Conference

 14-15 November 2019, Frankfurt (Oder)

 

PROGRAMME

Venue: Stephan-Saal (PG 257), Logenstr. 9-10, 15230 Frankfurt (Oder)

A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,

And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,

And the dry stone no sound of water

 

T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land 

Day 1 (Thursday, 14 November 2019)

10.30-12.30      Guided Tour

Walk along the Chapters of the Past: Frankfurt (Oder) during the Nazi-Regime and World War II

Konrad Tschäpe, Gedenkstätte "Opfer politischer Gewaltherrschaft"

Meeting Point: City Park Hotel Frankfurt an der Oder, Lindenstraße 12, 15 230 Frankfurt (Oder)

12.30-14.00      Lunch, Mensa Europaplatz,

Gräfin-Dönhoff-Gebäude, Europaplatz 1, 15 230 Frankfurt (Oder)

​14.15-14.30       Welcome Address

Carolin Leutloff-Grandits, Viadrina Center B/ORDERS IN MOTION, Frankfurt (Oder)

 

14.30-15.00      Introductory Address

Snežana Stanković and Felix Ochsmann, Viadrina Center B/ORDERS IN MOTION, Frankfurt (Oder)

15.00-16.00      Filmscreening and Discussion

Linda Paganelli, Visual Anthropologist and Filmmaker, and Florian Grundmüller,

Viadrina Center B/ORDERS IN MOTION, Frankfurt (Oder)

​16.00-16.30      Coffee Break

16.30-18.30      Keynote Lecture

 

Introduction

Claudia Weber, European University Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder) 

 

Why Does it Hurt, and Who?

Identity, National Pride and Memory about Second World War Trauma in the Western Balkan

Tomislav Dulić, Uppsala University

19.00                 Dinner, “Villa Casino”,

Mickiewicza 11, 69-100 Słubice, Poland

 

 

 

Day 2 (Friday, 15 November 2019)

 

9.00-10.00        Panel 1

Gazing at Microcosms 

Moderator: Snežana Stanković, Viadrina Center B/ORDERS IN MOTION, Frankfurt (Oder)

Rescue of Individual Yugoslav Jews by non-Jews during WW2

Jonna Rock, Humboldt University of Berlin

 

The Escapes of Jewish People from the Territory of the German Occupation Zone in Serbia, 1941-1944

Sanja Petrović Todosijević, Institute for Recent History of Serbia, Belgrade 

10.00-11.00       Panel 2

Among the Debris of Genocide 

Moderator: Vukašin Zorić, University of Belgrade

 

Jewish Heritage in Western Poland – how Germans and Poles Deal with the History of Shoah and the Remains of Jewish culture

Magdalena Abraham-Diefenbach, European University Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder) 

 

Remembering the Genocide of the Roma in Croatia

Bibijana Papo Hutinec, University of Zagreb

11.00-11.15         Coffee Break

11.15-13.00         Panel 3

Dis-/Ordering “Histories in Plural”: Between Revisionist Commemoration and Neglection

Moderator: Carolin Leutloff-Grandits, Viadrina Center B/ORDERS IN MOTION, Frankfurt (Oder)

The Politics of History in Croatia: Constructing, De-constructing and Re-constructing the Narrative of World War II (1940-2019)

Snježana Koren, University of Zagreb

Wandering Remembrance: Political and Symbolical Dislocations in Commemorating Staro Sajmište, Belgrade

Magdalena Saiger, Universität Hamburg 

 

The Topovske Šupe Concentration Camp: Another Untold Story of Roma Suffering

Milovan Pisarri, Centre for Public History, Belgrade

13.00-14.30      Lunch, Mensa Europaplatz, 

Gräfin-Dönhoff-Gebäude, Europaplatz 1, 15 230 Frankfurt (Oder) 

14.30-16.30       Panel 4

Learning/ Teaching Lessons from the Past: Education between Trauma and Conflict

Moderator: Emilija Cvetković, University of Belgrade

 

Civic Education as a Basis for Teaching about Historical Trauma

Nikica Torbica, Volunteer Centre Osijek

Culture of Remembrance within Education

Ana Radaković, University of Belgrade 

 

Confronting conflicts: Croatian History Teachers' Reactions to Students' Spontaneous   Controversial Remarks

Domagoj Švigir, University of Zagreb

Ester - Graphic Novels in Holocaust Education

Aleksandar Todosijević, Primary School “Branko Radičević”, EUROCLIO-Serbia, Belgrade

16.30-17.00       Coffee Break

 

17.00-19.00       Round table

How to Deal with Difficult Past – one’s Own and that of Others?

