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Project „Routes of Disappearance. Jewish and Roma Memory of Transnistria”
21-04-2010 - Press release

In March 2010 in Ukraine and Moldova began research project „Routes of Disappearance. Jewish and Roma Memory of Transnistria” with the aim to highlight tensions between mass forced relocations of the population at WW II and their influence on geographical, political space. Project deals as well with situation of Jewish and Roma survivors in post-war societies.

Transnistria was an artificial region created in 1941 by Romanian government in ally with Nazi Germany on the territory between the Dniester River and Southern Bug River, limited in the South by the Black Sea. Transnistria was used by Romanian dictator Antonescu as a place for concentration and mass extermination of the Jews and Roma from territories of contemporary Ukraine, Republic of Moldova and Romania. During occupation period thousands Jewish and Roma people from Bukovina and Northern Bessarabia were deported on the territory of Transnistria, thereafter almost of all from them were killed.

This project is devoted to the people memory about those tragically times. For a long time Transnistria is not on the world maps. Many people who were survived and who remembered Holocaust are dead now. But there are many people who stay alive after deportation and Holocaust, who knows important information, and who ready to tell anything about murder Roma and Jewish people in Transnistria.

Meaning of Transnistria became more complex in political and ideological sense. Is it more a trace Romanian occupation or place of mass extermination of „Ukrainian” Jews and Roma? It needs to be stressed that Jews and Roma that were killed in Transnistria territory often are named as „Romanians or Ukrainians that were killed by Nazis”. This transformations of victims identity that often hides ethical and cultural differences can be interpreted as a sigh of their ambiguity in post-war propaganda as well attempt to restore them to national discourse.

The main aim of the project is to create comparative perspective of Jewish and Roma remembrance about resettlement to Transnistria. To analyze influence of deportation experience on contemporary individually and collective identity of this communities. The project deals with the memory of relocations to Transnistria and influence of post-war propaganda direct to this part of USSR and modern Ukraine.

Methodology

Project „Routes of Disappearance. Jewish and Roma Memory of Transnistria” will based on Jewish and Roma narratives from Northern Bukovina and Bessarabia. The main method is „Oral history”. The international project team will take interviews with survivors about their experience of relocation to Transnistria as well their current attitude to this space.

Results

In October 2010 in Kiev will take place exhibition contains witnesses’ testimonies, photographic documentation places of deportation and detailed analysis propaganda representations. Complementary to the exhibition will be prepared brochure comprises archival materials. Except it, all materials will be available on special websites about collective memory, Jewish and Roma history, human rights protection.

Team

The team is international command and consists of 4 persons from Ukraine and Poland.

Jozef Markiewicz (Warsaw, Poland) - a graduate of the Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Warsaw; has been studied Ukrainian philology at University of Warsaw and National Taras Shevchenko University of Kyiv. A student of the postgraduate studies „Totalitarism-Nazism-Holocaust” at the International Centre for Education about Auschwitz and Pedagogical University of Krakow. Participant of international fellowships and conferences in Poland, Ukraine, Moldavia, Germany. Field of research work: cultural anthropology, migration processes, genocide studies.

Anna Abakunova (Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine) - PhD candidate at Dnipropetrovsk National Oles Gonchar University, World History Department; a graduate of the Dnipropetrovsk National University; a specialty is „History” and „Practical Psychology”. Participant of international scientific conferences, fellowships and seminars in Ukraine, Russia, Poland, Israel, France, the Netherlands, Germany. Field of research work: comparison of 20th century’s genocides in historical and psychological perspectives, interethnic relations, historiography of Holocaust, rescue attempts during the Holocaust.

Zemfira Kondur (Kiev, Ukraine) – lifelong human rights advocate and Roma activist. Vice- president of the „Chiricli” International Roma Women’s Fund. In years 1999-2001 coordinator on Roma issues in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Lithuania, Holocaust Victim Assets Litigation Program. Participant of international conferences, seminaries and projects in Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Hungary, Belgium, Swiss. Field of research and work: history of Roma people, the rights of Roma, gender studies.

Georgii Abakunov (Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine) – a student of Historical Faculty, World History Department at Dnipropetrovsk National Oles Gonchar University. Participant of international scientific seminars and schools in Ukraine and Russia. Field of research work: Inter-ethnic relations in WW II, history of ethnic minorities in Ukraine (Jews, Roma, Polish, German).

The project is implemented within the program „Paths of Remembrance”; edition of Geschichtwerkstatt Europa realizated by Institute for Applied History with cooperation of European University Viadrina with financial support of foundation „Remembrance, Responsibility, Future”. http://www.geschichtswerkstatt-europa.org

Detailed information about methodology, realization and results of the project are published on page: http://www.geschichtswerkstatt-europa.org/paths-of-remembrance.html



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