Reconciliation in Post-Dictatorship Societies in the 20th and 21st Centuries: Ukraine in an international Context

14.01.2016 (10:29)

Martin Schulze Wessel opened the 2nd Annual Conference of the German-Ukrainian Historical Commission in Lviv

The 2nd Annual Conference of the German-Ukrainian Historical Commission took place January 14-15, 2016 at the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv. It was opened by Martin Schulze Wessel, German Chairman of this Commission, Chairman of the German Historical Association, and Speaker of the Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies.

The international conference is entitled "Reconciliation in Post-Dictatorship Societies in the 20th and 21st Centuries: Ukraine in an international Context / Примирення у пост-диктаторських суспільствах у ХХ — ХХІ ст.: Україна у міжнародному контексті". It is the second conference of the German-Ukrainian Historical Commission, which was founded in 2015 to intensify the institutional cooperation between German and Ukrainian historians. The first conference was held in Berlin last summer.

Dealing with history responsibly and, if needed, arguing over the accurate assessment of the past are two crucial processes for the cohesion and sustainability of a society. In Ukraine, just as in Germany and other countries, the history of dictatorship, especially more recent experiences of it, continues to be a source of conflict for cultures of memory. Differences can, however, be reconciled through a collective endeavor to work through the past on the basis of historical knowledge.

Reconciliation is not a state to be achieved once and for all, but a long-term, complex, and open-ended discursive process that must satisfy specific conditions relevant to the society and memory of culture it takes place in. There simply is no ideal, universally applicable solution. This conference nonetheless aims to provide an orientation in the form of comparative discussions of reconciliation’s treatment in cultures of memory in Germany, Ukraine, and other post-dictatorship societies in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. And it is in this context that we will investigate the social and political requirements of coming to terms with and remembering the past in today’s Ukraine.

The conference is planned as a scientific symposium for fostering academic exchange between Ukrainian, German, and others historians and researchers from around the world. The discussion will also be available to a wider public, both during the conference itself and in the proceedings to be published afterwards.

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