Hans Stettiner and Jan Szczeciński. Everyday Life in Szczecin of 20th Century

The Szczecin’s History Museum invites the visitors to see a permanent exhibition Hans Stettiner and Jan Szczeciński. Everyday Life in Szczecin of 20th Century.

The exhibition is an invitation to reflection on not so distant years, still alive in memories of numerous participants of the events, and on earlier periods, known only from indirect accounts.

Today, when the 20th century with its tragic events went down in history, when fewer and fewer witnesses of great upheaval – the aftermath of World War II – remain alive, all the records of that period: paintings, drawings, posters and photographs, newspapers and documents, former everyday use objects, today regarded as mementoes which evoke memories, are seen from a different perspective.

The history of first 45 years of the 20th century has been created by, deep-rooted here for many generations, German inhabitants of Szczecin, represented by symbolic Hans Stettiner. The postwar period and the second half of the century has been created by incoming Poles, like the family of Jan Szczeciński, who, of their own free will or forcibly, started new lives here, settling in the city – borderland, port, formerly German Szczecin. Home and family, work, school, shopping, culture and leisure are basic problems, around which everyday life centres; scenes of life repeating in each generation and in every circumstances – the everyday experiences of both pre- and postwar citizens.

In the background of this ordinary privacy, there appears a common landscape: the same streets and buildings, beauty of urban planning solutions, the same atmosphere of the river bank and the port, the same climate of squares and parks, beauty of the surroundings. However, the age of Stettiner is divided from Szczeciński by a distinct border, which drastically diversifies their fates. This is the aftermath of tragic events of the war and the consequence of political decisions of year 1945, which brought unprecedented, total exchange of the population.

A symbol of the fates of people of Szczecin of the past century are suitcases – an attribute of relocations experienced by both Germans and Poles.

Narrative, multi-layered and symbolic content is told by anonymous portraits, interiors, photographs and posters, important and trivial documents, common everyday objects and precious goods. They may be attributed to various lives, different episodes recorded in memories and diaries, stories created of incomplete information – we do not know the end of the Stettiners' history, whereas in the one of the Szczeciński family the beginning is missing. These divided societies co-created facts, events and upheavals – the reality, which, on account of memory of next generations, is still writing further pages of the history of the city.