LETTER OF SUPPORT
The signatories of this letter strongly support the Berlin Process initiative to organise and financially support the ambitious project of digitizing the Archives of the People’s Republic of Yugoslavia, the Federative People’s Republic of Yugoslavia, i.e. the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia. For some forty years, socialist Yugoslavia had a significant influence on the course of European and world history. Yugoslavia was considered a unique zone between East and West, its president, Josip Broz Tito, was one of the founders of the Non-Aligned Movement, and politicians and theorists within Yugoslavia created and developed the original concept of socialist self-government. Many people with origins in the country now live spread around the world.
We strongly believe that direct and one-point-access to the collections of the Archives of Yugoslavia would significantly and positively contribute to the research of many aspects of Yugoslav history. We are convinced that to divide these extremely valuable resources and materials among the newly formed countries of Yugoslavia would be counterproductive. Ease of access to this material is not only in the interest of local and global, present and future academic and research communities, but of a range of other potential audiences including politicians, artists, business professionals, not to mention members of the widespread and large diasporas of the former Yugoslav republics.
Moreover, a digital archive that facilitates accessibility to the material will contribute to the accumulation of more comprehensive knowledge about the everyday life of the people who lived in Yugoslavia –an everyday life torn between (self)censorship and freedom, between national prejudices and extreme social mobility, between the control of constituent republics and the ingenuity of multi-ethnic environments, a life that included passionately cheering for national teams and individual athletes, both extremely successful across many sports. This existence –divided among individual ethnic identities, the communities of the Yugoslav republics, minorities and the federal whole –was far more complex, rich, and interesting than many stereotypical interpretations suggest, some erring on the side of classical neo-Orientalism, others on current political and historiographical revisionism.
For these and many other reasons, the researchers signed below –all of whom have been dealing professionally and systematically with the history of Yugoslavia, its policies, cultural practices, social and economic development, and art heritage –believe that the digitisation of the Yugoslav Archives is not only useful but necessary. It would provide a best practice model of how to preserve and present a shared historical legacy, and how to build mutual relations of trust after a period of conflict and war. We are dedicated to support, within our capabilities, this important and timely project.