Memory Management

It seems a strange combination of words: memory management. In computing it has the function to allocate sufficient memory to specific tasks and has substantial implications for software performance (Yves Younan et al. 2010). It is also a security issue as what is stored somewhere might get accessed from other persons or programs with harmful intentions. Historians have a completely different approach to the issue. Individual as well as collective memories are frequently subject to memory management and manipulation. Therefore, it is necessary to critically deal with neglect and purposeful management of collective memories. In Germany we had numerous incidents of rectifying collective memories about the role of diplomats or the Wehrmacht during the Nazi period. Huge efforts were necessary to correct wrong representations of professions during and immediately after the 2WW. They are still necessary today. All children have to learn the concept of time, the past times and the concept of future. Periods after wars particularly generate a narrow focus on the present and the bare necessities of survival in societies. Dealing with and reworking the past and cherished memories is rarely attempted. It appears to be a paradox that without a coherent concept of the past the imagination about the potentials of the future are narrowed down. ‘Burned fingers’ cause additional restrictions. Literature for children and young adults has an important role to open up fictional spaces or laboratories for imagination. Freeing yourself from past restrictions while being aware of responsibilities due to the past allows a conscious way forward and human development. Sebastian Bernhardt (JuLit 3/2023) emphasised this and the Deutsches Historisches Museum had an exposition on this topic as well. Memory Management is a bit about the past but much more about the future. This is why we have to address it.

DHM 2024 Futures