The historical region of Bukovina disappeared definitively from the map of Europe as a result of the Second World War. Politics of expansion, ‘ethnic unmixing’ and genocide marked the end of its existence as an independent political, geographical and social unit. This also put an end to its renowned ethnic and cultural diversity. Yet today, Bukovina is still widely referred to as a multi-ethnic – if not ‘multi-cultural’ – region. In particular, it is known as the site of the German-Jewish symbiosis embodied by a range of famous German-speaking Jewish writers and the Viennese lookalike city of Czernowitz (Ukrainian Chernivtsi, Russian Chernovtsy and Romanian Cernăuți). In many ways, therefore, Bukovina and Bukovinians did not disappear after 1945. Those who left rebuilt their lives elsewhere; those who stayed adapted to new circumstances; the place itself continued to exist and change under the impact of Sovietization and the effects of late and post-communism. Its present-day perception is the result of what can be described as a complex Aneignungsgeschichte: the way in which Bukovina was reshaped and rethought both in its historical location and abroad where it was remembered and re-enacted.
The region’s distinct and multifaceted “afterlife” (Marianne Hirsch/ Leo Spitzer) deserves to be explored. The aim of this workshop is to investigate the postwar histories of ‘Bukovina’ and ‘Bukovinians’ in all of their political, cultural and geographical diversity. It seeks to embed the history of the region and its (former) inhabitants in the larger web of post-war social, political and cultural relations and developments. This event will therefore focus on the experiences of self-identifying Bukovinians (Bukovina Romanians, Ukrainians, Jews, Germans and Poles among others) in their respective postwar contexts (e.g. West Germany, Austria, Israel, USA etc.) as well as developments on the ground in Romania and Ukraine (in the Soviet Union and after independence). In so doing, it will shed light on the different ways in which Bukovina has served to refract historical meaning among and beyond those with a direct connection to the region.
Dr. Gaelle Fisher, Post-Doc-Fellow at Augsburg University, and Prof. Maren Röger, Scientific Coordinator of the Bucovina-Institute, are organizing an international workshop dedicated to these issues. It will take place in Augsburg 14-15th September 2016.