Shortly after the liberation, on 19 April 1945, thousands of surviving prisoners gathered on the parade ground of the Buchenwald concentration camp and swore that as a result of the persecution they had experienced they would support the establishment of a »new world of peace and freedom« that transcended all borders. Even if this rallying cry of »Never again!« takes on different political accents, has been attacked by the right, and the world has been unable to implement it globally at any specific point in time, people in
numerous countries have repeatedly supported it. Establishing and consolidating democracy in the Federal Republic that followed the Nazis, overcoming resentments and aggressive nationalism, reconnecting the legitimacy of power and political actions with democratic values, and human dignity being indivisible from human values have all been nurtured by confronting the terrors that preceded them. Until now, the main threat to this new form of the culture of remembrance appeared to come from it being hollowed out from within as a result of self-satisfied lip service, empty
routines and over-pious political functionalisation, as well as from a resurgent – and violent – radical right and its nativist, racist and anti-Semitic echo chambers within society. Putin’s war against Ukraine and the tectonic shifts in politics, culture and international relations that have accompanied it have placed the culture of remembrance under unanticipated pressure. Money and weapons once again seem to be more effective than the »soft power« of legal process, empathy and argumentation and political conduct based on truthfulness and universal values. The maxim »Never again!«, that arose from the violent experiences of national socialism, war and the Holocaust, is in danger of ultimately being seen as an illusion.
This talks series seeks to examine and understand the new reality and its consequences for the culture of remembrance as a source of power to promote the internal and external civility of societies, political systems and states beyond empty appeals.
MEMORY AS ENLIGHTMENT (I) – TALK WITH IVAN IVANJI & JEREMY ADLER
Memory as enlightenment. H.G. Adler and the experience of destruction as the driver of social criticism that is conscious of history.
Fri, 26. Aug – 7 pm | Deutsches Nationaltheater, Foyer
MEMORY AS WEAPON? (II) – TALK WITH IRINA SCHERBAKOWA & JOACHIM JESKO VON PUTTKAMER
Memory as a weapon? About the consequences of war, repression and state suppression of a critical culture of remembrance in Russia.
Mon, 29. Aug – 8 pm | Deutsches Nationaltheater, Foyer
MEMORY AS MEDIUM (III) – TALK WITH RAPHAEL GROSS, IRINA SCHERBAKOWA, SYBILLE STEINBACHER & JENS-CHRISTIAN WAGNER
Memory as a medium of civility, solidarity and justice – about the end and future of an »illusion«.
Thu, 01. Sep – 8 pm | Deutsches Nationaltheater, Foyer