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Historical overall timeline

Romanian postcard issued cca. 1918-1919 celebrating Great Romania.
Great Union of Romania


After the 1st World War, on December 1st 1918 the historical provinces inhabited by Romanians were united within the same national state. In 1990, December 1st was pronounced as National Day. On this Day people in Romania celebrate the Great National Assembly of Alba Iulia and the union of the provinces of Bessarabia, Bucovina, Transylvania, Banat, Crişana, Maramureş and Sătmar with the Kingdom of Romania.

“Baccalaureate” (diploma enabling its holder to enter University) for females in France.
“Baccalaureate” (diploma enabling its holder to enter University) for females in France.

The “Baccalaureate” was created in 1808 by Napoleon as a diploma that enabled its holder to enter University. Although it wasn’t specifying the gender of the diploma holder, it was not available to females. However, in 1919 females became eligible for Baccalaureate, which enabled them to pursue University education.

Emilio Lussu on April 17th, 1921 founded the Sardinian Action Party.
The birth of the Sardinian Action Party

During the Great War - which saw the central Empires and the Kingdom of Italy oppose together with the Entente Powers - 100,000 Sardinians out of a population of 853,000, were enrolled in the 151st and 152nd Sassari Infantry Regiments, established on a regional basis; of them, 13,602 died or were wounded, fighting as elite units in the hottest spots on the war front. At the end of the conflict, the ex-combatants gave rise to extensive debates and initiatives, putting forward proposals for autonomy to solve the serious evils that afflicted the island in a different way. Thus new political ferments were born which with Emilio Lussu led to the birth on April 17, 1921 of the Sardinian Action Party, with the symbol of the Four Moors and with the common idea of the veterans to obtain autonomy of the island.


Antonio Gramsci in 1921 is one of the founders of the Communist Party of Italy.
Antonio Gramsci and the Sardinian Question

Antonio Gramsci, politician and philosopher, in 1921 was among the founders of the Communist Party of Italy, becoming a leading exponent and secretary from 1924 to 1927. In his writings he deepened the themes of the southern question and the Sardinian question, framing the latter within the capitalist exploitation of the island by the bourgeoisie of northern Italy protected by protectionism. In addition, the Sardinian thinker had noted the Sardinian condition of an internal colony: in the newspaper the Avanti highlighted the fiscal spoliation in the face of inefficient services, the starvation wages paid to the miners in the face of the profits made by the mining companies. Sardinia at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is not in fact an economically strategic region of united Italy, affected by the general problems of a recently annexed South and the strategy of the new unitary state to give priority to the development of the industrial triangle of Northern Italy (Turin- Milan- Genoa). Weak modernization and trade conflicts with other European countries, especially with France, brought the productive and social structure of the island to its knees. Under the pressure of the new socialist ideas, the working masses organized themselves into trade union leagues, giving rise to the first strikes. On 4 September 1904 in Buggerru, a mining center in the Iglesiente area, the army fired at the miners who were on strike demanding better working conditions: three workers were killed while eleven were wounded. In 1906 the riots against the high cost of living in various mining centers (Gonnesa, Nebida) and Cagliari were repressed in blood. On 11 May 2020 in Iglesias the carabinieri fired at a union demonstration by miners: seven dead.


March on Rome (October 28, 1922).
The rise of fascism in Italy – March on Rome

After the First World War, the Italian domestic situation was precarious: the state coffers were almost empty, also because the lira had lost much of its value during the conflict. In this context, on March 23, 1919, Benito Mussolini founded in Milan the first fascio di combattimento, a movement that expressed the will to "transform, if it will be inevitable with revolutionary methods, the Italian life", calling itself a party of order and gaining the trust of the wealthier and conservative classes, contrary to any agitation and trade union claims that characterized the two-year red Italian. On October 28, 1922, about 50,000 black shirts headed to the capital claiming from the sovereign the political leadership of the Kingdom of Italy and threatening, otherwise, the seizure of power by violence. Two days later the king appointed Mussolini to form the new government. The March on Rome was celebrated in the following years as the prologue of the “fascist revolution” and its anniversary became the benchmark for the counting of years according to the fascist era.


Grazia Deledda: scrittice (quasi) per istinito
The cultural avant-garde and the Nobel Prize for Literature (Sardinia / Italy)

The avant-garde of the island's culture and the working masses found themselves together in the denunciation of the evils that afflicted Sardinia. The new cultural vivacity that was emerging in the Giolittian age rediscovered and recounted Sardinian life through artists and writers such as Sebastiano Satta, Francesco Ciusa and Grazia Deledda, without forgetting to highlight the deep links between the underdevelopment of the island and the emerging continental capitalism. In 1926 the Sardinian writer Grazia Deledda received the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Hitler at the Reichsparteitag 1937;
The rise of fascism in Germany

When Hitler came to power in 1933, Germany began the process of abolishing democracy and implementing National Socialist fascism as a racist and anti-Semitic ideology. Violent will to power, glorification of militarism and mass mobilization through propaganda led to the establishment of a totalitarian dictatorship centered on Hitler as its leader. The desire for territorial expansion and the plan to achieve political and military supremacy in Europe led to World War II in 1939 with the invasion of Poland. This resulted in more than 60 million deaths, the destruction of large parts of Europe, the flight and expulsion of millions of people and ended in 1945 with the capitulation of Hitler's Germany.

This event affected the lives of our interviewees Eugen P., Gebhard R. and Rose v. S. from Germany.


King Aleksandar and French minister of Foreign Affairs Monsieur Louis Barteau,  moments before assassination;
Assassination of the King Alexander I of Yugoslavia

King Aleksandar I, also called Aleksandar The Unifier, was deeply engaged in promoting and establishing unity of southern Slavs within the state formed after the 1st World War – Yugoslavia. Dedication of King Aleksandar to implementation of the idea of Southern Slav’s unity targeted him as an enemy of those who argued for separate state of Croatia and conjunction of Macedonia and Bulgaria. On the other hand, his policy and actions gained him popularity among people. His assassination in Marseille shook the country and he was deeply mourned by people all over Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Allegedly, King’s last words were “Take care of Yugoslavia for me!”. These words were later used to promote unity within Yugoslav state. According to (also un-verified) French sources, King’s last words were “Keep friendship of Yugoslavs and French!”, which was also a marker of French-Serbian (Yugoslavian) relations in following decades up to present days.

Our senior interviewees Luka and Gvozdena from Serbia were born in Kingdom of Yugoslavia.


Journal "Le Populaire", n° 4831, 4 mai 1936.
“Popular Front”: left-wing coalition introduced 40 hours of work per week and paid holidays France

Coalition which governed France from May 1936 to April 1938 brought together socialists, communists, and the Radical party, as well as unions and intellectual movements, in order to fight against the rise of Nazism and Fascism, following the crises caused by the great depression. This Coalition in laws introduced 40 hours of work per week and paid holidays.

Carbonia 1938  Antonella Sanna. La vitta mineraria di Carbonia ‖ archphoto
Fascism in Sardinia: the foundation of Carbonia

Since its birth, Fascism had understood that democracy was developed through self-government and self-administration, for this reason local autonomies were immediately repressed. Political freedoms were also suppressed, in 1926 the Sardinian Action Party was dissolved and Lussu himself was arrested and sent to confinement in the Aeolian Islands. With the so-called "Legge del Miliardo" (Billion Law) of 1924, which allocated one billion liras for the development of Sardinia, a series of infrastructures and public works (roads, hospitals, railways, ports, etc.) were carried out; subsequently, important works of land reclamation of numerous marshes were started (in particular in the Nurra and in the Terralba plain) and the policy of self-sufficiency was encouraged through the increase of mining activities. The Santa Chiara dam (1924-1925) on the Tirso river, which gave life to the Omodeo lake, and the dam on the Coghinas (1927) were built. A number of towns were founded, such as the mining town of Carbonia (1938), the largest of all the towns founded by the Fascists, and the agricultural towns of Arborea (1928) and Fertilia (1936).


Frenchmen, members of the Resistance movement in the Huelgoat Region; Author: Moreau.henri;
France entering the 2nd World War 

France entered 2nd World War on September 3rd 1939 by declaring war to Germany after Germany invaded Poland. On September 7th France began Saar Offensive but by mid-October the French withdrawn to their start positions. On May 10th 1940 Germans started the offensive knowns as Battle of France or the Fall of France. On June 10th French government moved to Bordeaux (then Vichy), followed by thousands of French people. General De Gaulle, with a few persons, left for London. On June 23rd Hitler led German parade in occupied Paris.
General De Gaulle, on June 18th 1940, radioed a message to all French people, calling on them to refuse to surrender and to continue the fight against Germany: it will be the French Resistance, both tormented and painful, that contributed to the Allied victory.
During the occupation Germans imposed anti-Semitic policy in France. Dozens of thousands of Jews were taken to the concentration camps – Dachau, Auschwitz and others. Also, thousands of French patriots were captured and taken to concentration camps. Germans imposed the compulsory labor service (STO) forcing dozens of thousands French workers to participate in German war efforts.
France also suffered terrible consequences of the War, global chaos in which Europe was epicenter: movement of people, waves of refugees from Eastern European countries that were occupied by Soviet Union; political, ideological, economic, societal and family upheavals.   


Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler;
Italy in the Second World War (1940-1945)

On June 10, 1940 Italy entered the Second World War as an ally of Germany against France and the United Kingdom. In 1941 war was declared against the Soviet Union and with the Japanese Empire against the United States of America. Mussolini, comforted by the overwhelming successes of Adolf Hitler's Germany, believed in a victorious blitzkrieg of the German ally. In December 1942 the first heavy defeats began, followed by the retreat. The military defeats caused in Italy various strikes and a decrease of consensus towards the regime. On July 24, 1943 met the Great Council of Fascism, Mussolini was challenged and the following morning arrested. On September 8 was made public the armistice with the Allies and the German reaction was the military occupation of most of Italy, the capture of many Italian soldiers and the liberation of Mussolini on September 12, placed at the head of the Italian Social Republic (RSI), in fact subordinate to the Germans. The country found itself divided in two with the Kingdom of the South on the side of the Allies against Germany and the RSI.


