Croatian Memories (Unveiling Personal Memories on War and Detention)

Project leader: Peter van der Maas
Supervisor: Franciska de Jong
Duration: 2010 - 2013
Funding: Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, funding scheme MaTra
External project website:
More background information:


Erasmus University Rotterdam (Erasmus Studio and historians from ESHCC )
Documenta, Zagreb, Croatia
Universiteit Twente, Enschede, cluster Human Media Interaction
Noterik B.V., Amsterdam
DANS, The Hague

Project newsletters

CroMe newsletter 3 (January 2012)
CroMe newsletter 2 (Summer 2011)
CroMe newsletter 1  (Fall 2011)


Scholarly research and human rights practices have shown that the preconditions for long term social and economical development in post-war societies are largely determined by the capacity of its political leaders, media, judiciary, intellectual community and educators to deal with a burdened past. Croatia and its neighbouring post-Yugoslav countries are facing the challenge of building a civil society strong enough to publicly acknowledge the history of ethnic cleansing during the war between 1991 and 1995, and systematic killing and displacement of minority groups in World War II.1 Without public recognition of these traumatic events, the past will remain an obstacle in the process of forging a stable and peaceful society, but also slows down the much-desired integration of Croatia into the European Union.

Overall objective

The overall objective of this project is the stimulation and empowerment of the social and individual processes of “dealing with the past” in order to improve mutual understanding in Croatia and among other post-Yugoslav countries and thereby stimulate the social transformation needed for the emergence of a stable and peaceful society.

Specific Objectives

  1. Offer a platform where victims of war and public with an interest in Croatia’s past can access the recorded interviews. This will contribute to restoring self-respect and social and individual empowerment.
  2. Affirm remembrance and truth-telling and ensure that memories are kept for the future in archival custody, in the region itself and as a digital copy in the Netherlands.
  3. Contribute to public awareness on the importance of respect for human rights, and minority rights through increasing visibility of minority narratives.
  4. Strengthen the position of Croatian institutions in the field of human rights, documentation and science and develop networks with the Netherlands and other post-Yugoslavian countries.
  5. Affirm oral history in relevant scholarly communities as a serious research tool and demonstrate that the use of state-of-the-art ICT tools, such as speech technology, can improve access to historical information


De Jong, F.M.G., van Hessen, A.J., Petrovic, T. and Scagliola, S.I. (2014) Croatian Memories; speech, meaning and emotions in a collection of interviews on experiences of war and trauma. In: Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC'14), 26-31 May 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland. ELRA

Truong, K.P. and Westerhof, G.J. and de Jong, F.M.G. and Heylen, D.K.J. (2014) An annotation scheme for sighs in spontaneous dialogue. In: Proceedings of the 15th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (INTERSPEECH 2014),September 14-18, 2014, Singapore, Singapore. pp. 228-232. International Speech Communication Association (ISCA). 

Truong, K.P. and Westerhof, G.J. and Lamers, S.M.A. and de Jong, F.M.G. (2014) Towards modeling expressed emotions in oral history interviews: Using verbal and nonverbal signals to track personal narratives. Literary and Linguistic Computing, 29 (4). pp. 621-636. 

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