Is a common European Holocaust memory possible? The author approaches this question by analyzing Polish and German cinema after 1989, and the public debates on the past that have surrounded the filmic narratives. Of all media, cinema has exerted the broadest impact in the formation of collective memory regarding the Holocaust. Despite the distance in time, and especially since the fall of communism, this traumatic chapter in European history has come into ever sharper focus. Film makers have refracted evolving public awareness and in turn projected the dramas and images that inculcate mass opinion. This work examines these dynamic trends with regard to selected Polish and German feature films. The author shows how cinema opened hitherto taboo aspects to discussion. She reveals both a deep divide between the two countries, as well as significant similar trends in the memory of events.
Malgorzata Pakier is Assistant Professor at the Warsaw University for Social Sciences and Humanities, and Head of the Research and Publications Department at the Museum of the History of Polish Jews. In 2010 she received her PhD from the European University Institute in Florence, and was a research fellow at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, US Holocaust Memorial Museum. Her fields of expertise include Holocaust representation, and memory cultures and politics in the East European and European context.