History books re-written twenty years after fall of Berlin Wall





"For young people, the Communist era is as exotic as ancient Greece," said Anna Dzierzgowska, a history teacher in Warsaw.

"We are lucky not to have to wear uniforms, observe army-style discipline, have our hair cut for school and admire Lenin," Clara Dimitrova, a high school student from Sofia, said with relief.

What students learn in school often clashes with the memories of their disillusioned parents, who struggled during the transition to democracy and remember with nostalgia the feeling of security they had during the Socialist era.

It also took time before historians could shake off the Communist propaganda and start teaching a more objective view of this period.

But after years of mulling how to represent Communism, textbooks in Bulgaria have now settled on descriptions such as "the adoption of the Stalinist totalitarian model signifies suppression of political pluralism, imposing the role of the communist party leader and non-respect of the rights of the citizens".

In Hungary, history lessons have become "fairly objective," says Gyorgy Nemeth, a history professor in Budapest .

Textbooks are filled with pictures and original documents - primary sources that allow students to make up their own judgement - he said...

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