by Tord Björk
The Nazis wanted to exterminate a race and Karl Marx wanted to exterminate a social class. Our guide at the House of European History museum (HEH) in Brussels is twisting her tongue as she tries to solve the task of simultaneously explaining that Communism and Nazism are the same thing, and yet, somehow not. Visually, the impression of the museum’s exhibition is overwhelmingly slanted toward the notion that they are fully, inexorably and inherently equivalent.
Towering above us in the ideologically most intense part of the museum are huge video screens tilted towards the visitor. These screens, on four islands in the room, are so large that in spite of the hall being generously spacious, they fill up the room. The spectator can feel small in their shadow. On the screens the masses march in honor of the dictator, people are violently oppressed and the imagery makes this museum’s point very clearly: the interwar period was marked by the very same conflict as that after the war until the Soviet Union collapsed and the Berlin wall fell. That single conflict that is posited as God’s-honest-truth-fact is between Western democracy and (any kind of) totalitarianism. The technically impressive format is meticulously balanced: two huge screens each for the horrific methods of Communism and Nazism. The similarity is indeed visually striking. Stalin and Hitler—in that order— are omnipresent in the midst of terror. As a climax, the hammer and the sickle are projected at the same time as the swastika in meticulously equal format.
This comment appeared in Mémoires en Jeu (Memory at Stake), no. 9, (2010).
In recent years, a number of eastern EU and NATO member states (plus Ukraine) have been constructing components of their official(and protected-by-law) national narratives on heroes who were collaborators, or even perpetrators in the Holocaust on the grounds that they were “anti-Soviet heroes.”1 These countries indeed had to face two Soviet occupations (1939/1940–41 and 1944/45–1991), and the occupation by Nazi Germany (1941-1944/5). The “liberating” state was also the author of major crimes such as repressions, deportations, forced labor and executions, and the statutes of post-Soviet Europe lacked a text on the crimes of communism. The ensuing moral problem is as follows: while these States would have legitimate heroes who struggled for freedom against dictatorial Soviet domination, they also honor those who participated in the Holocaust and even criminalize criticism against them.
Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, Dovid Katz, Estonia, EU, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Free Speech & Democracy, History, Latvia, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Prague "Platform", State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika
Tagged Dovid Katz, Freedom of speech in the Baltics, Holocaust in Lithuania, Holocaust in the Baltics, Law and the Holocaust, Mémoires en Jeu, Use of law to revise history
Today’s edition of The Architects’ Journal (AJ) gracefully announces that Tszwai So, director of Spheron Architects, has been declared the winner of the “international competition to design a pan-European Memorial for the Victims of Totalitarianism.” Mr. So, named a rising star in British Architecture in 2016, is widely acclaimed as one of the most illustrious younger talents of European architecture in our time. Our team feels certain that he would be the first to wish to be apprised of an ulterior political program behind a seemingly neutral architectural project which will now be exploiting his reputation, and his firm’s, as well as his actual design, in promoting a political project that is vastly more controversial than meets the eye at first acquaintance.
Mr. So and Spheron Architects, like the other contestants, were most likely unaware that the sponsor of the competition, the Prague-based Platform of European Memory and Conscience, known for short in Eurocircles as the Prague Platform, is the prime European engine for the far-right movement of World War II history revisionism that is increasingly becoming known as Double Genocide. That phenomenon was recently among the main points of a New York Times article by Pulitzer Prize winning correspondent Rod Nordland concerning the “Genocide Museum” here in Vilnius, which has close ties with the “Prague Platform” in the pursuit of Double Genocide politics in the European Union.
Posted in Arts, Belgium, Double Genocide, EU, Human Rights, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Prague "Platform"
Tagged Double Genocide, Prague Declaration, Prague Platform for European Conscience, Spheron Architects, Tszwai So
BERLIN—In a groundbreaking interview with Dr. Clemens Heni, director of the Berlin International Center for the Study of Antisemitism (BICSA) in the leading German liberal daily Frankfurter Rundschau, Heni criticizes the ongoing comparison of Hitler and Stalin and the relativization of the Holocaust. He reminds readers, in the interview conducted by journalist Katja Thorwarth, what psychoanalyst Zvi Rix had to say about German reception of the Holocaust: “The Germans will never forgive the Jews for Auschwitz.”
Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Clemens Heni, Double Genocide, Germany, Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Prague "Platform"
Tagged Antisemitism in Germany, Clemens Heni, Double Genocide, Frankfurter Rundschau, Katja Thorwarth, Prague Declaration (2008)
NEW YORK—At least a few viewers of the Fox News Channel’s premier prime time program, “The O’Reilly Factor” were taken aback to hear Bill O’Reilly spurt out last night, in his best high-school teacher by-the-way factual tone, “Stalin was as bad as Hitler! Alright, it’s the same thing!” during a segment presented as uncontested truth. The guest inspiring the “truism” was Mr. Marion Smith, executive director of the Washington DC based “Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation” (sometimes known for short as VOC).
