Children burnt by the war 1941-45 (the last witnesses) : war memories and post-war identity
The Great Patriotic War was one of the cruelest wars of the twentieth century. Especially great suffering in the USSR it brought to children. They grew up very quickly. This generation did not have childhood; their childhood was embedded in the war. Keeping their war memories alive Galina and Slava Lebedevy as one of the representatives of this generation decided to establish an organization named "Children burnt by war" in Arkhangelsk putting as their main aim the transmission of their knowledge to young generations as a means of creating continuity in society. My initial hypothesis when starting my research was that the war was a major social event that had a decisive influence on the formation of the identities of the elderly people who experienced the war in their early childhood, and that this could be seen as the motivation behind the establishment of this organization. As I started to analyze their narratives and follow their lifelines I discovered that there were other important factors involved. The creation of the organization of the Lebedevys was also a way of adaptation to new conditions of life: lacking support from the state after the breakdown of the USSR they started their struggle for social justice to enhance the life of the people of their generation. They wanted to restore their position in the new society, to regain dignity and counteract the rapidly decreasing respect from the younger generations. Through the establishment of the organization, they have become actively involved themselves into the political life of the city and the country in order to be heard, understood and recognized. Today their organization has a very important meaning and brings positive motivation to the lives of the elderly in Arkhangelsk.
ForlagUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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