cover image of Borderland Memories in Europe. Renegotiating Holocaust Remembrance project

    Genealogies of Memory 2020: Session 3

    Borderland Memories in Europe. Renegotiating Holocaust Remembrance

    The online debate will take place on YouTube on 10 November (Tuesday) at 15:00–18:30 CET.
    * Please note that all times are indicated according to Warsaw time, i.e. Central European Time (UTC+1:00).

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    Éva Kovács (Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies)
    Forgetting by Remembering: On the Europeanisation of Local Memories of the Shoah



    Naum Trajanovski (Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw)
    The Holocaust and the Rescue of the Macedonian Jews: Communist and Post-Communist Cinematic Perspectives

    Anna Chebotarova (University of St. Gallen)
    Holocaust Memory and Antisemitic Attitudes in Contemporary Ukraine

    Nadja Danglmaier (University of Klagenfurt), Daniel Wutti (University College of Teacher Education Carinthia)
    Remembrance Culture in Border Regions – Towards an Inclusive, Cross-Border Memory

    Ida Richter (Selma Stern Center for Jewish Studies, Berlin-Brandenburg)
    The Entanglement of the Holocaust with Human Rights: The Case of Raoul Wallenberg’s Early Reception

    Chair: Gábor Danyi (ENRS)

    Commentary: Zofia Wóycicka (German Historical Institute, Warsaw)



    Éva Kovács

    Forgetting by remembering. On the Europeanisation of the Local Memories of the Shoah

    The Shoah destroyed the substance of Austrian Jewishness. The emigration of the survivors after 1945 and the indignation of the Austrian society resulted in the dislocation of the memory of the Shoah itself. Since the second half of the 1990s, a large‐scale restitution process and a new government program of commemoration have begun. Seemingly, Austria has successfully joined the mainstream of the European culture of memory. However, Austrian Jews as victims or survivors gradually came to be missing or played a minor role in the daily practice of the local politics of memory. One has the impression that the ‘local Jews’ have been overshadowed by the Europeanisation of the Shoah. The paper presents an Austrian case as a paradoxical example of ‘creative forgetting’ or ‘forgetting by remembering’.


    Naum Trajanovski

    The Holocaust and the Rescue of the Macedonian Jews: Communist and Post-Communist Cinematic Perspectives

    The present paper aims at discussing the cinematic accounts on the Holocaust and the rescue of the Macedonian Jews in the post-WWII Macedonian cinema. The study deals with four films, two from the late Macedonian communism - “Shoot” [mk. Istrel] (Branko Gapo, 1972) and “Node” [mk. Jazol] (Kiril Cenevski, 1985), and two from the third post-communist decade - “Third Half” [mk. Treto poluvreme] (dir. Darko Mitrevski, 2013) and “The Liberation of Skopje” [mk. Osloboduvanje na Skopje] (Danilo & Rade Šerbedžija, 2016). I argue that the cinematic production provides an exceptional environment for understanding the major discursive shift over the rescue of the Macedonian Jewry in contemporary North Macedonia. More precisely, I juxtapose the Yugoslav Macedonian cinematic treatment of the Holocaust within the framework of the People’s Liberation War (1941-1945) and the post-Yugoslav Macedonian cinematography – which aims at repositioning the Holocaust and the rescue of the Macedonian Jewry as (i) an ethno-centric Macedonian struggle and (ii) a metonymy for the post-1990s Macedonian-Bulgarian bilateral relations. The most recent Bulgarian-Macedonian Friendship Agreement (2017), however, acts as a particular game-changer in these regards – enacting what Valérie Rosoux depicts as a “maximalist approach” to the European integration, “presupposing the existence of a shared narrative of the past,” rather than the distinct mode of nation-centered historiographies and memory politics (2017, 327-329). The analysis will thus anticipate the further cinematic developments, with a single stress on the public debate on the post-2017 Macedonian cinema dealing with the WWII. Finally, the cinematic narratives, while being illustrative for the aforementioned discursive shift, failed to appear in the Macedonian Jewish scholarship. Thus, I employ multimodal discourse analysis for tracing the cinematic narratives, as well as a triangulation of the historiography, media discourse and public debate – for mapping the immediate reactions on the films in the foci in their synchrony and diachrony.


