Heroes and Victims: Remembering War in Twentieth-Century Romania

Overview

Heroes and Victims explores the culture power of war memorials in 20th-century Romania through two world wars and a succession of radical political changes-from attempts to create pluralist democratic political institutions after World War I to shifts toward authoritarian rule in the 1930's, to military dictatorships and Nazi occupation, to communist dictatorships, and finally to pluralist democracies with populist tendencies. Examining the interplay of centrally articulated and locally developed commemorations, ...

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Heroes and Victims explores the cultural power of war memorials in 20th-century Romania through two world wars and a succession of radical political changes—from attempts to ... create pluralist democratic political institutions after World War I to shifts toward authoritarian rule in the 1930s, to military dictatorships and Nazi occupation, to communist dictatorships, and finally to pluralist democracies with populist tendencies. Examining the interplay of centrally articulated and locally developed commemorations, Maria Bucur's study engages monumental sites of memory, local funerary markers, rituals, and street names as well as autobiographical writings, novels, oral narratives, and film. This book reveals the ways in which a community's religious, ethnic, economic, regional, and gender traditions shaped local efforts at memorializing its war dead. Read more Show Less

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Heroes and Victims: Remembering War in Twentieth-Century Romania

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Overview

Heroes and Victims explores the culture power of war memorials in 20th-century Romania through two world wars and a succession of radical political changes-from attempts to create pluralist democratic political institutions after World War I to shifts toward authoritarian rule in the 1930's, to military dictatorships and Nazi occupation, to communist dictatorships, and finally to pluralist democracies with populist tendencies. Examining the interplay of centrally articulated and locally developed commemorations, Maria Bucur's study engages monumental sites of memory local funerary markers, rituals, and street names as well as autobiographical writings, novels, oral narratives, and film. This book reveals the ways in which a community's religious, ethnic, economic, regional, and gender traditions shaped local efforts at memorializing its war dead.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Choice

"In this impressive study of Romanian memory from 1877-78 to 2007, historian Bucur demonstrates that Western-centric narratives cannot adequately explain eastern European experiences.... Highly recommended." —Choice

Charles King

"An important book by one of the major emerging voices in east European studies." —Charles King, Georgetown University

G. F. Schroeder

In this impressive study of Romanian memory from 1877-78 to 2007, historian Bucur (Indiana Univ.) demonstrates that Western-centric narratives cannot adequately explain eastern European experiences. Romania's specific territorial development and its diverse religious and ethnic composition determined identity construction and commemorative practice, which granted Orthodox ethnic Romanians a privileged position over minorities (Hungarians, Germans, Jews, Catholics, Protestants) throughout the period. Bucur illuminates the gendered aspect of remembering by investigating who remembers and what is considered worthy of remembrance. She argues convincingly that the state (whether monarchical, fascist, or communist) consistently attempted to regulate and instrumentalize commemorative practices, yet it could not compel adherence at the local level. This led to a disjuncture between official and vernacular memories of WW I and WW II and, in the communist era, to the development of counter-memories (i.e., counter to official narratives). Romanian memory of war stressed the heroism and suffering of ethnic Romanian soldiers and silenced the memory of women and minorities; topics such as violence committed by Romanians and the Holocaust were all but ignored until the postcommunist period. This excellent study analyzes commemorative rituals, monuments, literature, film, and memoirs to great effect. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Most levels/libraries. -- ChoiceG. F. Schroeder, St. John's University/College of St. Benedict, Minnesota, August 2010

From the Publisher

"An important book by one of the major emerging voices in east European studies."
—Charles King, Georgetown University

"[A] historical tour de force, compellingly written and powerfully demonstrated.... Bucur's truly illuminating study explores the Romanians' tortuously dramatic efforts to accomplish a long-delayed coming to terms with their past." —Slavic
Review

"[Bucur] is to be congratulated on a superb piece of scholarship which both sheds light on existing questions and raises important new ones. As such it can be recommended to teachers and researchers alike." —European History Quarterly

"An engaging read, written in an elegant style accessible to both academics and non academics, this volume will be of interest to historians, scholars of Romanian history and politics,
as well as anthropologists and sociologists alike." —European Legacy

"Heroes and Victims demonstrates not only how individual, local, and national discourses of remembrance have operated in the complex geopolitical and ethnic world of
20th-century Romania but also how and why post-communist Romanians and others in the 21st century have moved to a post-memory discourse." —Melissa Bokovoy, University of New
Mexico

Choice

"In this impressive study of Romanian memory from 1877-78 to 2007, historian Bucur demonstrates that Western-centric narratives cannot adequately explain eastern European experiences.... Highly recommended." —Choice

Charles King

"An important book by one of the major emerging voices in east European studies." —Charles King, Georgetown University

Slavic Review

"[A] historical tour de force, compellingly written and powerfully demonstrated.... Bucur's truly illuminating study explores the Romanians' tortuously dramatic efforts to accomplish a long-delayed coming to terms with their past." —Slavic Review

European Legacy

"An engaging read, written in an elegant style accessible to both academics and non academics, this volume will be of interest to historians, scholars of Romanian history and politics, as well as anthropologists and sociologists alike." —European Legacy

European History Quarterly

"[Bucur] is to be congratulated on a superb piece of scholarship which both sheds light on existing questions and raises important new ones. As such it can be recommended to teachers and researchers alike." —European History Quarterly

Melissa Bokovoy

"Heroes and Victims demonstrates not only how individual, local, and national discourses of remembrance have operated in the complex geopolitical and ethnic world of 20th-century Romania but also how and why post-communist Romanians and others in the 21st century have moved to a post-memory discourse." —Melissa Bokovoy, University of New Mexico

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Maria Bucur is John W. Hill Chair in East European History and Associate Professor of
History at Indiana University Bloomington. She is author of Eugenics and Modernization in Interwar
Romania and editor (with Nancy M. Wingfield) of Gender and War in Twentieth-Century Eastern
Europe (IUP, 2006).

Indiana University Press

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Table of Contents

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xvii

Introduction Memory Traces: On Local Practices of Remembering and Commemorating 1

1 Death and Ritual Mourning and Commemorative Practices before 1914 18

2 Mourning, Burying, and Remembering the War Dead How Communities Coped with the Memory of Wartime Violence, 1918-1940 49

3 Remembering the Great War through Autobiographical Narratives 73

4 The Politics of Commemoration in Interwar Romania, 1919-1940 Dialogues and Conflicts 98

5 War Commemorations and State Propaganda under Dictatorship From the Crusade against Bolshevism to Ceausescu's Cult of Personality, 1940-1989 144

6 Everyone a Victim Forging the Mythology of Anti-Communism Counter-Memory 194

7 The Dilemmas of Post-Memory in Post-Communist Romania 223

Notes 253

Selected Bibliography 307

Index 337

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