The Baltic–Russian debates on the past have become a hot spot of European memory politics. Violent protests and international tensions accompanying the removal of the "Bronze Soldier" monument, which commemorated the Soviet liberation of Tallinn in 1944, from the city centre in April 2007 have demonstrated the political impact that contested sites of memory may still reveal.
In this publication, collective memories that are related to major traits of the 20th century in North Eastern Europe – the Holocaust, Nazi and Soviet occupation and (re-)emerging nationalisms – are examined through a prism of different approaches. They comprise reflections on national templates of collective memory, the political use of history, cultural and political aspects of war memorials, and recent discourses on the Holocaust. Furthermore, places of memory in architecture and urbanism are addressed and lead to the question of which prospects common, trans-national forms of memory may unfold.
After decades of frozen forms of commemoration under Soviet hegemony, the Baltic case offers an interesting insight into collective memory and history politics and their linkage to current political and inter-ethnic relationships. The past seems to be remembered differently in the European peripheries than it is in its centre. Europe is diverse and so are its memories.
This book was published as a special issue of the Journal of Baltic Studies.
1. Introduction: Contested and Shared Places of Memory: History and Politics in North Eastern Europe Jörg Hackmann and Marko Lehti 2. Collective Memories in the Baltic Sea Region and beyond: National—Transnational—European? Jörg Hackmann 3. Never Ending Second World War: Public Performances of National Dignity and Drama of the Bronze Soldier Marko Lehti, Markku Jokisipilä and Matti Jutila 4. ‘Woe from Stones’: Commemoration, Identity Politics and Estonia’s ‘War of Monuments’ David J. Smith 5. Commemorating Liberation and Occupation: War Memorials along the Road to Narva Siobhan Kattago 6. An unfolding signifier: London’s Baltic Exchange in Tallinn Stuart Burch 7. Why the Holocaust does not matter to Estonians Anton Weiss-Wendt 8. History as Cultural Memory: Mnemohistory and the Construction of the Estonian Nation Marek Tamm 9. Remembering and Forgetting: Creating a Soviet Lithuanian Capital. Vilnius 1944-1949 Theodore R. Weeks