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Heroes, enemies, and victims reimagined: Competing representations of WWII historical events in the Baltic States

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Abstract:

After the fall of communism, the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania faced the challenge of (re)imagining their educational communities after almost 50 years of Soviet occupation. During this time, history was often used as a primary source for new identity formations based on the selection of “representative” myths and events that defined values and cultures along predominantly ethnic lines—even in spite of the fact that such leanings complicated Baltic desires for EU accession. Of primary significance for accession were EU and NATO conditions requesting the revision of Holocaust history so that more accurate interpretations would acknowledge the importance of the event, as well as the role that many local participants played in the Holocaust during the German occupation of the Baltics in WWII. However, while many schools incorporated these historical revisions, corollary
revisions began equating the Soviet occupation with the genocide of the Holocaust. This has resulted in current concerns over whether the uniqueness of each event is being accurately portrayed or whether schools are being used as sites to promote an already controversial ‘competition of sufferings’ based on a belief that recognizing the unique suffering of others is a threat to the legitimacy of dominant ethnic national identities. This chapter offers a comparative literature review of how post-Soviet textbooks in the Baltic States navigate historical memories of the Holocaust and Soviet occupation, especially in light of Baltic desires to simultaneously achieve EU accession and maintain favorable national identities legitimizing the power of their newly independent governments.
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Association:
Name: 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society
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http://www.cies.us


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p493663_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Beresniova, Christine. "Heroes, enemies, and victims reimagined: Competing representations of WWII historical events in the Baltic States" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p493663_index.html>

APA Citation:

Beresniova, C. "Heroes, enemies, and victims reimagined: Competing representations of WWII historical events in the Baltic States" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p493663_index.html

Publication Type: Panel Paper
Abstract: After the fall of communism, the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania faced the challenge of (re)imagining their educational communities after almost 50 years of Soviet occupation. During this time, history was often used as a primary source for new identity formations based on the selection of “representative” myths and events that defined values and cultures along predominantly ethnic lines—even in spite of the fact that such leanings complicated Baltic desires for EU accession. Of primary significance for accession were EU and NATO conditions requesting the revision of Holocaust history so that more accurate interpretations would acknowledge the importance of the event, as well as the role that many local participants played in the Holocaust during the German occupation of the Baltics in WWII. However, while many schools incorporated these historical revisions, corollary
revisions began equating the Soviet occupation with the genocide of the Holocaust. This has resulted in current concerns over whether the uniqueness of each event is being accurately portrayed or whether schools are being used as sites to promote an already controversial ‘competition of sufferings’ based on a belief that recognizing the unique suffering of others is a threat to the legitimacy of dominant ethnic national identities. This chapter offers a comparative literature review of how post-Soviet textbooks in the Baltic States navigate historical memories of the Holocaust and Soviet occupation, especially in light of Baltic desires to simultaneously achieve EU accession and maintain favorable national identities legitimizing the power of their newly independent governments.


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