Make Yourselves Stragners at Home

Visit an exhibition arranged on the occasion of the 76th anniversary of establishing Polish administration in West Pomerania.

The vernissage is to be held on July 6th at noon at The National Museum in Szczecin – The Dialogue Centre Upheavals. The exhibition, located in the conference room / the dialogue space on level –1, will be available until the end of August this year.

The exhibition will include photographs from The Institute for Western Affairs in Poznań, taken by its representatives who were sent to the Western territories soon after World War II to record the condition of immobilities and mobilities in the area given to Poland by the decisions of the superpowers. The exhibition will also present photographs taken by Stefan Cieślak during the first postwar years, the most interesting photographs from that period owned by The NMS-DCU which cannot be seen at the permanent exhibition, and several photographs from the collection of Denkmal Pomorze assiciation.  

The vast majority of the photographs have never been presented to the public. Some of them will be displayed for the first time in several dozen years. Some depict spaces that no longer exist or present well-known objects' state just after the war. They are complemented by a silent archival film made at that time in Szczecin, showing the image of the ruined city and port basins full of sunken wrecks.

The main aim of the exhibition is an attempt to recreate (on account of the archive resources) the atmosphere of West Pomerania in the second half of the 1940s. It was a foreign place for the newly arrived, forced or encouraged to come here in order to create a new small homeland. These lands were different in almost every way from the ones they had come from. They were unlike anything they had known, and therefore safe. As witnesses of history say, for years in the Western Territories they felt like strangers, trying - often unsuccessfully - to familiarise the new landscapes. It was easier for groups and families and much harder for lonely people. Especially when the war had take their loved ones and when they could not, due to the post-war change of borders, return to their roots. Many of the newcomers arrived in the western borderlands of Poland only to escape soon and continue their journeys. Recognized as enemies of the system and of the communist authority, they were the loneliest and most alien of all.

Did the Polish inhabitants of these land finally feel at home and has the settling process been finished? These questions will be able to be answered by the visitors attempting, for example, to face themselves in the mirrors placed among the exhibition pghotographs. 

The exhibition is available between noon and 6:00 P.M. from Thursday to Sunday.