First they change the name… then the domain

Interesting signs of the times (and of the increasingly brand-named, officialized, and internetified Heritage World).  Just look at these two recent developments relating to the site of Auschwitz and ponder awhile:

1.)  In the summer of 2007, the World Heritage Committee approved official change of name of World Heritage Site from “The Auschwitz Concentration Camp” to “Auschwitz Birkenau German Nazi Concentration Camp (1940-1945)” upon the request of the Polish government, seeking to distance itself as much as possible in time and responsibility from that very unlovely heritage attraction on their soil.

2.)  And, now in January 2011, as if the clear marking of extraterritorial status for unpleasant heritage sites (and acts!) in the real world were not enough, a similar move has been taken in cyberspace:

From Agence France Press,  February 2,2011

Poland asks Nazi camp museums to drop .pl websites

(AFP) – 3 days ago

WARSAW — Poland’s culture minister said Tuesday he had asked museums at former Nazi death camps to drop their Polish .pl Internet suffix to help counter the false impression they were Polish-run.

The minister, Bogdan Zdrojewski, told Polish news agency PAP he had written to the directors of three museums in Poland asking them to use other suffixes for their websites, such as the more neutral, pan-European .eu.

The three memorial museums, run and largely financed by the Polish state, are Auschwitz-Birkenau (www.auschwitz.org.pl), Majdanek (www.majdanek.pl) and Stutthof (www.stutthof.pl).

“I’ve asked them to use the appropriate term systematically,” Zdrojewski said.

Warsaw keenly watches the global media for descriptions of such camps as “Polish” because it says the term — even if used simply as a geographical indicator — can give the impression that Poland bore responsibility for Nazi Germany’s World War II genocide…

For full article, click here.

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Do nation-states have the sovereign right to externalize unpleasant heritage and exclude it from their national internet domains?  At least they seem to have the means…

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One thought on “First they change the name… then the domain

  1. It’s a shame that, in their efforts to disassociate Poles from the Holocaust, they felt the need to associate Germans with it, rather than leaving Nazis as simply vile people, regardless of which borders they were born inside.

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