Éva Kovács (2018) Limits of Universalization: The European Memory Sites of Genocide

Volume 20, 2018 - Issue 4: Special issue on The Holocaust/Genocide Template in Eastern Europe.
Taylor and Francis Online



The twentieth century became known as the era of genocides. However, historians do not yet agree on the use of the category of genocide for all mass killings in the twentieth century and still are debating their place in European civilization. My article focuses on the European lieux de mémoire of the genocides within the associative framework of the fundamental question about the material evidence of crime. This framework helps highlight the limits of universalization in European memory politics. In understanding them as a dynamically developing social phenomenon, this article analyses it in two dimensions: the emergence of the memory of the Holocaust as an archetype of genocide, and the crimes of Communism as a rival memory framework in Eastern Europe. In closing, I will return to the incessant search for the material evidence of genocide. This article challenges the general concept of the European lieux de mémoire of the genocide from this point of view as well.

KEYWORDS: Sites of memory, genocides, Holocaust, Holodomor, gulag, killing sites