Last year Polish historian Michal Przeperski published his first book Unbearable Burden of Brotherhood. The book deals with Polish-Czech conflicts in the 20th century but takes also a more thorough look on the background of the troublesome relations of these two nations. The conflicts between Poles and Czechs are numerous, but in the name of learning from the past we wanted to ask Michal, is there something to learn from this quarrelsome history. In his opinion there is – and it’s a quite simple one.
The 27th anniversary of the beginning of the Velvet Revolution in then Czechoslovakia on 17 November 1998 brings back memories of a less peaceful uprising in 1968. Reconsidering the past, young Europeans have been asking to the people on Pragues streets: Where were you when the troops of the Warsaw Pact invaded Czechoslovakia on 21 August 1968?
Milan Vukašinović originally from Serbia reflects different perspectives on his year of birth 1989 and the following process of a unifying, but also a dividing Europe. While what we called East and West was coming together, the Balkans had to struggle with war. The author describes a crack of the generation gap he found himself in and asks the question: Can people who created a ‘dream Europe’ in 1989 and those whom they created it for write their personal history together? Children of the revolution?
Haris, an Austrian with Bosnian family-roots, shares his view on why remembering the past mistakes is crucial for ensuring a better future. However, observant the current conflicts and humanitarian crises and in spite of the grave war atrocities, humankind clearly still hasn’t learned its lesson.
How does Serbia reflect on Srebrenica and its commemoration? What is the public attitude and how are the leading politicians using Srebrenica in their political calculations nowadays? After 20 years of no clear act of reconciliation it is though clear that Serbian as well as Bosnian political leaders need to reconsider their positions, attitudes and approaches.
Crimes committed against civilians in numerous states during various conflicts demonstrate that once again humankind failed to learn from history and past mistakes. Therefore, we obviously need to be reminded of Srebrenica and its tragic lessons and a hope remains that we will slowly know better.
On the occasion of the 24th birthday of Slovenia, Tamara looks back at the evolution of her country. The revolutionary spirit of the beginning has vanished, corruption and failing social system dominate everyday life and throw shadow on today’s national holiday – a high time for a reset!
The first victims in every war are the children. Milena, a 28 year old student from Serbia, is interested in the long shadows of World War II on people who had experiences it being young. From the panelists of a Remembrance Day in Berlin she wanted to know: What could it mean for a war-child to be claimed, integrated, ignored or made silent in post-war societies? “In the social jungle of human existence, there is no feeling of being alive without a sense of identity.” Erik Erikson
June 2014: the Koerber Foundation and the The Federal Commissioner for the Records of the State Security Service of the former German Democratic Republic invited 36 winners of the German Federal President’s History Competiton to learn about the lives of young people who were targeted by the secret police, to visit the archives, talk to contemporary witnesses and, last but not least, interview the Commissioner himself, Mr. Roland Jahn. Read the report of the seven young people who prepared and conducted the interview.