Coerced forgetting was one of the malign features of the twentieth century. Forgetting as repressive erasure appeared in its most brutal form in the history of totalitarian regimes where, in the words of Milan Kundera, the struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting. The testimonies of Primo Levi and Elie Wiesel, of Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Nadezhda Mandelstam, were written in defiance of that threat of forgetting. Their testimonies were at once political and therapeutic acts. Political acts: because to write was to denounce the injustice which they had survived or escaped. And therapeutic acts: because for them to write was a way of making sense of a destructive, violent past, one in which they had been victims, and of triumphing over that experience, of turning it into a motivation for living and working. Germany after Hitler, France after Pétain, Spain after Franco, Chile after Pinochet, Greece after the colonels, Argentina after the generals, South Africa after apartheid, the post-socialist states of central and eastern Europe — all these societies had a difficult past and needed to take up some explicit position with regard to that past.