Dr Katarzyna Liszka
University of Wrocław
English abstract: Relations between the Holocaust, memory, and law are constantly reconceptualized. In the second decade of the 21st century there is no clear consensus on the way the Holocaust, memory, and law are or should be interconnected, especially in Central and Eastern Europe. A striking example of the new dynamics of those tensions is an amendment to the Act on the Institute of National Remembrance, which in January 2018 inserted Articles 55a and 55b. The paper states that these controversial provisions (later withdrawn) should be understood as specific memory laws in response to the transnational memory of the Holocaust and the non-consensual dialogue on the Jedwabne pogrom in Polish society. The paper shows the law as a result of a certain dialogue, a voice in the dialogue, and an attempt to limit this dialogue – as well as the effects of such limitation. The paper adopts Leszek Koczanowicz’s conception of dialogue, Natan Sznaider’s description of the transnational Holocaust memory, as well as the idea of the future-oriented ethics of never again, and Eviatar Zerubavel’s concept of a conspiracy of silence in order to frame the context and meaning of the emergence, short life, disappearance, and traces of the law. Although these articles “refract” criminalization of the Holocaust and genocide negationism, understood in the context of Polish historical politics, they are themselves close to a specific form of denial, i.e. denial of the Jedwabne massacre. A recollection of the Polish memory law casts a shadow on the future, as a threat exists that the law might appear again.
Keywords: transnational memory of the Holocaust, ethics of never again, politics of time, dialogue, dialogical cosmopolitanism, Jedwabne debate, memory law
Published: Number 3(21)/2019, pp. 81-94.
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