Cemeteries as (un)wanted heritage of previous communities. An example of changes in the management of cemeteries and their social perception in Gdańsk, Poland

Keywords: cemeteries, former cemetery areas, land use transformation, social perception, Gdańsk, Poland

Abstract

Cemeteries, despite the sacred values attributed to them, proving their inviolability and durability, undergo functional transformations in the dynamic structure of developing cities. This article focuses on the city of Gdańsk, which historically changed its statehood several times. Almost a full exchange of population from German to Polish took place after World War II. The main aim of the article is to compare the post-1945 attitudes of the new Gdańsk community and the authorities towards cemeteries being a legacy of their predecessors. During World War II and the three subsequent decades most of the unwanted (unrelated to the Polish community) necropolises were closed down and removed. 25 of the 101 inventoried cemeteries have survived until modern times. It has been shown that there are clear differences in the management of cemeteries after 1945, from the removing them in the communist times to the commemorating and revitalizing them during the maturing democracy. This is associated with the current social views, where the majority of residents object to changing the function of the sites of the former cemeteries and only allow converting them into greenery with commemoration of the history of the place.

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Published
2020-11-20
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Puzdrakiewicz, K. Cemeteries As (un)wanted Heritage of Previous Communities. An Example of Changes in the Management of Cemeteries and Their Social Perception in Gdańsk, Poland. LO 2020, 86, 1-26.
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