Memory, Commemoration and Oblivion. Graves and Monuments of the Perished Soldiers in the Soviet Ukraine

Memory, Commemoration and Oblivion. Graves and Monuments of the Perished Soldiers in the Soviet Ukraine

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Iryna Sklokina

Center for Urban History

May 26, 2017 / 4.00 pm

Center for Urban History, Lviv

The research is about the practices of creating and attending memorial sites in the Stalin period Ukraine for the soldiers perished in the Second World War. The sites such as graves and monuments were presented in the Soviet times as sacred spaces, where the living community expressed their gratitude to the dead for scarifying their lives for the sake of others. However, a more careful study of archive sources shows that establishment and attending of cemeteries and monuments was also part of the government strategies implemented by different actors for different purposes. The party authorities, professional architects, as well as family members and friends of the dead participated in the process but a large part of soldiers graves remained unattended and non-commemorated, thus were soon destroying with the passing of time. Ideological and practical (everyday) needs went along and placed graves and monuments into the context of the post-war reconstruction of the symbolic and material fabric of cities and of the dreams about a better future under socialism. This study is an attempt to reflect on attending and commemorating practices, on the emotional mood developing around the memorial sites, and on the material reality of the mortal remains interweaving with the creation of the post-war order.

The event has a format of a workshop, with the guest researchers to discuss academic projects and research works on different stages of progress, and of the completed projects prepared for print.

The workshop is not open for the public. There are invited colleagues – historians, sociologists, culture studies experts and representatives of other areas of humanities who were willing to share their research results, their experiences, and willing to take part in the discussion of projects presented at the workshop.