KS kultura sjećanja / remembrance culture

Power of Personal Stories in Confronting Oblivion

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April 23, 2024

The project „Power of Personal Stories in Confronting Oblivion” aims to strengthen the practices of remembrance of the Holocaust, and other genocides committed during WWII, in the partner countries and the European Union. The year 2025 is particularly important for this topic, as it will be the 80-years anniversary of the end of WWII, liberation of different concentration camps and other locations (such as Auschwitz, Dachau Jasenovac and Stara Gradiška), and the anniversary and liberation of many cities in Europe from Fascist and Nazi occupation.

The project focuses on combating Holocaust and other genocides denial, countering distortion, and trivialization of historical facts, by sharing accurate information, organizing public debates on the best practices of confronting distortion and creating new materials and methods based on personal stories and biographies of time-witnesses, victims, and survivors. The project will also analyze and highlight resistance and/or organized opposition.


The project's activities started on April 2024, when the partners met in Rijeka, Croatia, for the kick-off meeting. The event was held in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Rijeka, and organized in cooperation with the Center for Holocaust and genocide research in Southeast Europe. During the meeting, the partners discussed questions connected to finances, administration and communication, and planned in detail the project activities. They also took part to a guided tour, organized with in cooperation with the historian Vanni D'Alessio, on locations connected with Holocaust, resistance, and WWII in the city of Rijeka.

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On April 29th, the partners organized the round-table "Different approaches to interpretations of the history of the Holocaust, genocide and other war crimes from the Second World War", in the Rijeka city library. Speakers in the panel were: Oleg Mandić (publicist, honorary president of UABA Opatija), Josip Naglić (Natural History and Graphics School Rijeka), Lovro Kralj (Center for Holocaust and Genocide Research in Southeast Europe), Timea Serb (Intercultural Institute Timisoara), Boris Hajdinjak (Synagogue Maribor ) and Vesna Teršelič (Documenta,). The conversation was moderated by Vjeran Pavlaković (Faculty of Philosophy in Rijeka). In his closing words, Oleg Mandić, the last children who left Auschwitz concentration camp, emphasized how it is important to not remain silent about suffering. Because of this reason, since 1955, he has been writing and speaking about his experience in the camp. The event was organized in cooperation with the Center for Research on the Holocaust and Genocide in Southeast Europe (Faculty of Philosophy in Rijeka) and the Association of Anti-Fascist Fighters and Anti-Fascists of the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County.

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On April 30, high school and university students from Rijeka visited the Memorial Center "Lipa Remembers", located in Lipa, Croatia, on the 80th anniversary of the massacre in the town. On April 30, 1944, Nazi soldiers killed 269 Lipa residents, including 96 children, to revenge actions of sabotage and cut the support system of partisans and other opponents. Nazi soldiers looted and burned the village. They lead the locals into "Kvartirka's house", closed the exits, poured gasoline on the house and then set it on fire by throwing grenades. Of all the locals who were in the village that day, only six of them survived, as they remained hidden. In memory of those killed, the students planted a laurel and a fig tree. The students also visited the exhibition "After the Last April" by Karel Čargonja and Goran Ferčec, about the contemporary life of Lipa and the people still living in the town.

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