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date: 07 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article argues that the Holocaust took place within a distinct normative vision of Europe as a privileged embodiment of certain values, namely the Nazis' authoritarian and antisemitic ‘New European Order’. While postwar European integration was justified with regard to national conflict in the past, the memory of the Holocaust played virtually no role in the initial construction of the European Community. Even when there was increasing awareness of the Judeocide after the 1960s and 1970s, especially in the United States and Germany, neither individual European countries — with the obvious exception of the Federal Republic — nor the European Community as a whole felt compelled to define themselves in relation to it, let alone address their complicity in it. However, this state of affairs changed markedly in the 1990s: partly because of the end of the Cold War, transnational political pressures, and a new emphasis on self-critical memorialization as a mode of legitimacy, European countries confronted their roles in the Holocaust directly and to such an extent that some scholars in fact have begun to speak of a ‘Europeanization of the Holocaust’.

Keywords: Holocaust, European Community, Cold War, Nazis, New European Order

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