The subjective experience of archival research on war orphans from World War II



The article deals with the emotional experience of researching personal records of war orphans from World War II - the wards of the “Josipovac” orphanage in Zagreb. The decision to choose the topic came from the need to analyze the vulnerability of researchers conducting archival data research about traumatic experiences. The idea behind the article stems from the nostalgia and sadness that the researcher felt during and after reading “Remembering of Home”, a section in the admission sheets of war orphans that wasn’t included initially, but was arbitrarily added by the “Jospiovac” caretakers. It is interesting to point out that the factual data from their biographies recorded in these predefined sections did not elicit a significant emotional response from the researcher. In fact, she was almost indifferent to them. Analyzing her experiences in the context of the theories of bibliotherapy, it was established that archival research on war trauma can cause overwhelmingly uncomfortable feelings for those conducting the research. In bioethical literature, the importance of showing understanding and compassion towards research participants who have experienced a traumatic event is often emphasized. Since the issue of empathizing with the ones conducting the research is rarely a theme in these works, it ought to be discussed in greater detail within the context of the principle of bioethical sensibility.
Keywords: archival research, war orphans, “Josipovac” orphanage, nostalgia, bioethical sensibility.





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