This dissertation explores melodrama’s engagement with the past in postwar Holocaust memorialization and examines its significance for the national projects of history and memory. Looking past the so-called “limits” of Holocaust representation, my research proposes that melodrama—much like memory—acts as a placeholder outside or beyond what can be experienced and mediates what lies between the event and its re-presentation. While most scholars and critics define Czech Holocaust films in terms of their “artistic approach” to the concentration camp universe (as opposed to the “Americanization” or “Hollywoodization” of the Holocaust), I argue that the historical circumstances of postwar Czechoslovakia provide a unique case for theorizing the melodramatic impulses of Holocaust memorialization. Starting from this point, I situate melodrama’s relationship to Czech cinema during the period of the interwar First Czechoslovak Republic and the Nazi-occupied Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. First, I interrogate historiographic problems of canon formation and examine how, in 1998, the National Film Archive in Prague (Národní filmový archiv or NFA) retroactively classified 67 feature-length fiction films made between 1930 and 1944 as generic melodramas in their volumes of Czech Feature Films (Česky hraný film). Then, I examine how Holocaust films produced in Czechoslovakia between 1945 and 1961 (the year in which the televised trial of Adolf Eichmann thrust the Holocaust into the international spotlight)—fiction and non-fiction, feature-length and short—relied on the melodramatic modality to negotiate Holocaust memory in the shifting national imaginary. I argue that melodrama not only helps to narrate a nation’s memory of the past, or institutionalize forms of national or communal remembrance, but it also enables us to recognize, anticipate, and remember how to feel toward the past and the collective meanings that have been passed down from one generation to the next. Tracing melodrama’s emotional trajectory from Nezapomeneme (Lest We Forget, Václav Švarc, 1946) to Distant Journey (Daleká Cesta, Alfréd Radok, 1949) to Romeo, Juliet and Darkness (Romeo, Julie a tma, Jiří Weiss, 1959), I develop a theory of historicized pathos that inextricably links melodrama to the memorializing impulse.