Respect for Historical Memory in Europe

The European Parliament joint motion for a resolution – approved by a large majority on 19 September – on ‘the importance of European remembrance for the future of Europe’, is a wrongheaded political and cultural act and should be vigorously rejected.

In the first place, it has to be said that it is not the province of an institutional or political organism to assert a specific reconstruction of history by majority decision. A use of history that wishes to impose a revisionist vision of the principal events of the last century to turn them into weapons in the current political battles should have no place in a true democracy.

In the second place, the statements about the history of the twentieth century in the resolution contain unacceptable errors and unilateral distortions and visions. It asserts that the pact between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, the 23 August 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, ‘paved the way to the outbreak of the Second World War’. This omits any reference to the enabling behaviour of the liberal democracies in the face of Nazi expansionism, which dates at least from the invasion of Ethiopia (1935) and the Spanish Civil War triggered in support of General Franco’s extreme right coup (1936) and continued with the Anschluss of Austria to Germany on 12 March 1938, the appeasement at Munich (1938) and the consequent dismembering of Czechoslovakia not only by Germany but also by Poland and Hungary.

Moreover, the resolution does not mention the enormous contribution to the victory over Nazism, decisive for the very fate of Europe and of humanity, made both by the Soviet Union (with more than 20 million dead) and by those who, everywhere in Europe and the world, often guided by the ideals and symbols of the various currents of the international communist movement, fought Hitler’s troops and those allied to him. It "forgets" Altiero Spinelli, Italian Communist and political prisoner between 1927 and 1943 and co-author of the Manifesto of Ventotene who is widely known as one of the founding fathers of the European integration and therefore rightly became name giver to one of the buildings of the European Parliament.

It manages to mention Auschwitz without saying that it was the Soviet army that liberated it and the prisoners destined for extermination. Or it deliberately forgets that in many countries (among them France and Italy but not only) the communists were the principal component of the Resistance to Nazism/fascism, making a major contribution to its defeat and the rebirth in those countries of a constitutional democracy that reaffirmed political, trade-union, cultural, and religious freedoms. Not to mention the decisive support that communist states and communist ideals gave to the liberation of entire peoples from colonial oppression and sometimes slavery.

Remembering these facts, which the resolution culpably omits, does not mean ignoring and being silent about the disgraceful aspects of what is generally called ‘Stalinism’, about the errors and horrors that also occurred in that camp. But these cannot erase a fundamental distinction: While Nazism/fascism, in giving birth to a ruthless dictatorship and in cancelling every space of democracy, liberty, and even humanity, in persecuting, including through proclaimed and planned extermination, religious, ethnic, cultural, and sexual minorities, was merely attempting to put into practice its openly proclaimed programmes, the communist regimes before and after the war, when they defiled themselves through grave and unacceptable violations of democracy and liberty, were by contrast betraying their own ideals and values and promises they had made. All of which needs to generate questions, reflections, and investigations but – taken together with the contribution made by activists and by the USSR to the defeat of Nazism – in no way permits the equating of Nazism and communism at the heart of this resolution of the European Parliament nor the identification, as occurs several times in the motion, of communism and Stalinism in view of the great variety of currents of thought and political experience to which the former gave birth.

These falsifications and omissions cannot be made the basis of a ‘shared memory’, still less become the basis of a common history syllabus in schools, as the motion recommends. It cannot become the platform for a ‘European day of remembrance for the victims of totalitarian regimes’ asked for by the motion. Nor can it provide the motivation for removing ‘commemorative monuments and places (parks, squares, streets, etc.), which, with the excuse of a struggle against an indistinct totalitarianism, is in reality an invitation to erase the clear and transparent pages of the history of those who contributed, through their own sacrifice, to defeating Nazism and fascism.

We note that the European Parliament’s motion necessarily contains unavoidable gestures at balancing its main thrust by affirming the wish to struggle against the ‘reversion to fascism, racism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance’.  But these justified calls to struggle against racism and fascism cannot be based on a distorted and even false use of history or on the declared intention to sever the roots of a fundamental component of anti-fascism, that is, the communist component. The peoples of Europe must not permit this.


