A Border Biography: The Image of the Past in Eva Nahir Panić’s Memories as Presented in Dane Ilić’s Eva

Katarzyna Taczyńska

The primary objective of this text is an analysis of Eva Nahir Panić’s biography (she lived from 1918 to 2015) titled Eva, written by Dane Ilić. The protagonist of this story is a Jewish woman born in Čakovec, who married a Serbian officer, survived the Holocaust, went through the camp for the Cominformists, and finally immigrated to Israel. An interpretative category that creates a framework for reading the text is the term “borderline,” which encompasses two meanings here. The first includes borderline situations (such as the Holocaust and the stay in the Sveti Grgur prison camp) which Nahir Panić had to face in her life and which left an indelible mark on her (the burden of her traumatic experience is passed on to the next generation, in Eva’s daughter, Tijana—signifying a postmemory issue). The second pertains to how she functioned in the borders between cultures which directly influenced her fate. With reference to Ewa Domańska’s concept of the rescue history project executed in Poland, I suggest that the life of Eva Nahir Panić, though undoubtedly filled with painful experiences, ought to be considered not in terms of victimization, but of rebirth and affirmation. Nahir Panić’s life story is a highly personalized narrative, which presents her own identity project, and through it the reader discovers the potential of the community. This may also provide a starting point for reflecting on the history of Yugoslavia.
Słowa kluczowe: Goli Otok, Holocaust, biography, Eva Nahir Panić, borderline, postmemory, identity