Anti-communist persecutions in the 20th century

21.04.2017 to 23.04.2017 Add to calendar

Many waves of mass violence against communists occurred in the twentieth century. They took place in Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa, in capitalist but also in socialist countries. They happened before, during and after the Cold War. Such persecutions came about in a variety of situations – in peacetime, wartime, civil wars and/or guerrilla wars, as a prelude to World War II, and in the aftermath of World Wars I and II. The political outcomes varied greatly, and in many countries, the impact on social life, political thought, individual behavior, and socioeconomic makeup was profound. The number of victims varied, ranging from hundreds to millions.

Although there is excellent historical scholarship of anti-communism, especially in terms of ideas and propaganda, there has been relatively little attention to many of these bloody events, and almost none, on the violence as part of a larger, connected phenomenon. In particular, there are hardly any systematic analyses dealing with more than one case of such a persecution. Scholarship on the issue is fragmented into national histories and transnational perspectives are missing, except for references to Cold War politics. The conference will try to address these shortcomings.


21 April

14:00 Welcome

14:30 Introductory remarks: Christian Gerlach (Universität Bern)

15:00-16:30 Panel 1: State control and anti-communist persecution
Chair: Padraic Kenney (Bloomington)

Frank Jacob (City University of New York)
Continuities and Discontinuities of Anti-Communist State Action in Modern Japan

Martin Schröder (Universität Halle-Wittenberg)
Governing the hinterland – anti-communist action and the establishment of state power in rural Venezuela during the 1960s and 1970s

James Shrader (University of California, San Diego)
A Laboratory of Violence: Race, Nation-Building, and Latin America’s Cold War in Comparative Perspective

16:30- 16:50 Break

16:50 – 18:20 Panel 2: Religion, race and anti-communism
Chair: Julia Richers (Bern)

Christoph Dieckmann (Fritz-Bauer-Institut, Frankfurt a.M.)
Anti-communist persecutions in Lithuania 1918-1944

Robbie Lieberman (Kennesaw State University)
The Black and Red Scare in the 20th Century United States

Clemens Six (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen)
Christian agency in anti-communist persecution? A historical-theological approach

22 April

9:30- 11:00 Panel 3: Legal persecution
Chair: Robbie Lieberman (Kennesaw)

Daniel Vallès Muñio (Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona)
The Spanish anti-communist judicial system, results and solutions from the Spanish transitional justice

Barbara Falk (Canadian Forces College/Royal Military College of Canada/University of Toronto),
The Smith Act Trials and Systemic Violence: Anti-Communist Persecution and Prosecution in America, 1949-1957

Martin Löhnig (Universität Regensburg)
Political Justice in Western Germany during the 1950s

11:00-11:20 Break

11:20- 12:20 Panel 4: Persecutions of communists in socialist countries
Chair: Brigitte Studer (Bern)

Cristina Diac (National Institute for the Study of Totalitarianism-Romanian Academy, Bucharest)
Symbolic violence against veterans of the Spanish Civil War in Central and Eastern Europe

Wendy Goldman (Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh)
The Social Origins of Terror and Repression in the Soviet Union: Victims and Perpetrators, 1936-1939

12:30- 2:00 Lunch break

14:00- 15:00 Panel 5: Nation-building and anti-communism
Chair: Frank Jacob (New York)

Kim Dong-Choon (Sung Kong Hoe University, Seoul)
Anticommunism as Continuation of Colonialism in Northeast Asia

Elisa Kriza (Universität Bamberg)
„We don’t want the Olympics, we want a revolution!“ Communism and Anti-Communism in the Student Massacre on Tlatelolco Square in Mexico City (1968)

15:00 - 15:20 Break

15:20- 16:50 Panel 6: Non-state persecutors
Chair: Moritz Feichtinger (Bern)

Ernesto Bohoslavsky (Universidad Nacional de General Sarmiento, Buenos Aires) and Magdalena Broquetas (Universidad de la República, Montevideo)
Non-state anti-communism and political violence in Argentina and Uruguay, 1958-1973

Amaryllis Logotheti (Pantheion University, Athens)
The religious justification of the anti-communist persecutions in Greece (1945-1955)

Jan-Philipp Pomplun (Technische Universität Berlin)
Anti-communist Mass Violence and Political Radicalisation – German Paramilitarism after the Great War

16:50- 17:10 Break

17:10-18:10 Panel 7: Paradigms of violence
Chair: Elisa Kriza (Bamberg)

Kiril Feferman (Hebrew University, Jerusalem/University of Southern California)
From „Bolshevik Plague“ to Victims of „Judeo-Bolshevism“: Nazi policies towards Communists in the Occupied Soviet Territories, 1941-44

Janis Nalbadidacis (Humboldt-Universität, Berlin)
The Role of Communism in Greek and Argentine Torture Centres during the Military Dictatorships

19:00 Catered Dinner for Conference

23 April

9:30- 11:00 Panel 8: Survival strategies
Chair: Daniel Vallès Muñio (Barcelona)

Christian Gerlach (Universität Bern)
Indonesian narratives of survival and their relation to societal persecution

Natalia Jarska (Institute of History of the Polish Academy of Sciences/Institute for National Remembrance, Warsaw)
Anti-communist persecution and gender in interwar Poland

Padraic Kenney (Indiana University)
“So that they leave the prison cage as conscious revolutionaries”: Performing Communism in the Polish Prison

11:00- 11:20 Break

11:20- 12:50 Panel 9: Experience, memory, trauma
Chair: Wendy Goldman (Pittsburgh)

Amurwani Dwi L (Direktorat Sejarah, Kementrian Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan Republik Indonesia, Jakarta)
From the Political State to Plantungan

Grace Leksana (Universiteit Leiden)
Remembering 1965 in Indonesia: Complexities of the memory of violence against communists

Manon Bourguignon (Université de Lausanne)
Political affiliation, a transmitted feature? Transmission dynamics for the children of Chilean political exiles living in Switzerland

12:50 - 13:50 Final discussion

13:50 End of conference

Organised by: 
Christian Gerlach (Universität Bern); Wendy Goldman (Carnegie Mellon University); Clemens Six (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen)
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