“Will Marseille Become Another Sarajevo?” The Memory of Sarajevo 1914 and its Impact on the European Crisis after the Assassination of King Alexander in 1934
In: Südost-Forschungen, Band 75, 2016 (= Festschrift für Wolfgang Höpken – Erfahrungs- und Handlungsräume. Gesellschaftlicher Wandel in Südosteuropa seit dem 19. Jahrhundert zwischen dem Lokalen und dem Globalen), 136-152
Abstract: In situations of political crisis, what role do historical analogies and memories of earlier crisis situations play? To address this question, the example of the Marseille Assassination in 1934 and its aftermath can provide a striking and revealing case study. When King Alexander of Yugoslavia was assassinated on 9th October 1934 in Marseille, this dramatic event immediately provoked comparison, throughout Europe, with the assassination of Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914; it raised the question of whether Marseille would become “another Sarajevo” and lead to a new war. At the same time, there were also strong attempts to refute parallelism between Sarajevo and Marseille, highlighting the differences between both events and their contexts. By whom, for which purposes and in which ways was the memory of Sarajevo 1914 used after the assassination of King Alexander and during the subsequent international crisis? And to what extent did the references to Sarajevo 1914 contribute to the escalation or de-escalation of the post-assassination crisis, which was eventually resolved at the League of the Nations in December 1934? The paper is based on an analysis of archival sources and press articles from different European countries and sees itself as a contribution to European comparative and transnational research on the remembrance of the First World War and the impact and use of traumatic memories during political crisis situations.
Alexander Korb, Im Schatten des Weltkriegs: Massengewalt der Ustaša gegen Serben, Juden und Roma in Kroatien 1941–1945 [In the Shadow of World War: Ustaša Mass Violence against Serbs, Jews, and Roma in Croatia, 1941–1945], Hamburg: Hamburger Edition, 2013
In: Southeastern Europe, Volume 41, Issue 1, 2017, 82-84
Youth Exchange as Motor for Regional Cooperation? – Origins, Development and the Political Significance of the Future “Regional Youth Cooperation Office” (RYCO)
In: Südosteuropa Mitteilungen 05-06/2016, 17-26
German version: Jugendaustausch als Motor für regionale Kooperation? Vorgeschichte, Entwicklung und politische Bedeutung des zukünftigen “Regional Youth Cooperation Office” (RYCO), as pdf online on the website of the Südosteuropa Gesellschaft
Abstract: In July 2016, the governments of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia signed the agreement for the establishment of the « Regional Youth Cooperation Office » (RYCO), a new institutional mechanism which will support the development of youth exchange in the Western Balkans. This new institution did not come out of nowhere : Since the end of the Yugoslav break-up wars, there have been different regional youth exchange projects and also discussions about possible forms of institutional support for these encounters, but it is only in 2014, with the beginning and in the framework of the « Berlin-process », that the governments of the region took up this idea. Besides the political will of the governments, other decisive factors for the establishment of RYCO have been the support from external actors and the active involvement of civil society actors. The article also discusses challenges for RYCO and the potential impact the future institution might have not only for young people, but also for the relationship between governments and civil society and for the regional cooperation in general within the Western Balkans.
Ivo Komšić: The Survived Country. Dividing Bosnia and Herzegovina. Who, When, Where. Translated by Ulvija Tanovic, Sarajevo-Zagreb, Synopsis, 2013, 552 p.
In: Südosteuropa, 64 – 3/2016, 419-421
Xavier Bougarel, Survivre aux empires. Islam, identité nationale et allégeances politiques en Bosnie-Herzégovine [Surviving the Empires. Islam, national identity and political allegiances in Bosnia and Herzegovina], Paris, Karthala, 2015, 383 p.
In: Südosteuropa, 64 – 1/2016, 109-110
Lässt sich Versöhnung exportieren? Deutsch-französische Aktivitäten auf dem Balkan (Is it possible to export reconciliation? Franco-German activities in the Balkans)
In: Corine Defrance /Ulrich Pfeil (dir.), Verständigung und Versöhnung. Deutschland nach dem “Zivilisationsbruch”, Bern u.a., Peter Lang, 2016, 681-699
A positive hero for everyone? The memorialization of Srđan Aleksić in post-Yugoslav countries
Contemporary Southeastern Europe 2016, 3(1), 1-31
Despite various attempts, the memory of persons who helped and rescued endangered persons “from the other side” during the breakup wars of Yugoslavia is rarely publicly acknowledged. There is, nevertheless, one exception: the case of Srđan Aleksić, a young Bosnian Serb who was killed while saving a Muslim acquaintance in Trebinje in January 1993. Since 2007, Srđan Aleksić has not only become publicly known, but his memory is also widely positively-connoted in different countries and by groups of various political and ethnic backgrounds in the post-Yugoslav space. This article analyzes the emergence of this memory and the narratives around it, how fragile or strong the consensus is which has emerged around his memory, and what this memorialization indicates about the current memory culture in post-Yugoslav countries and its evolutions.
