On 1-2 February 2019, initiated by the Secretariat of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum, leading experts from the field of historical memory as well as film professionals came together to kick-off the film project “Divided Histories”. This project is about perceptions of authoritarian and totalitarian regimes, taking an approach of multiperspectivity and examining Germany, Russia, Romania and Spain. Through a documentary film, the project will allow a critical examination and comparative efforts in seeking common ground on the past and creating space for a dialogue in the target region. The goal of the workshop was to find an idea and make an outline for a documentary film about totalitarian past in Germany, Romania, Russia and Spain.

Analysing the specific contexts of dealing with totalitarian/authoritarian past in Germany, Romania, Russia and Spain the participants discussed and elaborated ideas and paths for the film: Which heroes and anti-heroes shape the societies in the above mentioned countries? How is the totalitarian/authoritarian past still visible in urban space, landscape and architecture? And how is the past remembered nowadays, in politics, culture, media and society?

In a public lunch talk on 1 February the journalist Nikolai Epple (Moscow), historian Dana-Ioana Manolache (Bucharest), the film scholar and professor Samuel Fernández Pichel (Sevilla) and deputy director of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum Kristina Smolijaninovaitė (Berlin) presented cases from their research and – together with the audience – discussed which role civil society plays for a public discourse of dealing with the past in the present.

The workshop and discussion was hosted by the Centre for East European and International Studies (ZOiS).