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Auf der Suche nach Fritz Platten, Die Schweiz und der Kommunismus im 20. Jahrhundert

English title In Search of Fritz Platten: Switzerland and Communism in the Twentieth Century
Applicant Schenk Frithjof Benjamin
Number 199890
Funding scheme Agora
Research institution Departement Geschichte Universität Basel
Institution of higher education University of Basel - BS
Main discipline Swiss history
Start/End 01.03.2021 - 28.02.2022
Approved amount 92'452.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Swiss history
General history (without pre-and early history)

Keywords (12)

History of the Swiss Worker's Party, PdA; History of the Swiss Communist Party, KPS; History of Communism; Memory History; Swiss-Soviet Relations; Fritz Platten; History of Switzerland; History of USSR; Anticommunism; Cold War History; Public History; History of the Comintern

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Ziel des Projekts ist die Erarbeitung und Präsentation einer Ausstellung über den Schweizer Kommunisten Fritz Platten und dessen Erinnerung in der Schweiz und der Sowjetunion im 20. Jahrhundert.
Lay summary

Gemeinsam mit Studierenden der Universität Basel dem Schweizerischen Sozialarchiv in Zürich und anderen Projektpartnern plant die Professur für Osteuropäische Geschichte der Universität Basel im Herbst 2021 eine Ausstellung an der Universitätsbibliothek Basel, über Fritz Platten (1883-1942), einen der bekanntesten Schweizer Kommunisten seiner Zeit. Im Mittelpunkt steht der Nachlass von Plattens Sohn, Fritz Nicolaus Platten (1918-2004), der jahrzehntelang Material zur Biografie seines Vaters gesammelt hat. Ausgehend von diesem Fundus aus dem Archiv der UB wollen wir die Erinnerungsgeschichte Plattens in der Schweiz und in der Sowjetunion beleuchten und zum öffentlichen Dialog über das Verhältnis der Schweiz zum Kommunismus im zwanzigsten Jahrhundert anregen.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 26.02.2021

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

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Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
174272 Russia 1917 and the dissolution of the old order in Europe. Biographical itineraries, individual experiences, autobiographical reflections 01.09.2017 Scientific Conferences
142316 Krieg und Frieden. 100 Jahre Ausserordentlicher Kongress "Gegen den Krieg" der Sozialistischen Internationale von 1912 in Basel und die Frage des Friedens heute 01.11.2012 Scientific Conferences
162107 SITES OF MEMORY OF SOCIALISM AND COMMUNISM IN EUROPE 01.09.2015 Scientific Conferences
171671 A Switching Point of History: Lenin’s Train from Switzerland and the Russian Revolution in European History 01.02.2017 Agora

Abstract

The objective of the present proposal is to promote public engagement with the relationship of Switzerland to Communism in the ‘short twentieth century’. The Chair of Eastern European and Russian History at the University of Basel, Basel University Library, the Swiss Social Archives in Zürich and further partner organisations intend to achieve this aim by creating an exhibition to be shown in the autumn of 2021 in Basel University Library and accompanied by a programme of public events. The exhibition focuses on the history of Fritz Platten (1883-1942), one of the best-known and most radical Swiss Communists of his era, and on his son’s search for a complete picture of his father’s life. Its content will draw on currently ongoing research from the Chair of Eastern European and Russian History at the University of Basel, involving the applicant alongside postdocs, doctoral researchers and advanced undergraduates. True to its title, “In Search of Fritz Platten: Switzerland and Communism in the Twentieth Century”, the exhibition will take as its starting point the decades-long historical and biographical research on Fritz Platten conducted by his second son, Fritz Nicolaus Platten (1918-2004). For over fifty years, Fritz N. Platten, working towards the ultimate end of writing his father’s biography, compiled an extensive archive of documents, incorporating original and archive materials, photographs and innumerable newspaper cuttings. Despite having written a number of fragments for the planned biography, he never realised the aim he had worked towards since the mid-1960s. The papers he left after his own death are available to researchers in Basel University Library’s archives and will form the foundations for the planned exhibition, supplemented by various other exhibits, publications and material from archives across Switzerland and Russia.The exhibition and the accompanying programme of public events seek to appeal to a general audience with an interest in history and politics. The entire process of preparing and staging the exhibition will be dialogical in nature, engaging a diverse range of stakeholders. Undergraduate and doctoral students of the University of Basel will work alongside postdocs and the applicant to design the exhibition and draw up its content. Themed workshops will provide history teachers and students from a Basel secondary school with opportunities to contribute to the exhibition’s creation. Both the exhibition and the accompanying programme of events will engage a broad audience of people in dialogue at guided tours of the exhibits, talks and panel discussions.The ultimate aim of the exhibition, and of the choice of an actor-centred approach to the topic, is to promote discussion and dialogue within society on the tensions and controversies surrounding Swiss history in the Cold War era and to encourage our audiences to reflect on ‘doing history’ and on the importance of archives in sustaining collective memory in modern societies.
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