“La réconciliation ne peut pas être imposée de l’extérieur”: La difficile interaction entre l’international et le local dans le champ de la réconciliation en ex-Yougoslavie (“Reconciliation cannot be imposed from outside” : The difficult interaction between international and local levels in the field of reconciliation in the post-Yugoslav space)
In : Les Cahiers Sirice 1/2016 (N° 15) , p. 83-98
Die Mutter aller Attentate? Sarajevo 1914, Marseille 1934, Dallas 1963, Twin Towers 2011 (The mother of all assassinations? Sarajevo 1914, Marseille 1934, Dallas 1963, Twin Towers 2011)
In: Vahidin Preljevic / Clemens Ruthner (ed.), “The long shots of Sarajevo”, 1914-2014. Ereignis – Narrativ – Gedächtnis – Politik,
Tübingen, Narr Francke, 2016, 617-634
Majka svih atentata? Sarajevo 1914, Marseille 1934, Dallas 1963, Twin Towers 2011
In: Vahidin Preljevic / Clemens Ruthner (ed.), Sarajevski dugi pucnji 1914. Dogadjaj – narativ – pamcenje, Zenica, Vrijeme, 2015, 527-541
To what extent has ‘Sarajevo 1914’ become a central reference and benchmark of comparison in the history of political assassinations in the 20th and 21st century? This question will be discussed through three case studies: the assassination of King Alexander of Yugoslavia in 1934 in Marseille, the murder of John F. Kennedy in 1963 in Dallas and the attacks on New York and Washington on September 11, 2001. In each case the analysis examines how and for which reasons reference to ‘Sarajevo 1914’ was made in the public discussion in Europe and the USA in the aftermath of these events. The second part analyses what the specificities in the public interpretations of ‘Sarajevo 1914’ and of the three other assassinations are in a comparative perspective. The aim of the text is to contribute to a better understanding of collective representations and interpretations of ‘Sarajevo 1914’ and the three other assassinations, and to a discussion about the role of historical analogies for the interpretation of events in sociopolitical discourses.
Jörg Heeskens, Bosnien und Herzegowina auf der Hand: Alles Wissenswerte für Ihre Reise nach Bosnien und Herzegowina , Belgrad, Komshe Verlag, 2014
in: Südosteuropa-Mitteilungen, 06/2015, 88-9
“When A Man Does Good…”: Representations of Help and Rescue in Movies about the 1992-1995 War in Bosnia and Herzegovina
In: DIOGEN pro culture magazine, Special Book of Proceedings, 1.9.2015: 1st International Symposium on Culture of Remembrance Bosnia and Herzegovina (International University Sarajevo, 12.-13.4.2014), 7-18.
Text as pdf: RescuerMoviesBiH DIOGEN 2015 NMoll
Abstract: To what extent do fictional movies about the Bosnian War deal with the topic of rescue and help during the war, and how does this relate to general tendencies in the public remembrance of the War, in Bosnia and Herzegovina and elsewhere? In many films that have been produced since the end of the war to the present day, rescue and help are either not present or are shown as something irrelevant or impossible. There are, however, a certain number of movies which present and deal with acts of help and rescue. Differences in the treatment of the topic can be found between international (Western) productions and productions from the Western Balkans: while the first emphasize the positive and successful intervention of international actors and, in a later arena, the ambiguity of perpetrator-rescuers, the latter insist more often on the absence of rescue or on interethnic rescue in combination with dramatic and tragic aspects. Nevertheless also among film directors from the Balkans an evolution can be seen, with the appearance in the past decade of films showing partially successful interethnic rescue actions. The fact that interethnic rescue is not a dominating topic but is lately attracting more attention on the cinematographic level reflects general tendencies of public remembrance in the Balkans: The strong focus on victims and perpetrators within the highly polarized public remembrance of the war does not leave much space for the topic of interethnic rescue, but the public interest in figures of interethnic rescuers as role models for reconciliation and civic courage has been growing in recent years. There are also links between this general tendency and the cinematographic production, as is illustrated by the movie “Circles” from 2013, which has actively participated in the popularization of the memory of Srđan Aleksić, a young Bosnian Serb who saved a Muslim in 1993. Additional to the analysis of the cinematographic treatment of the rescue-topic in relation with the public remembrance of the Bosnian war, the article puts this treatment in the context of the development of rescuer-movies, especially in relation with the Holocaust, which occurred in Europe and elsewhere in the last two decades, in parallel with the growing general public interest in the memory of rescuers in times of war and mass violence.
