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Documenta – Center for Dealing with the Past is organizing a public panel dedicated to the 30th Anniversary of the democratic revolutions in Central and Eastern Europe. The panel will take place on Monday, 25th November, in the Library “Bogdan Ogrizović” (Preradovićeva Street 5, Zagreb) at 5 PM.




Associate Professor Dr. Christian Axboe Nielsen, Aarhus University, Denmark

Dr. Annemarie Franke, European Network Remembrance and Solidarity, Poland

Dr. Gruia Badescu, University of Konstanz, Germany

Miloš Vukanović, HIPMONT – The History Teachers’ Association of Montenegro


Dr. Boris Stamenić, DOCUMENTA – Center for Dealing with the Past, Croatia


The “Fall of the Berlin Wall” or rather the collapse of the East German border regime in the city of Berlin on the night of 9-10 November 1989, has become the most powerful symbol of democratic revolutions in Central and Eastern Europe at the threshold of the last decade of the 20th century. Pictures of the euphoric crowd and footage of people excited by crossing the border in a divided city represent globally popular images of contemporary European history. However, despite the frequent reduction of changes in Central and Eastern Europe to the metaphor of the “Fall of the Berlin Wall”, the question is to what extent the changes in other countries of the Eastern Bloc can be described through the case of the German Democratic Republic, which was marked by the perceptible collapse of the real-socialist regime and the spectacular victory of pro-democracy protesters.

With our distinguished guests from different European countries we would like to discuss the democratic revolutions of 1989, focusing the question of similarities and differences in the processes of dissolution of real-socialist orders in Europe. In addition to the scientific perspective, we seek to approach events from a personal perspective as well, through examples of major historical events interweave with the family biographies of the speakers. Furthermore, we would like to address their former and contemporary perception of the democratic revolutions of 1989.

In addition, we will discuss the legacy and significance of the 1989 democratic revolutions for contemporary European societies. We will also pay attention to the question of the place of the 1989 democratic revolution in the memory culture of individual European societies and how they are addressed by different political actors. Is there a social and political consensus on the positive evaluation of the democratic revolutions and democracy as a political and value system? What is the social impact of modern populist movements that lure voters with promises of a return to a supposedly better past, and is there a danger of the democratic standards in Europe collapsing?

The panel takes place in the framework of the project “Reshaping the Image of democratic Revolutions 1989: European contemporary Perspectives and forgotten Lessons from the Past” coordinated by Documenta and financed by the European Union through the program “Europe for Citizens”.

Simultaneous Croatian-English translation is provided.