Map of divided Romania.  Author: Anton Gutsunaev;
The Great Romania is divided (year of territorial dismemberment)

With the annexation of Basarabia and Northern Bukovina by the USSR, Northern Transylvania by Hungary and the Cadrilateral by Bulgaria in June-September 1940, previously Great Romania was divided, losing over a third of its area and total population.

Yugoslav Court on April 6th 1941; Аuthor of the photo: Bundesarchiv, B 145 Bild-F016226-0005A / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 de,
Bombardment of Belgrade on April 6th 1941 – the beginning of the 2nd World War in Yugoslavia

Following the months of German pressure, on March 25th Yugoslav government leaded by Cvetković and Maček signed Tripartite Pact leaded by Hitler’s Germany. On the next day Yugoslav Army officers leaded by General Dušan Simović and Government’s vice President Academic Slobodan Jovanović organized coup d’état that was made in early hours on March 27th. Soon after people learned about the coup and went on the streets of Belgrade to protest against Government that signed the shameful Pact. During the massive demonstrations in Belgrade, citizens leaded by students shouted: “Better war than the Pact!”, “Better to die than to be a slave!” Revolted by the coup and the reaction of Belgrade citizens, Hitler ordered the bombardment of Yugoslav capital Belgrade naming it “Operation Retribution” (ger. Unternhmen Strafgericht). The bombardment begun early in the morning of April 6th and lasted throughout April 7th. As Yugoslav Army resisted, bombardment was repeated on April 11th and 12th. According to data provided by occupation authorities, 2.271 persons were killed during the bombardment but other sources mention 5.000 to 10.000 fatalities. Many houses and buildings in Belgrade were destroyed including the building of the National Library that treasured thousands of books and manuscripts important for Serbian and Yugoslav history and culture. Eventually, Yugoslav government signed capitulation, Prince Paul who ruled as guardian of under-aged King Peter II, together with the rest of Royal Family, exiled to London. April 6th is still commemorated as the date when the 2nd World War begun in Yugoslavia lasting until 1945.


Jews of Iași being rounded up and arrested during the pogrom.
Holocaust in Romania

Romanian collaborators of Nazi Germany implemented antisemitic policy. During Romania's collaboration with Nazi Germany, between 270.000 and 300.000 Jews were killed in Holocaust in the territories administered by the Romanians. 




Refugees from the East, Berlin, February 1945;,_Berlin,_Fl%C3%BCchtlinge_aus_dem_Osten.jpg
Flight and expulsion of Germans

One of the consequences of the Second World War was the flight and expulsion of about 12 - 14 million Germans from the eastern territories such as East Prussia and the Sudetenland. They had to be accommodated and supplied in the various occupation zones - this led to great tensions and economic problems. Flight and expulsion lasted until 1949 but the integration of the expulsed Germans was a longer process, but it was cushioned by the “Economic miracle” that begun in 1946. Politically, it led to lengthy disputes and the process of coming to terms with this has not yet been completed.

This event affected the lives of our interviewees Rüdiger M., Erika B. and Elsa K. from Germany


General Charles de Gaulle addressing crowds in Chartres, France, 24 August 1944.,_France,_24_August_1944._BU6.jpg
Ordinances creating the Social Security system and the gender equality in France

France is based on a Republican Social Contract - which has its origin in the French Revolution of 1789 and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen. All French laws, from then on, will derive from this Republican Social Contract.
Ordinance of de Gaulle on April 21, 1944, on the organization of public powers in France, after the liberation introduced specific rules for the justice of minors, their protection and education. Accordingly, civic equality of men and women was promoted. Women got the right to vote.

Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia coat of arms.
Formation of republican Yugoslavia

After the 2nd World War ended in 1945 Democratic Federal Yugoslavia was founded on the basis of republican governance. On January 31st 1946 General Assembly of Democratic Federal Yugoslavia adopted the first Constitution that established Federal Peoples’ Republic of Yugoslavia. State consisting of six republics: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia. Constitution followed the USSR model and governance was based on so called democratic centralism. Later on, in 1963, on the basis of the progress made in rebuilding the country and development of socialist society Constitution was changed and country became Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. SFR Yugoslavia disintegrated in wars during the 1990s.


Colonists in Vojvodina Province. Courtesy of National Museum Pančevo
Colonization of Vojvodina Province in Serbia

After the 2nd World War ended 300.000 Germans known as “Folksdeutchers” left the Province of Vojvodina on the North of Serbia. Soon after “Law on agrarian reforms” was adopted. Just 15 days after the adoption of this Law began the largest (voluntarly) migration in the Balkans’ recent history - colonization of people from all Yugoslav republics and the Province Kosovo and Metohija. Up to 1948 altogether 250.000 people came to start the new life in frutile Vojvodina plains. Amon them 75% were Serbs, 18% were Montenegrians, 5% were Macedionians, 3% were Croats, 1% were Slovenians and 1% were Muslims. Colonists brought their customs and life-styles shaping Vojvodina Province as vibrant multicultural region. Altogether, this process shaped the Province of Vojvodina as unique multicultural region with still vivid diversity of lifestyles. 

Our senior interviewee Đorđe from Serbia moved with his family from Croatia when he was 7 years old, whereas our senior interviewee Jan is Slovak native in Vojvodina Bačka Region.


Visit of Todor Jivkov and Anton Yugov in Shumen, June 18, 1958.
Policy and Pension System during the communist regime from 1945 in Bulgaria

The communist regime in Bulgaria in 1945 was characterized by nationalization - the forcible seizure of property and valuables of wealthy citizens, factory owners and families close to the royal family. In the next years numerous laws and acts were adopted that significantly affected the social and pension systems. Three changes were made to the money, under which most of the savings were confiscated. The national authorities (“People's government”) also nationalized all mutual funds, equity and various other funds. In June 1945, an Ordinance on the National Pensions Act was adopted, according to which only victims of the fight against fascism were entitled to a pension. Until 1951, only the Social Security Fund remained unaffected by the activities of the people's government, in which the contributions to the health and pensions of physically and intellectually employed and to a lesser extent of the traders and craftsmen were paid and accumulated for nearly 30 years. In 1951, the Social Security Act was replaced by Title III of the Labour Code. The system of fund insurance was liquidated, all insurance funds were nationalized, and their funds were transferred to the state budget. This fund was liquidated against the obligation to pay social security contributions and payment of pensions from the State budget as compensation. In practice, there was no such compensation because, meanwhile, the Pensions Act was voted in 1958 and later the General Income Tax Act. The Pensions Act regulated the pension provision of employees, farmers, members of labour cooperatives, cultural workers and lawyers. The amount withdrawn from the fund was not announced officially. During communism, the retirement age was 55 for women and 60 for men, and a number of occupations provided for the early retirement of 45 years - military, miners, police, etc.


Agricultural compex “Byalo more”
Change of regime and socio-economic issues in Bulgaria

         The monarchy is abolished in referendum and Bulgaria becomes a People's Republic. The Communist Party wins the election. Next year, in 1947 a new constitution along Soviet lines established one-party state. The Bulgarian communist party imposes a totalitarian regime and nationalizes economy and industry sectors, while the land is united in cooperatives. The cooperative farms were established in the fashion of Soviet kolhozy on most arable land. The cooperative and state farms later merged into large state and collective units. These were further consolidated in 1970–71 into even larger groupings, called agro-industrial complexes that took advantage of integrated systems of automation, supply, and marketing. 

From 1946 until 1990, the daily life in Bulgaria was outwardly dominated by the socialist political system. A network of mass organization, controlled by the state and the Communist Party, attempted to penetrate every sphere of private life. The state sought to inculcate a new mode of thinking and manner of action based above all on the need for and benefit of social labor. Beneath the surface, however, daily life long has been dominated by a much older tradition and cultural legacy. For example, the Bulgarian family kept many of its traditional forms of organization. Many households consist of an extended family comprising parents and one of their married sons – usually the youngest – or daughters. 

Youth Working Action – construction of the highway in 1959. Courtesy of the Museum of Yugoslavia.
Youth Working Actions Yugoslavia

In 1946 Yugoslav government developed a concept to rebuild infrastructure devastated in the 2nd World War – Youth Working Actions. First Action was organized in the same year with a task to build 92 kilometres long railway section Brčko – Banovići (Bosnia). Section was built for seven months by 60000 young activists from all over Yugoslavia and 1000 young activists from other countries. Youth Working Actions were organized by the late 1960s/early 1970s.

Our senior interviewee Zoki the Bodybuilder from Serbia, when he was 18, took part in one Youth Working Actions and said that the experience shaped him as a person.

Front page of the newspaper “L'Unione Sarda” declaring the victory of the republican vote. AccaddeOggi: il 2 giugno 1946 nasce la Republica Italiana – L’Unione
Republican Italy and the end of the monarchy

On June 2nd and 3rd 1946 in Italy Institutional referendum was held. Italians chose to change the form of state government from monarchy to Republic and elected delegates to the Constituent Assembly. Also, women in Italy got the right to vote. On January 1st 1948 the Constitution of the Italian Republic came into force. 



The extent of the French Empire between 1919 and 1939. Author: Rosss
French decolonization

War in Indochina from 1946 until 1954 resulted by the independence of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, up to then French colonies. 
In 1956 France granted independence to its former colonies Morocco and Tunisia, which became independent states.
Following the Algerian War from 1954 until 1962, remaining Maghreb colony, Algeria, became independent state of Algeria.
From 158 up to 1960 France granted independence to Madagascar and other African countries that were French colonies.