    Anna Chebotarova

    Holocaust memory and the antisemitic attitudes in contemporary Ukraine

    Seven decades after its end, World War II remains one of the cornerstones of collective memory in Ukraine. One can argue that we are in the midst of a transition of the memory about the Holocaust (as well as of almost the entire Second World War) from the realm of communicative memory to various forms of cultural memory against the background of diversification and digitalization of the channels of memory transition. The interpretation of the traumatic wartime past occupies a prominent place on the agenda of post-communist states and societies and history often serves as the legitimizer of present issues and is therefore highly politicized. Analyzing anti-Jewish attitudes in East-Central Europe today, researchers often refer to the phenomenon of “antisemitism without Jews”. One of the most drastic outcomes of World War Two for contemporary Ukraine was its radical national homogenization. According to the 2001 Ukrainian census, there are approximately 100 000 Jews (0.2%) in the country, which was home to one of the largest European Jewish communities before the war. Yet the 2019 “ADL Global 100: An Index of Anti-Semitism” survey revealed that 46% of the Ukrainian population still harbor antisemitic views. As many researchers have repeatedly stressed, the subject of contemporary antisemitism is often not real Jews, but the images of them, or images from the past, transmitted by previous generations. In my presentation, I will explore the multilevel and multidirectional relations between (trans)national and local Holocaust memory and the social distance towards Jews in Ukraine today. I apply mixed method research - the perspective that combines both data from previously conducted research, nationwide representative surveys as well as in-depth interviews. I argue that in the case of Ukraine - the land of “dismembered multiethnicity” - the transmitted memory of Jews and the Holocaust remains one of the key factors in the formation of contemporary antisemitic attitudes.


    Nadja Danglmaier – Daniel Wutti

    Remembrance culture in border regions – towards an inclusive, cross-border memory

    In Austria in the last century, victims of National Socialism had little space in public memory. In the past years, researchers noticed a discourse change and nowadays, even more and more Austrian teachers are willing to deal with regional manifestations of National Socialism, including topics such as collective guilt and the collaboration of Carinthians with National Socialism. Regional anecdotes seem to be of interest for contemporary pupils. What is commonly named a ‘culture of memory’ is thus a dynamic field of negotiations and conflicts, an unfinished process of debate on what a group should call (its) history. These processes of social negotiation of memory are particularly interesting in border regions. While border regions, such as e.g. between Austria and Slovenia, were characterized by separation, prejudices and ignorance towards the respective neighbours, today we have to consider which historical narratives can have an inclusive effect and connect people and regions. Memory on NS and the Holocaust is currently determined by several factors: the disappearance of contemporary witnesses, the change of generations, the mediation of memory and new forms of remembrance in immigration societies. We are at the transition from communicative to cultural memory . This leads to the question, how students today can find access to historical events of the world wars, NS and the Holocaust, and which parts of history are useful for dealing with questions relevant to the future. And this is the question we have been pursuing in research projects whose approach and results we would like to present. Our presentation deals with the question of establishing an inclusive remembrance, to which different inhabitants of the region can connect. In school projects led by us in Austria and Slovenia, the historical narratives in the border region were examined. Narratives with inclusive and unifying effects were filtered. Through the exchange between teachers, pupils and researchers in workshops, didactic materials were created. The focus was on how the history of the border region can be communicated in an interesting way in the classroom, considering the diversity of the pupils.


    Ida Richter

    The Entanglement of the Holocaust with Human Rights: The Case of Raoul Wallenberg’s Early Reception

    Since 2012, the Council of Europe awards the “Raoul Wallenberg Prize” to individuals and organizations promoting human rights. This illustrates that today, the memory of help and rescue for Jews during the Holocaust and human rights discourse are closely intertwined. Especially Raoul Wallenberg (1912-disappeared 1945), one of the most well-known rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust, is frequently depicted as “human rights defender”. As an envoy of the Swedish foreign ministry, he provided help to persecuted Jews in Budapest from July 1944 onwards, among other things by issuing so-called protective passports and establishing safe houses under the Swedish flag. After the liberation of Budapest by the Red Army in January 1945, Wallenberg disappeared in the Soviet Union, his fate remaining unresolved until today. In this paper, the genesis of the seemingly natural connection between commemorations of Raoul Wallenberg and human rights is scrutinized critically. Conventionally, it is assumed that memories of the Holocaust and the development of human rights regimes after 1945 were closely connected from the outset, as it is stated for instance by the sociologists Daniel Levy and Natan Sznaider (Levy and Sznaider 2004: 150), who presented the first comprehensive study on the potentially global, nation-state transcending dimensions of Holocaust memory. Recently, historians and legal scholars began questioning the assumption that the strong link between Holocaust memory and human rights discourse already emerged soon after the Second World War (Moyn 2017:87-97, Duranti 2012). The paper takes up these impulses by investigating the early reception history of Raoul Wallenberg regarding the question of its connection to human rights discourse. The case of Raoul Wallenberg is especially relevant for addressing the emergence of the connection between the Holocaust and human rights as he was commemorated from early on across national borders and is today frequently depicted as “human rights defender”, as the creation of the “Raoul Wallenberg Prize” illustrates. Among the questions the paper addresses are: Were Raoul Wallenberg’s actions framed in human rights terms in the 1940s and 1950s? Which other forms of universalizing narratives emerged at that time around Raoul Wallenberg? With its focus on the historical connection between Holocaust memory and human rights, the proposed paper fits the first thematic block of the conference “Theoretical concepts and approaches”.



    Éva Kovács

    Éva Kovács holds a PhD and the title of a professor. She is a sociologist and since October 2012 Research Programme Director at the VWI. Kovács studied Sociology and Economics at the Karl Marx University of Economics in Budapest, obtaining her PhD in 1994 and the habilitation qualification in 2009. She is also Research Chair at the Institute of Sociology at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Her research fields are the history of the Holocaust in Eastern Europe, research on memory and remembrance and Jewish identity in Hungary and Slovakia. She has authored five monographs, edited nine volumes, published numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals, as well as co-curated exhibitions in Berlin, Vienna, Krems and Budapest. She is the founder of the audio-visual archive Voices of the Twentieth Century in Budapest.



