In many societies that survived a totalitarian or dictatorial past or went through a period of civil war or internal conflict, the issue of how to remember the past is complex, painful and often leading to renewed tension and conflict. In some countries, all visible traces of the past have been removed as much as is humanly possible, while in others symbols of the past have been adapted or merged with others that symbolize the period of survival and renewal.
While Germany has removed virtually all traces of the Nazi period, the country is often seen as a valuable example of how to digest a deeply dark page of history. Spain has gone through a remarkable period of change and democratization since the end of the Franco regime, yet it took forty years to remove his body from the valley of the Fallen. In Ukraine Maidan led to the toppling of literally hundreds of Lenin statues all over the country, while in South-Africa some monuments of the past were restructured and combined with elements commemorating the anti-Apartheid struggle. In Vilnius, plans have been tabled to establish a monument to the Lithuanians who saved Jews, while a monument for the Jews killed during the Holocaust is still not established. The shadow of the past continues to color the present in many shades and colors.