Let Our Voices Also Be Heard : Memory Pluralism in Latvian Museums About World War II and the Post-War Period

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Hugo Valentin-centrum

Abstract: The decades following the fall of the Soviet Union have seen drastic changes in society and culture within Europe. The desire to create a unified, pan-European historical narrative has been challenged by the expansion of the European Union. Previous Western European discourse of history has been confronted by the alternative perspectives of many former Soviet countries, such as Poland, Hungary, and the Baltic states. One of the greatest challenges to a new, inclusive pan-European narrative has been the perceived exclusion of Holocaust recognition in these former Soviet-bloc countries – a topic made more volatile considering the vast majority of the violence of the Holocaust took place in Central and Eastern Europe. Recent governmental decisions regarding the recognition of the Holocaust in Eastern Europe have been extremely disconcerting to Holocaust scholars and survivors, as well as the broad Western European community. But Eastern Europe insists that they are not neglecting Holocaust narratives in their respective countries; instead, they claim the lack of Western recognition of their suffering under Soviet rule has forced them to compensate by focusing their attention on an exploration of Soviet oppression. Eastern European scholars maintain that the best way forward is to embrace a pluralist narrative that recognizes both the victims of the Holocaust and the Soviet project. This thesis analyses the adoption of memory pluralism in two places of cultural memory of one Eastern European city – Riga, Latvia.

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