‘Nothing more cosmopolitan than the camps?’ Holocaust Remembrance and (de-)Europeanization
Is there an obligation to remember the Holocaust? What is European about it, and does it make us more European to honour this obligation? In his essay on the ‘Ethics of Memory’, the philosopher Avishai Margalit describes memory as the essence of ‘thick relations’, linking individuals and groups to their immediate social vicinity: families, friends, tribes. Memory is a central social category, he argues, but only in special cases is it a moral one. Where ‘gross crimes against humanity’ are concerned, this ‘morality’ — as distinct from the ‘ethics’ — of memory entails an obligation to ‘preserve memory’: to speak a language, to build institutions, and to practise rituals of memorialization. The distinction begs the question of who exactly is bound by this obligation to remember, as Margalit himself emphasizes: ‘humanity is no community of memory. (…) So who should carry the “moral memory” on behalf of humanity as a whole?’3
KeywordsCollective Identity Collective Memory European Identity National Narrative Holocaust Memory
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