The Traumatic Experience of Ostarbeiters and Ways of Overcoming It in Soviet and Post-Soviet Memorial Culture
[Travmaticheskii opyt ostarbaiterov i sposoby ego preodoleniia v sovetskoi i postsovetskoi kul’ture pamiati]
Type of publication: Research Article
Ostarbeiters, Great Patriotic War, memorial culture, memory, forced labor, memory studies
For a long time, the Ostarbeiters were silent figures in the field of historical memory, unable to speak openly about the tragic events of their past. This article examines how former Ostarbeiters overcame their traumatic experiences in the Soviet and postSoviet periods. We have turned to a wide range of sources which help us to look at the issue from different angles, and draw attention to the place occupied by former Ostarbeiters in the official narrative of the Great Patriotic War and in the memorial space. We further trace the origins and development of artistic images of Ostarbeiters, using literature and cinematography. Finally, we specifically examine the problems of interaction between the Ostarbeiters and another group of victims of National Socialism – the prisoners of the concentration camps – and draw on interviews to analyze the characteristic narratives of the Ostalbaiters and their strategies for recounting their past.
Funding InformationThis research was supported by the following institutions and grants: Southern Scientific Centre of Russian Academy of Sciences [122020100347-2]
Zakharina, E.A., and E.F. Krinko. 2023. Travmaticheskii opyt ostarbaiterov i sposoby ego preodoleniia v sovetskoi i postsovetskoi kul’ture pamiati [The Traumatic Experience of Ostarbeiters and Ways of Overcoming It in Soviet and Post-Soviet Memorial Culture]. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie 1: 11–29. https://doi.org/10.31857/S0869541523010025 EDN: PLSAYA
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