Accepted paper:

Politics of remembering and forgetting in post-socialism: the case of People's Liberation Struggle participants' graves at Mirogoj cemetary in Zagreb


Tamara Buble

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores the processes of remembering and forgetting of the communist past in post-socialist Croatia by observing the commemorations of Peoples Liberation Struggle participants and monuments at Zagreb's city cemetery Mirogoj.

Paper long abstract:

Memory of the WWII People's Liberation Struggle in socialist Yugoslavia was organized by political elites for purpose of creating and maintaining Yugoslav identity and thus it was cleared of all ideologically unfit elements. Its authenticity was unquestioned early 1990s when the fall of communist regimes, the secession of Croatia and war for independence, introduced drastic changes in reception of Yugoslav socialist ideals and opened possibilities for alternative narrations of PLS memory to flourish. The processes of silencing, transformation and different modes of rememorialization of WWII in contemporary Croatia can be explored through the relations to material heritage of PLS monuments. This paper is based on ethnographic research of visitors practices and commemoration ceremonies related to PLS heritage in Zagreb's city cemetery Mirogoj. The cemetery offers access to commemorative practices of both the local community and state institutions which makes it almost an ideal research site. In relation to those practices, the paper identifies what individuals, social groups, political agents and institutions are related to PLS heritage. It further shows this relation of various agents manifests itself in practices from personal visits to highly codified political rituals. Furthermore, it identifies different ways of commemoration practices in relation to the symbolic significance of the monuments observed. In conclusion, it proposes that the memory PLS in post-socialist Croatia rememorializes through constant negotiations with personal and official histories whereby its the preservation and maintenance the most prominent role belongs to those participants with direct involvement the Partisan struggle.

panel P005
Forms of memory transitions: processes and possible outcomes