Goran Miljan

Researcher at Department of History, The Hugo Valentin Centre

+4618-471 2359
Visiting address:
Engelska parken, Thunbergsvägen 3D, 1 tr

Postal address:
Box 521
751 20 Uppsala

Short presentation

Goran Miljan is a historian and a researcher at the Hugo Valentin Centre, Uppsala University. His research interest is in the comparative history of fascism, Holocaust and genocide, radicalization, and social memory in Central and South-Eastern Europe.

Keywords: history of childhood and youth radicalisation fascism knowledge production holocaust and genocide studies holocaust memory culture social memory balkans

The Unwanted Citizens: The Holocaust and the Aryanization of Jewish Property in Romania and the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), 1940-1945

Project leader: Goran Miljan
Funding: Stiftelsen Marcus och Amalia Wallenbergs Minnesfond
Research focus: Holocaust Studies
Project start: July 1, 2019

The forced transfer of Jewish property into “Aryan” hands (Aryanization) represented one of the crucial aspects of the process of exclusion of Jews from European societies during the Holocaust. The same process took place in the Axis partner states, Romania and the Independent State of Croatia – NDH during WWII. As active participants in the Holocaust the two regimes engaged in the mass dispossession of Jewish wealth for the purpose of reshaping their societies and changing the perceived internal power structure through the distribution of jobs, businesses and real estate to the “dominant” ethnic community.

This project investigates the policies and practices of Aryanization conducted in Romania and the NDH during WWII. By focusing on antisemitism, legislation, bureaucracy, policy implementation, and gentile and Jewish responses, the project examines the ideological, political, and legal factors that shaped this Aryanization in three major urban areas that hosted the largest Jewish communities: Bucharest, Iaşi, and Czernowitz in Romania, and Zagreb, Osijek, and Varaždin in the NDH. In particular, by showing how the Aryanization of minority property was utilized for the purposes of nation and state building during WWII, the project will provide a comparative perspective on the role of Aryanization in the two above-mentioned Axis countries. This comparative perspective will advance the existing scholarship on the dynamics and mutual influences between fascism, Holocaust and nationalization policies in Central and South Eastern Europe. Drawing on new archival collections, a comparative methodology, and state of the art research on fascism and Aryanization, the project will address not only the strategies employed to seize Jewish property but also the responses of gentiles and Jewish citizens.

The ‘Ideal Nation-State’ for the ‘Ideal New Croat’ – Fascism and Holocaust in the Independent State of Croatia, 1941-1945

Project leader: Goran Miljan
Funding: The Hugo Valentin Centre
Research focus: Holocaust Studies
Project duration: July 1, 2016-June 30, 2018

This project investigates the role of local actors and communities, more precisely, that of the Ustaša Youth officials and members, in the Holocaust during the Ustaša regime, the Independent State of Croatia, 1941-1945. My research will focus on three major urban areas, cities of Varaždin, Bjelovar, and Karlovac in order to examine how the youth and local community responded to the fact that their neighbours, colleagues, and friends were arrested, expropriated, and deported to concentration camps.

While often disguised in daily newspapers and magazines, the Ustaša rhetoric and propaganda of ‘cleansing’ and regeneration presented itself in full in publications dedicated to the youth, especially those sections which emphasized the future role of the youth as representatives of the ‘new Croat’ – the Ustaša. Therefore, the examination and analysis of the Ustaša ideological setting and its radical implementation presents an unavoidable variable in this project. However, the key aspect of this project will be to connect the ideology with the practical implementation of the Holocaust on a local level in order to investigate how the local youth organizations and its members responded to this. By juxtaposing the discourse presented to the youth and the discourse connected to the imminent need for ‘purification’ and ‘cleansing’, this project will investigate how the Ustaša radical policies were justified and presented to the youth and how the members of the youth organization responded and reacted to the processes of expropriation and deportation.

The Ustaša belief in the imminent need for national rebirth and salvation of Croatian national community articulated the key component of fascism which ‘depicted history as a life-or-death struggle between the national community and its perceived foes, redrawing the boundaries of inclusion/exclusion, and prefiguring a future ideal state of organic unity and purity’. From the outset of their regime, the Ustaša idea of ‘national rebirth and cleansing’ was given a practical note, which was conducted through two parallel processes. On the one hand, their proclamation and implementation of racial and other discriminatory laws determined who can, and who cannot be a member of this newly established national community. On the other hand, the establishment of an all-embracing Ustaša Youth organization served as a platform for education and upbringing of the ‘new Croat’ – the Ustaša. Therefore, radical anti-Jewish, anti-Serbian, and anti-Roma policies, implemented from the outset, went hand- in- hand with the Ustaša policy of educating a ‘proper’, ‘new Croat – the Ustaša.

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