“France’s 2005 Mekachera Act attempted to enshrine a more positive view of that country’s colonial involvement in Africa; a 2014 amendment to Russia’s penal code made it illegal to denigrate the actions of the Soviet Union during the Second World War; and a 2018 Polish statute attempted to protect the ‘good name’ of the Polish state and people against any charges of complicity in Nazi atrocities, among other potential slights.”
In postwar Germany, national identity has in many ways been defined by “overcoming the past,” or the effort to move beyond the crimes and ideology of the Nazis, The New York Times adds. …The historian Michael Brenner has said in lectures that it was crucial that Jews were seen as integrated as West and East Germany emerged in the years after the war. “The presence of Jews served as a litmus test for the new democracies,” he said.
“Germany is a country that prides itself on being a world master of memory culture,” said Jon Cho-Polizzi, a doctoral candidate in the German department at the University of California at Berkeley. “That’s as German as a soft pretzel.”
In Spain’s healthy democracy, parties heatedly debate national history. The law, however, is used lightly (as with the removal of Franco’s remains) to shape the future by taking, as France, Russia, Poland and other nations have done, normative positions about the past, notes Will. RTWT