Name of the website: HERITAGE ABROAD. POLONICUM DATABASE
On this website you can find information on selected monuments related to Polish cultural heritage (so called POLONICUM), located in Italy. Information on other landmarks in the Italian language are available through the machine translation. More information can be found on the English version and Polish version of our website. We invite you to look through our database and to share your knowledge about new objects, as well as to complete the data in the already existing ones. Please send us the current photos of those objects. You can send the information through the contact form (please send the materials via the form, indicating the consent to the publication of the submitted material will allow us to use it). We are open to the collaboration with institutions, organizations, non-formal groups and people taking care of Polish heritage and are in possession of any information related to it.
Please contact us via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone +48 797 141 381
What is HERITAGE ABROAD. POLONICUM DATABASE
Website HERITAGE ABROAD was founded in 2023 by Polinika Institute, which task is to take care of the material evidence of Polish history which remains outside the country and to restore and preserve the memory of persons and significant historical facts which are important for contemporary Poles. Catalogues HERITAGE ABROAD are gradually being made available in one place and are the source of knowledge about Polish cultural heritage outside Poland.
The website consists of both documentary files created since the 1990s and articles published, among others, as part of a website run by the Polonika Institute entitled 'Polonicum of the Week'. The portal is also a repository of information on conservation, research and popularisation projects carried out by the Polonika Institute. An integral part of the portal is a catalogue of gravestones and Polish cemeteries abroad, containing information on persons buried in the cemeteries and materials from the catalogue of Polish war cemeteries outside of Poland. The creation of the catalogue began in the 1990s at the Council for the Protection of Remembrance of Combat and Martyrdom, and is currently being updated and developed at the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.
The database registers objects related to Polish cultural heritage that are located outside of the contemporary borders of the country. The determining criterion is the existence of at least one of the following conditions:
- the object is related to a person (being, for instance, its creator, owner, the person to whom it is dedicated or who is depicted), who may be defined as Polish or as a descendant of Poles (ethnic criterion). In the case of descendants, it must be a person who retains bonds with Polishness (e.g. through activities in Polish organisations, or in their activities they refer to their links with Polishness, etc.). In the case of ambiguous identification, an object may be included in the database only with a clear indication of this fact;
- the object uses the Polish language in the inscription or its fragment, or the content of the inscription in another language (e.g. Latin inscriptions) clearly indicates the connection of the object with Polish history or culture (language criterion);
- the content, form or history of the object are clearly related to Poland, for example works of a foreign creator that depict landscapes of Polish towns (formal criterion).
The database includes mostly object created before 1945 and contemporary ones of cultural significance (e.g. gravestones of people of merit, outstanding works of art, significant buildings).
In the case of tombstone monuments, only those objects that can be unambiguously linked to Poland are included - the existence of an inscription or part of it in Polish, the authorship of a Polish author or source information indicating that the person in question identified himself or herself as a Pole are used as criteria. The surname sounding Polish is not treated as a decisive criterion.
As a rule, the database does not record compact publications, insofar as they are catalogued by the National Library within the framework of the "Bibliografia Poloników Zagranicznych" (Bibliography of Foreign Polish Documents) and documents held in archival collections of, among others, the Central Archives of Historical Records, where copies of documents from archives from 23 countries are kept.
The database is constantly being expanded with new materials. At present, it comprises 44 293 entries, including, among others:
– approximately 300 information sheets on polonica
– documentation of 168 civilian cemeteries
– 10 752 tombstone sheets
– 26 617 personal sheets
– including sheets of 9188 persons buried
– 246 war cemeteries
The portal was prepared in the Strategic Programme "Popularisation". The implementation team was comprised of Dr Magdalena Gutowska (editor-in-chief), Mateusz Franczak (cooperation in 2019, editor), Marek Płuciniczak (cooperation in 2020-2022, editor), Aleksandra Dąbkowska (from 2023, project coordinator) and Dr Bartłomiej Gutowski (scientific editor).
On the part of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, the part of the database covering the catalogue of war cemeteries is supervised by Teresa Zachara, Regina Piątek and Aleksandra Wojda from the Department of Cultural Heritage Abroad and Memorial Sites.