Northampton Electronic Collection of Theses and Research

Frauenbiografien und Frauenerinnerungen an den Krieg (Women's biographies and women's memories of war)

Nikitina-den Besten, O., Rozhdestvenskaya, E. and Semenova, V. (2008) Frauenbiografien und Frauenerinnerungen an den Krieg (Women's biographies and women's memories of war). In: Plato, A. v., Leh, A. and Thonfeld, C. (eds.) Hitlers Sklaven. Wien: Bohlau Verlag. pp. 273-284.

Item Type: Book Section
Abstract: The article focuses on the experiences of Russian women - former slave labourers for the Nazi regime during WWII. Biographical interviews with these now elderly women were carried out in 2005 in Pskov. The Russian region of Pskov borders on Latvia, Estonia and Byelorussia, and was occupied by the Germans from July, 1941 to July, 1944. This resulted, in particular, in approximately 150,000 people deported from Pskov region only (out of the estimated 3 million people deported from the USSR as a whole). The article distinguishes between several categories of interviewees: women - civilians, deported to forced works from occupied territories; women subjected to the draft, who were then taken prisoners and forced to work; and finally, women who worked in occupation. The work could be in industry, construction, or agriculture. Girls often baby-sat for babies and younger children in a camp or at a farm. Themes of pre-war childhood memories, childhood labour, love during the war are also featured in the article. The article highlights the gender-specific nature of war memories. It is revealed in the way of constructing a biographical story around the souvenirs of feelings, rather than of particular events, and also constructing different gendered identities through such a story. The article also outlines the strategies of the respondents' adaptation to post-war life in the Soviet Union, where the interviewees were often repressed or stigmatised. Such biographical strategies include normalisation, compensation and hyper-compensation, and anonymisation. Besides, the article tells about narrative strategies of coping with a trauma, such as fragmentation (having gaps in the life story) and emotional detachment. These findings and the oral history material featured in the article are especially important in the context of Russia where public discourse was dominated, until recently, by the silence about people deported to Germany, and this didn't allow them to fully overcome their traumatic experiences
Additional Information: The full-text of the article under the URL provided is in English
Uncontrolled Keywords: Oral history and biography, slave labour, gendered memory, women and war
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD4801 Labor. Work. Working class > HD6050 Classes of labor
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD4801 Labor. Work. Working class > HD4861 Labor systems > HD4875 Forced labor. Slave labor
D History General and Old World > DK Russia. Soviet Union. Former Soviet Republics
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D731 World War II (1939-1945)
Creators: Nikitina-den Besten, Olga, Rozhdestvenskaya, Elena and Semenova, Victoria
Editors: Plato, Alexander von, Leh, Almut and Thonfeld, Christoph
Funders or Sponsors: 'Erinnerung, Verantwortung und Zikunft' Stiftung - 'Memory, Responsibility and Future' Foundation
Publisher: Bohlau Verlag
Faculties, Divisions and Institutes: University Faculties, Divisions and Research Centres - OLD > Research Centre > The Centre for Children and Youth
Research Centres > Centre for Psychology and Social Sciences
Date: 2008
Date Type: Publication
Page Range: pp. 273-284
Title of Book: Hitlers Sklaven
Place of Publication: Wien
Number of Pages: 498
Language: German
ISBN: 9783205777533
Status: Published / Disseminated
Refereed: Yes
Related URLs:
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