Jerzy Elzanowski (Ottawa)/Carmen Enss (Bamberg): Cartographies of Catastrophe: Mapping World War Two Destruction in Germany and Poland

Bauhaus-Universität Weimar
Hörsaal A
Marienstr. 13
99423 Weimar

By the summer of 1945, an overwhelming number of cities throughout Poland, Britain, and Germany – to name just a few of the most heavily affected countries – existed in different states of decay and decomposition. While authors of European urban histories largely invoke the total and uniform nature of World War Two destruction, war damage maps tell a very different story. Their complicated hatches, outlines, hues, and shades take their readers on a journey through the complex material, social, and political realities of urban catastrophe, impossible to represent purely statistically. Understudied in terms of their cultural and semiotic meanings as signifiers of post-war urban reconstruction, the maps wedge open a gap in our understanding of how societies and their professional planning elites came to terms with the physical consequences of war, and put war damage to use in the uneven pursuit of new ideological and spatial orders. We argue that the history of damage cartography constitutes a significant research gap and that this gap makes it difficult to assess postwar and post-disaster survey and mapping processes today. We hope that a comparative study of damage cartography and damage assessment will not only shed light on a complex series of historical processes at the intersection of urban clearance, social zoning/hygiene, and heritage planning, but that it will also thickly inform current post-catastrophic reconstruction strategies.

Carmen M. Enss (Dr.-Ing.) studierte Architektur und Denkmalpflege in Weimar, München und Bamberg. Sie wurde 2013 an der TU München mit einer baugeschichtlichen Arbeit promoviert („Münchens geplante Altstadt. Städtebau und Denkmalpflege ab 1944 für den Wiederaufbau“, München 2016). Damit wurde sie auf Kriegsschadenskarten als baugeschichtliche Quellen aufmerksam. Seit 2013 forscht sie an der Universität Bamberg und arbeitet seit 2017 am Kompetenzzentrum Denkmalwissenschaften und Denkmaltechnologien (KDWT) der Universität Bamberg zu Geschichte und Theorie städtebaulicher Denkmalpflege. Ihr liegt Schwerpunkt derzeit in Italien im ersten Drittel des 20. Jahrhunderts, dort insbesondere beim Denkmalwissenschaftler Gustavo Giovannoni.

Jerzy (Jurek) Elżanowski is Assistant Professor in Indigenous and Canadian Studies (Heritage Conservation) at Carleton University, jointly appointed to the Institute for Comparative Studies in Literature, Art and Culture. His current research projects focus on a) the history and historiography of urban war damage, including archival bomb damage maps and destruction surveys; b) difficult monuments in Canada’s National Capital Region in the context of transnational commemorative practices; c) multi-vocal consultation methodologies for engaging communities in design for public installations. He holds a professional Master’s degree in Architecture from McGill University, and a joint PhD in Heritage Conservation, Architectural History, and Interdisciplinary Studies from the Bauhaus University Weimar and the University of British Columbia. He has taught and practiced in the fields of architecture and heritage conservation across Canada, Germany, and Poland.