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Ackermann Felix

Period of stay: Februar / March 2021

Evaluation sheet for departing Fellows

  1. What would you consider to be the major benefits of your stay at IWM?

I came to Vienna to finish my book on the history of incarceration in Poland and Lithuania. I found a friendly, open and intellectually stimulating environment, which gave me the opportunity to finish several chapters of my book. Furthermore, I had highly interesting conversations with co-visiting-fellows, the permanent fellows and the IWM staff.

  1. Was the event programme of the IWM attractive and interesting for you?

Yes, I enjoyed the programme and learnt from other fellows. I missed the informal parts afterwards, but was able to catch up at least with some of the fellows.

  1. Do you have any criticisms of any aspect of the Institute’s program and operations?
    Please include any suggestions for improvement.

Of course I would love to see a Belarusian program at IWM and would love to support it in the future. I thought may be a rapid test once in two weeks could enhance security once you will have even more fellows after Easter.

  1. Is there anything else you would like to let us know regarding your stay at the IWM?

It is no secret, that among the singular assets of IWM is the kitchen with Barbara and Anna-Maria – I felt very privileged to enjoy their food and the company of the other fellows in the mids of Covid-19.


Final Report sheet for departing Fellows

As mentioned in the “Terms of Award” agreement, we would kindly ask you to submit your final report on your activities, travels, talks and accomplishments during your research stay. Please be as specific and concise as possible!

In particular, we may ask you to list books or essays that have been written or worked on at the IWM, that have either been published or accepted for publication or that you wish to submit for publication. Describe briefly the nature of the work and give names of publishers or publications, dates and other relevant facts.

We would be very grateful if you could provide us with a copy of your publication(s) for our library or, if this is not possible, contact our librarian with the publication details. We would also like to ask you to list any prizes or awards you have received or will receive, as well as any scholarships and grants you have received or will receive.

The stay allowed me to rethink prisons in divided Poland an Lithuania as genuinely public spaces and to finish three out of five chapters. I was greatful to give the monthly lecture and received valuable feedback by permanent fellow Timothy Snyder and the commentator Iryna Vushko. The lecture is avaible online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w36Lz1bfCPg

I published a report on the crackdown on Cultural elites in the Republic of Belarus and highlighted the case of the founder of a Museum of Jewish Restistance in Navahrudak at Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung:
https://www.faz.net/aktuell/feuilleton/debatten/diese-stadtfuehrerin-ist-untragbar-in-ganz-belarus-werden-kulturleute-verfolgt-17214484.html

I published a Polish essay on the most recent wave of repressions in Belarus mentioning my IWM affiliation at Gazeta Wyborcza: https://wyborcza.pl/7,75399,26839839,zy-rozprawa-lukaszenki-z-dzialaczami-kultury-nosi-slady-dobrej.html

Thanks to the PR of the IWM team I was approached by two journalists, Markus Müller Schienewald (ÖRF) and Ivo Mienssen (NZZ). Müller Schienewald organized afterwards a round table on Belarus for his regular podcast on Europa: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/ö1-europa-journal/id1455340680

Neue Zürcher Zeitung published an analysis of a book, written by the Belarusian political prisoner Mikola Dziadok, who spent in prison five years between 2010 and 2015. In his book “The colors of a parallel world” he describes the system of incarceration in Belarus: https://www.nzz.ch/feuilleton/folter-erzwungene-gestaendnisse-und-lagerhaft-ein-blogger-demaskiert-die-weissrussische-diktatur-ld.1601471?reduced=true

I encouraged the German Association of Historicans of Eastern Europa to collect money for Belarusian colleagues, who lost their jobs in Minsk: https://www.osteuropa-historiker.de/links/spendenaktion-minsk-protokolle/

In earlier March my book Palimpsest Grodno. Nationalisierung, Nivellierung und Sowjetisierung einer mitteleuropäischen Stadt. 1919-1991, Harrassowitz Verlag, Wiesbaden 2010. Was published in Belarusian as: Historyija Harodni 1919-1991. Nacyjanalizacyja, vyniščen’nie i savetyzacyja siaredneeŭropejskaha mesta, Minsk Arche 2021.

I enjoyed discussing with Lidia Akryshora the Belarus Chronicle and potential future entries to it.