Abdication of King Mihail I of Romania. Romania becomes a Republic.
Abdication of King Mihail I of Romania. Romania becomes a Republic

Violating the Romanian Constitution that was in force at the time, Romanian communists by the end of 1947 forced King Mihai I of Romania to abdicate. On December 30th 1947, Romanian communists supported by Soviet military occupiers launched the coup d’état. During this illegal, forceful action, the King Mihai was threatened that if he does not abdicate, 1000 young prisoners will be shot. On January 3rd1948, King signed the act of abdication. Royal family was exiled, and they were not allowed to return to Romania up to 1997. Following the coup d’état, Romanian People's Republic was pronounced. In following decades, December 30th was celebrated as Republic’s Day


Logo of US European Recovery Program;
Renewal of Post-War Europe / Marshall Plan for Europe (known as “Economic miracle” in Germany and Italy or “The glorious 30” in France)

During the 2nd World War Europe was completely devastated. Millions of people were killed or injured, including the atrocities of Holocaust. Towns and cities were destroyed, whereas infrastructure over the continent was severely damaged. From 1946 European states started the actions to rebuild their countries. In 1948 US government launched European Recovery Program aimed to provide aid to European countries. Program was created by U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall, hence the program became known as Marshall Plan. For 4 years, from 1948 until 1952 US government allocated $15 billion to help finance rebuilding efforts on the continent in Western Europe (e.g. Germany, France, Great Britain and Italy). Eastern European countries were also offered to take part in the program but, being under the strong control od USSR, they refused to take part. Yugoslavia in 1948 departed from the USSR communism model and President Tito requested the aid of the US government. US president Truman granted the aid in money and food (hence the elderly persons in Serbia who were growing up in early 1950s still refer to the era as “Truman eggs”). However, Yugoslavia refused to follow through the Marshall Plan and opted for complete independence from the blocks (which led to the creation of Non-Aligned States Movement).   
Marshall Plan is often cited as a cause of the Cold War. The Marshall Plan is also considered a key catalyst for the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a military alliance between North American and European countries established in 1949. All Western European countries (e.g. Italy, Germany and Fance) became members of NATO.
Era from 1946, when European states begun rebuilding helped via Marshall Plan, up to early 1970’s is referred in Italy and Germany as period of “Economic miracle”, whereas French people use the term “Glorious 30”. In Italy, aid provided by the Marshall’s Plan contributed the growth of Gross Domestic Product by 6.3%, a record in the history of the country, while the per capita income went from 350,000 to 571,000 liras; between 1958 and 1959 gross investments grew by 10% and between 1961 and 1962 the increase was 13%. These numbers significantly reduced the historical gap with developed European countries such as England, Germany, and France.

5th Congress of Yugoslav Communist Party addressing Informbureau Resolution from 1948. Courtesy of The Museum of Yugoslavia
Tito said “No” to Stalin (Yugoslavia departs Eastern Block)

During the 1948 Communist Party of Yugoslavia, that ruled the country, departed from the USSR model of socialism. Alliance of communist parties in Europe (known as Informbureau) at the conference in Bucharest (Romania) in 1948 condemned Yugoslav Communist Party. The event is colloquially known as “When Tito said No to Stalin” and it marked the opening of Yugoslavia to the West. By July 1948 Yugoslav government signed the agreement with the USA government on the financial aid and the aid in food. Later is the reason why many seniors that were growing at the beginning of the 1950s refer to the time using the term “Truman’s eggs” (help in food included powder eggs which was previously unknown to Yugoslav people). Although Yugoslavia and the US signed the aid agreement, Yugoslavia decided not to be part of so-called “Marshall Plan” (Program of US aid to the renewal of Europe named after its creator US Secretary Mr. George Marshall). Decision to remain state that is independent in the division of Western and Eastern blocks pathed Non-Aligned States movement. Yugoslav openness to the West in late 1960s enabled bilateral agreements between Yugoslavia and Western European countries for temporary employment of Yugoslav citizens in these countries.


De Gasperi at the polling station 18 aprile 1948. Le prime elezioni politiche in Italia – Archivo Storico Institute Luce
The first republican political elections in Italy

      The Italian political elections of 1948 for the renewal of the two branches of the Italian Parliament - the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic - were held on Sunday April 18th and Monday April 19th 1948. The Christian Democrats won the relative majority of votes and the absolute majority of seats, a unique case in the history of the Republic. This extraordinary success made the party led by Alcide De Gasperi the reference point for the anti-communist electorate and the main Italian party for almost fifty years. The Cold War that had just exploded and the division of the world into spheres of influence had a great impact on the Italian elections. 


The Regions with a special statute and the Sardinian Statute

With the conclusion of the Second World War and the entry into force of the Republican Constitution, on January 31st , 1948, the Special Statute of the Autonomous Region of Sardinia was promulgated. In Italy the need to grant particular forms of autonomy to some territories was created immediately after the end of the Second World War. In some of the special regions such as Valle d'Aosta, Trentino-Alto Adige, Friuli Venezia Giulia and Sardinia there were linguistic minorities who spoke languages other than Italian (for example French in Valle d'Aosta, German and Ladin in Trentino-Alto Adige, Slovenian and Friulian in Friuli Venezia Giulia, Sardinian in Sardinia) and also in Sardinia and Sicily there were strong separatist movements. In the case of Sardinia, the special conditions of autonomy were the recognition of a strongly characterized historical, geographical, social, ethnic and linguistic situation.


Berlin air bridge, 1949.
Division of Germany into Eastern and Western marking the division of Europe

The Potsdam Conference from July 17th to August 2nd 1945 sets the framework for further Allied cooperation. The conflicts within the anti-Hitler coalition, however, quickly become more and more acute. The three Western powers on the one hand and the USSR on the other are each going their own ways in their respective zones, leading to the emergence of two German states in 1949. One of the decisive factors is the inclusion of the Western zones in the Marshall Plan, through which the USA promotes Germany’s integration into the West by providing massive economic aid. An important element is the monetary union, which comes into force on June 20th 1948. The Soviet Union then completely sealed off Berlin. This is followed by months of supply to the city by the Western Allies’ airlift. On May 23rd 1949, the Federal Republic of Germany was founded as a Democratic West German state with tied to the West. On October 7th the socialist GDR is founded as an East German state with ties to the East. The division of Germany marked decades long division of Europe.


First regional elections in Sardinia (1949) 

The first regional elections in Sardinia took place on 8 and 9 May 1949. These elections were important because they marked the resumption of democratic life, after the twenty-year parenthesis of fascism. The turnout was 85.1% for a total of 589,385 voters. 





Evolution - of the net average wage of full-time employees and - of the monthly net minimum wage in the graph from 1951 to 2016 in France. Author: Hippo75
Guaranteed minimum inter-professional wage (SMIG) in France

Following the process of social negotiations, Unions in France and French government agreed on guaranteed minimum inter-professional wage, called SMIG - Salaire Minimum Interprofessionnel Garanti. The minimum wage was established by the law of February 11th 1950, with entry into force on the following August 23rd. After twelve years of wage freeze, the minimum wage once again allows the free negotiation of collective agreements. While simultaneously proceeding with the liberalization of wages, the law proposes that the Higher Commission for Collective Agreements is responsible for the composition of a standard budget used to determine the guaranteed national inter-professional minimum wage. Intended to revive consumption and fight against poverty, this basic salary is then established by the government: for a working period of 45 hours per week, it is 78 francs per hour in the Paris area (in the provinces , the hourly rate is lower), which gives as a weekly salary 3,510 francs (the pay is still done by the week) and as a monthly basis over twelve months an average of 15,210 francs, still in the Paris zone.


Combating malaria on Sardinia island Quando la malaria uccideva in Sardgena – L’Espresso
The "Sardinia Project" and the eradication of malaria

At the end of the Second World War, in Sardinia, malaria was widespread in almost all territories, especially in marshy areas. The Americans decided that, considering the extension of Sardinia, the reduced presence of man and the very insularity of the territory, this Italian region could be the definitive test bed for a successful experimentation of the use of the DDT insecticide. on a large scale. After the "conditional peace" in Europe, the American plan in fact provided for the establishment of military bases even in the most tropical regions of the planet plagued by malaria (specific islands just removed from Japan, Sub-Saharan Africa, South America). With the financial support of the Rockefeller Foundation, the “Sardina Project” was started and in 1946 the regional body for the fight against anophelic in Sardinia (in acronym ERLAAS) was established. The activity of the institution was marked by a dramatic tragedy. On 26 June 1950 a group of 17 ERLAAS employees left Gonnesa on a truck that took them to San Giovanni Suergiu, when a frightening accident occurred at the entrance to Carbonia. The truck overturned and 16 workers died in the accident. The institution ceased its existence on 31 December 1950 with the definitive victory over malaria on the island. Eleven million liters of DDT were sprayed.


Ship construction at the "Georgi Dimitrov" shipyard in Varna.
Period of Industrialization in Bulgaria

The Communist party leader and later a prime minister, Valko Chervenkov started a process of rapid industrialization modelled after the Soviet industrialization led by Stalin in the 1930s. In the following six years dozens of dams and hydroelectric powerplants, chemical works, gold and copper mines and many others were constructed. The war-time coupon system was abolished, and healthcare and education were government provided. All this was achieved with strict government control and organization. Labor came from prisoner brigades and the Bulgarian Brigadier Movement – a youth labor movement where young people worked on construction projects. c.f. Youth Working Actions in Yugoslavia.


Author: Драган Цветковић Ниш
Basic Law on State economy companies and higher economy organizations formed by workers’ collectives Yugoslavia

General Assembly of FPR Yugoslavia adopted “Basic Law on State economy companies and higher economy organizations formed by workers’ collectives”. This Law enforced self-governance of workers in the companies. Workers’ Councils were recognized as bodies in charge to make decisions about managing production and distribution of revenues though Party still strongly influenced organization and operations of companies. Workers’ Councils and workers’ self-governance are the core of the concept that was alternative to Stalin’s concept of centralized governance and state ownership of public resources. When in 1953 Constitutional Law that amended 1946 Constitution was adopted, self-governance was established as the basic model for social and economic governance. All over Yugoslavia factories were opened.

