John A MacDonald (Kyle Schole / Instagram)

A renowned History professor from the University of Ottawa will be in Victoria this weekend to present a lecture on how removing statues in Canada may be comparable to what he calls “memory wars” in Eastern Europe.

Dr. Jan Grabowski is an internationally acclaimed Canadian-Polish historian specializing in the Holocaust in Poland and the examination of Polish-Jewish relations.

He was invited to Victoria by trustees of the Wentworth Villa Architectural Heritage Museum foundation to present a talk titled “Removing Memory one Statue at a Time: Comparing Eastern Europe and Canada”.

Reexamining the past?

According to the event description, the lecture builds upon the Victoria City Council’s recent decision to remove the statue of John A. Macdonald from its location in front of City Hall.

The move sparked a debate that crossed provincial lines, and Dr. Grabowski’s talk will cover similar actions that developed into full-fledged “history wars” in Eastern Europe.

“The recent removal of monuments, statues and names from the public sphere is a sign that the time of compromise and reconciliation might be over and that we enter the time of “memory wars”, well known to Europeans,” reads the description.

This free event will take place at the Wentworth Villa Architectural Heritage Museum on Saturday, November 17th.

The author of 14 monographs and over 60 articles, Dr. Grabowski is also in BC to present a lecture titled “Night without an End: Jewish Survival Strategies in Occupied Poland, 1942-45” at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver on Thursday.

Removing Memory one Statue at a Time

  • When: Saturday, November 17th, 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Where: Wentworth Villa Architectural Heritage Museum, 1156 Fort St
  • Admission: Free

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