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BY-NC-ND 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter 2021

Terezín und Jasenovac – Umkämpfte Gedenkstätten vor und nach 1989

From the book Zwischen nationalen und transnationalen Erinnerungsnarrativen in Zentraleuropa

  • Ljiljana Radonić


Terezin was turned into a memorial site in 1947. Unlike the Jasenovac concentration camp in Croatia that was destroyed by the Ustaša in 1945, the Czech concentration camp was largely untouched by the end of the war. During the liberalization phase of the 1960s, Czechoslovak authorities began planning a ghetto museum in Terezin to be dedicated to the Holocaust, which had until that time been marginalized. At the same time, the Yugoslav Communist Party authorized the construction of a memorial and museum in Jasenovac. This study explores whether the two sites of memory have played a comparable role in the communist narrative of the past since their establishment and examines the role the two museums now play in new national narratives of the post-communist era. The Ghetto Museum was established in Terezin in 1991, its current permanent exhibition opened in 2001. The current exhibition opened at the Jasenovac Memorial Museum in 2006, when Croatian EU accession talks were stagnating. The timing gives cause for the study to question the part the two institutions played in the respective country before joining the EU, that is, were the exhibitions understood as a “dray horse towards Europe”-as one Croatian journalist once put it-, as proof of the countries “Europeaness”? In addition, the museums’ treatment of different perpetrators, on the one hand, the Ustaša, who ran the camp on their own, and on the other, the members of the protectorate government and the gendarmes who guarded the ghetto in Terezin, is examined in regard to their focus on the victims.

© 2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
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