Franziska Exeler (Free University Berlin / University of Cambridge) has presented an outline of her book manuskript "Wartime Ghosts. Nazi Occupation and Its Aftermath in the Soviet Union" at the "Boundaries of History".
The final "Boundaries of History" lecture of 2018 took place on the 13th of December. Franziska Exeler introduced a project of her future book.
The book ‘Wartime Ghosts. Nazi Occupation and Its Aftermath in the Soviet Union’ will be dedicated to models of choices of behavioral patterns of Soviet Belarus citizens, who underwent Nazi occupation during World War II and also to post-occupation Soviet policy.
While Soviet troops were reviving control over previously occupied territory, Soviet intelligence and investigation services faced a need to construct a models of working with citizens, who might be involved in any kinds of collaboration with the enemy. ‘What were you doing during the War?’ – this was a crucial question raised by restored Soviet institutions and appealed to settlers of ex-occupied territory, according to Franziska Exeler.
Lecturer divided her speech into two parts. The first one examined the nature of the Soviet policy of retribution with regard to those who were defined as traitors. The second part was dedicated to analysis of the individual perception of Nazi occupation aftermath by witnesses. Observing a number of oral interviews, memoirs, letters and appeals to Soviet institutions, lecturer attempted to determine what was understanding of justice and retribution for those who underwent occupation.
In addition, lecturer dwelled on implemented practices of Soviet policy of retribution, such as military tribunals, and on practices of a lynching of collaborators.
Furthermore, Franziska Exeler proposed a comparative dimension for an issue of policy of retribution, suggesting a case of tribunals of Japanese combatants convicted in mass murder during the Pacific campaign of World War II In conclusion, lecturer suggested that during the World War II evolution of Soviet penalty system took place. Thus, from 1944 there were mostly active collaborators, such as policemen or village heads, who were sentenced to death or to long terms of imprisonment for being ‘traitors’. However, living under Nazi rule remained stigmatized for the rest of the postwar period of the Soviet Union and could be a significant obstacle to make a carrier for Soviet citizen. Concerning an issue of perception of the aftermath of Nazi occupation, according to Franziska Exeler, it was strongly individualized and determined by personal experience gained during the War.