• Open Letter
  • Respect for Historical Memory in Europe

  • 09 Nov 19 Posted under: Revisionism , European Union , The Left , History
  • The board of transform! europe launches the following open letter regarding the resolution 'Europe must remember its past to build its future', adopted by the majority of the European Parliament – rejected by the GUE/NGL group.

    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 nameNameInstitutionCountry
    BaierWalterPolitical Coordinator transform! europeAT
    EdlingerFritz AT
    MugrauerManfredAlfred Klahr SocietyAT
    ArtinianArto member of the Institute for Critical Theories of Supermodernity; Borough of Manhattan Community College – City University of New YorkBG / USA
    DeyanovDeyanInstitute for Critical Theories of Supermodernity, SofiaBG
    DeyanovaLilianaSofia University St. Kliment OhridskiBG
    TsonevaJanaCentre for Collective Intervention, SofiaBG
    ArsenijevićDamirUniversity of TuzlaBiH
    GrigorovEmilLaval Universtiy QuebecCA
    BiračDimitrije   CRO
    Čakardić Ankica University of ZagrebCRO
    ĐuraškovićStevoUniversity of ZagrebCRO
    HorvatinčićSanjaUniversity of ZagrebCRO
    HromadžićHajrudin University of RijekaCRO
    GužvicaStefanUniversity of Regensburg, GermanyCRO/SRB
    JovićDejanUniversity of Zagreb, former Croatian President advisorCRO
    KapovićMateUniversity of ZagrebCRO
    KlasićHrvoje University of ZagrebCRO
    MikulićBorislav University of ZagrebCRO
    PeovićKatarinaUniversity of RijekaCRO
    HudečekJiříCharles University of PragueCZ
    KellerJanformer MEP SD; University of OstravaCZ
    Švihlíková Ilona  CZ
    BidetJacquesphilosopher; University of Paris-NanterreFR
    De CockLaurencehistorianFR
    LarrèreMathildehistorian; University of Parix XIIIFR
    LaurentPierresenior Secretary General of the French Communist Party (PCF)FR
    Le HyaricPatrickChairman of the board and Director of L'HumanitéFR
    MartelliRogerhistorian and Director of RegardsFR
    PopovicMilicaSciences Po ParisFR
    WurtzFrancissenior Chairman of the group of the European United Left - Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL)FR
    AzzelliniDarioCornell UniversityGER/USA
    BudenBoris Bauhaus University, WeimarGER
    DemirovićAlexUniversity of FrankfurtGER
    DeppeFrankUniversity of MarburgGER
    DörreKlausUniversity of JenaGER
    ErnstCorneliaMEP, Party of the European LeftGER
    GysiGregorPresident of the Party of the European LeftGER
    KesslerMarioUniversity of PotsdamGER
    RillingRainerUniversity of MarburgGER
    WolfFrieder OttoFree University of BerlinGER
    AthanasiouAthinaPanteion University of AthensGR
    BenvenisteRikaUniversity of ThessalyGR
    DouzinasCostasDirector Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, Birkbeck UniversityGR / UK
    GolemisHarisScientific and Strategic Advisor of transform! europeGR
    KarpozilosKostisDirector Contemporary Social History Archives (ASKI)GR
    SpourdalakisMichalisDean School of Economics & Politics, National and Kapodistrian University of AthensGR
    VaiouDinaNational Technical University of Athens GR
    Krausz TamásEötvös Loránd University BudapestHU
    ArtnerAnnamariaAcademy of SciencesHU
    TamásGáspár MiklósCentral European University Budapest/ViennaHU / AT
    TóthKarolyCentral European University BudapestHU
    AcerboMaurizioSecretary Partito della Rifondazione ComunistaIT
    AbramoCinziaUniversity of PerugiaIT
    AttardiGiuseppeUniversity of PisaIT
    AttardoEldaUniversity of MilanoIT
    Bertinotti Fausto former President of the Italian parliamentIT
    Boscaino Marina  IT
    CarellaDonata MariaUniversity of RomeIT