 Establishing of self-governance system was directly addressed by four of our seniors / interviewees: Ivica, Jan, Đorđe and Gale from Serbia


Eurpopean Parliament Strasbourg Hemicycle
Unification of Europe

The realization that excessive nationalism, among other things, was the main cause of armed conflicts in Europe led in the 1950s to the first concrete plans for a peaceful coexistence - initially on an economic basis - of several European states. In 1951 Western European countries founded the European Coal and Steel Community. Then, in 1957 six states (Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and the Federal Republic of Germany) merged and signed the Treaty of Rome founding document of the European Economic Community (EEC). In 1995 the participating states committed themselves to the abolition of border controls (Schengen Agreement). The EEC was merged into the EU (European Union) in 1993 by signing the Maastricht Treaty. Since then, the common internal market has been achieved: free movement of goods, services, persons and capital. In 1999 the currency named Euro was officially accepted by 11 member states who agreed to fully transfer their economies into Euro currency in 2002. As several Eastern European states decided to accept principles of EU, number of states that joined EU increased. Currently, the EU has 27 member states.

These events affected the lives of our interviewees Rose v. S., Rüdiger M., Ivo G., Elsa K. and Hanne K. from Germany


“The Stoianov family in the snows of Bărăgan (Schei, 1954)” Source: Memorial to the Victims of Communism and Resistance, Civic Academy Foundation, Sighetu Marmatiei
Bărăgan deportations in Romania

On the night of June 17th and 18th, 1951, on Pentecost, the communist regime deported 44,000 people from Western Romania to the Bărăgan plain, an underdeveloped and very sparsely populated area. The deportations to Bărăgan were an extensive act of political persecution undertaken since 1951 by the communist regime in Romania. Regime forcibly relocated the population living within a radius of about 25 km from the border with Yugoslavia, in the counties of Timiş, Caraş-Severin and Mehedinti in the Bărăgan Plain. In 1956, the deportees returned to their birthplaces. The border between Romania and Yugoslavia became a sensitive area for Bucharest, after the relations deteriorated when “Tito said “No” to Stalin”. The ethnic minorities present there, especially in the Banat, were considered "elements with a heightened risk factor". Among the targets were farmers with large holdings (known as chiaburi), wealthy landowners, industrialists, innkeepers and restaurant owners, Bessarabian and Macedonian refugees, Titoist sympathizers, political and civic rights activists etc.

The father of the senior interviewee Monica C. was deported to Baragan.


Compulsory old-age insurance for the agricultural system in France

Agricultural system in France was improved when The Law of July 10th introduced compulsory old age insurance for farmers. In such way farmers were introduced in the frame of social security system. 





Antimilitarist murals. Cosi la Sardegna continua nella sua lotta antimilitarista – Lettera43
The military occupation of Sardinia

Since the 1950s, NATO has assigned the island the role of training platform and the placement of various military installations linked to the events of the Cold War and Italy's alliance with NATO. In 1952, as part of the bilateral "Mutual Security" Agreement, the United States claimed positions on Italian territory. At the same time, the three large training bases of Teulada, Salto di Quirra and Decimomannu - Capo Frasca were born in Sardinia. Although 2.5% of the Italian population lives on the island, 60% of NATO and Italian military installations are still located in Sardinia, including over 35,000 hectares used for the use of experimental weapons in which 80 are detonated. % of bombs for military use in Italy.


A German family on their way to Italy in the early 60s. Photographer: private by Horst Buchmann
One millionth Beetle / Guest worker recruitment agreement in Germany

The prerequisite for the economic miracle was a currency reform with the introduction of the German mark. In addition, economic aid was provided through the Marshall Plan. The success in economic recovery that began in 1948 and lasted until 1973 is often referred to as an “Economic miracle” period. In Germany. A symbol for the successful recovery of the German economy was the production of the one millionth VW Beetle in August 1955 ("And runs and runs and runs") In that year the economy grew by 10.5%. Since the demand for labor increased considerably, also in 1955 Germany and Italy concluded bilateral recruitment agreement. This brought “guest workers” into the country to support the domestic economy. At the end of the 1950s travelling to Italy boomed which was reflected in the record industry with songs like "Zwei kleine Italiener" (Cornelia Froboess).

These events affected the life of our interviewee Paolo V. living in Germany, originally from Italy.


Hungarian upspring, 1956; Photographer: Jack Metzger;,_1956_(Com_M05-0448-0029).jpg
Hungarian up-rise

Whether farmers, students, priests or soldiers, in the fall of 1956, the Hungarians raised to banish the Soviet occupiers out of their country. On November 4th, Soviet tank units entered Hungary. They brutally crush the uprising in Budapest. Officially, 2.500 Hungarians and more than 700 Soviet soldiers are killed. Unofficially, there were more than 20,000 victims. Mass exodus of Hungarians followed. More than 200,000 Hungarians fled from their homeland to the West. Almost half of them never returned.

This event affected the lives of our interviewees Rose v. S., Ivo G. and Elsa K. from Germany.

Anti-Soviet protest in Timisoara. Memorial room.
Anti-Soviet protests in Timisoara (Romania)

Thousands of youths from Timisoara protested against the Soviet military troops in Romania. Students begin to speak openly about the falsity of communist leaders, media censorship and the country's subordination to the Soviet Union. In Timisoara, thousands of young people shouted: “Out with the Russians in the country!” and “We want freedom!” They demanded the elimination of Russian language and Marxism from the school curriculum. The army surrounds the campus and detains hundreds of young people. Protest leaders are being picked up one by one by the militia. The regime struggled to stifle protests.
Nicolae Ceausescu demanded that from that point on any student critical of the regime is to be expelled. Two years after, in 1958, the Soviet Union withdrew its troops, 25.000 Russian soldiers, from the Romanian territory.


Elderly woman and man in France
Creation of minimum pension for old age in France

The minimum old age is a French social benefit paid without matching contributions, created in 1956. Its objective is to provide additional resources to bring the income of elderly people with low means of subsistence to the level of the minimum old age.





Source: Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia.
General Law on Education Yugoslavia

The General Law on Education in Yugoslavia was adopted with a major goal to increase literacy of Yugoslav people. Elementary education lasting 8 years (first 4 years is grammar schools, 1st level of education, whereas second 4 years are middle school or the 2nd level of education). Children were starting school at the age of 7. Secondary schooling was optional lasting 2 (3rd level of education) or 3 years (4th level of education) in vocational schools; or 4 years for general education schools known as gymnasiums (5th level of education). Young people could choose to continue their education in high schools lasting 2 years (6th level of education) or at University lasting 4 years (7th level of education) receiving bachelors’ degree. Further on, they could pursue magister and doctoral degrees. Except changes at universities due to Bologna Declaration system, lower levels of education are nowadays still organized within described frame.
1958 Law on Education also established the system of adult education. 


Building of the Berlin Wall, 1961. Construction of the Wall on August 13, 1961: From one day to the next, families and friends were separated from each other.,_Berlin,_Mauerbau,_Bauarbeiten.jpg
Building the Berlin Wall

To stop emigration from the GDR, the GDR leadership closed the border between East and West Berlin. The Berlin Wall is built. Between 1945 and 1961, around 3.5 million people leave the GDR. By 1989 at least 136 people had lost their lives at the Wall. At Potsdamer Platz, the border fortifications were 500 meters wide, including death stripes, watching towers and a hinterland wall. 155 kilometers of wall separated West and East Berlin.



1st Summit of Non-Aligned States in Belgrade, 1961. Courtesy of The Archives of Yugoslavia
1st Summit of Non-Aligned States in Belgrade (Serbia / Yugoslavia)

At the conference held in 1955 in Indonesian City of Bandung that gathered chefs and prime ministers of mainly African and Asian states (that just became independent), among most active participants was Yugoslav president Josip Broz Tito. Together with Egyptian president Nasser and Indian Prime minister Nehru, Tito initiated the idea of Non-Aligned Movement. In the following year, 1956, Tito, Nasser and Nehru met in Yugoslavia, on the island Brioni, and elaborated conclusions of Bandung Conference emphasizing that division of the Blocks causes threats to international peace. Non-Aligned Sates as a Movement that gathered states that did not wanted to be part of Warsaw Pact (Eastern Block leaded by USSR) nor Western Block (leaded by USA) was officially inaugurated at the First Summit of Non-Aligned States held from September 1st – 6th 1961 in Yugoslav capital Belgrade. Participants were heads of states and/or prime ministers of 25 states from 4 continents. The status of observers has had delegations from three South American states (Bolivia, Brazil and Ecuador). Participants adopted a Declaration in which politics of peaceful co-existence as well as importance of non-aligning states in maintaining international peace was promoted as an alternative to blocks division that made a threat to international peace. Position of Yugoslavia as an initiator of the movement marked its foreign policy. On economic level, it opened the door for Yugoslav companies to get jobs on building infrastructure especially in the Middle East and Africa.

Our senior interviewee Sylvia from Serbia worked in Yugoslav delegation within Non-Aligned States Movement as translator for Spanish language.


Common Agricultural Policy 

Launched in 1962, the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is a partnership between the agricultural sector and society, and between Europe and its farmers. Its objectives are as follows: 

  • support farmers and improve agricultural productivity, ensuring a stable supply of food at an affordable price;
  • ensuring a decent standard of living for farmers in the European Union;
  • help fight climate change and manage natural resources in a sustainable manner;
  • preserving rural areas and landscapes across the EU;
  • preserve the rural economy by promoting employment in agriculture, agribusiness and related sectors.

The CAP is a policy common to all EU countries. It is managed and financed at European level with resources from the EU budget.


Sardinia, a shepherd grazes his flocks. In the background, the chimneys of the industrial area snort Il nuovo piano di rinascita – Il Manifesto Sardoll Manifesto Sardo
The Rebirth Plans of Sardinia

In 1949 the ships with the aid of the Marshall Plan also landed on the docks of the port of Cagliari, to partially heal the still open wounds of the war. The post-war period, characterized by the eradication of malaria (thanks to the Rockefeller Foundation) and by economic demands and claims, saw the affirmation of the policy of the Renaissance Plans (Law no.588 of June 11th 1962), special legislative measures for the financing of the industrialization of Sardinia (in Porto Torres, Ottana, Portovesme and Sarroch), together with infrastructure and housing policies.


