Find us on Twitter, iTunes, Mixcloud

Podcast The Southeast Passage History Homepage

#041 - MILENA METHODIEVA: Bulgarian Muslims between Empire and Nation

In 1878, following the Congress of Berlin, Bulgaria became a de facto independent principality. Not anymore under Ottoman rule, the Muslims of Bulgaria navigated this political shift by redefining their place as a minority of a nation-state. The community underwent a political polarization between traditional notables and a group pushing for reforms within Muslim institutions. In this episode, we discuss how these reformists engaged with state and nation-building in Bulgaria by highlighting their connections with the broader Muslim world. Not only did Bulgarian Muslims contribute to the rise of the Young Turk movement, they were also part of a transnational space in which intellectuals and activists debated issues such as the place of Islam in modern society, the value of education, and the question of political relationship with non-Muslim rulers.

#040 - NADÈGE RAGARU: A History of Knowledge about the Holocaust in Bulgaria

Since the immediate aftermath of the end of World War II, a narrative concerning the rescue of the Bulgarian Jews from deportation and genocide has nurtured the self-representation of the governments in Sofia and the public discourse in the country. From the decades of state socialist rule to the post-1989 political transformations which led to Bulgaria's entry into the European Union, the international framework of Holocaust remembrance as well as some references in this discourse have changed, yet the bulk of the rescue narrative which sees the Jews as passive entity persists. This episode discusses how historiography can critically engage with the complex and fragmented knowledge of the Holocaust in Southeast Europe through a journey into different voices and different sources, from trial attestations to popular fiction movies to visual material.

#039 - ÜMIT KURT: The Armenian Genocide and Property Usurpation in Aintab

The Armenian community of Aintab, nowadays Gaziantep, was among the most flourishing of Ottoman Anatolia. The Armenian Genocide not only brought an end to the community's coexistence with the Muslim population but also paved the way to the pillage and usurpation of Armenian houses and shops. In this episode, we discuss the characteristics of the community in Aintab and the upsurge of violence in 1915. While addressing the implications of researching this sensitive topic, we focus on the role of local perpetrators as well as the broader juridical configuration which prevented the return of Armenian survivors and legalized material usurpation by local Muslim families.

#038 - GAËLLE FISHER: German Resettlers and Jewish Survivors from Bukovina after 1945

Before World War II, Bukovina was a region marked by multiconfessional coexistence and ruled by the Habsburg Empire (1774-1918) and then by Romania (1918-1940). Two among Bukovina’s population groups, the Germans and the Askhenazi Jews, left the region as a result of the World War and the Holocaust. Thousands of the former were “resettled” in Germany, while a great number of the latter who had survived the persecutions immigrated to Israel. In this episode, we discuss how both groups maintained a link with their homeland region, how they organized into voluntary associations, and how their destiny became interwoven when negotiating the limits of belonging to the respective national societies.

#037 - PAOLO FONZI: War and Hunger during the Italian Occupation of Greece

In the spring of 1941, after a brief war ending in an embarrassing retreat for Italy one year earlier, Mussolini's troops supported by Nazi Germany occupied various regions of Greece. In Fascist Italy's vision of a Mediterranean empire, Greece had a pivotal place, but several defeats on other war fronts led to the collapse of Italy's ambitions and the occupation ended in 1943. In this installment, we discuss this World War II occupation through the prism of food scarcity and famine. Despite its brevity, the occupation caused a humanitarian catastrophe, and the question of food supply also complicated the Italian authorities’ control over the territory. The episode focuses on aspects related to gender, ethnic engineering, and violence to illustrate how food shortages shaped the interactions between occupying troops and the local population, but also the hierarchies within the latter.


Cover drawing © Clara Delboé