Intergenerational transmission of NS-resistance: Verbal and visual practices

The project examines firstly how the body of experience and the manner of thinking, as well as action issues, ‘transfer’ from generation to generation, and how this is then reflected in biographical actions of coming generations. The project therefore builds on existing research which demonstrates that the experience of (great-) grandparents and parents during the Nazi era has direct effects on the psychological development of their descendants, and not least on their action structures and biographical stories. The research-guiding questions regarding the effects of experiences of (great-) grandparents/parents on the lives of their grandchildren/children, including action structures that develop them, will be carried out from a biography analytical perspective and also in terms of resistance actions and experiences.

Against the background of the fact that after 1945 a public discourse was established in Austria denying resistance against National Socialism, making it taboo and even ostracising it, the question of how this discourse manifested itself on the biographical, intergenerational and familial construction processes should also be considered. It should additionally be noted that intergenerational transmission processes take place not only in oral narratives but also in photography and with it connected visual practices, especially when those who have acted in resistance and were able to convey their experience verbally could not do so because of their recent death, or were never able to do so because of their violent death as victims of Nazi justice. Via photographs specific life stages and situations can be documented, thereby giving significance to biographical construction processes and intergenerational processes of transmission. In what way are biographical, intergenerational and familial processes and structures shaped and produced in and through photographs constitutes, for this reason, the second field of study of the project. The objective is to capture and interpret possible differences or similarities between oral narratives and photographs regarding their meaning and function for biographical, intergenerational and familial processes and structures.

The project examines the questions by means of biographical case reconstructions with analyses of family dialog and of photographs and their visual practice.