1990 / Year One

The year 1990 was a turning point in overcoming the communist legacy and shaping democracy in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The Krzyżowa Foundation for Mutual Understanding in Europe together with its partners in the project "1990 / Year One", Stiftung Adam von Trott, Imshausen e.V. (Germany) and Post Bellum (Czech Republic) have prepared educational materials for history and social studies teachers and all those interested in Europe's recent history.

Three versions of the materials, prepared especially for Polish, German and Czech schools, were created at the same time. They contain lesson and workshop scenarios, as well as a historical essay whose aim is to present the events which took place in Central and Eastern Europe in 1990. Materials prepared for Lithuanian youth are also to be published soon.

We recommend the article "1990: The year when Europe as we know it today was born" by Dr Łukasz Kamiński, which appeared on wiez.pl. The text was written as part of the project "1990 / Year One. The democratic transformation in former Eastern Bloc countries" carried out by "Krzyżowa" Foundation for Mutual Understanding in Europe as a part of program "Europe for Citizens - Memory of European Past" and is co-financed by European Commission.

(…) Our memory of the fall of communism is dominated by the events of 1989. We remember the round table in Poland, the 'Baltic chain', the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia. Meanwhile, many key events took place in the following year.

Last November, we invited students and teachers from the 13th Secondary School in Wrocław to a workshop where they learned about the methodology of collecting oral testimonies and working with time witnesses. Afterwards, we invited the students, under the supervision of their teachers, to prepare films on one of the selected topics:

  •  Between PRL and III RP. How Wrocław changed in the early 1990s.
  • A family story - the beginnings of democracy in Poland.

Despite the constraints of the epidemic situation and the remote school work, it went great!
More than 200 students, working in teams, prepared interesting films in which they showed not only their creativity and knowledge of history, but also their sense of humour.

The year 1990 was a turning point in overcoming the communist heritage and shaping democracy in Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries. That year brought the first fully free parliamentary, presidential and local government elections in most of the CEE countries. It was also in 1990 that the two German states were reunited, which had (still has) consequences not only for the Germans themselves, but also for their eastern neighbours, Poles, Czechs and Slovaks (then: Czechoslovakia), who had to re-establish their relations with their old/new neighbour - with whom they also had an unsettled history dating back to World War II. The year 1990 was also the beginning of a new era for the Baltic States, such as Lithuania, which was the first country of that region to declare its independence after 50 years of Soviet rule.

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