Chapter 1 begins the tracing of the politics of waiting in post-Soviet austerity state by situating it historically. It reveals how a particular perception of time played a role as an organising logic in the two waves of austerity in post-1991 Latvia, transforming welfare policies and the state-citizen relationship, and argues that the particularly harsh form of austerity politics as a way of tackling the 2008 economic crisis was possible because it was relying upon a familiar temporal framework of living in a delayed time. The chapter traces the temporal narratives of acceleration and patient waiting for communism in the Soviet Latvia and the similar temporality of ‘catching up with Europe’ in the post-Soviet state. The analysis in this chapter thus establishes waiting as one of the main discursive and temporal frames that necessitated, legitimated and shaped the neoliberal welfare state reconfigurations in post-Soviet Latvia.
The chapter will show how both the Soviet authorities and the leaders of independent Ukraine attempted to block real investigation and commemoration at the hamlet of Bykivnia, where the NKVD buried murdered bodies from 1939-1941. The chapter will look into how their attempts failed due to pressure from within—grave robbers and activists—and, especially, without—Germany and Poland. Following this account, details about the little-known Nazi and Soviet exhumations at the site will be examined.
In the immediate aftermath of World War II and the Holocaust, Poland was quite literally a vast Jewish cemetery. In fields, forests, by the side of roads, and in Jewish cemeteries throughout the country, the corpses of dead Jews were buried helter-skelter in mass graves, partially buried in an apparent rush, or even left unburied. Even Jews who had no intentions of remaining in postwar Poland returned to their home towns resolved to fulfill a solemn duty to give the dead a proper burial, if possible in a Jewish cemetery. Using several yizkor books, this chapter will examine the efforts of Polish Jewish survivors to exhume the corpses of their dead and then rebury them with dignity in accordance with Jewish ritual and the role of memory in depiction of this act.
The chapter will examine how forensic scientists, including anthropologists, have been exploring the potential of new methods and processes in the resolution of mass grave contexts. The introduction of DNA to contexts where these challenges exist has had some success in the Balkans and in Guatemala, two areas that have experienced brutal civil wars for a number of years. More recently, the analysis of elemental and osteometric measures on the body have demonstrated potential in attempts to re-associate remains. Ultimately however, technological developments complement extensive ante-mortem investigation and the two cannot be utilised independently if the required end result is to successfully identify victims.