Last name Name Chair / Institute / Function University  Country
Baier Walter Political coordinator transform! europe   AT
Edlinger Fritz     AT
Mugrauer Manfred Alfred Klahr Society   AT
Artinian Arto  Member, Institute for Critical Theories of Supermodernity Borough of Manhattan Community College – City University of New York BG / USA
Deyanov Deyan   Institute for Critical Theories of Supermodernity, Sofia BG
Deyanova Liliana   Sofia University, "St. Kliment Ohridski" BG
Tsoneva Jana   Centre for Collective Intervention, Sofi BG
Arsenijević Damir   University of Tuzla BiH
Grigorov Emil   Laval Universtiy Quebec CA
Birač Dimitrije       CRO
Čakardić  Ankica    University of Zagreb CRO
Đurašković Stevo   University of Zagreb CRO
Horvatinčić Sanja   University of Zagreb CRO
Hromadžić Hajrudin    University of Rijeka CRO
Jović Dejan Professor of political science at Zagreb University, former Croatian president advisor University of Zagreb CRO
Kapović Mate   University of Zagreb CRO
Klasić Hrvoje    University of Zagreb CRO
Mikulić Borislav    University of Zagreb CRO
Peović Katarina   University of Rijeka CRO
Hudeček Jiří Department of Biochemisty, Faculty of Science Charles University Prague CZ
Keller Jan Former MEP SD University of Ostrava CZ
Švihlíková  Ilona      CZ
Bidet Jacques historian University of Paris-Nanterre FR
De Cock Laurence historian   FR
Larrère Mathilde historian University of Paris XIII FR
Laurent Pierre Senior Secretary-General of the French Communist Party (PCF)   FR
Le Hyaric Patrick Chairman of the Board and Director of L’Humanité   FR
Martelli Roger historian and director of Regards   FR
Sève Lucien philosopher   FR
Wurtz Francis Senior Chairman of the Group of the "European United Left – Nordic Green Left"   FR
Buden Boris    Bauhaus University, Weimar GER
Dahn Daniela Writer   Ger
Demirovic Alex   University of Frankfurt GER
Deppe Frank   University of Marburg GER
Dörre Klaus   University of Jena GER
Ernst Cornelia Mitglied des Europäischen Parlaments, DIE LINKE.    GER
Gysi Gregor President of the Party of the European Left   GER
Kessler Mario   University of Potsdam GER
Rilling Rainer   University of Marburg GER
Wolf Frieder Otto   Free University of Berlin GER
Athanasiou Athina   Panteion University of Athens GR
Benveniste  Rika   University of Thessaly GR
Douzinas Costas   Birkbeck University GR / UK
Golemis Haris     GR
Karpozilos Kostis   Director Contemporary Social History Archives (ASKI) GR
Spourdalakis Michalis Dean School of Economics & Politics National and Kapodistrian University of Athens GR
Vaiou Dina   National Technical University of Athens  GR
Krausz  Tamás   Eötvös Loránd University Budapest HU
Artner Annamaria   Academy of Sciences HU
Tamás Gáspár Miklós   Central European University Budapest / Vienna HU / AT
Abramo Cinzia   Università Perugia IT
Attardi Giuseppe   Università Pisa IT
Attardo Elda   Università Milano IT
Bertinotti  Fausto  former President of the Italian Parliament   IT
Boscaino  Marina      IT
Carella Donata Maria   Università Roma IT
Castellina  Luciana    Journalist and former MP IT
Ciofi  Paolo  Honoary President Futura umanità. Associazione per la storia e la memoria del PCI IT
Collotti Enzo  Historian   IT
Conti  Davide  Historian Anpi, consulente dell’Archivio Storico del Senato della Repubblica IT
Cutrufelli Rosa Maria Author   IT
Di Luzio Flavia   Università Bologna IT
Di Quarto Francesco   Università Palermo IT
Falà Leila   Università Bologna IT
Favilli  Paolo      IT
Ferrara  Gianni  former MP   IT
Ferrero  Paolo    vicepresidente della Sinistra Europea IT
Forenza  Eleonora  former MEP   IT
Fratoianni  Nicola    deputato Sinistra Italiana IT
Gagliasso Elena   Università Roma IT
Gianni  Alfonso  former MP   IT
Lavenia Vincenzo   Università Bologna IT
Levi Giovanni   Università Venezia IT
Licausi Luciano   Università Siena IT
Liguori Guido    Università della Calabria, presidente della International Gramsci Society IT
Mariani Giorgio   Università Roma IT
Maselli  Citto  film director   IT
Melandri  Lea      IT
Menapace   Lidia  Former senator and member of the Italian resistance   IT
Mencarelli Fabio   Università Pisa IT
Micheli Maria Rita   Università Perugia IT
Mincer Aleksander (Olek)   Università Genova IT
Modonesi  Massimo    Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico IT
Mordenti Raul   Università Roma IT
Musacchio  Roberto  former GUE/NGL MEP   IT
Napoletano  Pasqualina  former GUE/NGL MEP   IT
Natoli Claudio   Università Cagliari IT
Okić Tijana    University of Pisa IT
Petrella  Riccardo  Italian economist, political scientist   IT
Pomeranzi  Bianca      IT
Previtali Franco   Università Milano IT
Punzo Luigi   Università Cassino IT
Quercioli Mincer Laura   Università Genova IT
Rinaldi  Rosa  segreteria nazionale prc   IT
Riolo Claudio   Università Palermo IT
Rodano  Giulia  former regional councilor    IT
Romitelli Valerio   Università Bologna IT
Ruggieri Franca   Università Roma Tre IT
Rui Marina   Università Genova IT
