Translating Memories Speaker Series: Dr Kristo Nurmis

Kristo Nurmis, Tallinn University
First Draft of Memory: Reactions to Communism in Nazi-Occupied Baltic States, 1941–44

14 February 2023 16.00 (EET)
Tallinn University, Estonia, online

My paper challenges the traditional Nazi-centric view of studying Baltic discourses about communism during WWII by examining the agency and self-mobilization of the Baltic people under Nazi rule and how they made sense of the first Soviet year (1940–41). Focusing on the relationship between Nazi institutions and local actors, I argue that local initiatives and discourses, sometimes contradictory to official Nazi propaganda (and sometimes inspiring the latter), played a significant role in shaping the Baltic memory culture about communism. Today’s Baltic memory culture about Soviet rule, I contend, was forged to a significant extent already during the war.

Kristo Nurmis is a historian and research fellow at Tallinn University School of Humanities. He holds a PhD in Russian and Eastern European history from Stanford University and a BA and MA from the University of Tartu. He has several publications on Soviet and Nazi rule in the Baltics, and is currently working on a book project on the politics of legitimacy and mass influence in the Soviet and Nazi occupied Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, 1939–53.

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