Holocaust Public Memory in Postcommunist Romania

Holocaust Public Memory in Postcommunist Romania

Holocaust Public Memory in Postcommunist Romania

Holocaust Public Memory in Postcommunist Romania

Synopsis

How is the Holocaust remembered in Romania since the fall of communism? Alexandru Florian and an international group of contributors unveil how and why Romania, a place where large segments of the Jewish and Roma populations perished, still fails to address its recent past. These essays focus on the roles of government and public actors that choose to promote, construct, defend, or contest the memory of the Holocaust, as well as the tools--the press, the media, monuments, and commemorations--that create public memory. Coming from a variety of perspectives, these essays provide a compelling view of what memories exist, how they are sustained, how they can be distorted, and how public remembrance of the Holocaust can be encouraged in Romanian society today.

Excerpt

This volume concludes a research project on Holocaust memory in postcommunist Romania, supported by the Romanian Ministry of National Education, CNCS–UEFISCDI, under grant number PN-II-ID-PCE-2012-2-4-0620.

The project was prompted by what seemed to be a very simple question: how do we explain that seventy years after the end of the Second World War, in Romania the public memory of the Holocaust is still disputed, and approaches that minimize or even deny it have become more dominant in the public sphere?

To answer this question we should first examine the clear differences between the prevailing practices in public memory in countries with longestablished memorial institutions and those in postcommunist countries.

East versus west

According to Jacques le Goff, the victim became a subject of public memory after the First World War. the subject was more fully developed at the end of the Second World War, when two types of victims were distinguished: on the one hand is the soldier and on the other hand is the civilian, who appears for the first time as the victim of a conflict that reached the limits of dehumanization. the history of the development of these two memorial subjects—soldiers and civilians—is different in the West and the East.

In Western Europe, memorials, plaques, busts, and street names remind the public of crucial moments of the Second World War, of military men and . . .

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