Prince Karim Aga Khan and the birth of the “Consorzio per la Costa Smeralda”. “From the stone to the stone – storia della Costa Smeralda”.  Screenshot: Youtube (open source)
The Costa Smeralda and the birth of the tourism industry in Sardinia

Starting from the 1960s, the tourism sector established itself, to the point of making Sardinia one of the best known destinations in Italy and internationally, in particular thanks to the Costa Smeralda. On March 14th 1962 the “Consortium for the Costa Smeralda” was established by decision of Prince Karim Aga Khan, an outpost of all the contradictions, positive and negative, on the relationship between tourism and territory in Sardinia.


The Santa Caterina power plant (1939-1963) carbonia-iglesias – Lost Italy
Closure of Caterina Power Plant in Carbonia

From the early 1960s the signs of the end of the coal season became stronger. In 1963 the activity of the Santa Caterina power plant was definitively interrupted. When it entered service in 1939, a year after the founding of nearby Carbonia, it was a flagship of the Kingdom of Italy. Equipped with four generators, it was able to deliver, thanks to coal, a total power of about 40 MW, sufficient to cover 55% of the electricity needs of the whole Sardinia, including the city of Cagliari.


The Great Serbariu mine in Carbonia (1937-1964) Mondo Uilcom Sardegna Museo del Carbone Grande Miniera Di Serbariu
Closure of the Great Serbariu Mine

Since 1951 entered the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), there was a progressive dismantling of the coal basin with a tendency to exodus. In the decade 1947-57 the number of workers increased from 14,000 to 5,000 units. This is the period of the struggles and strikes for the preservation of the job. In 1948 one of the longest strikes in Italian history took place in Carbonia: it lasted 72 days. The drastic reduction of mining activity in a province based on the coal mono-economy was the cause of a vast emigration from the area. The Great Serbariu mine in Carbonia remained active until 1964. In 1965 the remaining miners were hired by Enel. Sardinian coal industry suffered great crisis in the ‘70s. 


Sardinians – emigrants. Lo sapevate? 100 anni di fa anche gli emigrati sardi venivano reimbarcati per I'Isola senza cibo e né aqua ‖ Cagliari - Vistanet
The Failure of the Rebirth Plans and the Great Emigration 

In the sixties and seventies, especially following the failure of the Rebirth Plans that aimed to transform Sardinia into an industrial center, thousands of people left the island: between 1955 and 1965 there was an exodus of 400,000 Sardinians, direct mostly towards Northern Italy and Northern Europe.


BITEF Theatre building in Belgrade.
Sparrows of new political, cultural, and social perspectives in Europe and the world: Belgrade International Theatres Festival (BITEF) – New Theatrical Tendencies

As theatre is always a reflection of reality, in mid ‘60s avant-garde theatres were sparrows of rising social and civil rights movements all over the globe. Drama artists Mira Trailović and Jovan Ćirilov initiated Belgrade International Theatre Festival (BITEF). Since it was established by the decision of the City Hall of Belgrade on December 26th 1967 Festival holds the subtitle “New Tendencies in Theatre”. It connotes openness for variety of dramatic expressions and critical interpretations of processes that profoundly influenced social, cultural, economic, and political developments in the world. Throughout decades BITEF was taking theatre on the streets of Belgrade and inspired reflections onto different realities. After 53 years BITEF keeps reflecting artistic and social, individual and collective, strategies to question and cope with challenges in societies of the world by combining avant-garde, alternative dramatic expressions and “classical” theatre, being open for (local) community theatres as carriers of dialogue in conflicting societies. BITEF is a synonym for the importance of arts and culture in understanding world around us. 

In their interviews, Serbian seniors Vera, Miodrag - Gale, Jan, Dragana and Jasna were explicit in naming art as driving force of their lives in all ages.


Social security building in Rennes;
Reform of the Social security System (France)

Social Security System in France was reformed so it recognizes three branches: health, old age and family allowances. Part of the reform was establishment of three national funds: the National Health Insurance Fund for Salaried Workers (CNAMTS), the National Old Age Insurance Fund for Salaried Workers (CNAVTS), the National Fund for Employees. family allowances (CNAF). Financial management of the various branches is entrusted to the Central Agency of Social Security Bodies (ACOSS).


The invasion of tanks of the Warsaw Pact countries in Czechoslovakia;
Prague spring

In the night of August 20th – 21st, 1968, troops from five Warsaw Pact states entered the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (CSSR) to put an end to the reform initiated by the First Party Secretary of the Czechoslovakian Communist Party (KSC) Alexander Dubcek. He advocated the vision of “socialism with a human face” also known as the Prague Spring. Although the KSC condemned the invasion, it forbidden its own troops to resist. Entrance of Warsaw Pact troops triggered demonstrations in which especially the young population protests against the occupation. During the demonstrations, almost 100 people were shot dead. The ideas behind Prague spring were appealing for people all over Europe. Student across Europe protested initiating movements for better appreciation of civil rights.

This event affected the life of our interviewee Rüdiger M. from Germany.


Ceausescu condemns Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968; Screenshot: TVR 60: Discursul lui Nicolae Ceauşescu după invazia Cehoslovaciei din 1968 - YouTube
The condemnation of the invasion of Czechoslovakia Ceausescu becomes hero in Romania

On August 21st 1968, Romanian leader Ceausescu condemned Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia and became national hero. It was the first time in the history of the Warsaw Pact that one member state openly opposed the dictate from Moscow. Since then, Romania was becoming relevant actor in the international community.


Demontration for piece and justice 1968 in Bad Honnef;  Photographer: Detlef Gräfingholt.,_Bad_Honnef,_Demonstration_Unitas-Verband.jpg
Women and peace policy (Germany)

Women in Western Germany begun protesting against the Vietnam War, rigid sexual morals, and the failure to come to terms with National Socialism. In the mid-1960s, the Extra-Parliamentary Opposition (APO), which advocated social change, had formed primarily from students. The '68 movement was followed by a wave of women's movement, the peace movement and the anti-nuclear movement. 
In 1970 the first woman in a trouser suit appears at the lectern of the Bundestag. 1971 the magazine Stern starts the campaign “I had an abortion”. 1969 the paragraph 175 StGB “Fornication between men” is limited to sexual acts with young people under 21 years. In 1977 the journalist Alice Schwarzer founded the feminist magazine Emma.

These events affected the lives of our interviewees Erla S. and Hanne K. from Germany.


Yugoslav Gastarbeiters. Courtesy of The Museum of Yugoslavia.
Yugoslav guest workers in Europe

Due to reforms of economy in mid-1960s, unemployment rate in Yugoslavia was increased. As temporary solution, SFR Yugoslavia signed number of bilateral agreements, particularly with Western European countries, on temporal employment of Yugoslav citizens abroad. Yugoslav interest was to enable its citizens to work and provide incomes for themselves and their families (including state paying state taxes) whereas interest of countries that employed Yugoslav citizens was to cover-up lack of trained and educated workers. Because many citizens who decided to work, at least temporarily, in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, general reference for people who went to work abroad is German term “Gastarbeiter” (guest worker). While contributing economy of host counties influencing their cultural diversity, gastarbeiters maintained close relations with native communities making economic influx and bringing cultural influences while visiting families.

Two of our interviewed seniors, Vera and Gvozdena were also working abroad as gastarbaiters, whereas Verica’s parents were gastarbeiters in France returning in Serbia when they retired. 


Application Decree in France: Evolution of the SMIG into SMIC (Minimum Interprofessional Growth Salary)

Implementation of Salaire Minimum InterprofessionnelGaranti (SMIG) introduced 1950 was monitored throughout the years, which led to transformation into SMIC (Minimum Interprofessional Growth Salary). Transformation was introduced by Application decree, which was also revalued over the years.  


The Divorce Act in Italy

Between the spread of the first forms of youth protest and the growth of a renewed civic sense, several signs of a new change in the collective ethos appeared in the final phase of the economic miracle. In 1968 the student movement started a period of social unrest in Italy, a great season of collective action. It is the 70s. The organization of Italian society is being questioned at all levels. Politics aims at reforms, tries to contain collective protest. It is the season of civil rights. On December 1st 1970 the Divorce Law was approved in Italy. More than a century after the first parliamentary attempts, the principle of the indissolubility of marriage is revised in the light of a secular and tolerant mentality that is gradually affirming itself in the society of the second half of the 60s and which will characterize all the 70s of the movements. of civil rights. The divorce law was an important regulatory measure for Italian society but, above all, it represents a victory for women who have entered the world of work and are capable of economic autonomy that the patriarchal family did not grant.


Willy Brandt memorial plate in Warsaw 1970 Eastern policy, German Chancellor Willy Brandt kneeled down in front of the Memorial of the Jewish Ghetto;
Eastern policy, kneeling Brandt (Germany)

German Eastern policy in the period till 1989 was largely initiated by Willy Brandt, Chancellor of the FRG from 1969 to 1974. Under the motto “Change through rapprochement” it pursues the goal of easing the tension in relations, first between the two German states and later between West and East, through negotiations and treaties (“treaties with the East”) and achieving humanitarian relief. A symbolic gesture for the guilt for the German crimes of the Second World War admitted in the context of this policy is Brandt's kneeling at the Warsaw Ghetto memorial in December 1970. In 1971 Brandt was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his policy towards the East, which was the basis for a pan-European peace order and ultimately for overcoming the division of Germany.

This event affected the lives of our interviewees Ivo G. and Josef W. from Germany.


Law on equal pay for men and women in France

The Law of December 22nd 1972 adds to the Labour Code the principle of equal remuneration for women and men. The law now specifies that all employers are required to ensure, for the same work or for work of equal value, equal pay for men and women.





Crisis in France

After glorious years in which country devastated by the War was rebuilt and made significant progress, the 1970s became critical. On October 16th and 17th 1973, the Arab oil-producing countries announce an embargo on oil deliveries to states supporting Israel in the Yom Kippur War. From October to December 1973, the price of a barrel of oil increases fivefold. This is the first oil shock. Although France was not subjected to the embargo, in a televised address on November 30th 1973, Prime Minister, Mr. Pierre Messmer, announced a series of decisions to reduce energy consumption: a ban on illuminated advertising, lighting in shop windows and empty offices between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.; no television broadcasts after 11 p.m. except on Saturdays, during Sundays and public holidays heating was reduced; speed limitations for vehicles were introduced.  


