Nicolas Moll, Project Manager "Who is Walter?", crossborder factory

Mr. Moll, you are working to strengthen trans-European remembrance of the resistance against the National Socialist regime with the "Who is Walter?" project: What results were achieved in the project?

In general, we know little about the history of other European countries, and this also applies to the resistance against National Socialism, even though it happened all across Europe. In Western Europe, we know particularly little about Yugoslavia, where resistance to fascism and German occupation was especially strong. With our international team of researchers, in particular from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Germany and France, our aim was to discover more about the resistance during the Second World War and the memory of it after 1945 in various European countries. Three concrete results emerged from this work: an academic publication, a digital platform and an exhibition at the History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In this way, our intention is to contribute to deepen the knowledge about resistance in our and in other countries and to stimulate curiosity about this subject We also hope these results will contribute to reflection and discussion on the specificities, similarities and connecting lines of resistance within Europe and how this subject can be addressed today, for example in museums.

The project will be presented at a final conference in Sarajevo at the beginning of July: When you look back on your work, which milestone was especially significant for you?

I think the two-year overall process was the most important thing and each stage was a small milestone: the first two conferences, in Berlin and Nice, the workshops in Sarajevo, Nice, Zagreb and Jasenovac - each time we met with our international team of researchers, and there were always new steps in an exciting process of mutual discovery and learning. After all, the participants in our team were initially only or primarily familiar with the history of resistance in their own country. Each of us learned an incredible amount by talking to the other participants and working together, and also by exploring memorials and museums. What I remember most is our first workshop, which took place in Sarajevo, in the History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina: Our colleagues from Germany and France were in Sarajevo for the first time, and I can remember how impressed they were: By what they learned about the resistance in Yugoslavia during the German occupation, and the work and commitment of our colleagues on site who work in much more difficult conditions than in Western Europe.

Who is Walter now?

There are various answers. On the one hand, Walter is a historical figure: Vladimir Perić, who organized the anti-fascist resistance in Sarajevo during the German occupation in the Second World War; Walter was his code name, just as many resistance fighters adopted code names to avoid being identified by the National Socialists and collaborators. Walter is also a legendary film character, thanks to the very successful Yugoslav partisan film "Walter Defends Sarajevo" from 1972, where Walter becomes the symbol of the resistance of the entire city of Sarajevo; in the final scene, a German officer says "I know who Walter is now" and then points to Sarajevo: "Do you see this city? That's Walter." In the former Yugoslavia, "Walter" is a household name for almost everyone, but in the rest of Europe it's a different story. Walter is therefore above all a symbol in our project: What do we actually know about Walter - and who were the other Walters in Europe? Even if resistance to the National Socialist regime was always a matter for a minority of people, there were many women and men who, in one way or another, said no to the ideology and policies of the National Socialist regime and its collaborators. And it is worth finding out more about them, why they got involved, what forms and spaces of resistance there were, and what this resistance has to say to us today.

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