The ways in which memories of the Holocaust have been communicated, represented and used have changed dramatically over the years. From such memories being neglected and silenced in most of Europe until the 1970s, each country has subsequently gone through a process of cultural, political and pedagogical awareness-rising. This culminated in the ’Stockholm conference on Holocaust commemoration’ in 2000, which resulted in the constitution of a task force dedicated to transmitting and teaching knowledge and awareness about the Holocaust on a global scale. The silence surrounding private memories of the Holocaust has also been challenged in many families. What are the catalysts that trigger a change from silence to discussion of the Holocaust? What happens when we talk its invisibility away? How are memories of the Holocaust reflected in different social environments? Who asks questions about memories of the Holocaust, and which answers do they find, at which point in time and from which past and present positions related to their societies and to the phenomenon in question? This book highlights the contexts in which such questions are asked. By introducing the concept of ’active memory’, this book contributes to recent developments in memory studies, where memory is increasingly viewed not in isolation but as a dynamic and relational part of human lives.
’This important and thought-provoking book addresses both personal and structural aspects of memory and history. It highlights how memories rendered or silences maintained about the Holocaust have both personal and public significance across national contexts. Drawing on biographical interviews and texts it also makes important contributions to methods discussions.’ Ann Nilsen, University of Bergen, Norway
Contents: Preface; Introduction: the Holocaust as active memory; Linking religion and family memories of children hidden in Belgian convents during the Holocaust, Suzanne Vromen; Collective trajectory and generational work in families of Jewish displaced persons: epistemological processes in the research situation, Lena Inowlocki; In a double voice: representations of the Holocaust in Polish literature, 1980-2011, Dorota Glowacka; Winners once a year? How Russian-speaking Jews in Germany make sense of WWII and the Holocaust as part of transnational biographic experience, Julia Bernstein; Women’s peace activism and the Holocaust: reversing the hegemonic Holocaust discourse in Israel, Tova Benski and Ruth Katz; ’The history, the papers, let me see it!’ Compensation processes: the second generation between archive truth and family speculations, Nicole L. Immler; From rescue to escape in 1943: on a path to de-victimizing the Danish Jews. Sofie Lene Bak; Finland, the Vernichtungskrieg and the Holocaust, Oula Silvennoinen; Swedish rescue operations during the Second World War: accomplishments and aftermath, Ulf Zander; The social phenomenon of silence, Irene Levin; Index.