Growing in the Shadow of Antifascism

Remembering the Holocaust in Communist Eastern Europe
$85.00 / €71.00 / £61.00
Publication date: 
December 2021, 300 pages

Reined into the service of the Cold War confrontation, antifascist ideology overshadowed the narrative about the Holocaust in the communist states of Eastern Europe. This led to the Western notion that in the Soviet Bloc there was a systematic suppression of the memory of the mass murder of European Jews in the. Going beyond disputing the mistaken opposition between “communist falsification” of history and the “repressed authentic” interpretation of the Jewish catastrophe, this work presents and analyzes the ways as the Holocaust was conceptualized in the Soviet-ruled parts of Europe.

The authors provide various interpretations of the relationship between antifascism and Holocaust memory in the communist countries, arguing that the predominance of an antifascist agenda and the acknowledgement of the Jewish catastrophe were far from mutually exclusive. The interactions included acts of negotiation, cross-referencing, and borrowing. Detailed case studies describe how both individuals and institutions were able to use anti-fascism as a framework to test and widen the boundaries for discussion of the Nazi genocide. The studies build on the new historiography of communism, focusing on everyday life and individual agency, revealing the formation of great variety of concrete, local memory practices.



Katarzyna Person, Agnieszka Żółkiewska: Edition of documents from the Ringelblum Archive (the Underground Archive of the Warsaw Ghetto) in Stalinist Poland

Peter Hallama: “A great civic and scientific duty of our historiography.” Czech historians and the Holocaust in the 1970s and 1980s

Benjamin Lapp: The Conflicted Identities of Helmut Eschwege: Communist, Jew and Historian of the Holocaust in the German Democratic Republic

Sites of Memory

Kata Bohus: Parallel memories? Public memorialization of the antifascist struggle and martyr memorial services in the Hungarian Jewish community during early Communism

Gintarė Malinauskaitė: Holocaust Narrative(s) in Soviet Lithuania: The Case of the Ninth Fort Museum in Kaunas

Yechiel Weizman: Memory Incarnate: Jewish Sites in Communist Poland and the Perception of the Shoah

Artistic Representations   

Anja Tippner: Toward a Soviet Holocaust Novel: Traumatic Memory and Socialist Realist Aesthetics in Anatolii Rybakov’s Heavy Sand

Daniel Véri: Commissioned Memory. Official Representations of the Holocaust in Hungarian Art (1955–1965)

Richard S. Esbenshade: Towards a Shared Memory? The Hungarian Holocaust in Mass-Market Socialist Literature, 1956-1970

Media and Public Debate

Alexander Walther: Distrusting the Parks: Heinz Knobloch’s Journalism and the Memory of the Shoah in the GDR

Miriam Schulz: ‘We pledge, as if it was the highest sanctum, to preserve the memory.’ Sovetish Heymland, facets of Holocaust commemoration in the Soviet Union and the Cold War

Stephan Stach: “The Jewish diaries […] undergo one edition after the other.” Early Polish Holocaust Documentation, East German Anti-Fascism and the Emergence of Holocaust Memory in Socialism