Conference article

On Maps; Abused Virgins and Nations

Gabriela Nicolescu Cristea
University of London, UK

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Published in: Comparing: National Museums; Territories; Nation-Building and Change. NaMu IV; Linköping University; Norrköping; Sweden 18-20 February 2008

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 30:4, p. 59-69

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Published: 2008-05-20


ISSN: 1650-3686 (print), 1650-3740 (online)


In this paper I compare two museums in Hungary and Romania which exhibit communism or better say; anti-communism; a subject with a strong importance for defining national identity in Eastern European countries. House of Terror Museum in Budapest; Hungary and The Memorial of The Victims of Communism and of the Resistance in Sighetul Marmatiei; Romania are two memorial museums which “represent” the victimized and suffering nations –presented to the nowadays young generation as being abused virgins of their political past context- during communist times. Under this victimizatory discourse one can difficultly grab an essentialized fascist version of the past: same spots of terror and death for both terror regimes; fascism and communism became places of commemoration only for the victims of one: namely communism.

This work in-progress focuses mainly on a material-cultural analysis of maps and objects in exhibition rooms; images and texts presented on museums’ web-sites. Since in the last hundred years; these two neighbour countries debated a lot on territories; population and history; the comparison between the two strong narrations on the recent pasts inside these two memorial-museums; is revelatory on the way “illusionary” national identities are discursively staged and narrativized. Underneath the anti-communist victimizatory narrative in these two eastern European Countries one can discover fragmented parts of the Holocaust


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