Local Memories of Wartime Violence: Commemorating World War Two in Gospić


How do dominant state narratives influence commemorative practices in local communities in different historical periods? We address this question by carrying out a study of World War Two commemorations in Gospić in two distinct periods of a political regime transition. The study is based on the documents from the archive of Gospić, articles from the local paper, existing scholarly publications on this area, as well as reports from state institutions and non-governmental organizations. We also photographed standing monuments and graveyards dating back to World War Two, or collected archival images and documentation of those that were removed or destroyed, in a fifty-kilometer radius around Gospić. We show how the narratives, symbols, and rituals that formed part of commemorations of World War Two violence changed when competing political actors attempted to establish their political legitimacy or gain political support.

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