Join the Center for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies Slovene Research Initiative for our spring 2023 lecture. This semester's lecture entitled "Indignant Revenge: Everyday Life in the Fascist Concentration Camps" will be given by Oto Luthar (Director of ZRC-SAZU: the Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts).
Speaker Biography: In his research, Oto Luthar focuses on issues of history and historiography, historical revisionism, modern history of ideas and cultural history of violence. He is (co)author of The Land Between: A History of Slovenia, The Media of Memory, Of Red Dragons and Evil Spirits: Post-Communist Historiography between Democratization and New Politics of History, and The Great War and Memory in Central and South-Eastern Europe.
Between 2015 and 2018, he was a member of the permanent delegation of the Republic of Slovenia for cooperation in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) and the External Advisory Board of the Centre for the Study of the Balkans, Goldsmiths College, University of London. He is also a member of the National Geographic Slovenia Editorial board. In 2011, he was awarded the Austrian Cross of Honour for improving collaboration between Slovenian and Austrian research institutions.
Abstract: The lecture is a result of the research project on the reconstruction of the Fascist occupation and assimilation policies in central Slovenia and the North Eastern Adriatic, with a special interest in everyday life in the Fascist concentration and/or internment camps.
The lecture primarily focuses on the living conditions, food shortages, and maltreatment of prisoners in the concentration camps. However, the presenter will reconstruct the entire process of internment, first providing a wider historical context of Italy’s attack on the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and the occupation of its northwestern part in early 1941, followed by a discussion of the repercussions against resistance activists and their family members. The narrative opens with a reconstruction of the arrests, transportation to the camps, and admission procedure. Although the arrestees had already been turned into prisoners in collection centers, the veritable dehumanization began at the gates of the concentration camps. More specifically, at the moment when all were forced to take off their clothes. Then they were led to the tents, huts, and abandoned or dilapidated military barracks, where they experienced the atrocities of life in a concentration camp, marked by food and water shortages as well as beatings and other forms of cruelty, ranging from inappropriate dealings with pregnant girls and women to maltreatment of infants and children in general. The reconstruction includes the description of forced labor, diseases, dying, and disposal of the dead. The lecture also maps the network of concentration camps across Italy and the Western Adriatic, as a background to outline the dynamics of moving prisoners from one camp to another, their escape attempts, and the situation following the capitulation of the Fascist regime in late summer 1943. The lecture will be combined with excerpts from accounts by survivors who managed to save themselves from being captured by the German army and returned home using different routes and means of transportation or joined the Partisans after a short family visit.
In the concluding part, the lecture discusses the destiny of a group of Jewish nurses who awaited the liberation of the infamous camp on the Croatian island of Rab and then joined the Slovenian Partisans.
If you have any questions about accessibility or wish to request accommodations, please contact us at email@example.com. Typically, a two weeks' notice will allow us to provide access.