Concluding Remarks 

19.30                 Farewell Dinner, “1B”,

Gartenstraße 1B, 15230 Frankfurt (Oder)

ABSTRACTS

Keynote Lecture

Why Does it Hurt, and Who?

Identity, National Pride and Memory about Second World War Trauma in the Western Balkans

Tomislav Dulić, Uppsala University

 

Much research has been done on collective memory pertaining to the Second World War in Yugoslavia, focusing on how past trauma has affected politics, war, victimised communities and the society since the collapse of the state in 1989. Thirty years later, it seems the region is still grappling with the same issues, which have become even more complicated because of multiple segmentations of competing narratives that transcend time and space.

A less frequently addressed topic relates to the problem of acknowledgement and recognition of injustices perpetrated not by “the others”, but by “us”, referring to the groups on behalf of which academic knowledge-production, media and educational practices speak. Departing from theoretical insights dealing with identity, group formation, emotions and memory, the talk will address why many Croats, Serbs and Bosniaks have such a hard time recognising the crimes perpetrated by self-proclaimed representatives of their respective communities.

Panel 1 

Gazing at Microcosms 

 

Rescue of Individual Yugoslav Jews by non-Jews during WW2

Jonna Rock, Humboldt University of Berlin

This paper traces rescue episodes of individual Yugoslav Jews by non-Jews during the Second World War. The research builds on a study I conducted for a permanent exhibition on the rescue of Jews in all of Nazi-occupied Europe, which will be opening in 2020 at the Silent Heroes Memorial Centre in Berlin.

My paper will also be sensitive to the historical context, exploring the significance of resistance and help to Jews in former Yugoslavia during the Holocaust. This will substantially deepen our knowledge about the rescues and how they inform contemporary framings of Holocaust remembrance in Germany today.

The Escapes of Jewish People from the Territory of the German Occupation Zone in Serbia, 1941-1944

Sanja Petrović Todosijević, Institute for Recent History of Serbia, Belgrade 


The first measures against Jewish people in the territory of the German Occupation Zone in Serbia were implemented right after 6 April 1941. The occupation authorities played a key role in implementing repressive measures against Jewish people. An analysis of the police records kept within the Fonds of the Special Police of the Belgrade City Government and of the Book of the Banjica Camp Inmates reveals a systematic crime committed against the members of the Jewish population in the territory of the German Occupation Zone in Serbia. This crime continued even after May 1942. when the Zemun Jewish Camp was closed. It affected those members of the Jewish community who tried to hide in different ways or to get to the territories within other occupation zones in which the attitude towards Jewish people was somewhat more flexible (Italian, Hungarian occupation zones). The search for runaway Jews was a part of the official policy of the occupation authorities and was directed against Jewish people. The collaborationist authorities played a crucial role in the process of searching for the Jewish people in hiding. The analysis of the dynamics of the Holocaust which took part in Serbia after May 1942 reveals a considerable degree of diligence of the occupation authorities in their intention to physically destroy every single Jewish person. It also reveals that for a full four years the German Occupation Zone in Serbia was an area exposed to particularly brutal measures directed not only against the members of the Jewish people but also against the members of the Roma and Serbian people and all other citizens who lived in this area.

Panel 2 

Among the Debris of Genocide

 

Jewish Heritage in Western Poland – how Germans and Poles Deal with the History of Shoah and the Remains of Jewish Culture

Magdalena Abraham-Diefenbach, European University Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder)

 

The eastern edge of the German Reich was a borderland to Poland for several hundred years. Among other groups, Jews migrated through this region. Jewish communities were quite small compared to those in Eastern Poland. In the 19th and early 20th century more and more Jews left the towns and villages in the Polish-German region, mostly for economic reasons. At the time of Nazi terror, there were still a few Jewish families in the towns of Brandenburg, Pomerania and Silesia. The Jewish inhabitants eliminated by Nazi-Germany or forced to emigrate were the first to almost completely disappear from this region. In 1945 the German population was also forced to leave their homeland. The end of WWII brought an unmistakable end to the era of German and Jewish culture in this region that later became part of Poland and was inhabited by the Poles. What remained were Jewish cemeteries, synagogues and houses. (Only a few of them were destroyed during the Pogrom Night of 1938). For a long time, Polish settlers were unfamiliar with the history of this region. My presentation explores the history of the people who once lived here and became part of the history of former East Germany.

 

Remembering the Genocide of the Roma in Croatia

Bibijana Papo Hutinec, University of Zagreb

 

This presentation will give an overview of the key activities in Croatia in the period from the 1980s until 2017, implemented with the aim of remembrance of the genocide perpetrated against the Roma in the Independent State of Croatia. This issue has been treated differently in different decades, and based on available historical sources, more significant initiatives started in the 1980s, which coincides with the beginning of the organizing of Roma within the Socialist Republic of Croatia. Which memorials and forms of commemoration were developed? How do the state and the Roma community participate in the process of commemoration? Views of different actors will be shown, as well as changes that occurred over different periods.

