Local memory : social remembrance of the Second World War in Flanders
Faculty of Arts. History
Revue belge de philologie et d'histoire / Société pour le progrès des études philologiques et historiques [Bruxelles] - Bruxelles, 1922, currens
, p. 545-574
University of Antwerp
This contribution aims to offer an alternative take on the canonical views on collective memories of World War II in Flanders and Belgium. This canonical memory literature is still strongly based on memory construction by elites and as such it often uses rigid political categories to define collective memories (Catholic vs. non-Catholic, Flemish vs. Walloon etc.). Using 197 interviews on the topics of collaboration, resistance, local government and postwar purges, the article tackles war memory 'from below'. The results show that local social networks predominantly determine these memories. For a large part, these local memories are detached from (scholarly) historic research or national memory. This local embedding partly explains the most unexpected result of this research: the strong uniformity of memories among the different political or ideological categories. This article is therefore also a call for more research on the social networks of war memories in Belgium, beyond the Flemish-Walloon linguistic division.