Seit 2006 geben Mati Laur (Universität Tartu) und Karsten Brüggemann (Universität Tallinn) in enger Kooperation mit Kollegen der Universität Lettlands in Riga ein deutschsprachiges Jahrbuch heraus, das aktuelle Forschungen zur baltischen Geschichte veröffentlicht. Die FzbG sind eine vorrezensierte wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift der estnischen Akademischen Historischen Gesellschaft (Akadeemiline ajalooselts). Sie verstehen sich als ein akademisches Journal im Bereich der historischen Area studies, die es sich zur Aufgabe gemacht hat, den Austausch verschiedener nationaler Historiografien auf wissenschaftlicher Grundlage zu betreiben. Über den jeweils engen sprachlichen Rahmen der einzelnen Staaten Estland, Lettland und Litauen hinaus soll nicht zuletzt die innerbaltische fachliche Kommunikation gefördert werden. Die FzbG pflegen einen regionalen Schwerpunkt auf dem „historischen“ Baltikum (Estland, Livland und Kurland, d.h. ungefähr die heutigen Republiken Estland und Lettland), doch sind auch Beiträge zur litauischen Geschichte willkommen, da Litauen spätestens seit dem 20. Jahrhundert einen integralen Bestandteil „baltischer“ Geschichte bildet. Der zeitliche Rahmen der Artikel reicht aber von der Frühzeit bis zur post-sowjetischen Periode. Wir sind darüber hinaus insbesondere an Beiträgen interessiert, die sich mit den überregionalen Zusammenhängen in Nordosteuropa auseinandersetzen.
Die Sprachen dieser Zeitschrift sind Deutsch und Englisch mit Zusammenfassungen in der jeweils anderen Sprache. Dass die meisten Beiträge auf Deutsch publiziert werden, folgt einer historischen Tradition, da ein Großteil sowohl des Quellenbestands als auch der Historiografie zum historischen Baltikum deutschsprachig ist.
Die Herausgeber halten die Heranziehung von Fachleuten aus den Nachbarländern und anderen nicht-baltischen Staaten für eine ihrer wichtigsten Aufgaben, wofür auch das internationale Redaktionskollegium steht. Dabei ist vor allem an den umfangreichen Rezensionsteil gedacht, der über die wichtigsten neuesten Publikationen zur baltischen Geschichte informieren soll. Die mittlerweile erschienenen Bände demonstrieren, dass „baltische Geschichte“ heute einen wesentlichen regionalen Aspekt der Geschichte des Ostseeraums und damit ganz Europas (inkl. Russlands) darstellt. In den ersten zehn Jahren ihres Bestehens haben die FzbG Beiträge von Autorinnen und Autoren aus den drei baltischen Staaten, Deutschland, der Russländischen Föderation, Finnland, Schweden, Dänemark, Österreich, den Niederlanden, Italien, den USA und Kanada publizieren können. In diesem Sinne sieht sich die Redaktion in einem wachsenden internationalen Resonanzrahmen.
Mati Laur (Tartu University) and Karsten Brüggemann (Tallinn University) in close cooperation with colleagues from the University of Latvia in Riga have been editing a German-language yearbook presenting fresh studies on the history of the Baltic states. “Forschungen zur baltischen Geschichte” (Studies on Baltic History, FzbG) since 2006. The Studies on Baltic History (FzbG) is a peer-reviewed academic journal of the Estonian Historical Academic Society (Akadeemiline ajalooselts). They see themselves as an academic journal in the field of historical area studies that wants to encourage the scientifically-based exchange between the various national historiographies. Transgressing the small respective linguistic spheres of the nation states Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the FzbG wants to contribute to the inner-Baltic professional discussion about the past. The regional focus of the journal lies in the historical Baltikum, the former Baltic provinces of the Russian Empire (Estland, Livland and Kurland, roughly the modern states of Estonia and Latvia), but contributions to Lithuanian history are also welcome because since the 20th century Lithuania forms an integral part of “Baltic” history. The time frame of articles published in FzbG, however, ranges from prehistory to the post-Soviet period. Moreover, we encourage in particular contributions that deal with the transregional interconnections in the broader geographical area of North-Eastern Europe.
This journal publishes texts in German and English with summaries, respectively, in English and German. The majority of articles are published in German, in which we follow the historical tradition since a major part of the archival sources and the older historiography about the Baltikum is in German.
