Remembering Urban Trauma: St Petersburg and Nijmegen in the Second World War


Urban trauma Nijmegen St Petersburg Memory Remembrance Culture Experts Second World War Taboos Blind Spots

How to Cite

van Ansem, N., David, L., van Eekhout, C., Leijnse, M., Mellendijk, S., & Oost, K. (2020). Remembering Urban Trauma: St Petersburg and Nijmegen in the Second World War. Corpus Mundi, 1(2), 122-159.


The issue of the memory of collective trauma has rarely been analyzed in cross-cultural research. Urban trauma, in particular, is a relatively unknown concept. Never before has the memory of urban trauma of the cities of St Petersburg and Nijmegen in relation to the Second World War been compared in the academic realm. This article sets out to create a juxtaposition of St Petersburg and Nijmegen in terms of their Second World War traumas and the way these traumas are represented and commemorated in both cities. The authors examine the meaning-making role that experts play within the remembrance culture of St Petersburg and Nijmegen. A thick description of conducted field research and interviews with experts are used in order to thoroughly compare the experts’ approach to the remembrance cultures. This article aims to compare and translate the way in which different types of memory of trauma relate to the same event. It establishes that although there are distinct differences between the two cities, experts deal with researching the commemoration of trauma in a similar manner. This study reveals uneasy questions, blind spots and taboos of commemorating urban trauma in both Russia and the Netherlands.


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