Growing in the Shadow of Antifascism

Remembering the Holocaust in State-Socialist Eastern Europe
$85.00 / €71.00 / £61.00
Open Access in the 2022 KU HSS collection
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340 pages, 42 photos
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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. 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 acknowledgment 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 antifascism 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 a 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


“This multifaceted, transnational volume on the shaping of Holocaust memory in the shadow of antifascism in Eastern Europe is a most welcome contribution to the growing literature on the dynamic interaction between history, politics, and memory of the Holocaust in postwar Europe. Through cutting edge research incorporating many heretofore largely unexamined sources, this timely volume demonstrates the multiple ways in which Holocaust survivors and other activists in Eastern Europe created a space for Holocaust memory within antifascist frameworks, and highlights the critical role local, grassroots, and bottom-up initiatives under state socialism in the GDR, Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and the USSR played in the shaping of memory, even within political frameworks often perceived to limit possibilities for expression.”
“An insightful exploration of the relationship between the memory of the Holocaust and antifascism in Eastern Europe in the midst of Cold War. By focusing on historiography, sites of memory, artistic representations, media, and public debate, Growing in the Shadow of Antifascism fills a critical gap in the literature and offers a dynamic, nuanced picture of a continued engagement with the Holocaust beyond suppression and marginalization.”