 

 

Panel 3

Dis-/Ordering “Histories in Plural”: Between Revisionist Commemoration and Neglection

 

 

The Politics of History in Croatia: Constructing, De-constructing and Re-constructing the Narrative of World War II (1940-2019)

Snježana Koren, University of Zagreb

The new narrative on World War II emerged at the beginning of the 1990s. In that period, the new Croatian leadership pushed for the creation of an independent and ethnically homogeneous Croatian state and thus promoted the idea of “national reconciliation” among the Croats. This narrative emphasized the “thousand-year continuity of the Croatian state” and evaluated the Yugoslav experience as essentially anti-Croat. The legacy of the Partisan movement was problematized because it involved not only fighting against fascism, but also the reconstruction of Yugoslavia after the war. The ideologically and politically motivated historical revisionism regarding the Ustashe movement and the Independent State of Croatia was another consequence of this politics of history.

The present paper concerns the given narrative that was fiercely contested through years of bitter debates that divided and polarized the Croatian society. These debates have once again gained in intensity since 2014 when a trend of nationalism began to reappear after Croatia joined the EU. Some right-wing political parties have returned to the nationalist rhetoric of the 1990s and have continued to use historical themes (World War II, the 1990s war) as part of their political program and election campaign strategies. The way these topics have been dealt with in the political arena will likely continue to create ideological rifts in society.

 

 

Wandering remembrance: Political and Symbolical Dislocations in Commemorating Staro Sajmište, Belgrade 

Magdalena Saiger, Hamburg Universität

The Old Belgrade Fairground (Staro Sajmište) represents a contested spot right in the centre of Belgrade. Due to its inconsistent history and various functions – as an international exhibition area, a concentration camp, an artist colony, a city slum … – the place is both controversially discussed and invisible, neglected by urban development and bustling.

Analysing dominant commemoration days and their spatial layouts and rituals of public commemoration, connected to symbolical charging in political discourse pushed by different actors, reveals changing memoryscapes wherein Sajmište is embedded. Today remains of socialist patterns collide and interlude with post-socialist reinterpretations of the place, while European standardization of memory culture has found its way to Belgrade, too, but has recently lost its political promise and opened a field to hybrid mélanges of different memory traditions.

 

The Topovske Šupe Concentration Camp: Another Untold Story of Roma Suffering

Milovan Pisarri, Centre for Public History, Belgrade

 

The Topovske Šupe camp for Jews and Roma operated close to the very centre of Belgrade between August and November 1941. The buildings in which the prisoners were kept were an integral part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia’s extensive army barracks called “Kraljević Andrej” (Prince Andrei). The first prisoners were Jewish men from Banat who, together with their families, had been banished to Belgrade by the local Germans (the Volksdeutsche). After them, all Jewish men from Belgrade, and, in the end, Roma men, also from Belgrade, were interned there. All of them, with rare exceptions, were killed in mass shootings in the autumn of 1941, mainly at the site of Jabuka near Pančevo. According to available estimates, about 5,000 Jews and 1,500 Roma passed through this camp.

Today, the location of the Topovske Šupe camp is forgotten, abandoned and unknown to the general public, with the site itself under threat of demolition due to the announced construction of a shopping mall. To date, not a single study dealing with the history of this camp has been brought out. This presentation addresses the given lack of published historiography literature about the Topovske Šupe camp. In closely dealing with the above-introduced past of the place, the paper will also pay attention to the local initiative to preserve the location as a commemorative site to make it a part of the Sajmište memorial, which is to be built soon as promised by the Serbian government.

 

Panel 4

Learning/ Teaching Lessons from the Past: Education between Trauma and Conflict

Civic Education as a Basis for Teaching about Historical Trauma

Nikica Torbica, Volunteer Centre Osijek

 

Many history teachers have had the opportunity to attend seminars or read history teaching manuals intended to educate them on how to deal with the topics of Holocaust, genocide and other mass atrocities. Nevertheless, these topics are still considered controversial and sensitive, and many teachers approach them with great caution. Fear is often justified, especially in environments such as the countries of the former Yugoslavia, which have experienced war traumas in the recent past. There the topics of genocide and war crimes continue to be filled with emotions, they are considered important for personal and national identities, and there is a considerable social pressure to interpret these events within the framework of national narratives.

