The Concept

The way we deal with history tells a lot about us. By deciding which aspects to stress and which to ignore, by connecting different events and interpreting them, and by contrasting us with ‚others’ and their development, we define who we are – and who we would like to be. In this way, the way we approach history determines who we become.

In the last century, Europe experienced both fascist and stalinist ideologies as well as the complex systems and societies which both enabled and were shaped by them. Their existence affected us all and is a fundamental aspect of the conditions under which democracy in Europe has been shaped in Europe. We analysed the way we, as a group of people from different countries, deal with history and how this shaped our experience of history. This also revealed how our countries had responded to the past with very different policies to date. 

We compared and contrasted the way in which we chose to remember the darker periods of our history and the conclusions we reached about that history. The aim of this project was to create a dialogue between European citizens from all walks of life, to reflect on the development of our identity through the analysis of our mutual historiography and to identify the common patterns in the way we deal with this past. The final aim was to understand which ways of dealing with the past enabled a common and peaceful future, which approaches created obstacles, and how such obstacles could be overcome. Thus, in essence, the project is about European identity: What makes us European? What do we carry with us?How We Shape Our Past