In 2010, Claus Leggewie, a German professor of Political Science, tried to define what he called “the seven circles of European memory”, common memories shared, in theory, by all Europeans:
- European unification as a success story which, however, has had little impact on European self-confidence;
- the notion of Europe as a continent of immigrants;
- European colonialism and colonial massacres, such as the Herero massacre, as forerunners of the Holocaust;
- War and wartime memories, specially about World Wars I and II;
- Population transfers and ethnic cleansings as pan-European traumas (for example, the Armenian genocide or the Ukranian Holodomor);
- Soviet communism;
- The Shoah as Europe’s negative founding myth.
At that time, he saw the possible problems caused by the imposition of the Holocaust as “the matrix for dealing with communist state crimes against humanity across the whole of Eastern Europe” (Leggewie 4), which might lead “these nations to exploit this consensus [Eastern European countries having been victims of the Soviet empire] in order to relativize or conceal their participation in the murder of the Jews” (Leggewie 5).
Keywords: Holocaust, Communism, Europe, Germany, Cold War, Yugoslavia, Fascism