Legal and political deployments of memory in Central and Eastern Europe

Simultaneously, as nationalistic and populist forces gained power in Central-Eastern Europe (CEE) and the new statehood based on national myths and identity had to be reestablished, it emerged that the European, Holocaust-centered “duty to remember” could be easily rejected and replaced by other, nation-focused narratives. In this paper, I will analyse and discuss the reasons, mechanisms and consequences of the recent implementation of legal and political discourse regarding the past that situates the crimes and sufferings of titular nations on the pedestal of memory, particularly in CEE states. Overall, these techniques instrumentalize the common consensus over the Holocaust as the core element of European identity. In particular, I will focus on interrelations between the decline of the rule of law and liberal democracy in CEE, on the one hand, and the implementation of the so-called memory laws, on the other.