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Marcin Napiorkowski

Tracing the Genealogy of Competitive Martyrdom: The Ghetto Uprising and the Warsaw Uprising

Using Michael Chaumont’s category of “The Competition of Victims,” this talk analyzes the genealogy of a mnemonic rivalry between the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943 and the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. Consecutive generations of Warsaw dwellers were shaping their identity by commemorating (and not commemorating) these events. Both insurrections were politicized and used by competing political parties to legitimize their vision of history. Drawing on data from press releases, official speeches, and secondary sources, the paper examines places occupied by both events in the mnemonic calendar and in the public space.

Marcin Napiorkowski is assistant professor at the Institute of Polish Culture, University of Warsaw. He received his PhD from the Graduate School for Social Research, Warsaw, and habilitation from the University of Warsaw. His recent book Powstanie Umarlych. Historia Pamieci 1944-2014 (Rising of the Dead. A History of Memory 1944-2014) is a historical analysis of the myth of the Warsaw Uprising 1944 in light of contemporary memory studies.