A tragedy of the Galician diversity: Murder and commemoration of Polish professors killed in Lviv during WWII
In popular imagery, the former Habsburg province of Galicia and its capital city Lemberg/ Lwów/Lviv have been acclaimed for their unique mixture of religions, cultures and nationalities. However, there are also darker sides of this Galician diversity, as became evident during the wars and crises of the first half of the twentieth century. It is instructive to explore how the entanglements between collective and individual choices, cultural genealogies and political aspirations looked in practice in this part of Europe, and how historical events of the twentieth century have reflected this complexity. This article explores one such event: the murder of a group of eminent Polish academics during the Nazi occupation of Lviv/Lwów. After the war, this tragic episode was commemorated quite independently in the two parts of Galicia now divided by the redrawn Polish–(Soviet)Ukrainian border. The episode remains controversial due to the contradictory interpretative frameworks and agenda-setting of various actors involved into the memorialization. The author draws on Michael Rothberg's concept of multidirectional memory to highlight how reverberations of Galician diversity can be approached from an anthropological perspective, focusing on meaning-making and agency.