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Tambov dans l’histoire et la Mémoire de l’Alsace-Moselle de 1943 à nos jours

Abstract : The thesis entitled « Tambov in the history and memory of Alsace- Moselle from 1943 to nowadays » is aimed at adding unexplored elements about the arrival of French Prisoners of War at Soviet camps. Numerous writings explaining their functioning recall the personal destinies of individuals enrolled by force, called «Malgré-Nous».Tambov is a predestinated name with its agitated history and its memory punctuated with dramas and breaks. Six centuries ago it was created as an outpost for the Moscow region in order to slow down tribal incursions. It was a generous corn growing area thanks to its black soil, and was also a prison for Napoleon’s defeated army. Then the Green Tambov became the administrative centre of insurrection during the Red Terror, and was ignored in the post-war period due to its hostile and fatal « termite hill »in the Rada forest. Tambov’s two syllables sound like drum rolls following the lugubrious and throbbing rhythms that are still perceptible in the memories of those who accept this overwhelming remembrance. The newly accessible state archives stored at the social and cultural centre of the Tambov area – the GASPITO- evoke the destinies of the human masses under Stalin’s yoke. They are opposed to the interviews of the survivors of Camp 188 and the camps around remembering their sufferings, to the interviews of their descendants and to the investigations of two groups of Tambov Seniors and the association named « Pèlerinage Tambov ». This raises the question of which place do Tambov and more generally captivity in the Soviet area hold in the memory and in the collective imagination of the region Alsace- Moselle? This research was carried out in numerous archive centres and consequently enabled the production of more reliable data, it also enabled to raise questions about the memories at stake in today’s Alsace and Moselle’s identities. A significant divergence emerges from the comparison between the numerous Seniors’statements reporting harsh life conditions and head of camp Ioussitchev’s reports, often falsified in order to please the authorities in charge, rather than report the real situation.Today, the memory trips of the Tambov site supervised by Russian town councillors evoke an almost idyllic life, a somewhat biased image of what life was really like in the camp. This « dolce vita » presentation ignores the deaths of thousands of people resulting from illnesses, constant undernourishment, exhausting work, ideological brainwashing, health conditions, demoralization of the prisoners and the no-returns of thousands of them. Has Tambov become the symbol of forced incorporation of Alsace- Moselle prisoners? Why and how? Because of the large number of prisoners? Because of their extreme sufferings symbolizing the injustice the « Malgré-Nous » went through, stuck as they were between two totalitarian systems? Because they were the victims of a certain desertion from the French authorities and the beginning of the cold war? Because of the endless quest for memories from the Tambov Seniors’ Associations?
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Submitted on : Wednesday, April 7, 2021 - 10:51:27 AM
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  • HAL Id : tel-03191463, version 1

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Laurent Kleinhentz. Tambov dans l’histoire et la Mémoire de l’Alsace-Moselle de 1943 à nos jours. Histoire. Université de Lorraine, 2020. Français. ⟨NNT : 2020LORR0262⟩. ⟨tel-03191463⟩

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