Sanda Kočevar, MA

  • Posted on: 13 September 2015
  • By: marijke
About the participant: 

senior curator, head of the History Department in the Municipal Museum of Karlovac, Croatia

-          born in Karlovac, Croatia in 1970

-          BA in history and English from the University of Zagreb, Croatia

-          grant for the research at the Ost- und Südosteuropa-Institut in Vienna

-          MA in history from the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary

-          grant for the research in Viennese archives

-          since 1996 in the Municipal Museum of Karlovac, Croatia

-          the author of several articles, books and exhibitions about the local history

-          the author of the awarded exhibition „AfriKA – Karlovac citizens - explorers of Africa at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century“ (2013)

-          the author of the popular and well visited exhibition about the World War I in Karlovac Gallery „Vjekoslav Karas“ (“For the King and Country”, December 18th, 2014 – April 30th, 2015) with the accompanying series of lectures of prominent Croatian historians, historians of art about the themes of the World War I

-          the author of the lecture and the article “For the King and Country – Karlovac People Helping the Needy” about the actions of Karlovac citizens during the First World War at La Sapienza University of Rome, Italy, June 2014

Title of lecture: 
“For the King and Country” – Evidence in the Neighbourhood

While preparing the exhibition of the Municipal Museum of Karlovac “For the King and Country” in order to commemorate the centennial of the beginning of the First World War, the author launched a public invitation through the media to all the citizens of Karlovac a year before the actual exhibition. A number of citizens opened their family archives and presented their memorabilia – mostly photographs, medals, decorations and letters. It showed not only that the private archives were worth of researching, but gave a different perspective on soldiers of the 96th Karlovac infantry regiment and the 26th Karlovac home guard regiment and their life in the trenches.

Moreover, the author was stricken by the ambiguous feelings of the owners who were at the same time willing to show their heritage as well as afraid of its interpretation. Taking into account that Karlovac citizens were the Austro-Hungarian soldiers, fighting for the country that eventually lost the war and ceased to exist and it became a part of the newly formed State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs, later the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, ruled by the Serbian dynasty of Karađorđević, it was not strange that they kept records about their ancestors participation in war a secret. Serbian hegemony in the new kingdom, and the communist regime after the Second World War made them cautious. The attitude could be traced not only in the private records but in the public spaces in negligence towards monuments of that period as well.

The presentation would therefore speak about the prevailing image that the public had about the First World War, the facts found in private archives and the methodology of their research and the change of perspective in public eye after hundred years.