The main task of the editors and the international editorial board is the involvement of experts from neighbouring and other non-Baltic countries. This is especially true for the extensive section of reviews informing about the latest publications on Baltic history. So far the published volumes of FzbG demonstrates quite successfully that the history of the Baltic states today is an important aspect of the past of the Baltic Sea area and thus the whole of Europe including Russia. During the first ten years of its existence, FzbG enjoyed the participation of authors from the three Baltic States, Germany, Russian Federation, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Austria, Netherlands, Italy, USA and Canada. In this understanding, the editors see themselves corresponding to a growing international resonance space.
In historiography, significant attention to the memory culture of the Napoleonic Wars in Europe focuses on issues relating to the memory culture of the Franco-Russian War of 1812; however, the case of Lithuania is not commonly analysed separately, thus this article discusses how assessments of the 1812 war were maintained in the historical memory in Lithuania.
The Russian government offered the population in the lands of the former GDL its official version of the historical memory of the 1812 war (of a heroic battle against an invader), which contradicted the version this population considered as ‘its own’, experienced as their support for Napoleon and the new political and social prospects they believed he would bring. The Russian government’s censorship of written literature suppressed the spread of the people’s ‘own’ local historical memory, yet it did not prove to be so effective due to the population’s very limited opportunities to use the printed word. Communicative memory dominated in the land in the first half of the 19th century, becoming the main source testifying to and passing on to subsequent generations the actual multifaceted experiences of the 1812 war, including the chance of liberation from the yoke of the Russian Empire.
In the second half of the 19th century, representatives of local Russian imperial government structures and the local Russian intelligentsia, responding to the 1812 war as a Polish struggle for freedom and a symbol of political independence, explained in academic, educational and popular literature that the hopes of the Poles related to Napoleon were actually unfounded: the French emperor had no intentions of restoring the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth within its historical boundaries, but simply wanted to fill his army units with Polish forces. It was highlighted that this expression of Polish support for Napoleon stopped the Russian imperial government’s potential plans to restore the Poles’ former statehood. This so-called regional narrative which appeared in history textbooks and was used by exacting emotional and visual impact in order to influence the political and cultural provisions of the younger generation had a dual purpose. First, to justify the discriminatory policies against individuals of ‘Polish origins’. Second, to ‘block’ the path for using the 1812 war as a historical argument testifying not just to the common historical past and struggle of Poles and Lithuanians but also their possible political future, which was openly expressed in the Polish national discourse of the early 20th century.
Over the course of a hundred years, despite the government’s actions, Poles managed to uphold ‘their own’ historical memory about the 1812 war; its meanings were spread in various forms of media such as fictional literature, museum exhibitions and history textbooks, and were used to shape the political and cultural position of the younger generation. In the Lithuanian national discourse on the other hand, the 1812 war, along with the 1830–1831 and 1863–1864 uprisings, was viewed as a matter concerning the Poles and the Polonised nobility, and it was thus a foreign place of historical memory. The 1812 war and assessments of its potential importance to Lithuanians in the Lithuanian national discourse of the early 20th century were one-off cases and fragmented, while their spread among broader layers of society was limited.
Even though the subject of military service of Jews in the Lithuanian army in the years 1918 to 1940 is not completely new in historiography, many aspects hitherto covered in academic literature remain relevant to this day. The statistics for Jewish soldiers in the interwar Lithuanian army are without doubt one of those aspects. That is why in this article the aim is not just to identify the scale of participation by the Lithuanian army’s Jewish soldiers in the Lithuanian War of Liberation, but also to analyse statistical data relating to Jewish soldiers serving in the interwar Lithuanian army in peacetime.
This article reveals the life of the Holy Trinity Bernardine nuns in Kaunas (Kowno) in the years 1842 to 1864, the worsening situation at the convent due to the Russian occupying government’s policy, the actual closure of the convent, and the fate of the nuns after the closure of their home. The study aims to show how daily life at the convent affected the Russian administration’s decisions regarding its material provision and particular nuns living there, how they were affected by the closure of St George’s Bernardine Friary in Kaunas which used to be the main supporter of the Bernardine nuns, and relations between the Bernardine nuns and the bishop. The author analyses difficulties in community life and problems adhering to the constitution, and reveals the general mood of the nuns. The research is based on correspondence between the Bernardine nuns, the bishop and the convent visitator, memoirs, and material from visitations. This case study of the Kaunas Bernardine nuns helps us gain a better understanding of the situation of the Catholic Church in the Russian Empire.