Exploring living history

By Christian BlockLex Kleren Switch to German for original article

With "Historesch Gesinn", the C2DH hopes to create a long-term platform to involve the population in historical research. For project coordinator Joëlla van Donkersgoed, it is also about gaining new perspectives.

On the fence of the playground in Rue de l'Aérodrome hangs a rather inconspicuous red sign with the words "HistorEsch". If you dial the number on it, you will eventually hear the voice of a man talking about his childhood.

For a moment, the traffic disappears and the three-storey apartment blocks and the many side streets turn back into fields and meadows. Back to a time when the area between the Schifflange "Schmelz", the cemetery of Lallange and the centre of Esch/Alzette was still largely undeveloped. The man talks about how, at the age of six or seven, he used to play with other children in the hangar between the aeroplanes. And how his leg once broke through the wing of a biplane while climbing around – and how he then quickly ran away.

Back in the "now", we met Dr Joëlla van Donkersgoed in Esch/Lallange in mid-March. "We are standing here at the site of the first airport in Luxembourg. There was a runway here with a direct flight connection to London, " explains the historian at the Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C²DH) at the University of Luxembourg. There is not much left of this past. Only the street name, the school and an inconspicuous monument at the edge of the playground are reminders of this chapter in local and national history, which lasted from 1937 to 1954. "However, this history is still active and alive in the memories of people, and that is why we wanted to create an audio tour to make people part of that living history." The aim of the HistorEsch project was to involve the public in the history of the "Minett" metropolis as part of the European Capital of Culture. And ultimately to provide more personal access to the history of the city than commemorative plaques can.

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