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The Politics of Memory in Contemporary Eastern Europe
Apr 2 2012

The Devil in history and politics is a characteristically Eastern and Central European theme, from Mikhail Bulgakov to Leszek Kolakowski who had long intended to undertake a major work on the Devil in history and politics.

Grigory Kanovich, an Israeli-Lithuanian writer, describes the loss of memory and sensitivity as an unavoidable aspect of how the Devil affects humanity during social upheavals, disasters, wars, and calamities. In his novel, The Devil’s Spell (2009), he depicts, with an epic brushwork, the willful forgetting of crimes committed during the Holocaust in Lithuania as an aspect of the Devil’s work.

The emptiness of conscience, oblivion, and the will-to-forget as the final blow dealt to the victims that are blamed themselves for the crimes committed against them – here we have the devilish act of the deprivation of human memory and sensitivity. Ultimately, undistorted historical memory remains the only reliable and promised fatherland for European Jews after the Shoah.
Leonidas Donskis is a Lithuanian philosopher and a member of the European Parliament for the ALDE party. His scholarly interests lie in the philosophy of history, philosophy of culture, philosophy of literature, philosophy of the social sciences, civilization theory, political theory, history of ideas, and studies in Central and East European thought. He is the author of several books, including Troubled Identity and the Modern World (2009), Loyalty, Dissent, and Betrayal: Modern Lithuania and East-Central European Moral Imagination (2005), and Forms of Hatred: The Troubled Imagination in Modern Philosophy and Literature (2003).
The Politics of Memory in Contemporary Eastern Europe Video
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