Lubov Petrova was born in Leningrad in 1932. Her parents died of hunger during the Siege of Leningrad when she was 12 years old. She and her little brother Volodia who was two years old at that time survived and remained alone in the blockaded city. Today Lubov is almost 84 years old. She is an enthusiastic and inspiring person full of vivid memories.
Grandma Rosa is ready for shooting.
Alenka Maly from Linz, Upper Austria, is the founder of the European Grandma project, which explores the portraits of ten European grandmothers as told by their granddaughters. Here she tells the story of her Oma.
Marias Grandma „Γιαγιά“ Maria Tzika was born in September 1920 in a greek mountain village. Her granddaughter, Maria Tzika, is a visual anthro-pologist and currently living in London. Maria would like to capture her grandmother’s story for the European Grandma Project and gives us a special sneak peek of her grandma’s childhood:
„When my grandma talks about her past she describes how things smelled and tasted. She has wonderful memories of her shepherd grandparents, the butter and goat meat they cooked, her grandmother’s thin waist, even though she had her first child at the Age of 12. She remembers climbing trees with her cousin, who was recruited by the guerilla at a young age and died early on. You see my grandmother comes from a mountain village and she was only a child when the fight for the independence took place. When the bombing started she was a maid in a rich family’s house in a nearby town by the sea. She would hear the bombs exploding, hide in the basement and pray for one of them to fall into the garden to see how they looked like. Soon she had to go back to her village and do her bit for the fight for Independence…
She experienced German occupation, the civil war, the dictatorship and now the decline of democracy and prosperity of the last 30 years. All these (hi)stories are not in books, but in peoples’ heads and have created a collective memory that even now haunts the politics of the country.“
To the women of Europe and Israel,
We are four women from Austria (a filmmaker, a political scientist, a German philologist and an interpreter) and we are currently in the process of applying for funding from the European Union for a large-scale cultural project that aims to explore Europe’s history through its female narratives.
We want to find artists and grandmothers who have stories to tell and who would like to be part of our project entitled the ‘European Grandma Project’.
We are looking for women and their grandmothers (born between 1920 and 1935) from nine different countries who are willing to share with us a new and different perspective on European history.
Together we want to create a piece of art about the stories of these women with the aim of piecing together a powerful portrait of the lives these individuals have lived during their almost 1000 collective years on earth.
The nine contributions will be mainly documented using classic documentary film-making methods whilst also taking into account the filmmakers’ individual artistic means of expression. The relationship between grandmother and granddaughter will be a key touching point throughout the film, and relationships, living conditions, personal development and philosophies will be at the heart of each contribution. Moreover, each story will aim to identify the extent to which the political situation in different parts of Europe has changed, determined or shaped these women’s lives.
The project will consist of your films and photos, as well performances which will form part of wider exhibitions (detail on these events will be communicated later on in the application process). Our mission is for these elements to connect with both the audience, as well as us as participants, with the aim of finding the release from solitude one feels upon realising that, despite all our cultural differences, we are all in many ways actually quite similar.
If you wish to participate, please send us a short message either in English or German, including a few lines about yourself, your grandmother and your motivation for taking part, via e-mail to:
We look forward to finding out more about your story,
Alenka Maly, Barbara Steiner, Nora Gumpenberger, Veronika Peterseil