    Castellina Luciana journalist, former MP and MEPIT
    Ciofi Paolo Honoary President of Futura Umanitá. Associazione per la Storia e la Memoria of the Italian Communist Party (PCI)IT
    CollottiEnzo historianIT
    Conti Davide historianIT
    CutrufelliRosa MariaauthorIT
    Di LuzioFlaviaUniversity of BolognaIT
    Di QuartoFrancescoUniversity of PalermoIT
    FalàLeilaUniversity of BolognaIT
    Favilli Paolo  IT
    Ferrara Gianni former MPIT
    Ferrero Paolo Vice President of the Party of the European LeftIT
    Forenza Eleonora former MEPIT
    Fratoianni Nicola MP and Secretary of Sinistra ItalianaIT
    GagliassoElenaUniversity of RomeIT
    Gianni Alfonso former MPIT
    LaveniaVincenzoUniversity of BolognaIT
    LeviGiovanniUniversity of VeneziaIT
    LicausiLucianoUniversity of SienaIT
    LiguoriGuido University of Calabria, President of the International Gramsci SocietyIT
    MarianiGiorgioUniversity of RomeIT
    Maselli Citto film directorIT
    Melandri Lea  IT
    Menapace Lidia former Senator and member of the Italian resistanceIT
    MencarelliFabioUniversity of PisaIT
    MicheliMaria RitaUniversity of PerugiaIT
    MincerAleksander (Olek)University of GenovaIT
    Modonesi Massimo Universidad Nacional Autónoma de MexicoIT
    MordentiRaulUniversity of RomeIT
    MoreaRobertoboard member of transform! europeIT
    Musacchio Roberto former GUE/NGL MEPIT
    Napoletano Pasqualina former GUE/NGL MEPIT
    NatoliClaudioUniversity of CagliariIT
    OkićTijana University of PisaIT
    Petrella Riccardo economist and political scientistIT
    Pomeranzi Bianca  IT
    PrevitaliFrancoUniversity of MilanoIT
    PunzoLuigiUniversity of CassinoIT
    Quercioli MincerLauraUniversity of GenovaIT
    Rinaldi Rosa National Secretary Partito della Rifondazione ComunistaIT
    RioloClaudioUniversity of PalermoIT
    Rodano Giulia former regional councilor IT
    RomitelliValerioUniversity of BolognaIT
    RuggieriFrancaUniversity of Rome IIIIT
    RuiMarinaUniversity of GeneveIT
    SampaoloGiovanniUniversity of RomeIT
    SolianiRiccardoUniversity of GeneveIT
    SpagnoloLuigiUniversity of SienaIT
    SpinnlerHansUniversity of MilanoIT
    SuvinDarko McGill University IT
    Tortorella Aldo Honorary President Associazione per il Rinnovamento della SinistraIT
    ViolanteFrancescoUniversity of FoggiaIT
    VitielloOndinaUniversity of PadovaIT
    Voza PasqualeUniversity Aldo Moro, BariIT
    ZuninoFrancoAssociazione Ricreativa Culturale Italiana (Arci), Associazione Nazionale di Amicizia Italia-CubaIT
    KolozovaKaterinaInstitute for Social Sciences and Humanities, SkopjeNMK
    CardinaMiguelResearcher at the Centre for Social Studies (CES), University of CoimbraPT
    de Sousa SantosBoaventurasociologist, Emeritus Professor at Economy Faculty and Emeritus Director of the Centre for Social Studies (CES), University of Coimbra; Distinguished Legal Scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; Global Legal Scholar at the University of WarwickPT
    Flunser PimentelIrenehistorian and researcher at the Institute of Contemporary History (IHC), Universidade Nova de LisboaPT
    LoffManuelhistorian, Professor at the Department of History and Political Studies, University of PortoPT
    BreznikMajaUniversity of Ljubljana and Peace InstituteSLO
    KirnGalUniversity of DresdenSLO/GER
    KržanMarkoInstitute for Workers' StudiesSLO
    MesecLukaparty coordinator LevicaSLO
    MočnikRastkoUniversity of LjubljanaSLO
    PiškurBojanaModern Galery, LjubljanaSLO
    Tomić Violetaparty coordinator LevicaSLO
    VrečkoAstaUniversity of LjubljanaSLO
    Alonso MonteroXesúsformer President of the Royal Galician Academy, University of SantiagoSP
