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Conference Historical Memory of Central and East European Communism

Prague, November 14-15, 2015



Klub techniků, Novotného Lávka 202/11, room 418

Organizers: Association for Leftist Theory SOK, Association for European Dialog (member of Transfrom network), Rosa Luxemburg Foundation


contact: Marie Lukáčová, email:


Important note for audience: If you would like to participate in the lunch, please reply to the contact email


Historical memory belongs to well established disciplines within the historical research. It represents an important part of the identity of every political movement or group. In case of communist movement in central Europe it came through important transformations during the century particularly in its relation to nationalism and to the own deeds/mistakes in the pasts. Considering its historical memory, the communist movement related itself originally to the project of future and to the international working class without a significant need to articulate the politics of history. This changed however as the internal conflicts in the movement spread out. The interpretation of history of Leninist party and revolution become a weapon against the opponent. The interwar years also brought a development of “national communism” ideology reinterpreting the national history in leftist-nationalist way in order to gain popular support. The “national communism” gained an importance as a mobilizing tool in the anti-Nazi resistance, during the post-war years in order to justify "national ways" to socialism and after 1956 in the attempts to come out from the influence of the Soviet Union. The victory in Second World War become the crucial event in the history of movement overshadowing the October revolution but since 1956 being questioned, as the crimes of Stalinism has been made public. Since the 1960s the communist regimes started to base their legitimation more and more on the past but the heritage of Stalinism and its central European crimes (Katyn, Budapest 1956, Prague Spring), contributed to the regime crisis and led in the 1980s to attempts to reformulate or even to reject the own communist identity. After 1989 the movement adopted a certain “culture of defeat”, attempted to come to terms with the past and formulate its apologies. It new legitimization was based either on to its positive role in the democratization of the late 1980s, adopting the social democratic identity or becoming a fierce critique of renewed capitalism. In order to discuss this topics a dozen of social scientists mainly historians but also the literary, film or political scientists from Central European countries will be invited for one day conference. Particularly welcomed are contributions on Poland, Czech and Slovak Republic, Hungary and Romania.




Saturday 14 November


8:30 – 9:00 Registration

9:00 – 9:10 Welcome (Stanislav Holubec)

9:10 – 10:20 Key note speech: Communism and anti-communism as ideologies of the intelligentsia (Tomasz Zarycki)


10:30 – 12:00 Official Politics of Memory  before 1989 (Chair: Ondřej Daniel)


Oksana Klymenko, Constructing memoirs about the October revolution in the 1920s


Agnieszka Mrozik, Spinners of the (post)revolutionary reality. Constructing history of the left in the memoirs of Polish communist women in the 1960s


Catalin Parfene, Historical memory of communist Romania's sports: Between nostalgia and romanianization


12:00 – 13:00 Lunch break


13:00 – 14:00 Official Politics of Memory  before 1989 II. (Chair: Michael Hauser)


Ondřej Daniel, “Comrades, the Comrades are Right!” History of movement on the screens of late socialist television


Ugn? Marija Andrijauskait?, Inventing the Communist Party of Lithuania as a labour movement. The narratives in Soviet historiography


14: 15 – 15:45 Identities of anti-stalinist left before 1989 (Chair: Kristina Andělová)


Florin Poenaru, Identities of anti-stalinist Romanian communists


Jakub Szumski, What happened in 1980? Official and popular memory of the Polish communist party after martial law


Senol Arslantas, The most long-Lasting trauma in the memory of the Turkish left: The 1980 military coup and its destructive consequences in Turkey


16:00 – 17: 00 People´s memory of communism after 1989 (Chair: Joe Grim Feinberg)


Eszter Bartha - András Tóth: Contrasting the memory of the Kádár and Honecker regimes


Kalina Yordanova; Post-memories of socialist Yugoslavia: the place of the parents’ past in their children’s identity


17:15 – 18:45 Identities of post-1989 left (Chair: Vítězslav Sommer)


Csilla Kiss “Of the past let us make a clean slate” The lack of a left-wing narrative and the failure of the Hungarian left


Thorsten Holzhauser, Learned nothing from the past? Historical memory of German post-communists and its functionalization after 1989


Antony Kalashnikov, Historical apologetics and factional differences in the Russian Communist Party (CPRF), 1993-2004



Sunday 15 November


9:00 – 10:00  Identities of post-1989 left (Chair Martina Poliaková)

Kristina Andělová, The Ongoing Legacies of 1968 and 1989 are two related challenges of our future”: Czech socialism, Memory of Czech “Totalitarianism” and the end of history


Walter Beier, Austrian communist experiences interpreted from post-1989 perspective


10:15-11:45 Right-wing memory of communism after 1989 (Chair: Stanislav Holubec)

Ekaterina v. Klimenko, Politics of oblivion and the practices of remembrance. repressions, collective memory and nation-building in post-soviet Russia


Oleksandra Gaidai, Nationalism versus Sovietism? Politics of memory towards Communist heritage in Ukraine after 1991


Ittipol Jungwatanawong, The use of historical memory by the FIDESZ party in post-communist Hungary


12:00 – 12:45 Lunch break


12:45 – 14:15 Places of Memory after 1989 (Chair: Josef Švéda)

Aleksandra Kuczyńska-Zonik, The contemporary value of Soviet monuments in East Central Europe


Aleksandra Đorđević, Contested histories and monumental Past: Serbia's culture of remembrance of army headquarters building in Belegrade


Stanislav Holubec, Places of socialist and post-socialist memory in the Czech Republic and former GDR: Case of Hradec Králové and Jena


Closing of the conference 13:30 – 13:45

Aktualizováno ( Úterý, 03 listopad 2015 )
Zasílání novinek
Přejete si dostávat poštou pravidelné informace o činnosti sdružení, pozvánky na akce sdružením pořádané a texty tématicky mu blízké? Přihlašte se do moderované mailové konference.