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Action Encourages Digitalization of Iron Curtain Memories

Action Encourages Digitalization of Iron Curtain Memories

Action Encourages Digitalization of Iron Curtain Memories

Action Consensus, part of Action Global Communications, is working to raise awareness of Europe’s digital library, Europeana, which aims to digitize photos and memorabilia from the time of the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989.

The project, entitled “Europeana 1989”, was launched in Warsaw, Poland, in June this year and people across Europe are being encouraged to share their experiences, stories and memorabilia from this historic time so that these memories can be added to a digital archive for future generations to learn from.

Action Consensus was responsible for a targeted PR campaign in the three Baltic countries of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia where people were invited to share their stories, photos and memorabilia from ‘The Baltic Way’ at special collection days throughout August.

A huge, peaceful demonstration that took place on 23rd August 1989, The Baltic Way was one of the largest displays of solidarity in human history. Approximately 2 million people joined hands to form a 600km long human chain that linked the three Baltic States of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. The event captivated the world and changed the face of history, with Lithuania gaining independence from the Soviet Union within six months of the protest, followed by Latvia and Estonia.  

The Europeana project’s first memory ‘collection’ days took place in Vilnius, Lithuania, from the 9th-10th August, and Panevezys on 13th August. Around 300 items were shared at these two locations, including a beautiful doll wearing an amber necklace and dressed in folk costume. The doll was brought by a woman whose daughter made the costume when she was graduating from school in 1989 and carried the doll with her when she participated in The Baltic Way.  

In Latvia, collection days were held in Riga on the 23rd and 24th August, which coincided with the annual “Baltic Way Day” that celebrates this historic event.  More than 100 people attended in Riga, bringing 164 items for digitisation. Amongst these people was one of the actual organizers of The Baltic Way, Romualds Ražuks, as well as artist Džemma Skulte and political scientist Veiko Spol?tis. The range of memorabilia that people brought along was huge, with everything from photograph and news articles to dolls, badges, national flags, clothing, cameras, and more.  

The final collection days were held from the 29th to the 30th August in Talinn, Estonia, with around 150 items brought along by around 100 people. In addition to the many photos and printed materials, one contributor brought in a handmade Estonian tricolour flag, mounted on a broomstick, while another arrived with an old Sony portable radio. Each of the items had been present at The Baltic Way.

Egita Veblauskaite,Action Lithuania’s Country Manager, said: “Europeana 1989 is a very important historic project to be a part of and we are honoured that Action/Consensus PR was chosen to promote the activities and collection events across the three Baltic countries.  The Baltic Way was a wonderful moment in our collective history and it was heart-warming to see so many ordinary citizens support the Europeana project by bringing along their memorabilia for future generations to learn from.”

Action also managed the PR launch of Europeana 1989 across a further 9 countries in Europe: Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia.

The project not only aims to digitise memorabilia and preserve these important memories for years to come, but also to reconstruct The Baltic Way on a virtual map. Everyone who participated in the event is encouraged to pin their location on the Baltic Way map on the Europeana web page

Anyone who wasn’t able to attend one of the collection days, but would like to share their memorabilia, can still upload their photos and stories via the Europeana 1989 website.



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