Collective trauma in Ukraine

Mount Holyoke Professor Karen Remmler spoke to the New York Times about turning a school that was used as a prison in Ukraine into a memorial and about the tensions that can arise when creating memorials where trauma has occurred.

In Yahidne, a village in northern Ukraine, a school basement became a prison for hundreds of residents for 28 days in March of 2022. Now that the occupying Russian forces have gone, the village is grappling with how to use the school and how to honor those that died there.

Karen Remmler, Mary Lyon Professor of Humanities at Mount Holyoke College, studies forms of memorialization in national public spheres and how they relate to and push against individual struggles to work through family survivor and perpetrator histories.

She spoke to the New York Times about the problems that arise with such focal points.

“There is this tension between the scene of the crime, so to speak, and the necessity to preserve the evidence and to collect the evidence,” she said. “And there is the question of how much time needs to pass before the community can own that space and decide what to do with it.”

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