Josip Broz Tito pronounces the adoption of the 1974 Constitution. Courtesy of the Museum of Yugoslavia.
Constitution of Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia

In February 1974 Yugoslav Parliament adopted new Constitution of Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia. Acknowledging social ownership of resources and companies as the basic marker of the system, State was defined as the democratic community of governing and self-governing workers. Major implications of this Constitution were: greater emphasize on confederative governance introducing SFRY Presidency consisting of presidents of the republics as major political decision-making body (though Josip Broz Tito remained President of Yugoslavia); authority of the republics to decide if they want to leave the Federation; and higher level of autonomy of provinces Vojvodina and Kosovo and Metohija (both within the Republic of Serbia). Many argue that this Constitution was an overture for disintegration of SFR Yugoslavia at the beginning of the 1990s, ten years after Josip Broz Tito died.  


Author: Roland Godefroy;
Structuring of major laws on family planning, health and disability; beginning of mass unemployment in France

From 1975 France begun structuring major laws: (Simone) Veil Law that decriminalized abortion; enabled divorce by mutual consent; Orientation law in favor of disabled people including the obligation of the State to take care of them. Regulation included hospices for disabled. According to this set of laws maturity age was reduced from 21 to 18 years of life. However, in 1975 unemployment rate in France was continuously increasing.


Earthquake in Bucharest 1977.
Earthquakes devastating Romania

On March 4th 1977 at 21:22 local time, strong earthquake hit Romania. Because of its magnitude of 7.2 degrees Richter scale it was felt throughout Balkans and it was the second most powerful earthquake recorded in Romania in the 20th century, after the November 10th 1940 seismic events. The hypocenter was situated near capital Bucharest, in the Vrancea Mountains, the most seismically active part of Romania, at a depth of 94 km. Casualties were around 1,578 dead people (1,424 dead in Bucharest), whereas more than 11,300 people were injured. About 32,900 buildings were damaged or destroyed. Immediately after the earthquake, 35,000 families were left homeless, without shelter. The economic losses are estimated as high as two billion US dollars, though the sum was not confirmed by the authorities at that time. A detailed report on the destruction the earthquake caused was never published. Most of the damage was concentrated in Romania's capital, Bucharest, where about 33 large buildings collapsed. Most of those buildings were built before World War II and were not reinforced. After the earthquake, the Romanian government imposed tougher construction standards, and would use the earthquake as a pretext to start the major demolitions campaign in Bucharest in 1982, a campaign that lasted up to 1991.     


March 8th 1977, feminist march in Cagliari
Abortion Law in Italy

On May 22nd 1978, Law no. 194 which decriminalized and regulated the procedures for accessing abortion. Before 1978, voluntary termination of pregnancy (IVG), in any form, was considered a crime by the Italian penal code. The Law 194 allows a woman to terminate the pregnancy in a public facility in the first 90 days of gestation (therefore within the third month), while it is possible to resort to abortion after (in the fourth and fifth month) only for therapeutic reasons. Despite the signing of the law, the debate did not die out: the official condemnation of the Church came in December 1978 and in 1981 a referendum was held to cancel the law. But the electorate, including Catholics, with a percentage of 68% (21,505,323 votes) against 32% of abolitionists (10,119,797) expressed themselves in favor of maintaining the law.


Josip Broz Tito’s Funeral. May 8th 1980. Courtesy of The Archives of Yugoslavia.
Yugoslav president Tito dies

On May 4th 1980 in Ljubljana (Slovenia) Yugoslav president Josip Broz Tito died at the age of 88 due to injury complications. During 35 years of his reign Tito successfully led Yugoslavia to be respectable actor in international community dedicated to promoting world peace. As his work was orientated towards stability of country’s development, Tito was well respected by Yugoslav citizens. When he died, the whole country stopped. He was mourned in the same way when the family member dies. Hundreds of thousands of people along the railway from Ljubljana to Belgrade paid their respect as so-called Blue Train passed transporting his remains. Also, hundreds of thousands of Yugoslav citizens came to Belgrade to pay their respect in the Yugoslav Parliament building. Tito was important leader in the international community and his funeral on May 8th gathered high-ranking representatives from countries all over the world regardless of their political orientations (e.g. British Prime Minister Mrs. Thatcher, USSR president Breznjev, Indira Ghandi, etc.). Altogether, 209 delegations from 128 countries showed respect for the leader and the country that played important role in maintaining stability throughout the globe. The funeral was broadcasted live by Yugoslav television and along with broadcasts of Apollo 11 mission and Coronation of Queen Elisabeth II, it was the most world-wide watched live broadcast of the 20th century.  


Nuklear Power – no thanks!; Photographer: W. Seiler.
Foundation of the Green Party / Ecological Movement (Germany)

In the 70s, the Federal Republic of Germany increasingly developed an awareness of environmental issues. This was reflected in the anti-nuclear power movement (“Nuclear power? No thanks!”) as well as in the founding of the party “Die Grünen” (“The Greens”) in 1980. The “Club of Rome” published the book “The Limits to Growth” in 1972, thereby initiating increased discussions on how to deal with the environment. The construction of a nuclear power plant in Wyhl at the Kaiserstuhl was prevented (“Naihämmergsait”) and the use of environmentally friendly materials was propagated (“jute instead of plastic”). 

The Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe led to the discussion about the phasing out of nuclear energy in Germany. The immediate consequence was the establishment of a Ministry of the Environment (Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety).

These events affected the life of our interviewee Ivo G. from Germany.

Pravetz 8 at Retro Museum in Varna;
Bulgaria “Silicon Valley" of the Eastern Bloc

Bulgaria was known as the “Silicon Valley” of the Eastern Bloc because of its large-scale computing technology exports to COMECON states (The Council for Mutual Economic Assistance - was an economic organization from 1949 to 1991 under the leadership of the Soviet Union). Bulgarian engineers developed the first Bulgarian computer, the Vitosha, as well as the Pravetz computers. During the Cold War Bulgaria produced 40% of Eastern Bloc computers and had more computers per person than almost any other country.


French President Mr. François Mitterrand in 1983; Author: Comet Photo AG (Zürich);
Social reforms in France

In 1981 French President Mr. Mitterrand initiated social reforms. During this year unions and employers negotiated and reached agreements enacted in two key laws.
Law of January 13th 1982, sat weekly working hours onto 39 hours per week. Law also prescribed 5 weeks of paid leave. In 1988 and in 2000 two laws were adopted reducing weekly working hours onto 35 hours per week.
Also, as part of negotiations unemployment insurance, unions and employers have agreed to establish a guarantee of resources which provides those who leave, from the age of 60 and on the sole condition of having been an employee for ten years, an income of up to 70%. of the last salaries. This agreement was enacted by the Law of March 26th 1982.
See also: and and 


Turks living in Madara, Bulgaria in 1937.,_Madara,_Bulgaria,_1937.JPG
Assimilation of Turks in Bulgaria

Bulgarian government began a major campaign to “Bulgarize” or assimilate the country’s ethnic Turks who inhabited Bulgaria during Ottoman rule. Measures aimed at the Turkish population, estimated to number approximately 800,000, included the discontinuation of Turkish-language publications and radio broadcasts and the requirement that Turks adopt Bulgarian names. The ethnic Turkish population, however, resisted assimilation, and clashes with the authorities continued. In 1989, when the government of Turkey offered to accept refugees from Bulgaria, more than 300,000 ethnic Turks fled or were forcibly driven from the country by the communist authorities. It was the single largest ethnic cleansing during the Cold War in Europe. Furthermore, this expulsion of Turks and Muslims from Bulgaria was the sole unilateral act of ethnic cleansing that breached the Iron Curtain. The 1989 ethnic cleansing was followed by an unprecedented return of almost half of the expellees, after the collapse of the Bulgarian communist regime. The return, which partially reversed the effects of this ethnic cleansing, was the first-ever of its kind in history.


At midnight on the night of October 2 to 3, 1990, the flag of unity was raised on a large flagpole in front of the Reichstag building in Berlin marking the German Unification.. Source: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-1990-1003-400 / Grimm, Peer / CC-BY-SA 3.0;,_Berlin,_deutsche_Vereinigung,_vor_dem_Reichstag.jpg
Reunification of the two German states

The German reunification or German unification (in the language of the law, the establishment of German unity) is the process that begun on October 3rd 1989. On November 9th people of Berlin started to demolish the Berlin Wall, the symbol of divided Germany. Opening of the Wall was followed by the wave of emigration from the GDR, and the rise of opposition in GDR. It all traced the path of GDR collapse and its accession to the Federal Republic of Germany. A necessary external precondition for German reunification was the agreement of the four victorious powers of the Second World War, which until then still held or claimed responsibility for Germany as a whole under international law. The Two Plus Four Treaty, or officially the Treaty on the Final Settlement with regard to Germany, approves the unity of the two German states and grants the united Germany full sovereignty over its internal and external affairs.
Nowadays, October 3rd, the date when the process of unification begun ending four decades of German division in the Cold War era as a result of the Second World War, is celebrated as a national holiday called the Day of German Unity.

This event affected the lives of our interviewees Rose v. S., Ivo G. and Elsa K. from Germany.


The end of communism in Bulgaria

Reforms in the Soviet Union inspire demands for democratization and ‘new thinking’. The Soviet Union’s restructuring or “perestroika” in the economic side included reduction on the role of central planning and an expanded role for market mechanisms and increased opportunities for private initiatives in services and production. The political side included greater openness and publicity in the media (“glasnost”), greater ‘pluralism’ of the opinions in the political arena and competitive and secret elections for state bodies, an enhanced political role for workers in state enterprises through ‘self-management’ and employee selection of managers and directors. The longstanding head of state Todor Zhivkov is ousted and a multi-party system is introduced. An opposition Union of Democratic Forces (UDF) is formed. 

