Dealing with the Past in Spaces, Places, Actions, and Institutions of Memory: A Comparative Reflection on European Experiences

AICGS is pleased to present four essays that were inspired by an international conference held in Berlin in October 2015: “Dealing with the Past in Spaces, Places, Actions, and Institutions of Memory: A Comparative Reflection on European Experiences.”  The ideas elaborated in the essays are the authors’ own and are not a representation of the Stiftung Mercator or AICGS. The conference and this publication are part of AICGS’ broader work on the topic of international reconciliation in Europe and East Asia.

These essays reflect a range of perspectives:  historian, journalist, educator, activist. All four authors write from rich personal experiences. All four essays address a variety of psychological, philosophical, physical, and political instruments for facing history: memory, remembrance, commemoration, memorialization. They also identify the danger of the polar opposite of acknowledging the past: forgetting and forgetfulness. Each essay is informed by a question: How to confront history after the Holocaust? How to engage young people in memory work in Germany? How has the debate about history opened up in Turkey? How has the past impacted the generation born just before and during the Balkans wars of the 1990s?

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The views expressed are those of the author(s) alone. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies.