I am a research fellow of the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) and member of the research group ‘meta- and public history’ at the History Department of Ghent University. I studied history in Ghent, and was an exchange student at the University of Groningen. My master’s thesis “Rwanda, war of memory. Historical truth and memory in a society in transition” was a first exploration of the ethical consequences of historical memory in the context of transitional justice. In my Phd project (Oct 2009 – Sept 2013), with the working title “The dead as the black holes of democracy. Digging up memories of civil war and dictatorship in Spain (1936 – 1975)”, supervised by prof. dr. Deneckere, I investigate the pursuit of acknowledgment by victims of the Spanish Civil War and dictatorship. I analyze the performances and discourses that surround the exhumations of massgraves in Spain, to capture how hegemonic memory in Spain is contested by the victims of a suppressed past. The acknowledgement of victimhood and loss seems to be crucial for the legitimacy of contemporary democratic regimes that cope with a painful past. This case-study explores how new conceptions of justice and political belonging take shape in this so-called ‘age of atonement’.