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Commemorating the Holocaust: The Dilemmas of Remembrance in France and Italy

Clifford, Rebecca



In the 1990s and 2000s, as Europe experienced a slow transition out of the Cold War, many states began to recraft official readings of the Second World War. The Holocaust, and its meaning in contemporary Europe, played a central role in this transition. This book examines this process in France and Italy, revealing how and why the Holocaust came to play a prominent role in French and Italian political culture in the period after 1989. By charting the development of official, national Holocaust commemorations in both countries, the book considers why the wartime persecution of Jews, a topic ignored or marginalized in political discourse for decades, came to be a subject of intense and often controversial debate in the 1990s and 2000s. How and why were official Holocaust commemorations created? Why did the drive for states to ‘remember’ their roles in the persecution of Jewish populations accelerate only after the collapse of the Cold War? Who pressed for these commemorations, and what motivated their activism? To what extent was the discourse surrounding national Holocaust commemorations really about the genocide at all? This book explores these key questions, challenging assumptions about the origins of and actors involved in the creation of Holocaust memorial days, and drawing conclusions that shed light both on the state of Holocaust memory in France and Italy, and more broadly on the collective memory of the Second World War in contemporary Europe.


Clifford, R. (2013). Commemorating the Holocaust: The Dilemmas of Remembrance in France and Italy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Book Type Monograph
Online Publication Date Aug 8, 2013
Publication Date Aug 1, 2013
Deposit Date Sep 12, 2023
Series Title Oxford Historical Monographs
ISBN 9780199679812
Public URL