Accepted Paper:

The burden of the past: living together with divided memories on mass migrations in post-war Yugoslavia in Istria, Slovenia  


Katja Hrobat Virloget (University of Primorska)

Paper short abstract:

The paper investigates how the divided memories on mass migrations of Italians from Istria (Slovenia) after World War II influence the identities and cohabitation between the remained and immigrants in the emptied space.

Paper long abstract:

The mass migrations of (mostly) Italian speaking population due to redrawing borders between ex-Yugoslavia and Italia divides not just the two national collective memories, but also the memories of the communities living nowadays in the emptied (and resettled) space of Istria, Slovenia. What is understood as "exodus", forced national migrations on one side, is on the other side taken as voluntary migrations. The research is refocusing the attention from those who left to those who after mass migrations and great political-ideological turning points remain in the emptied space. The aim is to understand how their conflicting memories influence their identities and their cohabitation. On the one hand, the identity of a community is founded on the notion of "the victim", on the other hand the same tragic events will be neglected, reinterpreted and censored by the winning collective (national) memory, which will refer to the concept of victim too. The people that remained after the mass migrations lost all their social relations and found themselves as strangers in their own home, just as the immigrants. "Suppressed memories", amnesias of pressures, complicity, enmities, remain hidden because of their incompatibility with the national collective memory. The research shows the multiplicity of memories that according to Halbwachs can be explained by associating the individual memories to the various groups to which a person is simultaneously a member.

Panel P006
Intimacy of social memory and the construction of self-identity linked to the Holocaust and forced migrations in the current interconnected world