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Shared history, different memories: Commemorating the Great War and collective identity in Czechoslovak Silesia

Slezské zemské muzeum, Opava, Czech Republic


Born: 1983, Ostrov, Czech Rep. Education: Palacký University, Olomouc. Employment: Silesian Museum, Opava

Research interests: Social and political history of Central Europe in 19th and 20th centuries, history of armed forces and criminology, wars in collective memory

Significant publications: ""Držte se, Hanáci!"" Cesta olomouckého pluku první světovou válkou. Olomouc 2012.

Státní pořádkové složky na Chebsku v době první Československé republiky. Praha 2016.


Even if the overwhelming majority of adult men population of Austrian Silesia experienced the military service in Austro-Hungarian army during the Great War, the interpretations of the experience diametrically differed in the interwar period. Political and cultural representatives of the three local nationalities (Czechs, Germans and Poles) promoted different „national“ view of the war. It was mainly the associations of war veterans, whitch took the most important role in the medial and ideological dispute about the recent events. Books were written, museums founded and monuments erected to show the „right“ interpretation of the past. Despite many controversies some attempts were made to use the shared experience to stregthen the collective identity. The paper focuses on the main aspects of the commemoration of the Great War in the region in comparison with situation in German and Polish parts of Silesia and with regard to situation in other European countries.