Identity - on the Line
Identity - on the Line

Projects at the Museums

Norway:

Migration process: German occupants and their counterparts in the Kristiansand area, Southern Norway
Period migration: World War II, 1940-1945 and subsequent generations
Vest-Agder Museum; project manager Dr. Kathrin Pabst and Gunhild Aaby (exhibition)

“Keep it quiet!”
The experiences of World War II and the German occupation still contributes to the shaping of people’s perception of themselves, their family history and family identity in Norway. Narratives are kept secret or embellished, with partly serious consequences also for the descendants. In “Keep it quiet!” we want to address the local society, inviting those affected, directly or indirectly, to share personal narratives and objects with us. We want to collect, amongst others, untold stories from the families of Norwegians working for the German occupants and the Norwegian women who were involved with a German soldier – so-called “tyskerjenter”, their children, grandchildren and maybe even great grandchildren. We shall try to get to grips with the untold/pent-up family stories from World War II and the interaction with the occupants by asking our informants: Do these stories still affect the lives of people of today and if yes, how? Has there been a shift? If so, when? How is history experienced by different generations? The results of the documented project will be presented in a travelling exhibition in the region of Agder.

Keep it quiet description

Denmark:

We are focusing on Greenlanders living in Denmark and the encounters and experiences, the meeting between the two cultures can bring. Greenland and Denmark share a common history, and today many people of Greenlandic descent are living, studying and working in Denmark.
The House of Knud Rasmussen is involved in Identity on the Line, because it fits the vision of Knud Rasmussen and the obligation of the museum. Knud Rasmussen was a Danish polar explorer well known for documenting the Greenlandic identity and culture and disseminated his findings to Denmark and the rest of the world. At the museum, we want to bring this dissemination of knowledge up into present times. Through the subproject Amongst Greenlanders in Denmark, we are investigating what it is like to be a Greenlandic person living in Denmark. Many Greenlanders experiences preconceived notions of what they are and who they are. At the same time, Danes have a lack of knowledge of Greenlandic culture and history, and therefore a lack of knowledge of what it means to be a Greenlandic person living in Denmark. These issues can be difficult to talk about, understand and to communicate.
The museum is cooperating with the four Greenlandic Houses. They are cultural and social institutions for Greenlanders in Denmark. Through these partnerships, social media and Greenlandic networks, we have reached out to Greenlanders living in Denmark to invite informants too interviews. We have now conducted close to 20 interviews and are now working on the transcriptions and the important verification process with the informants.

Sweden:

Migration process: Migration within Sápmi. Reindeer herding Sámi families from Northern Sweden migrated to Sámi areas further south in Sweden. Period Migration 1919-1939 and subsequent generations.
Ájtte – principal museum of Sami culture and the mountain region; project manager Elina Nygård

In the 1920 and 1930: s the Swedish authorities forced Sámi people from the northern parts of Sweden to move to other Sámi areas further south. In 1919, a Reindeer Grazing Convention was established between the Swedish and Norweigan states. It restricted the grazing areas for reindeer and lead to a loss of land for the herders. People had to move or they would lose their livelihood. Many protested, but without result. Their voices were not important. Furthermore, the Sami people already living on the lands where the newcomers arrived protested as well. Their voices were also ignored.

The conflicts were seen immediately. A new reality for the reindeer herding Sámi had started. A reality they had to face for many years to come.

In this project we want to focus on the people. To lift their personal stories and feelings. To show the different perspectives. To start talk about what happens to a society when you break it apart. When people are forced to move to places they never have laid their foot on. And the people who were already living there, how were they effected?

The exhibition will present the stories from many sides put side by side, as well as voices from today. Except the personal stories, both written and recorded, we would like to use yoik, handicraft, photos etc. to create a visual experience with strong resonance in the Sámi way of expressing feelings and stories. As the oral storytelling traditions have been much stronger than the written ones, it is a natural starting point for the exhibition. The center of the exhibition will be a Sámi ráidu that lead south and in the same time take you on a historical walk through the stories, until you reach a fireplace were you can listen to voices from today and also share your own stories with another. Depending on the direction you choose, you’ll read the stories from different perspectives.

Lithuania:

Migration process: Totalitarian regime and anti-Semitic policy of the Soviet Union after the war, persecutions, public intolerance especially towards Lithuanian Jews and Poles forced them to leave the country. Period Aftermath of World war II, 1945 and onwards.
The University of Vilnius; project manager Neringa Latvyte-Gustaitiene

During the implementation of Lithuanian project, interviews with the Holocaust survivors and their descendants, who are the participants of forced or voluntary migration processes, a will be conducted. The main goal of the project is to investigate the experiences of this group and find out how the traumatic memories are passed (or not) from one generation to another as well as to present the results of the research in the traveling exhibition.
This kind of research and discussions are demanded by the poor communication of historical traumas in nowadays Lithuanian society: some difficult topics, such as the experience of sexual exploitation of Holocaust survivors’ women, have not been presented so far. There is also a lack of general reflection on the integration of Holocaust survivors into post-war totalitarian society. An attempt to talk about the experiences of those, who participated in the Holocaust, and their (as well as their families’) attempt to regain normal life after participation in the massacre is also generating fierce public reaction.
The actualisation of migration processes and transmission of traumatic memory, caused by Holocaust, in the European context will help to understand the motives of different peoples’ decisions and will give voice to the silent and traumatic memories. This research will help to analyse the challenges of nowadays migration processes and will contribute to the development of regional narrative as well as its’ integration to the context of European cultural heritage by showing miscellaneous links and possibilities to expand the boundaries of knowledge.

Slovenia:

The issue of migration is one of the most important contemporary social challenges. Migration is not a phenomenon that has emerged in the last century, in fact, it is as old as humanity itself. But how do we understand this process today?

In this context, the Museum of Contemporary History of Slovenia researches the stories of people and their descendants who moved from the former Yugoslav republics to Slovenia after the Second World War and how the country’s independence in 1991 impacted their identity and sense of belonging.  We aim to encourage reflection upon our own beliefs regarding identities, belonging, difference, exclusion/inclusion, multiculturalism and attitudes towards others within the concept of the nation state.

Croatia:

Migration process The complex political history of the Istrian peninsula and its inhabitants involves a complex multi-ethnic population and history of 200 000 emigrants after World War II.
• Second and third generation migrated Istrians are searching for their roots and identities Period After World war II, 1945 and onwards.
The Ethnographic Museum of Istria; project manager Dr. Lidija Nikočević.

Joint exhibition:

The main findings and common features will be summarized and made available as a joint travel exhibition within Europe.