1st Edition

Anti-Fascism and Ethnic Minorities History and Memory in Central and Eastern Europe

Edited By Anders Ahlbäck, Kasper Braskén Copyright 2024

    Anti-Fascism and Ethnic Minorities explores how, and to what extent, fascist ultranationalism elicited an anti-fascist response among ethnic minority communities in Eastern and Central Europe.

    The edited volume analyses how identities related to class, ethnicity, gender and political ideologies were negotiated within and between minorities through confrontations with domestic and international fascism. By developing and expanding the study of Jewish anti-fascism and resistance to other minority responses, the book opens the field of anti-fascism studies for a broader comparative approach. The volume is thematically located in Central and Eastern Europe, cutting right across the continent from Finland in the North to Albania in the Southeast. The case studies in the 14 research chapters are divided into five thematic sections, dealing with the issues of (1) minorities in borderlands and cross-border antifascism, (2) minorities navigating the ideological squeeze between communism and fascism, (3) the role of intellectuals in the defence of minority rights, (4) the anti-fascist resistance against fascist and Nazi occupation during World War II, and (5) the conflictual role ascribed to ethnicity in post-war memory politics and commemorations. The editors describe their intersectional approach to the analysis of ethnicity as a crucial category of analysis with regard to anti-fascist histories and memories.

    The book offers scholars and students valuable historical and comparative perspectives on minority studies, Jewish studies, borderland studies, and memory studies. It will appeal to those with an interest in the history of race and racism, fascism and anti-fascism, and Central and Eastern Europe.

    Introduction: Divided against themselves? Ethnic minorities, nationalism, and fractured anti-fascist identities  
    Anders Ahlbäck and Kasper Braskén  


    Part I: Borderlands, minority nationalism, and anti-fascism  


    1.    The ethnic roots of European anti-fascism: The Slovenes and Croats in interwar Italy  

    Borut Klabjan  


    2.    Resisting the extremes: The facets of the Ukrainian national movement in interwar Eastern Galicia  

    Katarzyna Losson  


    3.    Anti-fascism and the nationality question in the ethnic Romanian-Hungarian borderlands: The case of Satu Mare 1930–1938  

    Anders E. B. Blomqvist  


     Part II: Minorities between anti-communism and anti-fascism  


    4.    The cohesive and dividing power of anti-fascism: Language and class among Finland-Swedes in the 1920s–1940s  

    Anders Ahlbäck, Kasper Braskén, Matias Kaihovirta, and Ylva Perera  


    5.    The communist discourse on minorities in interwar Romania and its practical implications for the anti-fascist fighters  

    Cristina Diac  


     Part III: Intellectuals, minorities, and anti-fascism  


    6.    Hugo Valentin and the emergence of Swedish-Jewish anti-fascism: From the 1920s to World War II  

    Olof Bortz  


    7.    Between fascism and Stalinism: Wolfgang Steinitz and anti-fascist Finno-Ugric scholarship in the 1930s–1950s  

    Takehiro Okabe  


    8.    Mihail Ralea as anti-fascist and defender of ethnic minorities in interwar Romania  

    Cristian Vasile  


    Part IV: Minorities in the resistance to Italian and German occupation  


    9.    Materiality, gender, and ethnicity in Jewish anti-Nazi resistance in German-occupied Lithuania  

    Justina Smalkyte  


    10. The role of ethnic minorities and the diaspora in anti-fascist resistance in Albania  

    Belina Bedini  


    11. The anti-fascist oppositions to the organization of Ukrainian nationalists and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army  

    Grzegorz Rossoliński-Liebe  


    Part V: Ethnicity in collective memories of anti-fascism  


    12.  Anti-fascist resistance, antisemitism, and complex Jewish identities: Postwar political trials in Hungary and Czechoslovakia  

    Barbara J. Falk  


    13.  Remembering and forgetting Jewish anti-fascism in Bulgaria  

    Filip Lyapov  


    14. Sites of resistance: Memory, ethnicity, and anti-fascism at the Trieste lager  

    Maura Hametz  


    Anders Ahlbäck is a Lecturer in History at Stockholm University, Sweden. His previous books include Manhood and the Making of the Military: Conscription, Military Service and Masculinity in Finland, 1917–39 (Routledge, 2014).

    Kasper Braskén is a Researcher in the History Department, Åbo Akademi University, Finland. His previous books include the co-edited collections Anti-Fascism in the Nordic Countries (Routledge, 2019) and Anti-Fascism in a Global Perspective: Transnational Networks, Exile Communities, and Radical Internationalism (Routledge, 2021).

    'Anti-Fascism and Ethnic Minorities is a highly original analysis of the resistance to fascism coming from members of ethnic minorities who sought to defend their cultural identities against the homogenizing tendencies of fascism within nation-state contexts. So far, ethnic identities have been considered mainly as a major ingredient of fascist identities. However, as this volume powerfully underlines, they could also play a vital role in anti-fascist resistance movements across a wide range of North-central and East-Central and South-Eastern countries of Europe. Scholars interested in questions of ethnicity, fascism and nationalism will find much thought-provoking material here.'

    Stefan Berger, Professor of Social History and Director of the Institute of Social Movements, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany

    'This collection offers fascinating and refreshing views on the relationship between anti-fascism and the mobilisation of ethnic minorities during the interwar period and the Second World War. Based on new evidence and focusing on forgotten actors, this volume will become a benchmark in the study of the Janus face of minority nationalism.'
    Xosé M. Núñez Seixas, Professor of Modern European History, University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain

    'Anti-Fascism and Ethnic Minorities is an exciting new volume that explores the complex relationship between ethnic minority politics and anti-fascism in Central and Eastern Europe. Individual contributions give depth and breadth to this important subject and explore the richness and diversity of various anti-fascist movements throughout the region. Focusing mostly on the interwar period, but also discussing the important issues of postwar antifascist legacies and challenges, this volume is a very valuable addition to the scholarship on fascism, anti-fascism, as well as ethnic politics in Central and Eastern Europe.'

    Jelena Subotić, Professor of Political Science at Georgia State University, USA

    'Anti-Fascism and Ethnic Minorities advances greatly our understanding of two of twentieth century Europe's fundamental experiences, fascism and anti-fascism. The great merit of the collection of essays is to offer us a broader definition of anti-fascism in terms of ethnicity, ideology, geography and forms of action that considers fascism and the anti-fascism that reacted against it as multi-faceted, pan-European phenomena.'

    David Ward, Professor of Italian Studies, Wellesley College, USA