‘I should never tell anybody that my mother was shot’: understanding personal testimony and family memories within Soviet Lapland

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Abstract

This article examines the biography of a dual-heritage descendant of a Norwegian settler and indigenous Sámi on the Kola Peninsula in north-west Russia, whose parents became victims of Stalin’s terror. Analysing personal experience with oral history methods reveals that the protagonists were trying to shape actively their own and their fellows’ fates. This challenges the common script of passive victims within a totalitarian state. The narrator’s emphasis on agency as well as her humanising of state representatives are discussed as ways of giving meaning to her family’s history and strategies for coping with traumatic childhood events.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-73
JournalOral History
Volume47
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoEC publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Field of science

  • History and archaeology
  • Social anthropology

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