Memory of Nation


What is Memory of Nations?


Memory of Nations is an extensive collection of witnesses’ memories, gathered by individuals and institutions all over Europe. The project strives to make the individual testimonies of witnesses of significant historical events of the 20th century accessible to researchers as well as to general public, and to do so in a form which is easy to use and understand.

How the idea for Memory of Nations originated?

The idea to create a digital archive was born in 2006-2007 during discussions between Czech institutions which are archiving memories of witnesses (association Post Bellum, Czech Radio, The Institute of Contemporary History of the Academy of Sciences, The Military History Institute, Jewish Museum in Prague, Živá paměť o.p.s., Museum Ústí nad Labem). The creation of Memory of Nations was motivated by the need for finding a common platform, which would enable these institutions to digitally archive, store, share and compare the individual research outputs.

Who is in charge of the project?

The digital archive of witnesses Memory of Nations was created in 2008 by three Czech institutions: association Post BellumCzech Radio and The Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes. Post Bellum is an association of journalists and historians assembling a collection of witnesses’ memories since 2001; Czech Radio is a leading public media institution with extensive sound archives and technical equipment at its disposal, and the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes is an institution focusing on research, analysis and documentation of totalitarian regimes of the 20th century. Bound by a common agreement, these three institutions have put together a team of specialists, who prepared and opened a unique application, which was officially launched on 28th October 2008.

Community of European Memory

The Community of European Memory is a declaratory association of individuals and institutions which have decided to store the outputs of their research in the digital archive Memory of Nation and to make them accessible through this portal. The Community is open to all historians, journalists, students and other researchers. The creators of the electronic study-room provide the users with training in the editing system, technical support, and possibly also with assistance with text-editing and translations to English. Each of the projects involved is represented by its coordinator, who is responsible for the final form of the stored materials. The members of the Community of European Memory are also invited to international research symposia.

What can you find in the Memory of Nations?

Our database contains complete recordings, sample clips, photographs, diaries, archival documents and much more. The more collections, portraits and testimonies we gather, the richer and more coherent a mosaic of the preceding century we can create. When combined with other historical sources, the testimonies of witnesses allow us to reach a deeper understanding of the essence of the undemocratic regimes of the 20th century – of Nazism and Communism – and to explore the phenomenons which accompanied them. We are building this mosaic from the memories of thousands of individuals who found themselves in exceptional circumstances and who are willing to share their experience. We are interested in why people behaved in one way or another, what affected their opinions and attitudes. We want to compare the memories of witnesses and to categorise them for further research according to historical period, related anniversary, event and witness type.

If you would like to help this portal grow and to support the recording of further testimonies either financially or in some other way, please contact us.