2011–12 Institut für Zeitgeschichte – United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Exchange of Scholars Fellow Ms. Melanie Hembera
Melanie Hembera is a PhD candidate in history at the University of Heidelberg (Germany) where she received an MA in medieval and modern history and political science. During her 2012 Institut für Zeitgeschichte–United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Exchange of Scholars Fellowship, she is conducting research for her project “The Shoah in the District of Cracow in the General Government. The City of Tarnów as a Case Study.”
Ms. Hembera is the author of the article “Ermittlungsakten aufgeschlagen. Aufklärung und Strafverfolgung von NS-Verbrechen an den Häftlingen des jüdischen Zwangsarbeitslagers Pustków” in Mitteilungen aus dem Bundesarchiv, Themenheft 16 (2008), as well as the article “‘Die Stadt Krakau müsse die judenreinste Stadt des Generalgouvernements werden.’ Die Umsiedlung der jüdischen Bevölkerung aus Krakau” in Geteilte Erinnerung (working title; forthcoming). She is also writing the Pustków and Tarnów entries in The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933–1945, vol. V.
The recipient of several awards, she received fellowships from the University of Heidelberg and the Jagiellonen-University of Cracow for an immersion Polish language course in Cracow, as well as research fellowships and a scholarship for participation in the conference “Labor in the National Socialist Ghettos” (2010) from the German Historical Institute in Warsaw, Poland.
In 2011, Yad Vashem’s International Institute for Holocaust Research granted her a two-week research fellowship. From October 2008 until December 2010 she was a graduate assistant to Dr. Edgar Wolfrum, the chair of contemporary history at the University of Heidelberg. She is a native speaker of German and has studied English, Dutch, Polish, and Latin.
During her tenure at the Center, Ms. Hembera is examining not only the structure and development of the disenfranchisement, persecution, and mass murder of the Jews in the city of Tarnów, but also the behavior, reactions, and latitude of the perpetrators, victims, and “bystanders.” For her research, she is utilizing the Museum’s collections, including documents from the Institute of National Remembrance as well as from other archives in Poland, eyewitness testimonies, survivor oral histories (including those from the USC Shoah Foundation), and others. She is also conducting research at the nearby US National Archives and Records Administration.
The 2012 Institut für Zeitgeschichte – United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Exchange Scholar Award has been made possible by the Curt C. and Else Silberman Foundation.