“Sarajevska najpoznatija javna tajna”: Suočavanje sa Cacom, Kazanima i zločinima počinjenim nad Srbima u opkoljenom Sarajevu, od rata do 2015. (“Sarajevo’s most known public secret”: Dealing with Caco, Kazani and crimes committed against Serbs in besieged Sarajevo, from the war until 2015)
Friedrich Ebert Foundation BiH, Sarajevo, first edition 2015, second edition 2016 with an additional afterword, online as pdf:
German version: Moll UmgangCacoKazani DeutscheVersion
Abstract: Two names have become synonymous with crimes committed against Serbs by units of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina within besieged Sarajevo during the 1992-1995-war: Mušan Topalović Caco and Kazani. Caco was the commander of the 10th Mountain Brigade of the First Corpus of the Army of BiH, who controlled parts of the old town of Sarajevo and who committed numerous crimes, especially against Serb civilians. Kazani is the name of a pit on the Trebević mountain, situated in the area controlled by the 10th Mountain Brigade, which Caco and his men used as place for murder and as a mass grave for their victims. How did Caco and Kazani become a symbol of the crimes committed against Serbs during the siege of Sarajevo, and how did the public discussion around these topics unfold and develop in Sarajevo during the war and the following two decades? Who have been / who are the different sociopolitical actors involved in these discussions, and which arguments and discursive strategies did / do they use? The crimes against Serbs from Sarajevo committed by units of the Army of BiH are a particularly sensitive, controversial and often polemical topic in relation with the history of the besieged Sarajevo, involving many different, often contradictory attitudes: glorification of Caco, denial and relativisation of the crimes and also political instrumentalisation of them, and at the same time various efforts to publicly acknowledge the crimes committed and to protest against their denial and down-playing. This text analyzes the complex (and ongoing) process of dealing with these crimes from the war until today and also embeds the topic in a more general question crucial for any post-war-society: To what extent are social or polical groups willing not only to emphasize their own victimhood related to crimes committed against them by other groups, but also to publicly acknowledge crimes which have been committed by members of their own group?
An Integrative Symbol for a Divided Country? Commemorating the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Olympics in Bosnia and Herzegovina from the 1992-1995 War until Today
in: Politička misao, Vol.51 No.5, May 2015, 127-156. Online as pdf:
To what extent can deeply divided societies develop integrative and connecting symbols that are transgressing political, social and national borders and division lines? The present text addresses this question by analyzing the discourses and memories of the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Olympics in contemporary Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). After examining the discourses around the Games in 1984, the text analyzes the practices and narratives around the official anniversaries of the Games which took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1994, 1999, 2004, 2009, and 2014. It furthermore explores how Olympic symbols are used today in the public urban space in Sarajevo and in East Sarajevo, and how ordinary people from different parts of BiH perceive the Sarajevo Olympics in the present day. The analysis of the official anniversary commemorations shows that the Sarajevo Olympics, a symbol of a united Yugoslavia in 1984, and a symbol of destruction and division within BiH in 1994, have once again become a more integrative symbol in 2014, currently connecting Sarajevo and East Sarajevo. Being officially commemorated and relating to a strong popular memory, both independently from and even across political and ethnic division lines, gives the Sarajevo Winter Olympics an outstanding place in the culture of remembrance of contemporary Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Division and Denial and Nothing Else? Culture of History and Memory Politics in Bosnia and Herzegovina
in: Cultures of History Forum, Imre Kertész Kolleg University Jena, April 2015. Online:
The article gives an overview of the fragmented culture of history in Bosnia and Herzegovina, twenty years after the end of the 1992-1995 war which left the country deeply divided along political and ethnic lines. Parallel ethnonational narratives about the past are dominating the public sphere, with especially controversial interpretations of the 1992 -1995 war and the Second World War. In the same time, it is important not to reduce the memory landscape in BiH to its ethnonational divisions: variations within the dominating narratives and a wide range of attitudes towards them, local specificities and dynamics, as well as various efforts to challenge denial and also to build bridges between different memory groups, are some additional layers which provide a far more nuanced picture of the current culture of history in BiH.