This lecture will attempt to share the good experiences of preparing teachers and students for dealing with these topics through civic education. Unlike most European countries, Croatia has yet to introduce civic education as a separate subject in formal education. But local municipalities, supported by civil society organizations, are supporting the gradual introduction of civic education in some schools.  The first feedback by involved teachers and students tells us that civic education creates a safe environment where students have the opportunity to independently explore and engage in dialogue on topics that could be otherwise considered controversial. This is because civic education is focused primarily on general concepts and their implications in contemporary societies. Students get an opportunity to explore basic definitions and values of human rights such as human dignity, non-discrimination, tolerance, solidarity, responsibility, equality and freedom in civic education before learning about the Holocaust, genocide and other war crimes in history education. It is precisely this type of correlation between civic education and History Teaching that has proven to be extremely successful - students are first introduced to general concepts, and then have the opportunity to study these concepts using specific historical examples. This approach provides a kind of preparation for history teachers and a strong foundation for their work on topics of historical trauma.

 

Culture of Remembrance within Education 

Ana Radaković, University of Belgrade

The structure of the educational system in Serbia has been created to enable pupils to develop subject, cross-curricular and lifelong learning competencies and achieve certain educational standards at the end of each learning cycle (primary and secondary). The curricula are divided into domains - knowledge, research and interpretation, and historical foundations of modern society. This specific structure of standards which is not content-orientated, but skills- and value-orientated allows space, at least nominally, for the development of critical thinking.

My goal is to present the results of the recent studies on Serbian youngsters and their knowledge about and attitude toward contemporary history. Unfortunately, the studies show that certain topics are neglected or almost entirely omitted in schools. In 2016, for instance, a research project, entitled Yugoslav Wars, was done in Serbian schools. Even though the dissolution of Socialist Yugoslavia forms part of the year plan and program, the majority of pupils stated they had not learnt anything about this at school. Two years later, a similar survey was conducted among history master students at the end of the final stage of their M.A. studies within the History didactics course that formed part of their initial teacher training. The results showed that students incline toward nationalistic standpoints on the perception of the wars of the nineties. It is noticeable that they construct their notions about the war through the lenses of a polarized, black and white perspective of war perpetrators and victims. Therefore, it was decided to make the Belgrade workshop (held in April 2019 as a part of this project), a compulsory course component in the initial training phase of history teachers. This workshop practically demonstrates how to teach sensitive and controversial topics.

 

Confronting Conflicts: Croatian History Teachers' Reactions to Students' Spontaneous Controversial Remarks

Domagoj Švigir, University of Zagreb

 

It is well known that things don’t have to go according to plan in class. Current or past controversial events come into the classroom, especially the history one. How should students’ controversial responses to those events be dealt with there? How should students’ desire to voice their opinions be handled if their opinion is unpopular? What if the student is simply wrong?

This article is meant to contribute to the growing body of knowledge about discussing controversial historical issues in history education. Teachers can benefit from previous research investigating the teaching of controversial topics. Much of this research focuses on long-standing, well-known controversial topics such as the Arab-Israeli conflict. With such well-established topics, teachers either have enough time and existing materials to prepare very thoroughly or else they can avoid the topic altogether.

In this article, I will provide an overview of researchers’ thinking on the issue, and clear strategies and guidelines for what a history teacher might do to ensure that any unplanned discussion is, at least, respectful, engaging and rigorous. In accordance with the theoretical framework presented in the article, I will focus on spontaneous reactions of students in the classroom arising from unexpected, controversial remarks by students and how Croatian history teachers react on these spontaneous controversial remarks.

 

Ester - Graphic Novels in Holocaust Education

Aleksandar Todosijević, Primary School “Branko Radičević”, EUROCLIO-Serbia, Belgrade

 

Ester is a collection of graphic novels and teaching material, its most prominent feature being a series of dramatized and illustrated stories about the Jewish victims killed in the Sajmište Concentration Camp (Judenlager Semlin) near Belgrade at the beginning of 1942. The stories focus on young victims and their families, their pre-war lives, and their lives under German occupation and during the Holocaust. The stories are based on actual historical events and the people who experienced them. The events depicted in the Ester novels are real, documented facts corroborated by relevant historical sources, testimonies of survivors, witnesses, and other documentation. While creating the novels, one of the important goals was to find the correct balance between a certain degree of necessary liberty between the dramatization and the historical facts. Ester graphic novels were created as reconstruction and dramatization of history based on available fragments of personal stories, keeping in mind a specific target and age group. Taking this approach, while maintaining historical events and facts as central in the stories, we placed the main focus on the human aspects, feelings, and thoughts of the main characters, aiming to engage students on a different level by creating a purposeful tool for teaching and learning about the Holocaust.