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Holocaust Education in Lithuania

Community, Conflict, and the Making of Civil Society

Christine Beresniova

Holocaust Education in Lithuania is based on a six-year, multi-sited ethnographic research project that was conducted to analyze the effects of the controversial policies of Holocaust education which were introduced as conditions of membership for access into post-Soviet western alliances. In order to understand how individuals take up transnational policies and programs intended to support democratization, Beresniova delves into rarely discussed issues. She looks at the means through which inherent cultural and political assumptions have had an impact on the ways in which memory and history are used in educational programs. She also scrutinizes the motivating factors for involvement in Holocaust education, such as the importance of community building, civic activism beyond the topic of the Holocaust, and the perceived power of the international community in dictating domestic education policy guidelines. Beresniova contends that educators must acknowledge the political and cultural elements in Holocaust education programs and policies, or risk undermining their own efforts. This book is recommended for scholars of anthropology, education, history, political science, and European studies. « less more »
Lexington Books
Pages: 218Size: 6 1/4 x 9 1/2
978-1-4985-3744-5 • Hardback • March 2017 • $90.00 • (£60.00)
978-1-4985-3745-2 • eBook • March 2017 • $89.99 • (£60.00)
Christine Beresniova is program coordinator at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and educational consultant on policy and culture.
Chapter 1Nazi = Soviet”: The Debate the Defines a Generation
Chapter 3 “Tribal Thinking”: Chronopolitics, Elite Culture, and the Making of Policy Subjects

Conclusions “All of Us Think We Are Special”: History, Magic, and Battlegrounds as Opportunities
In Holocaust Education in Lithuania: Community, Conflict, and the Making of Civil Society, Beresniova deftly uncovers the contested divergence of memory and history while cogently attending to transnational epistemological entrepreneurship. Informed by rich theoretical depth, Beresniova’s position provides a unique and insightful perspective into a complex site of multiple and overlapping cultural, ethnic, political, and historical legacies. With an ultimate focus on the transformative role of teacher agency and the importance of community for opening controversial and closed areas, Beresniova’s work provides generative pathways for understanding how educational innovations can help bring about more just societies.
Thomas Misco, Miami University

This book provides a fascinating account of one of the most important conversations to be had in today's democratic Lithuania: how to deal with the history and legacy of mass atrocities and local collaboration during the Holocaust. By focusing on Holocaust education in a context of ongoing research into the actual historical events and fierce public battles over how to remember both Stalinist and Nazi crimes, Beresniova manages to combine scrutiny of memory politics (not least of all the US) and a scrupulous interrogation of local education practices with much empathy for diverse positions and concerns on the ground. This is a must-read for anyone interested in contemporary Lithuania and in national and transnational politics of history and memory.
Eva-Clarita Pettai, University of Tartu

Christine Beresniova provides deep insight into the cultural struggles over history and memory that are occurring within and between European states in this beautifully written and sensitively rendered study. Beresniova explores the shifting meanings of the Holocaust in Lithuania as educators navigate the local and international politics surrounding memory. This sympathetic but critical analysis captures local perspectives and, crucially, shows how foreigner advocates often fail to understand local history, culture and language, which undermines dialogue and progress for all involved. The vivid vignettes effectively illuminate the broader policy and cultural currents, providing readers an understanding of the interaction between global and local dynamics. This volume will be of high interest to any reader of European politics, memory and education.
Doyle Stevick, University of South Carolina