‘Nothing more cosmopolitan than the camps?’ Holocaust Remembrance and (de-)Europeanization

  • Henning Grunwald
Part of the The Palgrave Macmillan Transnational History Series book series (PMSTH)


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


Collective Identity Collective Memory European Identity National Narrative Holocaust Memory 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. D. Diner, ‘Restitution and Memory: The Holocaust in European Political Cultures’, New German Critique, XC, Taboo, Trauma, Holocaust (Autumn, 2003), 36–44, 36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. W. Kansteiner, ‘Finding Meaning in Memory: A Methodological Critique of Collective Memory Studies’, History and Theory, XLI, No. 2 (May, 2002), 179–97, 182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. M. Wolfgram, ‘The Holocaust through the Prism of East German Television: Collective Memory and Audience Perceptions’, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, XX, No. 1 (Spring 2006), pp. 57–79, p. 58f.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© H. Grunwald 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henning Grunwald

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations