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Jaroslav Najbert. “You look at it this way, boy.” How to teach descendants of the orderly citizens of real-socialist Czechoslovakia?. History and Memory. The Soviet Past - 1953-1990 2011 November 28-29. Teaching history. 1. Traditional believe of many historians and public:

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Jaroslav najbert

Jaroslav Najbert

“You look at it this way, boy.”How to teach descendants of the orderly citizens of real-socialist Czechoslovakia?

History and Memory.

The Soviet Past - 1953-1990

2011 November 28-29

Teaching history

1. Traditionalbelieveof many historiansand public:

Teachers are popularisersofthehistorical science

Pupilsreproducethefactsofthe past

2. Reality ofmodernclass:



Interactionwithhistorical consciousness

F amily memory of communist dictatorship in school education
Family memory of Communist dictatorship in school education

School (teachers, schoolbooks)



Memory in school education
Memory in schooleducation

1. Culturalmemory

sharedwithin a nationalcollective

official text, pictures, rituals

school – oneof the major carriers and mediators of cultural memory

Memory in school education1
Memory in schooleducation

2. Communicative (family) memory


Distinctivefamilyunderstandningandinterpretationofthe past

May differfromtheculturalmemory

Cultural x family memory
Cultural x familymemory

Cultural memory, August 1968

Family memory, August 1968

What shall we teach according to curriculum
Whatshallweteachaccording to curriculum?

History is„the cultivation of the individual historical consciousness and the effort to maintain the continuity and historical memory, especially in terms of passing on historical experience.“

Framework Educational Program (FEP), Ministry of education, 2007

Cultural memory in education
Culturalmemory in education

the formation of positive civic attitudes

developing a consciousness of belonging to European civilization and culture

promoting the adoption of the values ​​on which contemporary democratic Europe is founded(FEP)


My students mostly descedndants of olderly citizens
My students – mostlydescedndantsofolderlycitizens

Research of the family memory


Harald Welzez et al.

Opa war kein Nazi: Nationalsozialismus und Holocaust im Familiengedächtnis (2002)

Research of the family memory1

  • CzechRepublic

  • Institute forthe Study ofTotalitarianRegimes

Oral historical project forschools

“Velké a malé příběhy moderních dějin”

Great and small stories of modern history

Great and small stories of modern history
Great and small stories of modern history

Confront „great history“ (schoolbooks, TV) with „small history“ (family memories)

Three parts:

methodological and motivational schooling for students,

realization of interviews

final analysis and interpretation

Characteristics of the project

Researched era 1968-1989:

Prague Spring - Normalization (era of neostalinism) - Velvet Revolution

220 interviews

Ministry of Education grant support

Characteristics of the sample
Characteristicsofthe sample

Collectiondoes not representbalanced sample ofmemoriesofpre-1989 Czechoslovak society (not ourintention)

Collectionfreelyavailable on thewebsiteofour Institute

Above-averageshareof university absolventsandsecondary-school-educatedwintesses


Specific function of family story telling - an interview within the family becomes a medium for creating an image of the past

May be more powerfull than school books

Not common description of the past! – evaluation, experience, influence the interviewer

T he period of communist dictatorship not uniformly recalled
The period of Communist dictatorship not uniformlyrecalled

negative evaluation prevails

minority nostalgically neutral

cases of obvious ostalgie and positive evaluation of the theory and practice of regime of state socialism.

L ack of conflict remembering in the families
Lack of conflict remembering in the families

Not clear willingness to challenge moral attitudes or values ​​of family members in the times of real-socialism

Communists have disappeared from the families

The personal responsibility is often downplayed or externalized with reference to the nature of the time or regime

Examples of nonconflict story telling receiving
Examplesofnonconflict story telling/receiving

Merely exceptional spontaneous confession of a membership in the Communist Party

„Who doesn‘t steal, robs his family“

No challenging of the fact that relatives repeatedly lied on public or acted contrary to their conscience (elections, public rituals, etc.)


Students accept the anticommunist attitudes prevailing in the cultural memory

  • condemnation of injustice, restriction of freedoms, undemocratic communist dictatorship

    The relatives are not seen as active bearers of values ​​and attitudes against which the pupils define


Communistswerebastardsbuttherewere no bastards in my family.

„My grandfather was not a Commie.“

Author‘s Alert!

Weneeddetailedresearchandcomparisonwithin post-communiststates

MemoryofNacism x MemoryofCommunism

Problem of multiperspectivity
Problemof multiperspectivity

Differentfamilymemories – differentpespectivesofevaluation

AnticommunistCzechculturalmemoryaccepted by many families


Minority personalmemoriesoftimesofsocial stability andorderlylife

How to teach students with nonconform family tradition
How to teachstudentswithnonconformfamilytradition?

“You're wrong boy, your reflection of the past is false, you have to look at it this way.”

Absolute authority doesn‘t work in praxis

Tolerance in modern education

Confront perspectives, not discredit

Thank you for your attention