    Naum Trajanovski

    Naum Trajanovski is a PhD candidate in Sociology at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences. His PhD project deals with the local memories of the 1963 Skopje earthquake and the post-earthquake reconstruction. He holds MA degrees in Southeastern European Studies (Graz-Belgrade-Skopje) and Nationalism Studies (Budapest). He was affiliated with the European Network Remembrance and Solidarity as a project co-coordinator, the international research network COURAGE – Connecting Collections as an advisor and a proof-reader, and the Faculty of Philosophy – Skopje as a researcher. His recent work on the post-2001 memory regimes in North Macedonia was published as a peer-reviewed paper in Brill’s Southeastern Europe, while his take on the Macedonian post-Yugoslav memory culture will be published as a monograph by the Macedonian publishing house Templum in 2020.


    Anna Chebotarova

    Anna Chebotarova (b. Susak) is a research fellow at the School for Humanities and Social Sciences, University of St. Gallen (Switzerland) and the coordinator of the initiative titled Ukrainian Regionalism: A Research Platform. She is a PhD candidate at the Graduate School for Social Research (Warsaw, Poland) and affiliated with the Centre for Urban History in East-Central Europe (Lviv, Ukraine).


    Nadja Danglmaier

    Nadja Danglmaier is a postdoctoral Assistant at the University of Klagenfurt, Institute for Educational Science. She is involved in school projects and teacher training schemes on contemporary history topics and historical narratives. Her main areas of work are diversity-conscious education, historical-political education and cultures of remembrance.


    Daniel Wutti

    Daniel Wutti is a researcher at the Institute for Multilingualism and Transcultural Education of the University College of Teacher Education in Carinthia (Austria). He holds a PhD in Social Psychology and is a Media and Communication researcher. His main areas of work are transcultural education and multilingualism, cultures of remembrance, bilingualism and multilingualism, as well as majority and minority situations.


    Ida Richter

    Ida Richter is a PhD candidate at the Technical University Berlin (Centre for Research on Antisemitism) at the Selma Stern Centre for Jewish Studies Berlin-Brandenburg. During her bachelor studies, she studied Political Science in English, French and German at the French-German campus of Sciences Po Paris in Nancy and at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She completed her MA degree in Human Rights at Sciences Po Paris. An article resulting from her master’s thesis has been published recently (‘Nazi Crimes Before West German Courts: Fritz Bauer as a Visionary of International Criminal Justice?, Journal of International Criminal Justice, Volume 18, Issue 1, March 2020, p. 167–183). Since October 2018, Ida Richter has been working on her PhD dissertation under the working title Holocaust Memory and Human Rights Discourse: The Case of Raoul Wallenberg in the framework of a research group on the reception history of Yad Vashem’s Righteous among the Nations at the Selma Stern Centre. Since then, she has presented her topic in several talks at research colloquia and at a conference on the memory of rescue in Le-Chambon-sur-Lignon, France.



    Zofia Wóycicka

    Zofia Wóycicka holds a PhD and is a researcher at the German Historical Institute Warsaw. She studied History and Sociology at the University of Warsaw, the Friedrich-Schiller University Jena and the School for Social Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Dr Wóycicka has worked as an educator at POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Warsaw (2007–2011) and as an exhibition curator at the House of European History, Brussels (2011–2015). Between 2015 and 2019 she was a researcher at the Centre for Historical Research Berlin of the PAN. Currently she is working on a project titled ‘The Rescue of Jews during the Second World War in the Narratives of European Museums’. Her publications include Arrested Mourning. Memory of the Nazi Camps in Poland, 1944– 1950 (2013).



    Gábor Danyi

    Gábor Danyi holds a PhD and is a graduate from Hungarian Literature and Philology and Comparative Literature at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, where he earned a PhD in Comparative Literature. His research focuses on cultural resistance in Hungary during the Cold War, with special emphasis on unofficial publications. He publishes papers in Hungarian, Polish and English. He translates both technical texts and literature from Polish into Hungarian. He is the project coordinator of the 2020 edition of the Genealogies of Memory conference.

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    With the “Genealogies of Memory” project we facilitate academic exchange between Central and East European scholars of individual and collective memory.


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    Main organiser
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    Partner institutions
    logo of Stiftung Denkmal fur die ermordeten Juden Europas
    logo of IS UW
    Institutions invited to academic discussion
    logo of Jewish Historical Institute
    logo of UJ Wydział Polonistyki
    logo of Warsaw Ghetto Museum
    logo of Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies
    logo of Deutsche Historische Institut Warschau
    logo of Ghetto Fighters House Museum
    logo of Holocaust Memorial Center Budapest
    logo of Mémorial de la Shoah
    Financial partners
    logo of PL Ministry
    logo of DE Ministry
    logo of HU Ministry
    logo of SL Ministry
    logo of RO Ministry