Presenter: Dr Kateřina Králová
Language of Presentation: English | R.M.L.G.*: 0 - No knowledge of Greek required.
This talk aims to examine the memory of Greek Civil War refugees among the members of the Greek community in Czechoslovakia. First, I put individual experiences of individuals into a historical context that led to the subsequent exodus of nearly a hundred thousand Greek citizens to the Soviet bloc countries. Based on more than 50 eyewitness accounts focusing mainly on private strategies of the first generation of Greek (mostly child) refugees who arrived in Czechoslovakia in the late 1940s, I then assess how they coped with the forced emigration to and adaptation in the hosting country. To what extent did they keep their Greek identity and shape their imaginary of Greece? Why did they decide to stay in their new homeland? The local, bilateral, and international political events such as the fall of Stalinism, the split of the Greek communist party, the Prague Spring of 1968, alongside changing regimes, have transformed their memory into a plethora of conflicting fractions and loyalties. I argue, however, that the process of remembering events associated with the Greek Civil War and its consequences has been shaped not only by the ideologically imposed interpretations of the past but also the wider dialectics of displacement experiences and the selective child's perception.
Kateřina Králová, currently a research fellow at the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute, is an Associate Professor of Modern History and Head of the Department of Russian and Eastern European Studies at Charles University, Prague. In her research, she has been focusing on reconciliation with the Nazi past, the Holocaust, and its aftermath. She authored the book Das Vermächtnis der Besatzung on Greek-German relations since the 1940s (Böhlau, 2016; BpB 2017) as well as numerous articles and volumes in Czech, English, German, and Greek.
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