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41. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 3
Dallas Michelbacher The Deportation of Ethnic Minorities to the USSR and the Romanian National Idea
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The article examines the general policies of the Romanian state in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War toward the German and Hungarian minority. The abuses of the human rights of ethnic minorities from 1944 until 1947 were some of the worst in the history of Romania. The massacres and deportations of German and Hungarian civilians remain a black mark on Romanian society. These actions were in keeping with the ideologicalpronouncements of Romanian nationalists from the interwar period. The rhetoric that legitimized these policies of ethnic cleansing continued to inform visions of the Romanian nation throughout the Communist period.
42. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 3
Bogdan C. Iacob The Paradoxes of European Postwar
43. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 4
Camelia Runceanu Le « procès du communisme » et les formes de la rhétorique de l’« anticommunisme » dans la presse intellectuelle roumaine audébut des années 1990
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Sous l’emprise de l’urgence, a la suite de la démission du communisme, des intellectuels autonomistes d’avant 1989 se mobilisent au nom de la morale. Le regroupement d’intellectuels permet de mettre en valeur le capital moral qu’ils cumulent et que certains ont obtenu avant 1989 et le volume du capital symbolique en procédant a une réévaluation du capital culturel acquis sous le communisme pour s’engager au nom des valeurs intellectuelles. L’affirmation collective des intellectuels suppose la construction d’une identité commune qui est en rapport avec l’évaluation du passé. Cet article présente une premiere étape dans le travail de construction d’une identité commune et de légitimation des engagements intellectuels qui consiste dans le recours a la mémoire individuelle au moment meme de la restructuration de l’espace politique et dans la formulation du « proces du communisme » comme proces « moral». Le témoignage est une forme prise par le travail de mémoire qui prend une place importante dans les stratégies discursives de légitimation de la position des intellectuels, des revendications d’un rôle politique par des intellectuels consacrés sous le communisme et des intellectuels autonomistes de la période communiste. Le travail de mémoire qui nous est présenté sous diverses formes s’inscrit et fonde l’objectif principal de ces intellectuels, a savoir faire le « proces du communisme ».
44. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 4
Dalia Báthory Transitional Justice: Between Political Myth and Civil Society Reality
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Transitional justice emerged as a working concept from the need to clarify the relationship between victims and perpetrators and the latters’ guilt, after the collapse of abusive regimes in Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe. Since 1995 it has been defined in many ways, by many scholars, according either to its means and goals or to its actors. It has become a very broad concept, describing actions of justice, reparation, search for the truth and reform. While transitional justice policies should result in giving more coherence to a shuttered society, there are at least two threats that must be taken into consideration. One is to transform it into a political myth, by allowing the political factor to confiscate it, the other is to expand its area of concerns in order to cover aspects of daily social problems. The role of the civil society is very important to limit these threats, although what it is that we name “civil society” is still under scholarly debate. The analyses published in this issue of History of Communism in Europe cover these problems in their case studies which come from Latin America or the former Soviet bloc. Most of them stress on the very important role the grassroots actions of members of civil society have on “settling accounts” with the past, actions that seem to be born out of the inefficient “official” measures taken at state level.
45. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 4
Olivera Simić “The Day After”: Ex-Combatants Perform Live in Belgrade Theatre
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This paper addresses the organised civil society efforts to bring excombatants into the public sphere in Serbia, and investigates the potential for constructive use of ex-combatants’ war experiences in theatre. By staging the theatre performance Tanatos, the Group “Hajde da...” (the Group) from Belgrade aims to challenge negative views of this category of the Serbian population. So far, ex-combatants have been largely ignored, and as such, their capacities for contributing to transitional justice processes in the Serbian community have been neglected. Not only does the Tanatos bring four ex-combatants onto the stage to share their combat-related experiences with an audience, but it also gives the audience an opportunity to meet the ex-combatants after the performance in an open ‘question and answer’ session. As a qualitative case study, the paper draws from multiple sources: direct observation of the theatre performance in Belgrade in 2011, documentary research and fieldwork in Serbia undertaken during the summer of 2013, analysis of internal documents produced within the Group, and an interview with the dramaturge of the performance. The paper concludes that through Tanatos, the Group has opened public space for a dialogue about the recent past that acknowledges ex-combatants as an important factor in transitional justice processes in the region.
46. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 4
Csaba Varga Philosophical Foundation and Constitutional Rejection in Hungary
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There are internationally set criteria that apply in the case of a legacy of grave and systematic violations of human rights, generating obligations of the state towards the victims and society. They specify: (1) a right of the victim to see justice done, (2) a right to know the truth, (3) an entitlement to compensation and nonmonetary forms of restitution, as well as (4) a right to reorganized and accountable institutions. Facing the complete failure of implementing the first three points, one can claim that none of them has been fulfilled in Hungary since the fall of Communism, almost one quarter of a century ago. This paper analyses the context in which constitutional adjudication may confront certainty of law with the very idea of justice by putting an end to any progress of leaving the legacy of Communism behind. As a consequence, the Rule of Law becomes a mere simulacrum.
47. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 4
Andreas Hemming Justice of Another Kind. Laying Claims to the Past in Post-Dictatorial Albania
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More than twenty years after the collapse of the totalitarian regime in Albania, the archives of the state security apparatus (Sigurimi) have yet to be opened. The horror of the Hoxha regime remains under lock and key. Not one word is lost on the network of political prisons and the state security apparatus in the history schoolbooks; in today’s only history text about Albania written by a university scholar, that addresses some details of the socialist period, this part of the socialist past is also left out.The lack of initiative from the government or any other state organisation to address this situation has led to setting up a number of alternative civil societyorganisations that focus on this issue.One of these is a very important movement in northern Albania, having at its core a disparate but vibrant publishing industry that provides space for the localactors to publish their memories and experiences. Two genres of writing can be identified here: local histories and family histories. Common to both are motifsof local patriotism and personal sacrifice, but the local histories – mainly of specific villages and towns – tend to be apologetic of the regime while the familyhistories tend more often to be those of victims and opponents of the regime. Keywords: local history, family histories, local publishers, Albania.
48. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 4
Rebekah Park Remembering Resistance, Forgetting Torture: Compromiso and Gender in Former Political Prisoners’ Oral History Narratives inPost-dictatorial Argentina
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This paper focuses on how thirty-nine former political prisoners in Córdoba, Argentina spoke about their compromiso (political commitment) to a leftist,socialist-leaning political project during the Cold War. After being imprisoned in the 1970s and 1980s and then marginalized after being freed, they began to formally record their stories in the mid-2000s as part of their political activism. In these thirty-nine oral history narratives, collected in 2008 and 2009, women, byand large, spoke about personal experiences in clandestine detention centres, while the men focused on Argentina’s broader history of social and labour movements. This paper theorizes that men interviewed in this study speak about values of solidarity and resistance in broad historic-social terms, while their women counterparts focus on personal experiences; in this regard, men and women both focus on the most salient, and available, site of political commitment for their respective genders. Identifying such a distinction between the stories told by male and female survivors is relevant for the ways in which Argentina’s history is told in memorialized spaces, encouraging curators, historians, and archivists to make use of both personal narratives as well as the broadly historical ones, and is crucial to understanding how acts of resistance and solidarity were gendered, even though social transformation is assumed to be “gender-neutral.”
49. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 5
Ștefan Bosomitu Becoming in the Age of Proletariat. The Identity Dilemmas of a Communist Intellectual Throughout Autobiographical Texts.Case Study: Tudor Bugnariu
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Romanian historiography generally states that in Communist Romania there was no intellectual capable of stimulating a “heresy” comparable to those in Yugoslavia (Milovan Djilas), Hungary (György Lukács) or Poland (Adam Schaff ). This is almost true. While the Romanian Communist/Workers Party (RCP/RWP) despised intellectuals, even if they were docile and obedient, in the upper echelons of the RCP/RWP one could hardly find true intellectuals. However, there were some cases that can challenge this narrative – Lucreţiu Pătrăşcanu, Grigore Preoteasa, Miron Constantinescu or Tudor Bugnariu. My paper will discuss the case of Tudor Bugnariu, one of the intellectuals seduced by the communist project and ideology in interwar Romania, who later managed to occupy important offices within the RCP/RWP and the state structures. By analyzing the narratives of Tudor Bugnariu’s several autobiographical texts, my paper will examine and explain his becoming and the construction of his self-identity and of his “revolutionary” self.
50. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 5
Dalia Báthory Weaving the Narrative Strings of the Communist Regimes – Building Society with Bricks of Stories
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The long duration of the Communist regime cannot be explained without closely looking at the manners of creating shared meanings and agreement on explanations on the shared historical context. Narratives of legitimation, some easier to depict than others, were almost as important as the use of force in imposing the specific values of the regime. In other words, soft power was the buttress of hard power. But the nuances are numerous, once we put this otherwise obvious remark under closer scrutiny. The case studies presented in this issue of the yearbook underline the practice of combining soft power with hard power: that is, legitimating narrative discourses transmitting sets of values and beliefs, backed up by policies of various forms of violence.
51. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 5
Renata Jambrešić Kirin Yugoslav Women Intellectuals: From a Party Cell to a Prison Cell
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The Yugoslav socialist framework enabled major advances in what concerns the legal, economic and social equality of women, advances which radically changed their traditionally subordinated family and social position. In spite of the postwar period of revolutionary enthusiasm, female political activism and the access of women intellectuals to the male-dominated spheres of journalism, diplomacy, administration and governmental offices did not exist for long. Taking into account memoirs and oral histories of five distinguished women, the article reveals the reasons for the Party’s antifeminist attitudes: a) the political fear of ambitious female “quality staff ”; b) the ideological fear of the women guardians of the traditional and religious foundations of collective identity; c) a cultural mistrust toward the mobile woman who easily transcends family, social and ethnic boundaries. These biographical sources reveal that any attempt at free thought and autonomous action outside of the party line was severely punished.
52. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 5
Barbara Loach Topographies of Identity and Memory: Berlin’s “Ghosts” and “Book of Clouds” by Chloe Aridjis
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The focus of this study is the city of Berlin as a site of contested spaces and its representations in the novel Book of Clouds (2009) by Chloe Aridjis. As a number of recent books on Berlin have indicated, the ongoing efforts to physically re-configure historical sites in the city and construct a new post-unification identity for the capital and the nation has produced dissonance between long-standing national narratives of identity and the challenges presented by new identity narratives. The foundation of cultural identity, social memory, is political, shaped and wielded by those in power. Yet, as Michel de Certeau has posited, such power can be contested at the street level where ruptures can be observed. Book of Clouds, the first novel by transnational author Chloe Aridjis, explores the relationship of identity and memory as Tatiana, a young Mexican Jewish woman living in Berlin in the first decade of the twenty-first century, observes and interacts with the city and its inhabitants from an outsider’s perspective.
53. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 5
Sebastian Haller “Diesem Film liegen Tatsachen zugrunde ...” The Narrative of Antifascism and Its Appropriation in the East German Espionage Series Das unsichtbare Visier (1973-1979)
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Since narratives of legitimation have to adapt to shifting discursive environments, they cannot be regarded as static phenomena. To present a sound understanding of their embedment in a specific context, narratives have to be approached from a variety of perspectives – they necessitate, in other words, a“thick description”. This paper addresses the narrative of antifascism as a central element of public discourse throughout the history of the German DemocraticRepublic (GDR) and contextualizes it specifically in East German television culture. In addition to providing an understanding of antifascism as an ideologicalsignifier exclusively for historical phenomena, such as National Socialism (NS) or Italian fascism, this paper proposes to conceptualize the narrative of antifascism – as it was officially defined in the GDR/SBZ – as a discursive formation that encompasses various political narratives such as militarism and imperialism, as well as past and present political events. Based on this assumption, the highly successful espionage series Das unsichtbare Visier (1973-1979), which was produced by the DEFA and broadcasted by the East German state television (DFF/DDR-F), will be discussed in relation to its exploitation of the narrative of antifascism. By approaching these issues, it is the objective of this paper to examine the practices of the appropriation of the narrative of antifascism in an era that was marked by the development of popular (socialist) television culture and, moreover, to contribute to the discussion of the dialectic between stabilityand flexibility that is inherent to narratives.
54. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 5
Giuseppe Perri Korenizacija: an Ambiguous and Temporary Strategy of Legitimization of Soviet Power in Ukraine (1923-1933) and its Legacy
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The Soviet government showed evidence of poor linearity in its policies towards nationalities. Not only does this policy appear to have been contradictory in several places, but has undergone changes and transformations over the years, so as to make it almost unreadable. Meanwhile, in order to attract the nationalities that were part of the Russian Empire and in accordance with the principle enunciated by Lenin, namely that the Empire was a “prison of peoples”, in the first decade of Soviet power an ambiguous policy of enhancement of nationalities was passed that received the name of indigenization or korenizacija; ambiguous, because the aim was also to categorize and control the population, according to a typical perspective of colonial power. The Soviet constitution of 1924 gave the center many powers; the Republics had the same powers as the Russian regions, while the party remained centralized; the use of national languages in the educational system was increased, but not in universities. In Ukraine, the Bolshevik Party was dominated by the Russians and it was thanks to Lenin, who rejected the proposal, that the emergence of an autonomous republic in Donbas was prevented. Stalin, on the other hand, favoured korenizacija especially for the alliances with the local Bolshevik leaders, given the centralist tendencies of Trockij and his other opponents. The formal cancellation of korenizacija in Ukraine was ratified by two secret decrees of the Politbjuro on the 14th and 15th of December 1932, at the height of the grain requisition campaign. In many regards, korenizacija is still considered a “golden age” of Ukrainian culture and language, but its ambiguity and tragic end are little known.The article uses published or archival primary sources and the main secondary sources on the topic (Martin Hirsch, etc.). It is part of a broader research project on the contemporary history of Ukraine conducted by the author at the University of Brussels.
55. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 5
Radu Stancu The Political Use of Capital Punishment as a Legitimation Strategy of the Communist Regime in Romania, 1944-1958
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In this article, I will describe the evolution of capital punishment and the influence that ideology had during the founding years of Romania’s communist regime, until 1958, when the legislation and application of capital punishment reached its highest peak. Starting with the punishment of war criminals and fascists, I will then describe how the death penalty was used for political motives in a period when the regime had to consolidate, legitimate and fight different enemies. With ups and downs like The Death Penalty Law of 1949 and the abolitionist attempt in 1956, it reached its climax in 1958-1959 after the enactment of Decree no. 318/1958.
56. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 5
Ioana Ursu Narrativity and Legitimation in the Discourse of the Communist Archives: Analysing the Files of “The Burning Bush Organization”
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Our paper proposes to follow the history of the “Burning Bush”, a spiritual and cultural movement in the 1940s in Romania that had proposed the solution of spiritual resistance to communism through culture and faith. The analysis holds as key-concepts: discourse analysis, narrativity, semantics and hermeneutics, following the discourse of the Securitate’s archives with reference to the Burning Bush in terms of: - conflictual discourses: inquisitor vs. imprisoned; - motives and themes of the incriminatory discourse of the Securitate; - the existence of a master narrative of the archives.
57. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 5
Andrea Talabér Medieval Saints and Martyrs as Communist Villains and Heroes: National Days in Czechoslovakia and Hungary during Communism
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This paper examines the transformation of medieval figures from state “heroes” during the interwar years into “villains” of the Communist state in Czechoslovakia (St Wenceslas and Jan Hus) and Hungary (St Stephen) through their national day commemorations. I argue that the negative treatmentof these medieval heroes was not clear-cut and, especially in Hungary, they enjoyed a comeback of sorts during the second half of the Communist era. This article thus demonstrates, through official commemorative events, that the Communist regimes of Czechoslovakia and Hungary to some extent were ready to continue with national symbols and traditions that were firmly established in the previous era and had apparently been abolished by the Communist regimes themselves.
58. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 5
Camelia Leleșan The Power of the Ritual – the System of Rites as a Form of Legitimacy in the Soviet Union –
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The end of the Second World War produced a shift in the Soviet mode of legitimation; the original values of Marxism-Leninism were combined with those of patriotic nationalism in a new form of ideology in which the idea of The Great Patriotic War became one of the founding myths. Especially after Stalin’s death in 1953 and the beginning of the process of de-Stalinization, the Soviet political elites made an attempt to change their strategy by reducing reliance on coercion and strengthening political legitimacy in order to gain compliance from the ruled population. The system of socialist ritual became one of the most important legitimation procedures. The political elites came to regard the system of ritual as an important factor in maintaining and strengthening the legitimacy of the regime and their own position in the power structure.
59. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 5
Nikola Baković From Mothers’ Day to “Grandma” Frost. Popularisation of New Year Celebrations as an Ideological Tool. Example of ČačakRegion (Serbia) 1945-1950
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Th is microhistorical case-study of the role of the Antifascist Front of Women of Yugoslavia in popularising New Year celebrations in the Serbian municipality of Čačak aims to examine the internalisation of the communist discourse through ritual practices serving to infiltrate the private life of the local community and to expand the Party’s support basis. In the first post-war years, the new authorities not only tolerated, but tacitly approved and aided celebrations of Christian holidays. Yet this policy changed radically in 1948, when local mass organisations were instructed to replace winter holidays with New Year festivities, based on the Soviet model. These events bore an observably ideologised character, since New Year’s Day was not only supposed to mark the calendar year’s end, but also to symbolise the new beginning as a ubiquitous simulacrum for a new socialist society. The primary agents of this novel collective identity practice were women, champions of the socialist emancipation project, whereas the main channel for dissemination were children, which embedded this measure within the farsighted project of tempering a “new man.”
60. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 6
Dalia Báthory Authoritarian and Post-authoritarian Practices of Building Collective Memory in Central and Eastern Europe
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Among the most used expressions in scholarly articles concerning collective memory, is “dealing with the past”, or its more specific alternative, “dealing with the traumatic past”. This is a rather inexact formulation, because what scholars, artist, curators deal with is not the past in itself but the manner in which it is narrated and represented, or remembered, reconstructed. A series of questions are triggered by this statement: who “remembers”, for what purpose, with what consequences?The scope of this yearbook is to present two different ways of approaching the construction of collective remembrance: the authoritarian one and the post-authoritarian one. Th e articles discuss case studies of collective memory and identity building in Communist Romania, comparative studies of participative art in post-authoritarian regimes in Central and Eastern Europe, or intricate artistic approaches of traumatic collective memories.