Romanian revolution on the Magheru Boulevard in Bucharest Romanian National History Museum.
Romanian revolution

The Romanian Revolution was a period of violent civil unrest in Romania during December 1989 as a part of processes in which communist regimes were overthrown in other East European countries. The Romanian Revolution started in the city of Timișoara and soon spread throughout the country, ultimately culminating in the show trial and execution of longtime Communist Party General Secretary Nicolae Ceaușescu and his wife Elena. This act marked the end of 42 years of Communist rule in Romania. It was the last act of overthrowing Marxist-Leninist government in a Warsaw Pact country during the events of 1989. Also, it was the only one in which overthrown was violent ending with the execution of the leaders.


Interview with Yugoslav Army soldier, Slovenia June 1991; Screenshot:
War in Slovenia - The beginning of disintegration of Yugoslavia 

Following the referendum among Slovenian citizens whether they want to stay within Yugoslavia (right given in 1974 Constitution) organized in December 1990, Parliament of the Republic Slovenia on June 25th, 1991 adopted Separation Act. On the next day, June 26th Yugoslav Presidency ordered Yugoslav Army to take actions to protect federal borders. On June 27th started a conflict between Yugoslav Army and Slovenian Territorial Defence known as 10 days’ war. This war ended on July 7th by the agreement between Slovenian, Croatian and Yugoslav officials facilitated by representatives of European Communities. War in Slovenia was the first one in disintegration of Yugoslavia. Casualties of Slovenian Territorial Forces (consisting mainly military reserves’ men) was the loss of 13 persons, whereas Yugoslav Army suffered the loss of 44 soldiers, mainly young men enlisted for obligatory military service. TV interview with a young man who was in obligatory military service in Yugoslav Army represents confusion and misfortune that wars bring: “As far as I understand, they like want to secede and we like won’t let them do that. But in fact all we want to do is to back to our barracks and nothing more. (...) [Today] three soldiers were killed and one officer.” 

Our senior interviewee Gvozdena explicitly stated that wars marking the disintegration of Yugoslavia were so stressful for her that she developed diabetes and her health significantly deteriorated since then. 


Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria. The Constitution was adopted on 12 July 1991 by the 7th Grand National Assembly of Bulgaria, and defines the country as a unitary parliamentary republic.
New Constitution in Bulgaria

In July 1991, the National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria adopted a new constitution proclaiming Bulgaria a parliamentary republic, establishing a parliamentary government and guaranteeing direct presidential elections, separation of powers, and freedom of speech, press, conscience, and religion. New laws allowed for the return of the properties that had been confiscated by the previous communist governments. Other laws aimed at meeting EU standards were passed, including those regarding competition, foreign investment, intellectual property rights, and a commercial code.


500 billion dinars banknote issued during hyperinflation;
Hyperinflation in Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

As Federal Repuiblic of Yugoslavia (consisting republics Serbia and Montenegro) was perceived in international community as a state that does not contribute stability of the region with regard wars in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, in late 1992 international community imposed econmic sanctions onto Federal republic of Yugoslavia. Economic sanctions were leading to hyperinflation in following two years. Salaries and pensions devalued leaving citizens to struggle for bare existence. During 1993 daily inflation rate was 65% meaning that prices were doubled on every 34 hours. By the end of 1993 overall inflation was 19,81% and Yugoslav National Bank issued banknotes of 500 billions of dinars. Deutch Mark became unofficial currency and salaries were equvalent to 2 Deutch Marks. Hyperinflation in Serbia was often compared with Great depression in the US in late 1920s and recession in Germany in 1930s. 

Four of our senior interviewees explicitly addressed challenges of living under the economic sanctions and hyperinflation: Ivica, Zoki the Bodybuilder, Jan and Iren.


Video On Line (1994)
The first online newspaper in Europe Sardinia

The first internet provider in Italy is born in Cagliari. The history of The first internet provider in Italy is born in Cagliari. The history of Video On Line officially began on December 4th, 1994, but its origins are to be found in the strong link with the research center CRS4, at that time led by Nobel prize winner Carlo Rubbia, who had been director of CERN where the World Wide Web itself was born. With the collaboration of CRS4 in fact, the publisher put online the local newspaper L' Unione Sarda in March 1994, the first newspaper in Europe.


Serbian refugee from Knin (Croatia); Author: Matija;
Disintegration of SFR Yugoslavia – military operations “Spark” and “Storm” in Croatia 

The War in Slovenia marked the beginning of SFR Yugoslavia disintegration. It was followed by much bloodier and longer lasting wars in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 1992, when the war in Croatia begun, Serbs who were majority of populations in Krajina region formed Autonomous Area Serbian Krajina. In 1995 Croatian Army organized two operations “Bljesak” (The Spark) and consequently “Oluja” (The Storm) both aimed to impose the rule of Croatian state in areas mainly inhabited by Serbs that proclaimed autonomy of these areas. Operation “The Storm” begun on August 4th 1995 and by August 7th Croatian Army seized control over towns and villages in which Serbs were dominant population. According to the data of Commissariat for Refugees and Migration 250.000 Serbs most of them women, children and elderly persons were forced to leave and become refugees in Serbia. 

Operations “Spark” and “Storm” deeply influenced the life of our senior interviewee Zoki the Bodybuilder.

Slobodan Milošević, president of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (from Serbia), Franjo Tudjman (President of the Republic of Croatia) and Alija Izetbegović (leader of Bosnian Muslims) at the official signing of Dayton Agreement in Paris, December 14th 1995.
Disintegration of SFR Yugoslavia. Bosnia and Herzegovina

Aiming to end the war that started in 1992 in former Yugoslav Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was more complex as its inhabitants are Croats, Muslims and Serbs, representatives of the Republic of Serbia, Republic of Croatia and Muslims population summitted in US Air-Force Base in Dayton, Ohio on November 21st 1995 and draft an agreement to put an end to the war. Signing Dayton Agreement was important for Serbian citizens because it enabled lifting the economic sanctions imposed to Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (consisting republics Serbia and Montenegro) by international community in 1992.


The Protest in Sofia.  Author: Bojidara Ilieva
Social protests in Bulgaria

Mass protests over the economic crisis where the opposition boycotts the Parliament and calls for elections. The centre-right leader, Mr. Ivan Kostov, the head of the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF) since 1994, became a prime minister. The currency board was introduced to stabilize the Bulgarian lev by hitching it to the Deutsche mark. A reform package was agreed with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The IMF money was used to support the reform program, which saw the development of financial markets, reform of the agricultural and energy sectors and liberalization of trade. 


Protection and promotion of the Sardinian language

   In 1997 the Regional Council of Sardinia approved the law for the protection and promotion of the Sardinian language and culture. The regional law recognizes the Sardinian language as having equal dignity with Italian. Since 1999, the Sardinian language is also protected by the national law on linguistic minorities; among the twelve groups in question, Sardinian is the strongest community in absolute terms.


Bombardment of Oil Rafinery in Pančevo. Author: Zoran Jovanović Mačak. Courtesy of the Historical Archibe Pančevo.
NATO Bombardment of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

Sporadical conflicts between Albanians and Serbs in the Province Kosovo and Metohija, part of the Republic of Serbia, escalated by the end of 1998. International community facilitated negotiations on the status of the Province but the negotiations that took place in French town Rambouillet in mid March 1999 weren’t sucessful. The blame for the failure blaming FR Yugoslavia. On March 24th NATO begun operation “Merciful Angel”. Targets all over Serbia and Montenegro were daily bombarded. Bombardment lasted until June 10th 1999 when the agreement to end the dispute was concluded in Macedonian town Kumanovo. During 78 days of the bombardment 200.000 Serbs, Romas, Gorans and other smaller ethnicities fled Kosovo and Metohija becoming refugees mainly in other parts of Serbia. NATO primarily targeted infrastructure but the majority of casulties were civilians: in the bombardment 2.500 civilians were killed (youngest victim was 3 years old girl) and 6.000 civilians were injured. Agreement made in Kumanovo, that ended the dispute, led to UN Resolution 1244. According to this Resolution Kosovo and Metohija Province remains sovereignity within Yugoslavia / Republic of Serbia. However, governance in the Province was delegated to the UN Mission. 

1999 bombardment influenced the decision of our senior interviewee Iren to move her family to South African Republic.

View on the King Aleksandar I Boulevard near the building of Parliament on October 5th 2000. Private collection.
Protests in Belgrade on October 5th – towards European Union 

Yugoslav presidential and Serbian local elections held on September 24th 2000 were critical for making a change that aimed to open Serbian and Yugoslav society towards Europe and to end isolation of Serbia and Yugoslavia during previous decade. Oppositional leader Vojislav Kostunica won presidential elections. As soon as informal results were known in the evening of election day people throughout Serbia started to gather to celebrate. However, Yugoslav president at the time Slobodan Milošević disputed the election results asking for the second round. Such demand turned people’s gatherings into mass protests that culminated on October 5th when over 500.000 people from Belgrade and all over Serbia rushed towards the building of Yugoslav Parliament to express their dissatisfaction with challenging electoral results. Following violent conflicts of the protesters and the police on the streets of Belgrade, on October 6th, Slobodan Milošević publicly announced that he lost the elections and on October 7th opposition leader Vojislav Koštunica officially became the president of FR Yugoslavia. This marked the begining of transition in Yugoslavia towards European Union.

It also brought challenges for all citizens that our seniors Đorđe, Vera, Ivica and Jasna addressed from perspectives of both position of elderly persons and prospects of younger generations.  


Old-age Pension in Bulgaria
Economic Crisis & Privatization in Bulgaria

 The Bulgarian prime Minister Kostov was blamed for high unemployment and deteriorating living standards. This year the Government privatized 71% of the fixed assets eligible for privatization. As many of the interviewed people mention this period as “challenging almost impossible to meet the ends” with 50% drop in the amount of pensions, it’s worth mentioning!  
In the year 2000 so far the last major reform of the pension system in Bulgaria was implemented. Reform launched three-pillar pension system (for people born after 1960).1st pillar implied compulsory social security;2nd pillar implied compulsory supplementary (universal and professional) insurance;3rd pillar implied voluntary supplementary insurance.The total obligatory pension contribution is 32.3% of the gross salary. The required age for entitlement to retirement pension and age is 61 years and 6 months and increases by 2 months each year (data as of February 2020). For 2020 the required length of service for women is 35 years and 10 months and the age is 61 years and 6 months; and respectively 38 years and 10 months and 64 years and 3 months for men. Due to the low pensions, some Bulgarian tour operators implement programs within the so-called “social tourism” for recreation, excursions, balneotherapy for people over 55+ years of age.




