From real experience to folklorisation: memories of the Holocaust in Latgale
Paper short abstract:
My paper will based on materials collected among the non-Jewish population of Latgale. The memory of the Holocaust is one of the main parts of the local history and place memory in old-timers of Latgale. I will analyze narratives of the Holocaust and I will focus on folklore types of narratives.
Paper long abstract:
My paper is based on materials collected among the non-Jewish population of Latgale, a south-eastern region of Latvia. The main subject of our fieldwork conducted in 2011-2013 has been the image of Jews from the point of view of their non-Jewish neighbors. The non-Jewish population of Latgale before WWII was composed of several groups: Catholic Latvians, Catholic Poles, Catholic Byelorussians, Russian Orthodox Old Believers and Jews. A large number of interviews were conducted with the older representatives of the local population, who remember Jews and were witnesses of Holocaust. Holocaust was one of central themes of the fieldworks too. We collected nearly 130 interviews with people who live in Latgale. They include a lot of stories of the Holocaust. The memory of Holocaust is one of the main parts of the local history and place memory in old-timers of Latgale. I can be divided into some types of stories of the Holocaust: (1) Stories about Jewish life after Nazi's occupation; (2) Stories about a mass murders of the Jews in the town; (3) Stories of rescues of Jews; (4) stories of life murderers after the war and "God's punishment" for murderers; (5) Stories about "Jewish gold" and buried treasures; and so on. And these narratives are based on own traumatic memories from childhood or stories of parents and others elder relatives. Some stories have elements of folklorisation (for example stories about "God's punishment" for murderers, stories about "Jewish gold").
Conflict as cultural heritage