An interdisciplinary and cross-national approach
The Second World War is still central to contemporary memory and identity in Europe and worldwide. Belarus‘ memory of WWII is scarred by violence, repression and mass murder. However, attitudes to the war still differ in eastern and western Belarus. The defence of the Brest Hero-Fortress in June 1941 was an important event in the narrative of the Soviet Union and remains so for independent Belarus. The Red Army soldiers resisted the German assault longer than anywhere else along the front. This event became a success story in the struggle for an independent Belarus, as well as a symbol of the might of loyal Soviet citizens. June 22nd, the day of the German assault marks the beginning of the „Great Patriotic war”. On this anniversary there is an annual gathering of veterans and officials near the fortress on the banks of the Bug river. Our research will focus on this gathering and its media coverage, as well as the memorials and exhibitions at the Brest Hero-Fortress. We will analyse not only the Belarussian historical narrative, but also German perspectives on the event, with particular focus on the beginning of the war in museums and literature, giving the project a cross-European and interdisciplinary approach.
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