Tobacco Industry Vranje, nowadays part of British-American Tobbacco group. Privatized in 2003, Tobacco Industry Vranje is among rare examples of successful privatization based on the 2001 privatization model.  Author: Чигот,_Srbija.JPG
Privatization of public companies in Serbia

Privatization of previously publicly owned companies began in 1996 after economic sanctions imposed by international community were lifted following the Dayton Agreement. However, at that time privatization was limited in scope and was based on the model in which workers were also share-holders. After the democratic changes marked by protests on October 5th 2000 and elections in Serbia in 2001, the second cycle of privatization began. It was based on a model in which capital was not shared without interest or internally offered for purchase to the workers but the state was selling 70% package of shares companies previously marked as ones of states ownership. This model disregarded subtleness of public and state’s invenstments made during the decades of workers’ self-governance leaving the open door for disputes. Many privatisation contracts were terminanted due to the fact that buyers breached contracts in terms of taking care for the workers and development of sustainable strategy for the future of communities including environmental protection. 

On a pratical level, privatization of companies in both cycles posed challenges for ordinary people such are our senior interviewees Ivica and Zoki The Body Builder.


New specific services for dependent elderly people in France

Law of July 20th 2001 introduced Personalized Autonomy Allowance (PAA, or in French Allocation Personnalisée d’Autonomie, APA). According to this Law elderly persons can choose to stay at their homes enjoying social and health care.




Agreement for the creation of Nursing Homes for dependent elderly persons (EHPAD) in France       

Decree of April 26th 1999 sat regulation on Nursing homes for dependent elderly persons but it was amended by the Decree of August 13th 2004. According to this 2004 Decree, the tripartite agreement defines the operating conditions of the establishment, both financially and in terms of quality. Care for people and the care provided to them, paying particular attention to the level of training of reception staff. In addition, it specifies the evaluation objectives of the establishment and the methods of its evaluation.
See more: 


Sardinia leaves the European Union Objective 1 

In 2006 Sardinia succeeded to reach 78% of the EU average of GDP, which enabled leaving the European Union Objective 1 which, as parameter for European aid, sets 75% of average EU GDP. 
At the beginning of the 21st century, Sardinia was economically halfway between central and southern Italy, with an average per capita income just below the European average. Other indicators sanction both economic and social progress, but do not cancel out the difficulties of organic growth and development that are still present. In recent years, new information technologies and the improvement of transport, especially air transport with low-cost airlines, have mitigated the condition of insularity and helped to innovate and diversify the local economy. 


Post stamp celebrating the integration of Romania into the European Union; Post of Romania.,_2007-001.jpg
Bulgaria and Romania became members of the EU

In 1989 Bulgaria and Romania overthrown communist regimes and begun the process of integration into European Union. European Commission closely monitored the processes. In 2007 Bulgaria and Romania became members of the EU.   






Adapting society to ageing. Improving the daily life of Elderly Persons (France) 

Since the beginning of 21st century French society became greatly concerned with the quality of elderly persons’ life especially if elderly persons suffer handicap or are dependent. In 2007 “Charter of Rights and Freedoms of the Elderly Person with a disability or dependency” was pronounced ensuring that these persons choose how they will live and participate in social and cultural life. 
Read the Charter: 
Just to let you know. Apparently, Charter was adopted in 2007, that was the year I managed to find when I Googled the Charter by copy/paste of the entry in the timeline that Vannes team sent. However, they put it for 2015 & I have no idea why. As the link that enables reading the Charter is French governmental site, I decided to move it as 2007 entry. 


Great Mine of Serbariu in Carbonia (2011)
Carbonia wins the European Landscape Award

Carbonia, a “foundation city”, built in less than a year and inaugurated on December 18th, 1938, born in function of the mine and its production, finds its origins in the “Carbonia Landscape Machine” Project. The “Carbonia Landscape Machine”. Project took shape in 2001 and sought to reinterpret the original relationship between the community and the urban landscape, enhancing the territory as a fundamental resource for the economy, with a view to improving the quality of life and well-being of citizens. The Project has promoted the encounter between the historical-industrial vocation and a more contemporary model of sustainable development of the territory. The actions undertaken by the Carbonia Project have focused attention on sites of particular value such as the Great Mine of Serbariu and its landscape, interpreted as an “industrial machine”, public spaces, buildings of the garden city and its satellite villages (Cortoghiana, Bacu Abis).


Source: Republic of Serbia Ministry of European Integration;
Republic of Serbia becomes eligible to begin the process of joining EU

After the decade of Republic of Serbia’s work to meet requirements and standards of the European Union, on March 1st 2012 Council of Eurpe decided that Republic of Serbia is eligable for being a candidate for membership in European Union. Negotiations begun on January 21st 2014 and first chapters for negotiations were opened on December 14th 2015. 
According to 2019 Survey conducted by the Ministry of European Integrations 54% of Serbian citizens are supporting joining European Union whereas 24% of Serbian citizens are against joining EU. Graph shows what EU represents in the eyes of Serbian citizens.


Jasna Joksimovic lecture on history of arts, Centre for permanent education and culture „Božidarac 1947“. Photo from private collection
Law on Adult Education in Serbia

According to the Law on Adult Education, adult education is part of the unique education system of the Republic of Serbia, which provides adults with lifelong learning to acquire the competencies and qualifications required for personal and professional development, work and employment, as well as socially responsible behavior. Therefore, adult education in Serbia can be achieved through formal education, non-formal education and informal learning. For the purposes of implementation of this Law, Government of Republic Serbia established the Accreditation Center for Publicly Recognized Adult Education Organizers as the organizational unit of the Agency for Qualifications, that performs quality assurance activities in non-formal adult education.  This Agency implements the procedure for the approval of accreditation status. Some of these centers are members of the European Association for the Education of Adults. 

Using the opportunities provided by the Law on Adult Education and programs organized by certified Adult Education Organizers, our senior interveweee Verа when she retired enrolled fine arts classes. Our senior interviewee Jasna when retired begun to work as educator at the Center for Permanent Education and Culture „Božidarac 1947“ in Belgrade.


Rescue of refugees by a Irish ship in 2015;
Refugee crisis in Europe

In spring and summer, the number of war and economic refugees increases, especially from Africa, Syria, Afghanistan, and the Balkan countries. Almost 2 million people come to Europe via the Mediterranean or Hungary. Within a few weeks, tens of thousands of refugees also come to Germany. The country is divided: A culture of welcome on the one hand and a fearful to racist isolationist attitude on the other (strengthens the party "AfD"). On August 31st 2015 Chancellor Angela Merkel said “We can do it!” Her efforts in solving the crisis was recognized by Times magazine who pronounced her “The Person of the Year”.

This event affected the lives of our interviewees Erla S., Rüdiger M. and Hanne K. from Germany.


Source: Fund for pension and disability insurance of the Republic of Serbia;
Law on Pensions and Disability Retirement in Serbia

According to this Law retirement eligability criteria is sat on 65 years of age and at least 15 years long employment or 45 years of employment regardless of the age. This criteria is directly applied to males, whereas for females Law predicts gradual hightening of the age criteria in order to reach uniformity of males and females by 2032. Retirement age according to the gender in 2009, 2014 and 2019 is presented on a graph. 


Development of demographic and socio-economic monitoring system relevant for the life of elderly persons in Bulgaria 

Since 2006 Republic of Bulgaria established new system of continuous monitoring of demographics and socio-economic tendencies relevant for the life of elderly persons, including households composition that is important for understanding living circumstances of elderly persons. This system enables accurate comparison of data collected in different years. Regarding household composition, in 2006 the share of households with one or two elderly was 13.2 %, whereas in 2015 this share increased to 17.7 %. This shows that most of the elderly people started to live independently and own their housing so that they do not have to share with future generations. Although not evident from the statistics, due to specifics in health and social status and the effect of transition and reforms on generations and the increase in premature deaths (before the age of 60-65), an increasing number of elderly people lose their heirs permanently living abroad and remain without the support of relatives. An additional factor in this direction is the increased migration from the country. This emphasizes the issue of access to social services and the development of a support network on local level for elderly people who do not have relatives or whose relatives are far away.
The total income on average per person per household for the first three months of 2021 is 1 830 Bulgarian leva (EUR 935.66), an increase with 6.9 % for the same period last year 2020. 
In the structure of the household income pensions are on the second place with 31.1 % following the salaries comprising 55.2 % of the Bulgarian household income. There is an increase in the income from pensions with 3.6 % compared to the same period in 2020. The average monetary income of a household only from pensions as of 2021 (*the first three months) has increased with 21.2 % compared with the same time in 2020 (from 473 Bulgarian leva /EUR 241.84/ in 2020 to 574 Bulgarian leva /EUR 293.48/ in 2021). The income from social benefits and support increased as well with 15 %. The total expenditures on average per person from a household in the first three months of 2021 is 1 607 BGN /EUR 821.64/ which marks an increase with 8.2% compared with the same time in 2020. The average purchasing power of people over 60 in the EU is 16 277 EUR a year, in Germany it is 19 386 EUR and in Bulgaria it is 6163 EUR. By this indicator, Bulgaria is in the second to last place in the EU. With aging, the disposable income of Bulgarians is reduced due to an increase in the average monthly expenses for household bills and a rise in the cost of living.


Beginning of controversial pension system reforms in France 

In 2019 French government proposed controversial reform of Pensions system. Major changes include that the rent pay-as-you-go will be changed into points-based pension. Reforms also include changes of SMIC. From January 1st 2021 those who work 35 hours per week (151,67 hours per month) earn monthly salary of 1.554,58 euros brut (without the deduction for social and fiscal contributions), which equivalents to 1.230,61 euros net (after the deductions for social and fiscal contributions). Those working 39 hours per week (169 hours per month) earn brut monthly salary in the amount of 1.776,58 euros.