Online Conference: Multiperspective Holocaust Remembrance in Times of Contested Memory

April 24, 2024

This online event marked the end of the project “Multiperspective Holocaust Remembrance in Contemporary Europe” (short: MuRem). Throughout the project, we engaged with educators and researchers from across Europe to foster dialogue and enhance multiperspectivity and interdisciplinarity in European Holocaust Education, while acknowledging the diversity of memory cultures and their implications for the present.

With this final event, we reflected on past networking meetings focused on multiperspectivity in Holocaust education and addressed key topics previously discussed during those meetings. We also presented the project outcomes, such as the European survey and the practice toolbox “Multiperspectivity in Practice” on the MuRem website which serves as the basis for further cooperation in the field.

The two-hour online event featured a presentation by Prof. Dr. Omer Bartov, Samuel Pisar Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Brown University: “The Benefits and Perils of Holocaust Uniqueness: Political, Legal, Pedagogical, and Humanitarian Implications”. In his talk Omer Bartov addressed the costs and benefits of the argument that the Holocaust was a unique, and therefore incomparable, historical event. He examined four distinct aspects of this question. 1. What are the political implications of asserting Holocaust uniqueness in countries like Poland, USSR, Russia, Ukraine, Germany, France, and Israel? How does it shape their memory politics, domestic and foreign policies, and illuminate their specific historical narratives? 2. How does the willingness or reluctance to assert Holocaust uniqueness impact international law established post-1945 and domestic legislation, including memory laws, in the mentioned states? 3. How does focusing on or avoiding the uniqueness of the Holocaust influence pedagogy in these countries? What are the costs and benefits of teaching comparative genocide versus focusing solely on the Holocaust? How is the Holocaust addressed in teaching “difficult” and traumatic national histories? 4. Can the Holocaust be utilized politically, legally, and pedagogically to promote humanitarianism? Is emphasizing its uniqueness as the genocide of Jews more effective, or is it better understood within the broader context of modern genocide and crimes against humanity?

The input was followed by a collective discussion on these themes with the European network partners and other participants.


Group discussion at the MuRem final online event © Minor Kontor

Janis Detert, Bildungsstätte Anne Frank, moderating the collective discussion at the MuRem online event © Minor Kontor

Omer Bartov holding a lecture at the MuRem final online event © Minor

Presentation of the MuRem project and network at the final event © Minor Kontor