« 2022. # 2 (164)

The Ethnology Notebooks. 2022. № 2 (164), 365—376

UDK 94(477.83/.86)”193/194″:929

DOI https://doi.org/10.15407/nz2022.02.365

VOICE AND SILENCE: ORAL HISTORУ NARRATIVES ABOUT THE CHILDREN’S (PRE-) WAR EVERYDAY LIFE EXPERIENCES IN EASTERN GALICIA, 1930s—1940s

BODNAR Halyna

  • ORCID: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-7972-8111
  • Candidate of History, Associate Professor,
  • Ivan Franko National University of Lviv,
  • Mykhailo Hrushevsky Chair of Contemporary History of Ukraine
  • 1, Universytetska Str., 79000, Lviv, Ukraine,
  • Contacts: e-mail: halyna.bod@gmail.com

Abstract. Introduction. Oral history always pertains to emotions. Moreover, the narration of a life story itself is always an emotional experience. Biographical narratives are individual thoughts about past experiences with a special focus on senses and feelings. Scholars are becoming increasingly interested in the study of the emotional component of oral records. Emotion, unlike, irresistible impulse, for instance, can be analyzed. The empirical basis of the research are 40 interviews recorded as part of the project «Social Anthropology of Filling the Void: Poland and Ukraine after the World War II». The interviews were recorded by an interdisciplinary group of Polish-Ukrainian female researchers in 2017—2019 with residents of villages and towns of Ternopil, Lviv, and Ivano-Frankivsk oblasts born in the 1920s—1930s.

Problem Statement. The article analyzes oral stories of Eastern Halychyna residents about the complicated memory of the process and (not)filling of the «social void» — the war, vanished ethnic communities, ethnic discord, and Soviet repressions against the backdrop of the 1930s — 1940s epoch in general and everyday stories, personal stories in particular. Purpose. How do the elderly remember their experiences — how do they tell of what they have seen / heard, how do they explain it; how do they describe the traumatic experience?

Methods. The study is based on the interdisciplinary cultural and anthropological approach to the study of memory, methodology of oral history research, first of all methods of narrative analysis and content analysis.

Results. Oral stories collected within the project are one of the few opportunities not missed to compile a corpus of sources about the history of the 1930s — 1940s and Eastern Halychyna in particular. The stories of people born in the 1920s have a particularly intricate plot; these are stories of young people who could(not) make a choice. Yet, a vast majority of the respondents were born in the 1930s, thus, their testimony describes not only personal childhood trauma — being orphaned, working hard, lost opportunities of getting an education and social growth, unsuccessful personal life – but also contains eyewitness stories of the Holocaust, which serve as the emotional climax for those infrequent biographical narratives, which describe it.

Conclusion. Research proven ability to recall the emotions in traumatic experiences, the study of relatively stable long-term emotions (reflecting and moral) and the memory formed under their influence, the creation of a therapeutic situation during an interview via careful listening and empathy, i.e. articulating things yet unheard – are part of the increased problematics of oral history which awaits further, more profound research.

Keywords: oral historical narratives, сhildren’s everyday life experiences, emotions, trauma, silence, Eastern Halychyna, the 1930s—1940s.

Received 12.04.2022

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