Posted in Double Genocide, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Prague "Platform", United States
Tagged Bill O'Reilly, Bill O'Reilly and Israel, Bill O'Reilly and Jewish issues, Bill O'Reilly and Jews, Double Genocide, Fox News and Jewish issues, Hitler and Stalin, Marion Smith, O'Reilly Factor and Holocaust issues, Prague Declaration, Prague Platform for European Memory and Conscience, The O'Reilly Factor, Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation
O P I N I O N
The latest “Double Genocide” conference sponsored (naively?) by the European Union has just ended in Prague. The two-day event (12-13 June 2014) has a convoluted history (see earlier DH reports: 15 Jan. 2014; 24 Jan. 2014; 26 Feb. 2014; 27 Feb. 2014; 7 March 2014; 20 March 2014; 23 March 2014; 20 May 2014).
LONDON—In its just published A Jewish Manifesto: The 2014 European Elections, the British Board of Deputies has included a statement rejecting the attempts of recent years to downgrade the Holocaust. Section 3.3, entitled “Holocaust Revisionism” appears on page 10 of the online version of the Jewish Manifesto.
The Manifesto notes the “alarm among many Jewish communities” caused by the 2008 Prague Declaration, the de-facto central document of the Double Genocide movement, and calls on MEPs to “challenge their European colleagues on these narratives that seek to downplay or minimize the Holocaust.” The Prague Declaration sports the word “same” five times referring to Nazi and Soviet crimes, effectively claiming there were two equal genocide-causing regimes and thereby writing the Holocaust out of history as unique event, without denying a single death.
The 2008 Prague Declaration was followed by the EU’s controversial establishment of the 2011 “Prague Platform” which has been a major disseminator of Double Genocide political and academic products intended to appear neutral rather than of the East European far right (see Double Genocide section for examples over the years). Internally, the movement has been torn by strife between the “witch hunters” who want to exclude from the Double Genocide movement (known by any number of Eurisms, e.g. “equal evaluation of totalitarian regimes”) persons who held communist related posts before the USSR’s collapse, and those who take a more moderate stance toward their own followers’ pasts.
Followers of our Media page have noticed the rapidly moving events in recent days:
Posted in Double Genocide, EU, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Prague "Platform", Sweden, The Czech Republic
Tagged 2008 Prague Declaration, Double Genocide, Goeran Lindblad, Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, Neela Winkelmann, Pavla Foglova, Platform of European Memory and Conscience, red-brown politics
This week has seen a further public and, in most assessments, vitriolic attack, from the president of the (Prague-based) “Platform of European Memory and Conscience,” the European Union financed body responsible for “enacting” the 2008 Prague Declaration, against one of its own founding constituent members, the (Prague-based) “Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes.”
Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", Double Genocide, EU, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Prague "Platform", Sweden, The Czech Republic
Tagged 2008 Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism, Double Genocide, Genocide Center in Vilnius, Platform of European Memory and Conscience, Prague Platform + Prague Institute, Prague Platform on former communists
O P I N I O N
At the edge of downtown Vilnius, along the river Neris where the buildings suddenly turn old and worn and bushes, trees and grass take on unmanicured forms, across the bridge whose entree is gated by the Danish and British embassies to Lithuania, there is a strange park nestled in between some very empty Soviet-looking and much older buildings.
Posted in Double Genocide, EU, Geoff Vasil, History, Museums, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Prague "Platform"
Tagged Double Genocide, Geoff Vasil, Prague Declaration of 2008, Prague Platform on European Conscience and Communism, Tuskulenai Peace Park (Vilnius)
by Leena Hietanen (Tallinn)
Germany’s president, Joachim Gauck, welcomed intensified cooperation between Estonian and German historians in the cause of continuing the search for Communist crimes in both Soviet Estonia and East Germany. He posed for photographs alongside Estonian president Toomas Hendrik Ilves with a backdrop of the iconic red-equals-brown Hollywoodesque “set” welcoming visitors to the nation’s Museum of the Occupation in Central Tallinn.
Photo of the two presidents with red-brown-equals-sign backdrop at the Museum of the Occupation in Central Tallinn: Postimees (Erik Peinar). More red-brown iconography here.
Posted in Double Genocide, Estonia, EU, Germany, Leena Hietanen, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Prague "Platform"
Tagged Double Genocide in Estonia and Germany, German-Estonian relations, Holocaust Denial, Holocaust in Estonia, Joachim Gauck on Jewish and Holocaust issues, Leena Hietanen, Toomas Hendrik Ilves on Jewish and Holocaust issues
O P I N I O N
by Geoff Vasil
I caught part of the Lithuanian “International” Red-Brown Commission’s “international” conference in the Lithuanian parliament last month, and obtained video of the parts I missed. There are a lot of things intellectually wrong with what the majority of the speakers said, but I can’t help thinking, feeling, that the emotional content was the overriding message, not the various sophistic, sham arguments and contrived non-debate “debate” between Emanuelis Zingeris and other speakers.
It was my feeling that only two of the speakers really spoke with any reverence or respect for the dead, in a tone appropriate to discussing the subject at hand. One was a sociologist I’d never heard of before who spoke in simple statistical figures about current popular Lithuanian views of the Holocaust and Jews.
The other was Saulius Sužiedėlis, a Lithuanian-American scholar (I believe that’s a fair way to characterize his national identity), who said so much that was simply wrong, but at least delivered his somewhat stochastic and very personal message with the sort of sincerity and honor which one expects in a seeker after truth, and which leads one to assume that even if that seeker has some of the details wrong at the moment, he will eventually get it right and will find the inner courage to correct himself.