In: Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung 2014. Berlin: Metropol Verlag, pp. 107–123.
In the late 1990s Romania joined Germany, Hungary and Poland in the group of European countries that decided to charge an independent institution at the national level with administering the files of the former communist state security services. The National Council for the Study of Securitate Archives (Consiliul National pentru Studierea Arhivelor Securitǎii, CNSAS), founded in 1999, was therefore part of a Central and Eastern European trend of coming to terms with the past. Despite this European element, the focus of the newly created institute first and foremost had to be Romania’s national history between 1945 and 1989. This essay illustrates that the use and instrumentalisation of the “national” and “European” had an undeniable significance during and after the debate on founding the CNSAS. Especially the criterion “national security” was successfully applied to block the work of the Council over years. By putting the history of the CNSAS in context with comparable European institutions, the article stresses how this phenomenon could gain special relevance in Romania because of the long-term absence of political will within the political elites to come to terms with the past. Today CNSAS is able to fulfil its legal duties, but still stands at the beginning of shaping the collective Romanian memory.