Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena

Martin Müller-Butz

PhD student

funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Mail: m.mueller-butz(at)posteo(dot)de

August 2011: doctoral candidate and research associate at the Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena

2010-2011: research assistant; editor for the "Patterns of Remembrance: Soviet Crimes-Russian Memory" Internet project

2004-2010: master's degree program in eastern European history and political science in Jena and Krakow; thesis title: "Those who feel the pathos of history": The treatment of history in the Polish opposition, based on the example of the Movement of Young Poland (Ruch Młodej Polski) 1977-1981 (in German).

Research project

Uncanny Heimat? The Tsarist Empire in Polish Memoirs and Autobiographies of the Twentieth Century

In this research project I focus on Polish memories of the collapse of the Russian Empire in 1917. I examine how the disintegration of the Russian Empire, the emergence of the new Polish State, and personal experiences of flight, expulsions and violence were remembered throughout the twentieth century in the autobiographies, memoirs, and diaries of Poles from the western provinces (gubernii) of the Russian Empire and from the Russian interior against the background of the establishment and development of the Soviet Union. I pay particular attention to the temporal context in which these memories arose, asking what contemporary interpretative frameworks informed the autobiographical processing of personal experiences of the tsarist empire and the failure of the imperial social order. What images of and ideas about tsarist Russia are constructed in these texts? Using Reinhart Koselleck's categories of the space of experience (Erfahrungsraum) and the horizon of expectation (Erwartungshorizont), I also investigate the role played by personal memories in the development of national ideas and political concepts in the interwar period, during the Cold War in the People's Republic of Poland, and in Polish post-war exile. Memoirs and autobiographies that never found their way into the Polish public sphere - be they private family memoirs or censored parts of published autobiographies - are of particular interest for this project. They allow us to draw conclusions about the limits and freedoms that existed in different parts of the Polish public sphere in the interwar period and later in Polish exile and in the People's Republic. At the same time, the entanglements and interdependencies of these three memory discourses play an important role.

Main areas of research

  • Polish and Russian history of the twentieth century
  • Contemporary Polish history
  • Theories and approaches of the Culture of History/Culture of Memory
  • Applied history


  • Member of the German-Polish Society of Thuringia
  • Künstler für Andere e.V. (Sponsor of the Thuringian Archive for Contemporary History "Matthias Domaschk")


Nach dem Imperium. Zur Entstehung (und zum Ende) des Wilnaer sowjetoznawstwo aus erfahrungsgeschichtlicher Perspektive, in: Nordost-Archiv, XXIII (2014). [Eingereicht].

Imperiales Erbe? Russland in den Memoiren und der politischen Publizistik Wilnaer Konservativer nach 1918, in: Michael G. Müller/ Kai Struve (Hg.): Grenzziehungen, Netzwerke: Die Teilungsgrenzen in der politischen Kultur der polnischen Zweiten Republik. [im Druck].

[Mit Christian Werkmeister] Die Geschichte des GULag im Russischen Internet (RuNet): Möglichkeiten und Grenzen virtueller Erinnerungskulturen, in: Jörg Ganzenmüller/ Raphael Utz (Hg.): Sowjetische Gesellschaftsverbrechen in der russischen Erinnerungskultur. [im Druck].

Von Russland nach Polen. Zum Potential imperialer Erfahrung nach dem Zerfall der Imperien am Beispiel der Biographie von Aleksander Lednicki, in: Malte Rolf/ Tim Buchen (Hg.): Imperiale Karrieren. Lebensläufe von Eliten im Zarenreich und der Habsburgermonarchie 1850-1918, Köln 2015. [Akzeptiert].


Zuzanna Bogumił: Pamięć GUŁagu [Die Erinnerung an den GULag], Kraków 2012, in: 64:1 (2014) OSTEUROPA, S. 154-155.

Dorota Sula: Powrót ludności polskiej z byłego Imperium Rosyjskiego w latach 1918-1937 [Die Rückkehr der polnischen Bevölkerung aus dem Russischen Imperium von 1918 bis 1937], in: Polenstudien. Interdisziplinär.

Other publications

[Editor] Web Project: "Gedenkmuster: Sowjetische Verbrechen - Russische Erinnerung" [Patterns of remembrance: Soviet crimes - Russian memory].