Cover Osteuropa 1-2/2021

In Osteuropa 1-2/2021

A place of absence
Serhiy Bukovsky’s Film Spell Your Name

Kateryna Botanova

Deutsche Fassung


Babi Yar is regarded as being of great importance in the history of Ukraine, yet for a long time, the massacre was hardly anchored at all in the collective memory of the country. One milestone in the way in which events were viewed was the film "Spell Your Name", which is based on interviews from the archives held by Steven Spielberg’s Holocaust Foundation. In his film, Serhiy Bukovsky reflects on the distance that separates us from historical events. At the heart of the film are memory, forgetting and repression. Spell Your Name circles around Babi Yar as a blank spot in the Ukrainian national memory. Here, the focus is not on reconstructing the past, but on how history is treated in the present day.

(Osteuropa 1-2/2021, pp. 185–195)