Making Sense of Suffering : Holocaust and Holodomor in Ukrainian Historical Culture
Sammanfattning: This study deals with the problem of how Ukraine has incorporated and made use of the Holocaust and the 1932?1933 famine (Holodomor) in its new national history and historical culture. The investigation departs from the increased interest in and attention devoted to the Holocaust in recent years. Various institutions and actors have brought the mass murder of Europe's Jews forward as an important lesson in the need for democracy and tolerance. History, or rather historical interpretations, is not approached in a traditional historiographical way, but rather as products or as commodities created by humans to satisfy certain needs and to fullfill certain functions. Understood in this way history becomes an enterprise whereby the disparate past is made to make sense. This underlying assumption directs the investigation to history textbooks issued by the Ukrainian state after 1991, as they are both powerful conveyers of history and widespread within the Ukrainian borders. These books contain the new national history thought to promote the fostering of Ukrainian citizens who take pride in their history. However, rewriting national history has not been an altogether national enterprise. The Ukrainian diaspora in North America has, in various ways, influenced interpretations of history in present-day Ukraine. Similarily, international organisations and institutions such as the Council of Europe have conducted seminars on the teaching of history in schools, on the quility of textbooks and on the need to teach Holocaust studies in secondary school history courses. Introducing the Holocaust into the history courses and Ukrainian historical culture in general has competed with the introduction of the Holdomor. Understood as a genocide perpetrated by the Soviet Union under Stalin, directed against Ukrainians, the 1932?1933 famine neatly fits into the general outline of Ukrainian national history as the tragic history of Ukrainians. In contrast, the Holocaust challenges the same tragic history as Ukrainians where not among the majority of victims and could be found on the perpetrating side. To cope with these difficualties Ukrainian history textbooks relegates the Jewish tragedy during the war to areas outside present-day Ukraine. German antisemitism and Polish extermination camps become sumbolic in the representation of the Holocaust. Of the murder of Jews in Ukraine the books are silent, choosing to highlight the genocide directed against Ukrainians instead.
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