Rehabilitation of historical figures in the context of memory laws

The countries affected by the Holocaust have long wrestled with the challenges of confronting the past and with controversies surrounding their complicity for the crimes planned and carried out by Nazi Germany. At the same time, some of the historical figures involved, turned out to be the ones whose service and contribution to their country merit rehabilitation with their reputation restored. This process of rehabilitation of such individuals (but also whole nations) is often conducted with the use of memory laws that serve as legal basis for securing certain historical narratives and whitewashing the Past. In particular, Poland’s attempt to criminalise the attribution of wartime Nazi Germany crimes to the Polish state or nation (2018) cane serve as a telling example here. Against this backdrop, this presentation intends to explore the problem of rehabilitation of historical figures conducted with the use of memory laws.