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.


Prof Last name(s) Name(s) Chair / Institute / Function University  Country
  Baier Walter Political coordinator transform! europe   AT
  Edlinger Fritz     AT
  Mugrauer Manfred Alfred Klahr Society   AT
Assoc. Prof 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
Prof Deyanova Liliana   Sofia University, "St. Kliment Ohridski" BG
  Tsoneva Jana   Centre for Collective Intervention, Sofi BG
  Arsenijević Damir   University of Tuzla BiH
Prof 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
Assoc. Prof Hromadžić Hajrudin    University of Rijeka CRO
Prof Jović Dejan Professor of political science at Zagreb University, former Croatian president advisor University of Zagreb CRO
  Kapović Mate   University of Zagreb CRO
Prof Klasić Hrvoje    University of Zagreb CRO
Prof Mikulić Borislav    University of Zagreb CRO
  Peović Katarina   University of Rijeka CRO
  Hudeček Jiří Department of Biochemisty, Faculty of Science Charles University Prague CZ
Prof Keller Jan Former MEP SD University of Ostrava CZ
Prof Švihlíková  Ilona      CZ
Prof. em Bidet Jacques historian University of Paris-Nanterre FR
  De Cock Laurence historian   FR
Prof 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’Humanite   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
Prof Demirović Alex   University of Frankfurt GER
Prof Deppe Frank   University of Marburg GER
Prof 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
Prof Kessler Mario   University of Potsdam GER
Prof Rilling Rainer   University of Marburg GER
Prof Wolf Frieder Otto   Free University of Berlin GER
Prof Athanasiou Athina   Panteion University of Athens GR
Prof Benveniste  Rika   University of Thessaly GR
Prof Douzinas Costas   Birkbeck University GR / UK
  Golemis Haris     GR
  Karpozilos Kostis   Director Contemporary Social History Archives (ASKI) GR
Prof Spourdalakis Michalis Dean School of Economics & Politics National and Kapodistrian University of Athens GR
Prof. em  Vaiou Dina   National Technical University of Athens  GR
Prof. em Krausz  Tamás   Eötvös Loránd University Budapest HU
Prof Artner Annamaria   Academy of Sciences HU
Prof 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  già presidente della Camera   IT
  Boscaino  Marina  docente   IT
  Carella Donata Maria   Università Roma IT
  Castellina  Luciana    giornalista e già parlamentare IT
  Ciofi  Paolo  presidente onorario Futura umanità. Associazione per la storia e la memoria del PCI IT
Prof Collotti Enzo    storico. Ha insegnato storia contemporanea all’Università di Firenze ed è considerato uno dei più importanti storici italiani ed europei della Resistenza italiana e nello studio del nazismo. IT
Prof Conti  Davide  Storico Anpi, consulente dell’Archivio Storico del Senato della Repubblica.  IT
  Cutrufelli Rosa Maria scrittrice   IT
  Di Luzio Flavia   Università Bologna IT
  Di Quarto Francesco   Università Palermo IT
  Falà Leila   Università Bologna IT
  Favilli  Paolo      IT
  Ferrara  Gianni  già parlamentare    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  già parlamentare   IT
  Lavenia Vincenzo   Università Bologna IT
  Levi Giovanni   Università Venezia IT
  Licausi Luciano   Università Siena IT
Prof Liguori Guido  docente di Storia del pensiero politico Università della Calabria, presidente della International Gramsci Society IT
  Mariani Giorgio   Università Roma IT
  Maselli  Citto  regista   IT
  Melandri  Lea      IT
  Menapace   Lidia  sen. partigiana   IT
  Mencarelli Fabio   Università Pisa IT
  Micheli Maria Rita   Università Perugia IT
  Mincer Aleksander (Olek)   Università Genova IT
Prof Modonesi  Massimo  docente di Teoria sociale  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  docente universitario   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  già consigliere regionale   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
