Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?
Memory of Nations (www.memoryofnations.eu) is a digital database of witnesses´ memories which is build by individuals, non-profit organizations and educational, governmental, contributory and other institutions from the whole Europe. We conserve and publish collections of testimonies of elderly citizens, who are unfortunately very quickly passing away. Their memories are used for the study of the modern history on the base of the most natural form – oral history methodology. We want to make accessible individual testimony of important historical events of the 20th century to researchers and general public. The more testimonies we are able to collect, the more colorful and comprehensible will be the mosaic of the last century. Through recordings and related historical materials, photos and diaries we want to get to know the substance of the non-democratic regimes of the 20th century –Nazism and Communism– and to study the related phenomena. Memory of Nations is creating a mosaic from thousands of testimonies of individuals, who lived a boundary situation and who are willing to share their memories. Therefore is the Memory of Nations a unique platform which explains the historical past, opinions and attitude of the former population to the future generations.
At this moment there are more than 1,500 witnesses´ memories in the digital archive of Memory of Nations. The base of the archive is constituted by the collection of the association Post Bellum, which is created since 2001. There are recordings of memories of WW II veterans, anti-Nazi Resistance fighters, victims of Holocaust, politic prisoners, priests, dissidents etc. At the same time there are also testimonies of the officials of KGB, NKDV, StB and others. The Memory of Nations initiative is since 2008 joined by other organizations and individuals whom the whole world. Therefore is the digital archive progressively growing with testimonies of important cultural personalities, representatives of national minorities, witnesses of historical events from Slovakia, Rumania, Hungary, Baltic countries and other lands. The memories are digitalized, the texts are edited and translated from the national languages to English. Currently, there are 29 projects of Memory of Nations, some of them already finished, some of them still running.
Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!
The historical events of the past century are unfortunately very distant to the youngest generations - therefore we are trying to preserve this history for them. As already stated, the base of our activities are the interviews with elderly citizens, who lived the cruelties of the 20the century themselves.
But we don´t finish just with the interviews - our main point is to make those interviews and messages of the most wisdom ones publicly accesible. Therefore we are trying to find new ways of accesing all the generations - non-traditional exhibitions, interesting publications, interaction with people and making them part of the project etc.
Already today we can say that there is no other European Internet portal which would offer such a number of witnesses and additional material on-line (recordings, videos, photos, diaries and everything else related to the particular testimony) and also with the information translated to English to make sure the possibility of access to everyone. The uniqueness of Memory of Nations consist in the possibility of online listening and downloading the entire audio recordings, transcription of interviews and additional materials. There is a possibility of e-research room free of charge, where the scholars can study and discuss the most detailed information. At the same time, the portal is very exceptional due to its international scope and its worldwide ambitions. Memory of Nations allows easy comparison thanks to the search categorization according to important anniversaries and epochs of 20th century and witnesses’ categories. All these factors (multilinguality, clear categorization, free online access to data, amount of materials) make Memory of Nations really unique.