2011–12 Ben and Zelda Cohen Fellow Ms. Jennifer Rodgers
Jennifer Rodgers is a PhD candidate in history at the University of Pennsylvania. She received a master’s degree in history from the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor’s degree in German and European studies from American University. For her Ben and Zelda Cohen Fellowship, she is conducting research for her dissertation, “From the 'Archive of Horrors' to the 'Shop Window of Democracy': The International Tracing Service and the Transnational Politics of the Past.”
Ms. Rodgers is the coauthor of “Paris sur l’axe Paris-Kiev” in Le Festin du Reich: Le pillage de la France occupée (1940–1945), by Fabrizio Calvi and Marc Masurovsky (2007), and assistant editor of the 2001 “Americana in German Archives (German Historical Institute Reference Guide Number 12).” She has presented extensively on her project in the United States and Europe, including “‘Pulling the Carpet out from under Mistrust Abroad’: The International Tracing Service and the Normalization of German Foreign Relations” (Annual Meeting of the German Studies Association, Louisville, Kentucky), and “Der Internationale Suchdienst und Transnationale Vergangenheitspolitik, 1945–2006” (Institute for Contemporary History/ Abteilung Berlin, Berlin, Germany). She has held fellowships from several institutions, including the University of Pennsylvania, the German Historical Institute, Northwestern University, and George Washington University. She is fluent in German and French, with reading ability in Spanish and Dutch.
During her tenure at the Center, Ms. Rodgers is conducting research for her dissertation, which investigates how Western governments—Bonn, Washington, Paris, London, and Jerusalem—and nongovernmental organizations such as the Red Cross used the International Tracing Service (ITS) to promote and legitimize political and cultural agendas in the postwar era. Her research illustrates how the organization that has alternatively carried the name ‘archive of horror’ and ‘shop window of democracy’ reflected larger international considerations and revealed deeper tensions among the West that were intimately connected to the contested legacy of World War II and the Nazi past. The ITS raised important political questions that significantly impacted international relations, the Cold War, European integration, and the politics of (Holocaust) memory. Control over the ITS thus had immense practical and symbolic significance for Bonn, Washington, Paris, Jerusalem, and Geneva.
Ms. Rodgers is using the ITS records housed at the Museum to conduct her research during her time at the Center, as well as select records at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland. She is also conducting interviews with Museum staff and others involved in the negotiations to reopen the ITS archive. These interviews will illuminate contemporary discourse on the ITS and demonstrate the continuities in the two distinct phases of the tracing service’s history.