Prof em Suvin Darko    McGill University  IT
  Tortorella  Aldo  presidente onorario Associazione per il Rinnovamento della Sinistra, già combattente partigiano, dirigente e parlamentare del PCI IT
  Violante Francesco   Università Foggia IT
  Vitiello Ondina   Università Padova IT
Prof. em Voza  Pasquale   università "Aldo Moro" di Bari IT
  Zunino Franco   Arci, Italia-Cuba IT
  Kolozova Katerina   Institute for Social Sciences and Humanities, Skopje NMK
  Cardina Miguel     PT
Prof de Sousa Santos Boaventura Institute of Sociology University of Coimbra, Portugal PT
  Flunser Pimentel Irene     PT
Prof 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
Prof Močnik Rastko   University of Ljubljana SLO
  Piškur Bojana Modern Galery, Ljubljana   SLO
  Tomić  Violeta party coordinator Levica   SLO
Prof ass. Vrečko Asta   University of Ljubljana SLO
Prof Alonso Montero Xesús Professor Of Galician Literature, Former President Of The Royal Galician Academy University Of Santiago SP
Prof Andrade Blanco Juan Profesor De Historia Contemporánea Complutense University Of Madrid SP
  Aragón Mariano Associació Catalana D’investigacions Marxistes    SP
Prof 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
Prof Duarte Montserrat Ángel Professor Of Contemporary History University Of Córdoba SP
Prof Erice Sebares Francisco Professor Of Contemporary History University Of Oviedo SP
Prof Ferrer González Cristian Profesor De Historia Contemporánea Autonomous University of Barcelona SP
Prof Gallego Margaleff Ferran Professor Of Contemporary History Autonomous University Of Barcelona SP
  Gálvez Biesca Sergio Archivero, Doctor En Historia, Madrid    SP
Prof Ginard I Feron David Profesor Titular De Historia Contemporánea Universitat De Les Illes Balears SP
Prof Gómez Alén José Catedrático Jubilado De Historia De Enseñanza Media, Doctor En Historia, Galicia   SP
Prof Hernández Sánchez Fernando Profesor De Historia Contemporánea Universidad Autónoma De Madrid SP
Prof Hernández Sandoica Elena Professor of Contemporary History  Complutense University of Madrid SP
Prof Hinojosa Durán José Profesor De Historia De Enseñanza Media, Doctor En Historia, Extremadura   SP
Prof López López Pedro Profesor De Historia Contemporánea Complutense University Of Madrid SP
Prof Mainer Baqué Juan Catedrático Jubilado, Coordinador De La Federación Icaria   SP
Prof Molinero Carme Professor of Contemporary History Autonomous University of Barcelona SP
Prof Núñez Díaz-Balart Mirta Professor Of History Of Social Communication Complutense University Of Madrid SP
Prof Puig Valverdú Guillem Profesor De Historia Contemporánea Universitat Rovira I Virgili SP
Prof Ramos Josep Lluis Martín  Professor of Contemporary History Autonomous University of Barcelona SP
Prof Robledo Hernández  Ricardo Professor of Contemporary History University Of Salamanca / Pompeu Fabra University SP
Prof Santidrián Arias Víctor Profesor De Historia De Enseñanza Media, Doctor En Historia, Galicia   SP
Prof Sanz Hoya Julián Professor Of Contemporary History University Of Valencia SP
Prof Saz Ismael Professor of Contemporary History University of Valencia  SP
Prof Suárez Cortina Manuel Professor Of Contemporary History University Of Cantabria SP
Prof Vadillo Muñoz Julián Profesor De Historia Contemporánea Universidad Carlos Iii SP
Prof Vega Sombría Santiago Profesor De Historia Contemporánea Complutense University Of Madrid SP
Prof Viñas Martín Ángel  Catedrático Jubilado De Economía Aplicada Y De Historia Contemporánea Complutense University Of Madrid SP
Prof Ysàs Solanes  Pere Professor of Contemporary History Autonomous University of Barcelona SP
Prof Bakić Jovo    University of Belgrade SRB
  Balunović Filip aculty for Media and Communication   SRB
Prof Kuljić Todor   University of Belgrade SRB
Prof 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
Assoc. Prof 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
Prof Fraser Nancy Philosophy and Politics New School NYC USA