“Glina 1941 – Tragedies and Traumas in Memory and Oblivion” is the name of the collection of scientific texts and papers, an anthology over a thousand pages long that was presented this Tuesday in Zagreb.

The collection of scientific texts “Glina 1941 – Tragedies and Traumas in Memory and Oblivion” took a long time to be assembled and during that time it went through different stages that were the result of internal discussions, re-examinations, and the search for the best approach to a big and difficult topic, such as that of Glina in 1941; and not only to the difficult topic in itself, but also to the symbolic burden, as well as to the insufficiently scientific approach in processing the subject and to keeping silent and trying to understand things in a political way.

This was said by Milorad Pupovac, the president of the SNV (Serb National Council) on Tuesday at the presentation of the anthology “Glina 1941 – Tragedies and Traumas in Memory and Oblivion,” which was jointly published by the History Department of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences of the University of Zagreb, the Croatian State Archives, and the Serb National Council.

This anthology is based on the conference proceedings from the scientific colloquium under the name of: “What Really Happened in the Serbian Orthodox Church in Glina between July 29th-30th and August 4th-5th of 1941: Testimonies and the Culture of Memory”, held at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb at the end of June 2012. The scientific papers were supplemented with new contributions written in collaboration with the book’s editors.

Pupovac pointed out that the editorial team had been looking for the best experts and approach in dealing with the topic of the massacre in the church in Glina, insisting on a team of scientists who could within themselves maintain a plurality of opinions without conflicts that would threaten the meaning of the anthology.

– They succeeded in this, which is the great value of this book, which expanded on the thematic and scientific approach to the events in Glina of May, July, and August 1941, as well as everything that preceded the crime in the years before, but also everything that followed after the war. In this sense, this is a more comprehensive approach than we have had so far. Some earlier ones did not have such ambitions but were instead focused exclusively on genocidal acts in that region in 1941 – said Pupovac, explaining that a comprehensive approach reduces the space for possible misinterpretations and abuses of this topic, which, at the same time, has the goal of not only healing in general, but also healing social problems and relations between two important South Slavic peoples and their ideas.

The anthology “Glina 1941 – Tragedies and Traumas in Memory and Oblivion”

– Such traumas carry with them either a mythical dimension or a dimension of contestation. This anthology managed to pass through the strait between those two approaches – Milorad Pupovac pointed out, praising the editorial board led by Drago Roksandić, who, as he said, during the past ten years, had done a truly great job in preparing the anthology of more than a thousand pages of scientific texts and papers that will be indispensable for anyone who will deal with this topic in the future.

Explaining how the anthology was created, Roksandić emphasized that it was not yet another book about the Ustashas and partisans, but a historical work that sought to cover the past, present, and future with regards to this topic, which was not an easy achievement given that, when it comes to tragic experiences, it opens up a huge can of worms that every society must know how to deal with.

– A lot of changes took place in the 20th century, so comparisons with past experiences are inappropriate. The human cost for those changes was appalling. Never have there been so many senseless losses, never has there been so much bestiality and meaningless of humanity. These were not specific to Croatia and Serbia as the same thing happened on the global level as well – said Roksandić and praised the cooperation with the Croatian State Archives and its director Dinko Čutura, who in turn said that the State Archives had given the researchers access to all its materials so that they could study this traumatic topic thoroughly.

– Topics like Glina 1941 enter the area of culture of memory with different burdens. This anthology showed that those topics should be approached scientifically and placed in the historical framework that they deserve. Some try to put them on the side lines, while others want them to go beyond historical boundaries. This anthology is proof that topics should be approached without anger and bias, as Tacitus said – Čutura pointed out.

Nevena Škrbić Alempijević, the editor of this anthology from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Zagreb, explained that the anthology tried to answer the anthropological questions of collective memory and the differences in relation to oblivion and conscious silence or manipulation of traumatic topics, stressing that the value of this book lies in the very fact that the surviving victims of the Glina massacre and their family members were given space to tell what had happened from their point of view.