Bojan Bilic, We Were Gasping for Air. [Post-]Yugoslav Anti-War-Activism and Its Legacy, Baden-Baden, Nomos, 2012
in: Südosteuropa-Mitteilungen, 03/2014, 87-8
Fragmented memories in a fragmented country: Memory Competition and Political Identity-Building in Today’s Bosnia and Herzegovina
Nationalities Papers, Volume 41, Issue 6, 2013, 910-935
Bosnia and Herzegovina is politically fragmented, and so is the memory landscape within the country. Narratives of the 1992-1995 war, the Second World War, Tito’s Yugoslavia, and earlier historical periods form highly disputed patterns in a memory competition involving representatives of the three “constituent peoples” of Bosnia and Herzegovina—Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks—but also non-nationalist actors within BiH, as well as the international community. By looking especially at political declarations and the practices of commemoration and monument building, the article gives an overview of the fragmented memory landscape in Bosnia and Herzegovina, pointing out the different existing memory narratives and policies and the competition between them in the public sphere, and analyzing the conflicting memory narratives as a central part of the highly disputed political identity construction processes in post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina. The paper also discusses the question of whether a “Europeanization” of Bosnian memory cultures could be an alternative to the current fragmentation and nationalist domination of the memory landscape in BiH.
Catherine Horel (ed.), 1908, l’annexion de la Bosnie-Herzégovine, cent ans après, Brüssel u.a. : Peter Lang, 2011 (= Enjeux Internationaux, vol. 13)
in: Südosteuropa-Mitteilungen, 2/2013, 107-109
La mémoire de Louis Barthou et de l’attentat de Marseille en France et en Europe de 1934 à nos jours : les raisons d’un oubli (The memory of Louis Barthou and of the Marseille assassination in France and in Europe from 1934 until today: the reasons of an oblivion)
In: Jean-François Saget (ed.), Louis Barthou. Aspects méconnus et documents inédits, Pau, Société des Sciences, Lettres et Arts de Pau et du Béarn, 2013, 221-244
Louis Barthou was one of the most active politicans of the French Third Republic. Despite his long carreer and his spectacular death during the assassination of King Alexander of Yugoslavia on October 9th, 1934, in Marseille, Louis Barthou is today widely forgotten in France and in Europe. The article analyzes the reasons for this oblivion and the different attempts to (re)activate the public remembrance of Louis Barthou.
Vergangenheitsaufarbeitung (Dealing with the past)
In: Nicole Colin/Corine Defrance/Joachim Umlauf/Ulrich Pfeil (Hg.), Lexikon der deutsch-französischen Kulturbeziehungen nach 1945, Tübingen : Gunter Narr, 2013, 447-449
In the framework of the „Dictionnary of the French-German cultural relations after 1945“, this article describes how the actors of the French-German reconciliation process after 1945 until today were (not) dealing with the memories of the Second World War. In the fields of politics and civil society, most of the protagonists of French-German cooperation have for decades chosen to avoid critically addresing this difficult past, an attitude which has been challenged only since the 1990s.
Deutsch-französische Gipfeltreffen (French-German Summit Meetings)
in: Nicole Colin/Corine Defrance/Joachim Umlauf/Ulrich Pfeil (Hg.), Lexikon der deutsch-französischen Kulturbeziehungen nach 1945, Tübingen : Gunter Narr, 2013, 182-183
Regular summits between the German Chancellor and the French President have become a strong symbol of the tight French-German cooperation today. This article in the „Dictionnary of the French-German cultural relations after 1945“ describes how summit meetings became a symbol and an instrument of French-German cooperation and how this political ritual evolved in the last 50 years.
Effacer le passé au nom de l’amitié ? La gestion des mémoires de la Seconde Guerre mondiale au sein du processus de réconciliation franco-allemande (Erasing the past in the name of friendship? The French-German reconciliation process and the dealing with the memories of the Second World War)
In: Allemagne d’aujourd’hui 201, Juillet-Septembre 2012, 28-39
The memories of the Second World War represented a strong challenge for those who wanted to work for a rapprochment of France and Germany after 1945. Should dealing with these memories be integrated in the reconciliation process or should this deliberately be avoided?During the 1950s and 1960s, the attitude seeing the reconciliation between both countries as incompatible with an active dealing with the Second World War became stronger and stronger. The article describes the emergence of this attitude, anlayses the reasons why it became so dominant within the field of French-German relations, and points out evolutions of this attitude in the last twenty years.
Les survivants de Prijedor (The survivors of Prijedor)
In: Vacarme, n° 59, printemps 2012, 190-202
Prijedor, in North-Western Bosnia and Herzegovina, has been the place of one of the most systematic and murderous ethnic cleansing-campaigns in the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The article recalls what happened in 1992 and describes how the survivors who chose to come back to Prijedor after the war are trying to fight against the omnipresent denial of the crimes of 1992.
