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Europeana launches 'Europeana 1989' project

Europeana has launched'Europeana 1989'. People across Europe are invited to share their experiences, stories and memorabilia from the time of the fall of the Iron Curtain in a digital archive.

Warsaw, Poland  ()

The project started in Poland on Saturday with a public debate and a collection day. Europeana 1989 will continue with collection days in Poland, the Baltic States, the Czech Republic, Germany and Hungary.

For the 25th anniversary in 2014, Europeana 1989 aims to create a vivid and personal picture of the revolutionary events in Europe with stories, photos, videos and sound. Members of the public can contribute their stories at a series of collection days in each of the countries taking part as well as via the project website

A debate on the importance of preserving the experiences and memories of ordinary people involved in the struggle for freedom took place on 8 June during the inaugural collection day in Warsaw. Each partner country was represented by a project ambassador who played a significant role in the events of 1989 and will now continue to support and promote Europeana 1989. The project ambassadors are:

  • Sarm?te ?lerte – Latvia
  • Vytautas Landsbergis – Lithuania
  • Tunne Kelam – Estonia
  • Petr Janyška – Czech Republic
  • Wolfgang Templin – Germany
  • László Rajk – Hungary
  • Tadeusz Mazowiecki – Poland
  • Chris Niedenthal - Poland

At the conclusion of the debate, the project ambassadors shared their own private memorabilia and stories to launch the collection day, followed by people from Warsaw and other parts of Poland, who brought personal memorabilia ranging from photos to underground pamphlets, and from a teddy bear up to the biggest object digitised so far: a Polonez car, produced in Poland during the 80s.

History isn't just about the objects in a museum or the accounts in a book; it's about real people's untold stories. Ordinary people make extraordinary history and we must be proud of that and share our stories with whole world,

said Jill Cousins, Executive Director of Europeana.

Started by "Solidarity", freedom movements made up of people from many countries of Central and Eastern Europe in 1989 and 1990 paved the way for the unification of Europe. Europeana 1989 will now bring personal experiences of the people involved in those events together and help to transfer knowledge to younger generations,  uniting Europeans even further,

said Tadeusz Mazowiecki during the debate.

I was really surprised by how many people in Poland had brought their memorabilia to share with the world and I hope that our people will also bring unseen photos and their stories, because everyone's stories, however small, are important. Each story and memory helps to complete the picture of events that led to the transformation in Central and Eastern Europe. Personal stories, memories and experiences can help others to better understand what it was like and to see events from a different perspective,

said Petr Janyška from the Czech Republic.

All campaigns in the partner countries will highlight important events from 1989. In Poland for instance the collection days coincide with the anniversary of the first free election; in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, events tie in with the Baltic Way, the biggest peaceful demonstration in history; and in Hungary, events will relate to the actual cutting of the Iron Curtain on the border with Austria.

Editorial Contact:
Jon Purday
+44 (0) 7885 516234