    Andrade BlancoJuanUniversidad de Extremadura (Extremadura University)SP
    AragónMarianoAssociació Catalana D’Investigacions Marxistes SP
    Barrio Alonso ÁngelesProfesor of Contemporary History, University of CantabriaSP
    Bueno LluchManuelTrabajador Del Archivo Histórico De Ccoo De Andalucía, Excoordinador Sección De Historia FimSP
    del Arco Blanco Miguel ÁngelProfesor Titular de Historia Contemporánea, Universidad de GranadaSP
    Duarte MontserratÁngelProfesor of Contemporary History, University of CórdobaSP
    Erice SebaresFranciscoProfesor of Contemporary History, University of OviedoSP
    Ferrer GonzálezCristianProfesor of Contemporary History, Autonomous University of BarcelonaSP
    Gallego MargaleffFerranProfessor of Contemporary History, Autonomous University of BarcelonaSP
    Gálvez BiescaSergioarchivero, doctor en historia, Madrid SP
    GarcíaCarmenUniversity of OviedoSP
    Ginard I FeronDavidProfesor Titular De Historia Contemporánea, Universitat de les Illes BalearesSP
    Gómez AlénJoséCatedrático Jubilado De Historia De Enseñanza MediaSP
    Hernández SánchezFernandoProfesor of Contemporary History, Universidad Autónoma de MadridSP
    Hernández SandoicaElenaProfesor of Contemporary History, Complutense University of MadridSP
    Hinojosa DuránJoséProfesor De Historia De Enseñanza Media, Doctor En Historia, ExtremaduraSP
    López LópezPedroProfesor of Contemporary History, Complutense University of MadridSP
    Mainer BaquéJuanCatedrático Jubilado, Coordinador De La Federación IcariaSP
    MolineroCarmeProfesor of Contemporary History, Autonomous University of BarcelonaSP
    Núñez Díaz-BalartMirtaProfesor of History of Social Communication, Complutense University of MadridSP
    Puig ValverdúGuillemProfesor de Historia Contemporánea, Universitat Rovira i VirgiliSP
    Martín RamosJosep Lluís Professor of Contemporary History, Autonomous University of BarcelonaSP
    Robledo Hernández RicardoProfessor of Contemporary History, University of Salamanca/ Pompeu Fabra UniversitySP
    San Francisco Matilde EiroaProfesor Titular de Historia Contemporánea, Universidad Carlos III de MadridSP
    Sánchez Pérez FranciscoProfesor Titular de Historia Contemporánea, Universidad Carlos III de MadridSP
    Santidrián AriasVíctorProfesor De Historia De Enseñanza Media, Doctor En Historia, GaliciaSP
    Sanz HoyaJuliánProfessor of Contemporary History, University of ValenciaSP
    SazIsmaelProfessor of Contemporary History, University of ValenciaSP
    Suárez CortinaManuelProfessor of Contemporary History, University of CantabriaSP
    Vadillo MuñozJuliánProfesor De Historia Contemporánea, Universidad Carlos IIISP
    Vega SombríaSantiagoProfesor De Historia Contemporánea, Complutense Universidad of MadridSP
    Viñas MartínÁngel Catedrático Jubilado De Economía Aplicada Y De Historia Contemporánea, Complutense Universidad de MadridSP
    Ysàs Solanes PereProfessor of Contemporary History, Autonomous University of BarcelonaSP
    BakićJovo University of BelgradeSRB
    BalunovićFilipfaculty for Media and Communication, University of BelgradeSRB
    KuljićTodorUniversity of BelgradeSRB
    Manojlović PintarOlgahistorian at the Institute for Recent History of Serbia, President of the Reconstruction Women's Fund Managing BoardSRB
    MatkovićAleksandarRegional Science Center, Novi Sad and University of BelgradeSRB
    PantićRadefaculty of Media and Communication, Singidunum University, BelgradeSRB
    SamardžićMiroslavZrenjanin Social ForumSRB
    ŠtiksIgorfaculty for Media and Communication, BelgradSRB
    FraserNancyNew School NYCUSA

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