Remembering the German Past in the Czech Lands: A Key Moment Between Communicative and Cultural Memory

The objective of this paper is to document the ongoing shift from communicative to cultural memory of war and post-war events in the Czech Republic by using an example of a local struggle about a memorial for German inhabitants of a Czech town killed in June 1945. Thanks to an anthropological and social geographical approach based on interviews, family memory research, observations, and analysis of archive materials, it is possible to reconstruct the local and international sources of the post-1989 collective memory of the German past in Central Europe. This memory is still in constant conflict with the pre-1989 version of Czech national history which had contemptuously marginalized its German component. The communicative memory of the German past has entered the public space and tries to become a permanent part of the Czech cultural memory, but it is not a straightforward process, mainly due to the continuously strengthening nationalistic framing of memory within Central Europe.