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CHIBOW early stage researcher attends a conference in Kaunas, Lithuania

Oskars Gruziņš member of the European Union’s Marie Curie Initial Training Network, “Children born of war – past, present and future project,” from University of Latvia participated at the conference “Europe, Nations and Insecurity: Challenges to Identities” at the Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, Lithuania.

From June 30th to July 2nd 2016, Oskars Gruziņš participated at the conference hosted by the Vytautas Magnus University, in cooperation with the Association for the Study of Nationalities (ASN). The conference focused on identity challenges in Europe and Oskars presented his paper, “Children Born of War in the Baltics: Sources, Challenges and Limits.” His presentation focused on prominent oral history texts and their connection to oral history projects in Latvia. The paper looks at the challenges related to generational oral history, oral history and trauma, and the role and challenges of archival work in oral history projects, which will be a part of his larger study on the identity and memory of children born of war in Latvia.

As a part of this paper, Oskars interviewed prominent Latvian oral historians to see what approaches and challenges to oral history work they highlight in Latvia. While interviewing Dzintra Geka, of the Children of Siberia Fund, Lelde Neimane, of the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia, and Andrejs Feldmanis, of the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia, Oskars also inquired about the challenges they see in a project related to children born of war in Latvia. One challenge highlighted in the interviews was the perceived taboo of the subject and the resulting silence that surrounds it. “I know one concrete person who will not speak about it [being a CBOW]; despite how good and close our relationship is, that I have created over the years, it is taboo” stated Ms. Neimane.

Oskars study will tie into his Ph.D. project on children born of Third Reich and Soviet soldiers in Latvia. The project is part of the European Union Marie Curie Initial Training Network, “Children born of war – past, present and future project.” This project is a Horizon 2020 plan which is composed of 15 early stage researchers, 11 organizations, 12 partner organizations, with an aim at “understanding the challenges of CBOW in volatile societies [that] will inform the normative debates and, ultimately, policies on the reintegration of CBOW into post-conflict societies.”

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