Yellow Star, Red Star
Holocaust Remembrance after Communism
Aims and Scope
Yellow Star, Red Star asks why Holocaust memory continues to be so deeply troubled—ignored, appropriated, and obfuscated—throughout Eastern Europe, even though it was in those lands that most of the extermination campaign occurred. As part of accession to the European Union, Jelena Subotić shows, East European states were required to adopt, participate in, and contribute to the established Western narrative of the Holocaust. This requirement created anxiety and resentment in post-communist states: Holocaust memory replaced communist terror as the dominant narrative in Eastern Europe, focusing instead on predominantly Jewish suffering in World War II. Influencing the European Union's own memory politics and legislation in the process, post-communist states have attempted to reconcile these two memories by pursuing new strategies of Holocaust remembrance. The memory, symbols, and imagery of the Holocaust have been appropriated to represent crimes of communism.
Yellow Star, Red Star presents in-depth accounts of Holocaust remembrance practices in Serbia, Croatia, and Lithuania, and extends the discussion to other East European states. The book demonstrates how countries of the region used Holocaust remembrance as a political strategy to resolve their contemporary "ontological insecurities"—insecurities about their identities, about their international status, and about their relationships with other international actors. As Subotić concludes, Holocaust memory in Eastern Europe has never been about the Holocaust or about the desire to remember the past, whether during communism or in its aftermath. Rather, it has been about managing national identities in a precarious and uncertain world.
- 264 pages
- 8 b&w halftones, 3 maps 3 Fig.
- CORNELL UNIVERSITY PRESS
- Holocaust, East European politics, East European history, Jewish history, memorialization
"Jelena Subotić pulls no punches in showing how contemporary problems in Eastern Europe—the rise of the far-right, revival of WWII-era fascist ideologies, emergence of extreme nationalist and populist rhetoric—can be linked to the criminalization of communist and anti-fascist past. This is an outstanding book."
Jeffrey Kopstein, University of California, Irvine, author of Intimate Violence:
"Yellow Star, Red Star is a passionate and engaging study of the politics of Holocaust memory in Eastern Europe after communism. Jelena Subotić has produced a first-rate piece of scholarship and one that's refreshingly enjoyable to read."