Iris Meder (1965–2018) was a Vienna-based art historian. A large portion of her work and library is dedicated to the Danube region. On 15 November 2019, the Österreichische Gesellschaft für Architektur (Austrian Society for Architecture, ÖGFA) inaugurated the Archive Iris Meder. The author examines how Iris Meder, who grew up on the western border of Baden-Württemberg, Germany, became an expert in her field. Historical chronicles and the experience of the present are in accord: seldom can a private library’s books be preserved as a coherent and recognizable collection. The author gives a glimpse into the inner workings of an impressively versatile, highly knowledgeable independent scholar, and the journey undertaken by the ÖGFA to make her archive available to the public.
For the countries of the Western Balkans, the path to membership in the European Union (EU) has been particularly tortuous. Its slow progress has created frustration among applicant countries. In 2014 Germany, stepping into the political void that had formed, inaugurated what has come to be known as the Berlin Process, an initiative aimed at injecting new energy into the dormant EU enlargement process. The author examines the political activities initiated between 2014 and 2019, analysing the official documentation of the Berlin Process along with publications such as policy papers and media commentaries. She concludes that although meaningful and proactive measures have been taken, such efforts have not been successful in persuading or enabling the Western Balkan states to implement the political and economic reforms required for EU accession.
Albanian-speaking migrants in Switzerland mobilized massively on behalf of the national cause in Kosovo in the 1990s. Despite this strong engagement with their homeland, however, some have felt forgotten and have been offended by negative stereotypes in Kosovo itself since the war ended in 1999. Taking a boundary-making approach, the author analyses the ways in which Albanian-speaking former activists in Switzerland have responded to their unfavourable standing, and how they have sought to improve their transnational position. She shows how former activists tend to choose between one of two narratives to describe their place in their societies of origin and settlement: either they yearn to be a part of the ‘Albanian nation’ as imagined in Kosovo; or they adopt a new model of what it is to be ‘Albanian’ in Switzerland.
The Polish and the Hungarian governing party, PiS and Fidesz, are mnemonic warriors who had already tried to enforce their memory politics during their first government terms, as their flagship museums, the Warsaw Rising Museum, opened in 2004, and the House of Terror in Budapest, opened in 2002, show. In museums they ‘inherited’ from their predecessors, the current governments either change content, as PiS at the Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk, or ‘only’ battle against the directors in office, as happened at the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw and at the Holocaust Memorial Center in Budapest. Yet even mnemonic warriors cannot ignore international developments like the ‘universalization of the Holocaust’. As the author shows, the Polish and the Hungarian governments favored opening new museums over changing existing museums identified as ‘Jewish’, including those that explicitly deal with Polish and Hungarian complicity. New museums, like the Ulma Family Museum in southeastern Poland, the House of Fates in Budapest, and the Warsaw Ghetto Museum, focus on rescuers of Jews and uplifting messages of Polish and Hungarian heroism.