Sampaolo Giovanni   Università Roma IT
Soliani Riccardo   università Genova IT
Spagnolo Luigi   Università Siena IT
Spinnler Hans   Università Milano IT
Suvin Darko    McGill University  IT
Tortorella  Aldo    Honoary President Associazione per il Rinnovamento della Sinistra IT
Violante Francesco   Università Foggia IT
Vitiello Ondina   Università Padova IT
Voza  Pasquale   università "Aldo Moro" di Bari IT
Zunino Franco Associazione Ricreativa Culturale Italiana (Arci), Associazione Nazionale di Amicizia Italia-Cuba IT
Kolozova Katerina   Institute for Social Sciences and Humanities, Skopje NMK
Cardina Miguel     PT
de Sousa Santos Boaventura Institute of Sociology University of Coimbra, Portugal PT
Flunser Pimentel Irene     PT
Loff Manuel Institute of Contemporary History  University NOVA Lisbon PT
Breznik Maja   University of Ljubljana and Peace Institute SLO
Kirn Gal   University of Dresden SLO / GER
Kržan Marko Institute for Workers’ Studies   SLO
Mesec Luka party coordinator Levica   SLO
Močnik Rastko   University of Ljubljana SLO
Piškur Bojana Modern Galery, Ljubljana   SLO
Tomić  Violeta party coordinator Levica   SLO
Vrečko Asta   University of Ljubljana SLO
Alonso Montero Xesús Professor Of Galician Literature, Former President Of The Royal Galician Academy University Of Santiago SP
Andrade Blanco Juan Profesor De Historia Contemporánea Complutense University Of Madrid SP
Aragón Mariano Associació Catalana D’investigacions Marxistes    SP
Barrio Alonso  Ángeles Professor Of Contemporary History University Of Cantabria SP
Bueno Lluch Manuel Trabajador Del Archivo Histórico De Ccoo De Andalucía, Excoordinador Sección De Historia Fim   SP
Duarte Montserrat Ángel Professor Of Contemporary History University Of Córdoba SP
Erice Sebares Francisco Professor Of Contemporary History University Of Oviedo SP
Ferrer González Cristian Profesor De Historia Contemporánea Autonomous University of Barcelona SP
Gallego Margaleff Ferran Professor Of Contemporary History Autonomous University Of Barcelona SP
Gálvez Biesca Sergio Archivero, Doctor En Historia, Madrid    SP
Ginard I Feron David Profesor Titular De Historia Contemporánea Universitat De Les Illes Balears SP
Gómez Alén José Catedrático Jubilado De Historia De Enseñanza Media, Doctor En Historia, Galicia   SP
Hernández Sánchez Fernando Profesor De Historia Contemporánea Universidad Autónoma De Madrid SP
Hernández Sandoica Elena Professor of Contemporary History  Complutense University of Madrid SP
Hinojosa Durán José Profesor De Historia De Enseñanza Media, Doctor En Historia, Extremadura   SP
López López Pedro Profesor De Historia Contemporánea Complutense University Of Madrid SP
Mainer Baqué Juan Catedrático Jubilado, Coordinador De La Federación Icaria   SP
Molinero Carme Professor of Contemporary History Autonomous University of Barcelona SP
Núñez Díaz-Balart Mirta Professor Of History Of Social Communication Complutense University Of Madrid SP
Puig Valverdú Guillem Profesor De Historia Contemporánea Universitat Rovira I Virgili SP
Ramos Josep Lluis Martín  Professor of Contemporary History Autonomous University of Barcelona SP
Robledo Hernández  Ricardo Professor of Contemporary History University Of Salamanca / Pompeu Fabra University SP
Santidrián Arias Víctor Profesor De Historia De Enseñanza Media, Doctor En Historia, Galicia   SP
Sanz Hoya Julián Professor Of Contemporary History University Of Valencia SP
Saz Ismael Professor of Contemporary History University of Valencia  SP
Suárez Cortina Manuel Professor Of Contemporary History University Of Cantabria SP
Vadillo Muñoz Julián Profesor De Historia Contemporánea Universidad Carlos Iii SP
Vega Sombría Santiago Profesor De Historia Contemporánea Complutense University Of Madrid SP
Viñas Martín Ángel  Catedrático Jubilado De Economía Aplicada Y De Historia Contemporánea Complutense University Of Madrid SP
Ysàs Solanes  Pere Professor of Contemporary History Autonomous University of Barcelona SP
Bakić Jovo    University of Belgrade SRB
Balunović Filip faculty for Media and Communication   SRB
Kuljić Todor   University of Belgrade SRB
Manojlović Pintar Olga Historian at the Institute for Recent History of Serbia, President of the Reconstruction Women’s Fund Managing Board University of Belgrade SRB
Matković Aleksandar   Regional Science Center, Novi Sad and University of Belgrade SRB
Pantić Rade Faculty of Media and Communication Singidunum University, Belgrade SRB
Samardžić Miroslav Zrenjanin Social Forum   SRB
Štiks Igor   Faculty for Media and Communication, Belgrad SRB
Fraser Nancy Philosophy and Politics New School NYC USA
Matilde Eiroa San Francisco Profesor Titular de Historia Contemporánea, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid     ESP
Francisco Sánchez Pérez   Profesor Titular de Historia Contemporánea, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid   ESP
Miguel Ángel del Arco Blanco Profesor Titular de Historia Contemporánea, Universidad de Granada     ESP