During the 1990s and early 2000s in Europe, more than fifty
historical commissions were created to confront, discuss, and
document the genocide of the Holocaust and to address some of its
unresolved injustices.Amending the Past offers the first in-depth
account of these commissions, examining the complexities of
reckoning with past atrocities and large-scale human rights
violations. Alexander Karn analyzes more than a dozen Holocaust
commissions-in Germany, Switzerland, France, Poland, Austria,
Latvia, Lithuania, and elsewhere- in a comparative framework,
situating each in the context of past and present politics, to
evaluate their potential for promoting justice and their capacity
for bringing the perspectives of rival groups more closely
together. Karn also evaluates the media coverage these commissions
received and probes their public reception from multiple angles.
Arguing that historical commissions have been underused as a tool
for conflict management, Karn develops a program for historical
mediation and moral reparation that can deepen democratic
commitment and strengthen human rights in both transitional regimes
and existing liberal states.
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