"The traces were still there. But time would slowly blur them and nothing would be left." – Edgar Hilsenrath
An avalanche of right-wing extremism, xenophobia, nationalism, racism and antisemitism is once again sweeping over what we once perceived as open and democratic societies, closing in on us all, imbuing social interactionsrelationssociety with ever-increasing fear and hatred of “the other”, an invisible and mostly imagined enemy that changes with dominant political interests. For generations, the instruments utilised to eliminate inconvenient narratives from official histories have included marginalisation and complete erasure of all traces of populations that disturb the accepted mythology of constructed national identities.
One of the most there is no more concrete examples of this erasure lays than in the aftermath of the Holocaust in Eastern Europe, and here we focus our attention on the regions of Romania, former Bessarabia and Bukovina.:, when Ddespite the extermination of more than 500,000 Jews and Roma in this area during World War II, rather than commemorate these atrocities for posterity and in show of respect to the massacred, historical and political forgetting continued to bury the enormous impact of what had once been a flourishing cultural presence. Entire towns, neighbourhoods, cemeteries, whisper the absence of these former inhabitants…
To counteract this tendency of erasure and to highlight the mechanisms of forgetting that are still at work here, we have initiated The Future of Memory, a transnational interdisciplinary platform of Holocaust remembrance, with events and exhibitions organized in cities where pogroms or deportations took place. A centralized archive of all the material produced for these exhibitions along with future undertakings will be collected in a comprehensive website that will also include user-generated content.
The mission of this project is to raise awareness in the public about thate country’s and individual cities’ past, reactivating memory through contemporary art and media, connecting the past to the present, documenting the last witnesses, personalizing history through oral narratives, creating connections between people and opening up public spaces for debate and mutual understanding. The project also functions as a model for developing a broader consciousness through action, where local partners take on the responsibility of addressing their cities’ pasthistories, thereby combating increasing nationalism, antisemitism, and ethnic hatred while establishing links with each other through shared preoccupations.
In 1984, George Orwell wrote, “He who controls the past, controls the future.” Our goal is to subvert any exclusive narrative from controlling our past, and reveal the plurality of stories that created this past, to transmit these personal experiences to the next generations, to learn from them and use them to shape a better future. In essence, The Future of Memory becomes a struggle against forgetting and a public repository of memories. In essence, „The Future of Memory. educating about yesterday for a better tomorrow”, becomes a struggle against forgetting and a public repository of memories.
Text by Olga Stefan, curator and initiator of the platform The Future of Memory