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Current Research


Children of the Enemy”: Narrative Constructions of Identity Following Wartime Rape and Transgenerational Trauma in Post-WWII Germany and Post-Conflict  Bosnia

Agatha Schwartz (principal investigator), co-investigators Mythili Rajiva, Christabelle Sethna (University of Ottawa) and Tatjana Takseva (St. Mary’s University)

Funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)

The purpose of our project is to collect and analyse information and stories about the consequences of the mass rape of German women in the last days and aftermath of World War II and     the rapes and forced impregnation of Bosnian women in Bosnia-Herzegovina during the 1990s war in former Yugoslavia. We seek to understand how these two episodes of mass rape affected the women, their mothering practices and how their experiences may have been passed down to the next generation(s), the children born of the rapes. Our aim is to highlight the possible effects on the children and–in the German case–grandchildren of the women survivors, but also to consider the often overlooked forms of agency of the women survivors and the children themselves. Given more recent episodes of mass rape in armed conflicts worldwide, discussing and bringing to light these issues is of great importance.

We are looking for survivors and children as well as family members of women who were affected by sexual violence in these conflicts. If you or a family member have experienced sexual violence in World War II and the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina and you would like to participate in our study in a safe, anonymous environment, we would very much appreciate your contribution.

The ethical aspects of this project have been approved by the Research Ethics Boards of the University of Ottawa and Saint Mary’s University.


Ongoing research project: “Juliane Déry: A Traveler Through Cultures and Identities”

This project explores the life and writing of Juliane Déry (1864-1899), an Austro-Hungarian writer, from the point of view of cultural hybridity, transculturality and gender.


Research Group: Central and Eastern European Studies Research Group (CEESRG)


Founder and Director. Activities organized::

  • Roundtable “From Rape Camps to FEMEN and Pussy Riots: Women, Power and Body Politics in Post-Communist Central and Eastern Europe.” November 1, 2013.  
  • Roundtable “Trauma and Memory of Wartime Rapes in Central and Eastern Europe.” March 20, 2015.
  • Participated in Cultural Memory Workshop series on February 18 and March 17, 2016..
  • Films series: in 2013-2014 on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall; in 2014-2015 to commemorate the outbreak of WWI and the end of WWII, respectively.
  • Organized and presented at 1 conference panel each in 2014 and 2015 for the Association for the Study of Nationalities annual conference at Columbia U: “Gender and Violence in a Comparative Perspective:  Central Europe and the Balkans in the 20th Century” (2014);  “Contesting the Memory of Transgenerational Trauma and Wartime Rapes in Post-WWII Germany and Post-Conflict Bosnia” (2015).
  • Organized and presented at 1 conference panel for the Canadian Women’s Studies Association annual conference 2015, University of Ottawa:  ”Wartime Rapes, Transgenerational Trauma and Agency in Post-WWII Germany and Post-Conflict Bosnia”.
  • Main applicant (team application with Mythili Rajiva, Christabelle Sethna and Tatjana Takseva) for SSHRC Insight Development Grant in 2016: “‘Children of the Enemy’: Wartime Rape, Motherhood and Transgenerational Trauma in Post-WWII Germany and Post-Conflict Bosnia.”