"How much transnational cooperation does European memory require?"
The symposium “How much transnational cooperation does European memory require?” jointly organized by the Network of Remembrance and Solidarity of Europe (headquartered in Warsaw), the Federal Foundation for the Evaluation of the Dictatorship of the Socialist United Party (Berlin) and the European Solidarity Center (Gdansk) was held in Berlin from 10. until 12. October 2013 years.
The symposium was attended by more than 200 representatives from 23 European countries and 120 key institutions focused on research and dissemination of historical knowledge, as well as on developing a culture of remembrance. Members of the Center for History, Democracy and Reconciliation attended the symposium, and CHDR President Darko Gavrilović presented the Center’s publications.
International symposium of European institutions dealing with the history of the 20th century. century
Representatives of educational and scientific centers, museums, non-governmental organizations and public institutions discussed national perspectives and difficulties in developing a common vision of history.
The participants of the symposium had the opportunity to learn about the work of international organizations that deal with structuring the dialogue around policies related to memory in various European countries. Among others, the Baltic Initiative and Network and the RECOM Initiative (Coalition for the Establishment of a Regional Commission for the Search and Discovery of the Truth About War Crimes – RECOM) were presented.
Underlining how much still needs to be done in establishing a dialogue between the historical interpretations preferred by individual countries, ENRS head Rafał Rogulski recalled a recent infamous example of historical manipulation in the film industry that caused a dispute regarding the “Our Mothers, Our Fathers” series of Germany television.
One thoughtless or manipulated media message can cause great damage in mutual European relations. Negative neighborly emotions can be awakened or hostilities rekindled. Therefore, it seems to be of the utmost importance to ensure the standards of the top draw when spreading the knowledge of the common European history.
British historian Keith Lowe has noted that East and West share a tendency to justify actions and negligence. “While we all want to be remembered as heroes or victims, we all have to face the truth,” Lowe said. The historian additionally highlighted the Poles as archetypal victims and heroes. “The Poles were the only nation that formed a previously unheard-of underground state of millions during the Second World War.” “Poles can be proud of the resistance they offered to the German and Soviet occupiers,” added Low.
In a speech at the closing of the symposium, German political scientist Gesine Schwan commented on how shared historical memory can influence Europe’s future.
She believes that memory requires activity and is not a matter of passivity. “Common historical memory can only be based on common values acceptable to all European nations, such as human rights, because the historical experience and assessment of past events are very different in individual countries,” emphasized Gesine Schwan. “Notwithstanding the above, experiential diversity is far from a threat – it is a form of normalcy that serves to enrich the continent.”
The symposium was also an open panel for international discussions and a platform for presenting national narratives.