Meeting of the Reconciliation of European Histories Group

On February 2nd, the Reconciliation of European Histories group in the European Parliament held its fourth meeting. Guest speakers at the meeting were Dr. Pavel Žáček, the Advisor to the Director of The Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, Prague, Czech Republic, his colleague Dr. Neela Winkelmann-Heyrovská and former Member of Swedish Parliament Mr. Göran Lindblad. The speakers discussed with the group their work related to the Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism and the so called Prague Process.

The discussion also focused on the establishment of a Platform of European Memory and Conscience to provide support for networking and cooperation among national research institutes specialising in the subject of totalitarian history. According to the Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and to the Council: the memory of the crimes committed by totalitarian regimes in Europe, published on December 22, 2010, after one year of formal legal existence such a platform could apply for an annual operating grant under the Europe for Citizens programme. The group discussed the ways in which the European Parliament could help realise this initiative and how the Reconciliation of European Histories group could help spur on the efforts.

Additionally the group spoke about the frequent mislabelling of Nazi concentration camps, such as the Auschwitz Birkenau Camp which has been repeatedly labelled by the media as “a Polish concentration camp.” In fact, the official name of the Auschwitz camp, that figures on the UNESCO World Heritage List, is Auschwitz Birkenau German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp (1940-1945); such negligent mislabelling wrongfully lays blame for the atrocities committed by the Nazis.

Finally the group was informed about several upcoming events including a conference titled What do Young Europeans know about Totalitarianisms?, to be held in the European Parliament on March 29th, and the conference Life after the Soviet Union, which will take place at the end of this year. The next Reconciliation of European Histories group meeting is to take place in April of this year.

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