Burying the Alliance: Interment, Repatriation and the Politics of the Sacred in Occupied Germany
In 1945 Europe was a vast graveyard. The diaspora of the dead was perhaps most prominent in Germany, where the fallen of the four occupying forces, as well as other nationals, were spread across the country. As the allies worked through the postwar settlement with Germany and its allies, they considered another pressing question: How to treat the dead? This presentation explores how the dead became a point of contact, conflict and contrast in Germany that provide a window into the dynamics of power sharing between the occupiers. The politics of the sacred demanded that each of the four allies enter into uneasy interactions and compromises, even as the lines in the Cold War hardened.
The article examines the fate of Polish Jews who found themselves under the Soviet rule after the USSR incorporated Eastern Poland in 1939. The articles investigates, on the one hand, Soviet policies towards new citizens, methods of their Sovietizations, and, on the other hand, the fight against "foreign elements," including deportations. The starting point for the analysis are interviews with three Polish Jews published in this issue of Ab Imperio, situated in the historical context and juxtaposed against witness reports of other Polish Jews who went through the Holocaust and WWII. The fate of Polish Jews who returned to Poland after the end of the WWII is also analyzed.
The author, the candidate of philosophy, the associate professor of the National Research University Higher School of Economics, suggests first in Russian language the entire historical and conceptual description of the state award system of the socialistic Cuba. In this connection, he disclosures its unique feature: the enormous number of the awards named for the Cuban national heroes. The attempts to find a similar phenomenon in the award systems of the another states all over the world are failed. The analysis of the Cuban personificated awards in light of the historical sociology results in a typology of the persons of the national heroes of the socialistic Cuba symbolically represented in their awards. The comprehension of this unusual phenomenon from the sociological, social-psychological, cultural-scientific and political-scientific standpoints leads to the conclusion that a cult of hero personality historically formed in the socialistic Cuba is reflected in its state award system. The author argues that this cult not barely memorizes the fighters for the liberty and the independence of the Cuba but is an essential component of a civil-patriotic religion which the ruling power created on the basis of the national political culture traditions with the purposes of the consolidation and the development of the Cuban society.
El autor, doctor de filosofía, docente de la Universidad Nacional de Investigación «Escuela Superior de Economía», ofrece por primera vez una completa descripción histórica y conceptual del sistema de condecoración de la Cuba socialista. Fue revelada su característica principal: una cantidad extremadamente grande de premios nombrados en honor a los héroes nacionales cubanos. Los sistemas de condecoración de otros países no presentan este fenómeno. El resultado del análisis de las condecoraciones personalizadas, en lo que a sociología histórica se refiere, es una tipología de la personalidad de los héroes nacionales de la Cuba socialista, representados simbólicamente en las condecoraciones. La comprensión de este particular fenómeno desde los puntos de vista sociológico, socio-psicológico, cultural y político, ha llevado a la conclusión de que en el sistema de condecoración de la Cuba se reflejaba en el culto a los héroes en este país socialista. El autor sostiene que este culto no sólo perpetúa la memoria de los luchadores por la libertad y la independencia de Cuba, sino que además es un elemento esencial de la religión civil-patriótica, creado por el gobierno en base a las tradiciones nacionales de la cultura política con el fin de consolidar y desarrollar la sociedad cubana.
Oleg Budnitskii examines what informed members of the Soviet intelligentsia experienced in Germany from 1944 to 1946. Aside from some contemporaneous accounts, he mainly bases himself on memoirs. Most of these were published only after 1990, so they were no longer held to the triumphalist official line of the late-Soviet era. Accordingly, they could address ambigious and unpleasant experiences.
In this article, we analyze the peculiarities in commemorative traditions of the “Afghaners,” who find it difficult to express a coherent narrative regarding their war experience. We also look at public memory about them as part of the discourse on Russian war obituaries, which contrast with the discursive customs seen in NATO obituaries for British veterans. This contrast allows an evaluation of differences in these societies’ cultural productions of public memory. The essay concludes with a reflection on the Internet’s influence on public memory regarding the Afghan war; how it gives the war a new lease on life in the digital world, yet also brings a risk of re-evaluating the war and the its’ participants actions.
The volume includes scholarly articles and primary documents on the war on the Eastern Front of World War II. Particular attention is paid to everyday life under the Nazi occupation and experiences of ordinary people under different regimes.
VOLUME ACCOMPANYING THE SPECIAL EXHIBITION ON THE OCCASION OF THE 75TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE END OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR IN EUROPE
In 1944-46, five million Soviet citizens returned from displacement to the USSR. They had been forced labourers, refugees from conflict, and prisoners of war in occupied Europe. As they returned, all faced official scrutiny and some were arrested, but the majority of Soviet repatriates went home and not to the Gulag. Repatriation was not an episode of mass repression perpetrated by an all-powerful state. Instead, recently declassified archival collections demonstrate that Soviet administrators and police could hardly keep track of returnees. In the absence of strong state control, the crucible of return was in the relationships between repatriates and soldiers, local bosses, and neighbours. The chaos at the end of the war combined with the popular assertion that repatriates were guilty of collaboration with German occupiers made them attractive targets for abuse. Aspects of this story depended on specifically Stalinist practices, yet repatriation was not uniquely Stalinist insofar as it generated problems found in other incidents of mass displacement, particularly in the aftermath of the Second World War. Rather than exclusively a creation of the Soviet system, the often harrowing experience of return was largely a by-product of war.