Bringing Together Divided Memory

Czechoslovakia, National Socialism and the Expulsion of the German Speaking Population. An Austrian, Czech and Slovakian Oral History and Exhibition Project

Referring to the (former) German speaking inhabitants of Bohemia, Moravia and Slovakia, two major lines of narration can be discerned in the complex European memory of contemporary history: the narration of the expulsed German population, focusing on acts of violence and persecution, and the narration of Czechs and Slovaks mainly focusing on the time of National Socialism and German oppression. These two lines seem largely irreconcilable.

The project’s central aim is a shared, trilingual narration of this history and its memory up to the present, by means of biographical video interviews. The editing process brings together the Austrian, Czech and Slovak narration into one single, multifaceted narration.The focus is on the experience of the catastrophe in wider biographical contexts including the many forms of living together and coexisting in Czechoslovakia up to 1938. Special attention will be given to those groups which cannot easily be included in one of the binary positions, such as German speaking Jews (often persecuted first as Jews, then as Germans), bilingual couples, German speaking people who remained in Slovakia and Czechia etc.

The Exhibition


The exhibition and video installation was opened in February 2016 in Vienna, Prague and Bratislava.
"Vertriebene und Verbliebene erzählen. Tschechoslowakei 1937-48", Austrian Folk Life and Folk Art Museum Vienna, 09.02.2016 - 10.04.2016. For the exhibition and the communication program see here.

"Spojování rozdělené minulosti. Československo v letech 1937 - 1948. Vzpomínky Čechů, Němců, Rakušanů a Slováků", New Town Hall Prague, 08.02.2016 - 06.03.2016. For the exhibition see here.
 
"Rozdělené spomienky. Československo 1937 - 1948 (Česi, Nemci, Rakúšania a Slováci)", University Library Bratislava, 11.02.2016 - 31.03.2016. 
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Furthermore, the show was presented in Vienna at the "Lange Nacht der Forschung" (the Long Night of Research, 22.04.2016), for two days at the "Sudetendeutschen Tag" (Sudeten German Day) in Nuremberg 13.-14.05.2016 and for two weeks in Brno in the context of the international festival Brno Meeting (21.05. - 02.06.2016). It will travel to further stations in the three countries and in Germany until the end of 2017.
More Information about the exhibtions in Vienna, Prague and Bratislava
link to pdf download

37 video portraits of the Austrian, Czech and Slovak interviewees and two pedagogical videos are published on a youtube channel.


In Austria
Green Belt Center, Windhaag bei Freistadt, 9-10/2017

In Czech Republic it will be shown in:
Liberec, City Library - 9-12/2016
Prague - 1-3/2017

In Slovakia:
Kečmarok - 6-7/2016
Handlová - 8-9/2016
Banská Bystrica - 10-11/2016