To forget after Auschwitz is considered barbaric. Baer and Sznaider question this assumption not only in regard to the Holocaust but to other political crimes as well. The duties of memory surrounding the Holocaust have spread around the globe and interacted with other narratives of victimization that demand equal treatment. Are there crimes that must be forgotten and others that should be remembered?
In this book the authors examine the effects of a globalized Holocaust culture on the ways in which individuals and groups understand the moral and political significance of their respective histories of extreme political violence. Do such transnational memories facilitate or hamper the task of coming to terms with and overcoming divisive pasts? Taking Argentina, Spain and a number of sites in post-communist Europe as test cases, this book illustrates the transformation from a nationally oriented ethics to a trans-national one. The authors look at media, scholarly discourse, NGOs dealing with human rights and memory, museums and memorial sites, and examine how a new generation of memory activists revisits the past to construct a new future. Baer and Sznaider follow these attempts to manoeuvre between the duties of remembrance and the benefits of forgetting. This, the authors argue, is the "ethics of Never Again."
‘This book is a courageous critique of generalizing the Holocaust into a universal frame for evil and victimhood, and making the commemoration of massive violence a moral obligation. With sensitivity, the authors examine the costs of the ensuing divisiveness, and propose dialogue, compromise, and the acknowledgment of past suffering instead.’ - Antonius C. G. M. Robben, Utrecht University, Netherlands
‘… the authors’ general reflections about the mantra Never Again and the challenging and bold lesson of Memory and Forgetting in the Post-Holocaust Era regarding the ‘dark side’ of the well-intentioned but complex idea of Never Again are an important message for activists, practitioners, scholars and citizens alike.’ - European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology
List of figures
1 The Ethics of Never Again: global constellations
2 Nunca Más : Argentine Nazis and Judíos del Sur
3 Francoism reframed: the disappeared of the Spanish Holocaust
4 Eastern Europe: exhuming competing pasts
5 Beyond Antigone and Amalek : toward a memory of hope
Memory Studies as an academic field of cultural inquiry emerges at a time when global public debates, buttressed by the fragmentation of nation states and their traditional narratives, have greatly accelerated. Societies are today pregnant with newly unmediated memories, once sequestered in broad collective representations and their ideological stances. But, the ‘past in the present’ has returned with a vengeance in the early 21st Century, and with it an expansion of categories of cultural experience and meaning. This new series explores the social and cultural stakes around forgetting, useful forgetting and remembering, locally, regionally, nationally and globally. It welcomes studies of migrant memory from failed states; micro-histories battling against collective memories; the mnemonic past of emotions; the mnemonic spatiality of sites of memory; and the reconstructive ethics of memory in the face of galloping informationalization, as this renders the ‘mnemonic’ more and more public and publically accessible.