The Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel did not believe in collective guilt. Instead, he asked for repair, and for holding the post-World War II generation of Germans responsible “not for the past, but for the way it remembers the past. And for what it does with the memory of the past.” Other societies and communities have taken up Wiesel’s call—at the national level, South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Argentina’s efforts to prosecute Dirty War military leaders, and at the local level, movements like the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission in North Carolina and land back efforts in the Pacific Northwest. What comes after we remember, from apology and forgiveness to reparations and justice?
Scholars of history and human rights visit Zócalo to discuss what repair looks like, and how different people and places have stumbled and succeeded in its pursuit.
“How Should Societies Remember Their Sins?” is a two-year editorial and event series supported by the Mellon Foundation. Blending scholarly essays and personal stories, we will explore how societies around the world collectively remember their transgressions and make attempts at repair, and how we might imagine new paths forward. Register here for updates on events in the series.