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TRANSMEMO: New Research on the Memory of Collaboration and Resistance during the Second World War

In September 2017, the new research project TRANSMEMO will be launched. The project will examine the way in which memories of resistance and collaboration during the Second World War in Belgium were passed on from parents to children and grandchildren.

Oral history serving the study of the memory of the collaboration and the resistance
TRANSMEMO is a two-year research project which seeks to analyse how memories of resistance and collaboration during the Second World War in Belgium were passed on from parents to children and grandchildren. Oral history will be the principal methodological framework. Through interviews with three generations (survivors, children and grandchildren), we will attempt to uncover how representations on collaboration and resistance were shaped and maintained within family circles.  It is expected that the project's results will allow to explain why (and how) collective memories can become such persistent factors within a society. The relevance of these findings are particularly relevant for the Belgian context, given the divergent perceptions of the Second World War in Francophone Belgium and Flanders.


The valuable historical collection of oral sources preserved at CegeSoma will serve an important role in TRANSMEMO. For the first time, these sources will be used systematically to study the Belgian collective memory. The interviews made during the course of the project will eventually be added to the collection. 

Répression et exécution de collaborateurs, 1944 – Photo A. Neufort. Coll. CegeSoma CA 553
Répression et exécution de collaborateurs, 1944 – Photo A. Neufort. Coll. CegeSoma CA 553

 

A project with a social dimensionThe project includes an important social dimension. By confronting (grand)children of collaborators and resistance members, TRANSMEMO will try engage both groups in a dialogue: how did their (grand)parent's past shape their own life and opinions? This way, it is expected that the project will lead to a better understanding of the various coping mechanisms Belgians have used to come to terms with the Second World War. Moreover, we hope that the project will shed a light on the effects of unresolved collective traumas on current social issues.
 
Nico Wouters

 

16 / 05 / 2017

 

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