slider

Our Recent Labs:

On September 10, 2021 we launched the Exploring Central Europe: History, Memory, and Identity Across Borders, a semester-long program organized in partnership with the University of Lower Silesia in Wroclaw, Poland  and Syracuse University. Together with our students, we begin our journey through which we explore the memories of conflict and ongoing processes of reconciliation in Central Europe.

Płaszów: A Recreational Park Built on a Concentration Camp

IMG_4826

By Capriana Cormier

KL Płaszów was a Nazi concentration camp in Płaszów, a southern district in Kraków, during the Second World War. This camp was built on two Jewish cemeteries. It was opened, by the Nazis, from late 1942 until early 1945, and was intended to hold about 4,000 prisoners in, what was supposed to be a slave labor camp, as an attempt to clear out of Kraków ghetto. more

Rosja and Польша

IMG_4823

By Max Goldberg

Current headlines about the state of political and social affairs in Poland and on its borders are not positive, to say the least. The predominant crisis at the time of writing this piece is the story of the 5,000 or so migrants, mostly of Middle Eastern origin corralled in the freezing woods on the Polish-Belarussian border. more

Public Memory and Remembrance in Berlin

IMG_4788

By Ella Farrell

With over fifty memorials and monuments, the city of Berlin is no stranger to remembrance. Two memorials in particular, the Monument to the Murdered Jews of Europe and the Places of Remembrance, stand out from our visit to the city. more

The 11th Commandment-“Never be a bystander”: Reflections of Human Indifference and Unresponsiveness to Atrocious Behavior and Why Speaking-Up Matters

IMG_4783

By Harrison Vogt

In the poem Campo Dei Fiori, Czesław Miłosz describes a scene of human indifference and suffering during the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The story depicts the contrast between non-Jewish residents of Warsaw enjoying their leisure time by “flying high” on a sky carousel and listening to carnival toons. more

Where can you Build a McDonald’s in Poland?

IMG_4781

By Connor Arneson

Everywhere you go in Poland, it’s certain that you aren’t far from a place of immense suffering. These places can be large or small, famous or infamous, but most surprisingly, these places can be difficult to spot. more

Confronting Memory in Urban Space

IMG_4776

By Sophie Creager-Roberts

This semester I participated in courses devoted to studying historic conflict and atrocity and the ways in which it has shaped contemporary socio-political climates and reconciliatory efforts. more

Castles: Telling More Than Just Fairytales

IMG_4826

By Capriana Cormier

While in Poland, I had been able to visit three impressive castles. Castles are astounding to me; I have always loved them growing up. more

The Hidden History of the Holocaust

IMG_4788

By Ella Farrell

On our bus ride to Treblinka, I remember not knowing what to expect. I had never visited a death camp before and didn’t know the specifics about this site. Throughout my secondary education, and even in my Jewish education, we were only taught about Auschwitz-Birkenau and general information about the Holocaust. more

Minyan Man

IMG_4823

By Max Goldberg

A week before I was set to arrive in Wrocław, my Grandpa Ted passed away. I was fortunate enough to have spent the final moments of his life alongside him in the very same hospital he had worked in for more than 40 years, in Phoenix, Arizona. His story is incredible. more

Life After War: The Bad, the Bad, and the Worse

IMG_4829

By Anna Sebree

There are no two ways about it: life after war is a trying time. Whether a country “wins” or “loses”, there are bodies left to bury, buildings to brush up, and traumas to bear. Scars are left on a country and collective memory that may never fully heal. more

Poland’s Government is Winning the Battle for the Internet

IMG_4781

By Connor Arneson

Throughout our travels in Poland, we just can’t seem to escape the current government’s war on history. For the last 6 years, Poland’s government has been relentless in its attempts to whitewash Poland’s past, and, for the last 6 years, historians have been relentless in their attempts to combat the government’s misinformation. more

Historical Politics: An Enduring Dilemma

IMG_4776

By Sophie Creager-Roberts

On November 12, 1989 –three days after the fall of the Berlin Wall– German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and the first freely elected Polish Prime Minister, Tadeusz Mazowiecki, embraced in the courtyard of the former von Moltke family estate. This site in Lower Silesia is where German dissidents founded the Nazi resistance movement called the Kreisau Circle. more

How Eco-Tourism Provides a Framework to Keep-Out Extractive Industries: Dobków, Poland’s Case for Protecting the Environment

IMG_4783

By Harrison Vogt

The tale of an industry entering a town, extracting all its resources, and leaving with a permanent scar on its region is a narrative found across the globe. Mining practices may remove whole mountain tops to extract finite resources. Mass-scale farming pollutes the local environment with pesticides and animal waste in local water supplies. more

Treblinka: The Invisible Extermination Camp

IMG_4826

By Capriana Cormier

When people learn about the Holocaust, they learn about Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II – Birkenau. This history dominates what we know about the Holocaust and leaves other concentration and extermination camps invisible to the rest of the world. After our two-week traveling seminar, I had a lot to think about. more

The Fallacy of Jewish History in Contemporary Poland

IMG_4829

By Anna Sebree

Poland is a beautiful and complicated country. It is a country that boasts intellects, artists, and revolutionaries, while simultaneously emitting a cold chill of emptiness that seeps through the abandoned synagogues, former ghettos, and camp memorials. more

Poland’s Government Preaches Flawed History… and so Did I

IMG_4781

By Connor Arneson

Like most other right-wing governments, nationalism is a key ingredient for Poland’s ruling party. Without it, many of their ceremonies would appear unnecessary, many of their policies would appear selfish, but most importantly, many of their voters would disappear. more

The Significance of the Sejny Synagogue

IMG_4788

By Ella Farell

The decision to spend a semester in Poland was not one I took lightly. I felt disconnected from my family history, cultural history, and religion as an American Jew. Coming here was an opportunity to explore who I am and how these spheres of my life continue to shape my identity today. more

Guarding Memory Through Ecology

IMG_4776

By Sophie Creager-Roberts

Since the end of World War II, Poland has grappled with how to properly memorialize not only the sites of atrocities committed by the Nazi regime but also how to recognize the places where Jewish life once flourishedmore

“Jewish-themed Restaurants,” the Jewish Mafia, and Other Reasons Why I’m Upset

IMG_4823

By Max Goldberg

Since the second I stepped foot on Polish soil, I was severely underprepared for the demanding and catastrophic emotional journey that the last two months have taken me on. more

© Copyright 2020 - Urban Labs Central Europe      Created by: DIGITALBATH, Hana Červinková & Juliet D. Golden