This short talk explores the ways in which the visual and symbolic repertoire of cosmopolitan Holocaust memory has become appropriated to represent other types of historical crimes. Focusing on post-communist Eastern Europe, I demonstrate how the familiar narratives and images of the Holocaust have been repurposed for two main goals: first, to normatively elevate the suffering of non-Jewish national majorities and equate it with the Holocaust, and, second, to reposition the crimes of communism as the dominant criminal legacy of the 20th century on par with, and sometimes overtaking, the legacy of the Holocaust. I illustrate these arguments with brief examples of revisionist museum and commemorative practices in Poland, Hungary, Lithuania, and Serbia.
Jelena Subotic is a Professor of Political Science at Georgia State University in Atlanta.
Followed by a response from Natalie Belsky, Assistant Professor of History, UM - Duluth.