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Bonn Declaration

"European Network:
Forced Migrations and Expulsions in the 20th Century"

Following the international conference in Bonn on 11–12 March 2004, an initiative group was formed to study, document and make the European context of forced migrations and expulsions in the 20th century accessible to a broader audience. This group aims to support and link up at the European level the various decentral and sometimes cross-border activities that already exist. In doing so, the group is conscious of being in agreement with the Gdansk Declaration signed by the presidents of Poland and Germany, emphasizing that every nation has the right to mourn its victims, but should at the same time make sure that remembrance and mourning are not misused for mutual recriminations, charges and demands for reparation. Instead, the act of remembering history should be a joint undertaking.

Remembering, commemorating and working through the issues of forced migration and expulsion in the 20th century on an intellectual level is a European task whose aim should be to make the different national perspectives on history accessible to the other nations in order to foster a budding European historical consciousness in all its great variety, often exceeding local, regional and even national boundaries. To achieve this aim, a joint European institution is needed, one that could bear the name "European Foundation: Forced Migrations and Expulsions in the 20th Century" .

  1. The European Foundation’s tasks shall include networking, developing and supporting activities and initiatives in various countries and fields, in the study of history, in schools and educational institutions, exhibitions and museums, through community partnerships and other international, civil society initiatives, not least with regard to the culture of monuments and memorials.
  2. The European Foundation shall be open to all individuals and institutions devoted to this issue in a European perspective. The European Foundation shall on its own initiative increase communication and networking to promote a pan-European public discourse, by means to include the following
    • organizing conferences, meetings and forums to foster international contacts;
    • promoting and supporting trans-national projects and working groups, such as for research projects, exhibitions and documentary film;
    • producing documentation, translations and information materials for schools, other educational institutions and the research community;
    • creating a common Internet portal.
  3. The European Foundation shall comprise on the one hand a Secretariat and on the other hand a Board made up of prominent figures from the different European countries, to be named by the heads of state.
  4. The European Foundation shall be funded permanently, not by a single country, but by a combination of national, European and international organizations (EU, Council of Europe, UN, UNHCR). Private sources of funding shall also be pursued. Temporary start-up funding from the German Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, as well as other sources, would be desirable.
  5. The above-mentioned initiative group is considering a multi-stage procedure:
    1. The initiative group will prepare various networks. The Chair for Eastern European History, held by Prof. Dr. Karl Schlögel, at the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt/Oder, will serve as the contact office for an academically oriented "European Network: Forced Migrations and Expulsions in the 20th Century". Its initial projects are to be an international conference on the representation of forced migrations in textbooks and the editing of a European encyclopaedia on forced migrations in the 20th century.
    2. A second network, comprised of historical sites and memorials to forced migrations and expulsions and of civil society initiatives, is equally significant. It is currently being developed.
    3. an International Society for Forced Migration History is envisioned to coordinate these networks and gain the cooperation of additional interested persons.
    4. This society is also intended to prepare the groundwork for a European Foundation: Forced Migrations and Expulsions in the 20th Century.


Signatories to the Bonn Declaration:

Prof. Dr. Włodzimierz Borodziej, University of Warsaw

Prof. Dr. Marina Cattaruzza, Historical Institute, University of Bern

Éva Kovács, Ph. D., Centre for Central European Studies, Budapest

Prof. Dr. Jiří Pešek, Charles University, Prague

Prof. Dr. Jan Sokol, Charles University, Prague

Dr. Krzysztof Ruchniewicz, Director of the Willy Brandt Centre for German and European Studies, Wrocław

Univ.-Doz. DDr. Oliver Rathkolb, Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for History and Society, Vienna

Dr. Thomas Serrier, University of Paris VIII

Róza Thun, Robert Schuman Foundation, Warsaw

Dr. Heidemarie Uhl, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna

Dr. Krisztián Ungváry, Institute for the History of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, Budapest

Dr. Dieter Bingen, Cologne/Darmstadt

Prof. Dr. Friedhelm Boll, Institute for Social History, Bonn

Prof. Dr. phil. Dr. h. c. Detlef Brandes, Heinrich Heine University, Düsseldorf

Prof. Dr. Dieter Dowe, Director, Institute for Social History, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Bonn

Prof. Dr. Bernd Faulenbach, Ruhr University, Bochum

Dr. Claudia Kraft, Deutsches German Historical Institute, Warsaw/Ruhr University, Bochum

Prof. Dr. Hans Lemberg, Philipps University, Marburg

Prof. Dr. Hans Mommsen, Feldafing

Dr. Dr. h. c. Gert von Pistohlkors, Academic Dean emeritus, University of Göttingen

Prof. Dr. Karl Schlögel, European University Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder)

Prof. Dr. Holm Sundhaussen, Eastern European Institute, Free University Berlin

Prof. Dr. Stefan Troebst, University of Leipzig

Prof. Dr. Philipp Ther, European University Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder)

Prof. Dr. Matthias Weber, Federal Institute for Culture and History of Germans in Eastern Europe, Oldenburg

Prof. Dr. Klaus Ziemer, Director, German Historical Institute, Warsaw


Contact: Prof. Dr. Friedhelm Boll, Historisches Forschungszentrum der Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Bonn/Germany, Phone: + 49 - 228 - 883 470 – Fax: +49 - 228 - 883 497 – E-Mail:


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