the re-united Germany after 1990 on the one hand and in the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Tatarstan on the other hand. The conference series was funded by the programme „Geschichtswerkstatt Europa“ of the „Stiftung Erinnerung, Verantwortung und Zukunft“ and „Robert Bosch Stiftung“ and by the „Stiftung Deutsch-Russischer Jugendaustausch“.
In order to compare the historical memory in both our countries, we choose the example of the Tatar poet Mussa Dshalil (1906-1944). There are several memorials to Dshalil in Kazan, where the poet lived and worked. In Berlin, the place of his execution in 1944, Dshalil is commemorated in the „Gedenkstätte Plötzensee“. Furthermore, in the GDR a brigade of the „Berliner Bremsenwerke“ bore the name of the famous Tatar.
Besides exploring and documenting those memorial sites, our work consisted of seminar discussions, interviews with historical eyewittnesses and the study of documents related to Dshalil. First results of our work were published in Altabash 38 (2007) and Altabash 39 (2007) by Leysan Kalimullina and Mieste Hotopp-Riecke (Russian and German). On this website, you will also find our seminar diaries from Kazan and Berlin and further materials, again in Russian and German. This series of blog posts tries to give an overview of the results of our work in the English language.
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