Kampf gegen den Terror. Das Attentat gegen den jugoslawischen König Alexander in Marseille 1934 (Fighting against terrorism. The assassination of King Alexander of Yugoslavia in Marseilles in 1934)
In: Damals 6/2012, 72-77
The spectacular assassination of King Alexander of Yugoslavia in Marseille in October 1934 created a European crisis which was resolved by a settlement within the League of Nations in Geneva in December 1934. One of the consequences of this settlement was the establishment of a commission, which despite many difficulties, led to the first international convention for the fight against terrorism and for the creation of an International Criminal Court, in 1937.
“Pourquoi parler de cela?“ La guerre dans les rencontres franco-allemandes („Why talk about this?“ The war in French-German encounters)
In : Dokumente-Documente, 4-5/2011, 81-85
“Did you talk about the war during your French-German encounters between 1945 and today? If yes, how? If not, why not?” First impressions and results of a collection of personal testimonies from individuals who have participated in French-German encounters from the 1950s until today.
With Sonja Hegasy:
An end to Age-old Animosities.A Plea for a Euro–Mediterranean Youth Exchange Organisation
In order to contribute to the overcoming of political, social and cultural barriers between the societies of Northern Africa and of Europe, the creation of a Euro-Mediterranean Youth Office in 2013, 50 years after the creation of the French-German Youth Office, could be an important symbolic and practical stepmark.
Wolfgang Petritsch / Vedran Džihić (Eds.), Conflict and Memory: Bridging Past and Future in [South East] Europe, Nomos, Baden-Baden, 2010 (= Southeast European Integration Perspectives, edited by Wolfgang Petritsch and Christophe Solioz)
In: Südosteuropa-Mitteilungen, 1/2012, 85-86
Nada Boškovska, Das jugoslawische Makedonien 1918-1941. Eine Randregion zwischen Represssion und Integration, Böhlau-Verlag 2009,
in: Südosteuropa-Mitteilungen, 2/2011, 114-115
Un Mémorial évoque forcément des questions qu’on n‘a pas envie de se poser (A memorial is necessariliy raising questions you dont want to ask yourself)
Interview in www.bhinfo.fr, 18/2/2011
Also published in the „Courrier des Balkans“, 23/2/2011, with the title: Histoire et mémoire en Bosnie-Herzégovine: comment parler de la guerre? (History and memory in Bosnia and Herzegovina: how to talk about the war?):
The interview deals with the difficulties of Western German society in the 1950s and 1960s to deal with the past of the Third Reich, and adresses the question, „To what extent can looking at the German example be useful for Bosnia and Herzegovina today?“
„What was it like during the siege of Sarajevo?“ War and war memories as a challenge for the South Eastern Europe Initiative of the FGYO
in: French-German Youth Office (ed.), Dialogues for a European future. 10 years of the South Eastern Europe Initiative of the Franco-German Youth Office, Berlin/Paris 2010, 17-19
Since 2010, the French-German Youth Office (FGYO) has developed exchange programs with civil society actors from France, Germany and the different successor states of Yugoslavia. This article suggests how to deal with war memories in this kind of exchange, by giving an overview of the activities of the FGYO which deal with war-related questions. It also discusses the pedagocial challenges this work presents.
Thorsten Gromes, Demokratisierung nach Bürgerkriegen. Das Beispiel Bosnien und Herzegowina, Campus 2007,
in: Südosteuropa-Mitteilungen, 4-5/2010, 153-155
Francusko-njemačko pomirenje i Balkan: motivacija, a ne model (The French-German reconciliation and the Balkans: a motivation, not a model)
In: Bosna Franciscana 32/2010, 163-181
In: Status. Magazin za politicku kulturu i drustvena pitanja, 14/2010, 264-275
B/C/S-version of the text published in “L’Europe en formation” in 2008 (see below).
Based on almost 10 years of experiences in French-German exchanges in and with the Western Balkans, this article analyzes differences and similarities of both war and postwar-histories and discusses the extent to which the French-German experience can be useful for civil society–exchange programs and the post-war process in the Western Balkans.
Text as pdf-document
With Frank Morawietz:
Eine Beziehung im Dienste Europas. Fünf Thesen zur deutsch-französischen Freundschaft (A relation for Europe. Five thesis related to the French-German friendship)
In: Dokumente-Documents 1/2010, 7-10
This article presents a] plea for the necessary renewal of French-German cooperation, which should avoid self-satisfaction and self-isolation and should develop a new dynamism in order to give fresh incentives to the European integration process and to French-German relations itself.