The Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies is a high priority for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. It supports scholarship and publications in the field of Holocaust studies, promotes the growth of Holocaust studies at American universities, seeks to foster strong relationships between American and international scholars, and initiates programs to ensure the ongoing training of future generations of scholars specializing in the Holocaust. Working together with the Academic Committee of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, the Center accomplishes its mission through:
- Research projects and publications that shed new light on significant topics, fill gaps in the literature, and facilitate access to study of the Holocaust for scholars and the general public, including publication, in association with Oxford University Press, of the scholarly journal Holocaust and Genocide Studies.
- The collection and preservation of Holocaust-related archival materials worldwide to make previously inaccessible sources available for study and new research.
- The sponsorship of fellowship opportunities for pre- and postdoctoral researchers to work in the Museum’s significant archival and other collections, and to help prepare Holocaust-related manuscripts for publication.
- Seminars for teaching faculty at the college and university levels, summer research workshops for scholars, conferences, lectures, and symposia.
The Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies was established in 1998 to address critical challenges and trends affecting scholarly study of the Holocaust. Those eyewitnesses, who were moved to became the principal scholars in the field, and survivors, who riveted our attention with their stories, are being replaced by scholars born after the events, who will serve as the principal teachers and interpreters of the Holocaust in coming decades.
As this generational transition is taking place, the demand for Holocaust-related courses at colleges and universities in the United States has grown dramatically, increasing the need for programs to assist faculty in many academic disciplines to teach the subject more effectively. In addition, vast quantities of written material from previously inaccessible archival repositories and private collections have been identified in Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, Western Europe and the United States. This documentation provides unprecedented opportunities to gain new insight into both the history and the scholarly and ethical significance of the Holocaust.
Thus, just as those we have relied upon the most to study and teach about the Holocaust reach the end of their careers, we face the unprecedented challenge of exploring massive documentation to advance understanding of what happened, to ensure the survival of memory of the Holocaust, and to explore the lessons of the Holocaust for ourselves and for our children. The Center was established to meet this challenge. To accomplish its objectives, the Center works closely with the Academic Committee of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council.
The Center’s goal is to provide an ongoing institutional support structure for scholars at all stages of their scholarly careers—from graduate students and junior faculty to post-doctoral researchers and senior scholars. The Center’s visiting scholar programs, research initiatives, archival collection program, seminars for faculty, research workshops, publications, symposia, and other activities have made the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum one of the world’s principal venues for Holocaust scholarship.
Center scholars conduct specialized research on Holocaust-related subjects where institutional support is critical to accomplish the project, that draw on the Museum's archival and other research collections, and that address the research and teaching priorities of the field. Current research projects include the in-depth study of key issues and processes relating to the confiscation of Holocaust victim assets, which included organization of an international symposium in 2001 on “Confiscation of Jewish Property in Europe, 1933-1945: New Sources and Perspectives,” and preparation of the Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933-1945. This long-term, multi-volume reference work will provide concise information on the concentration camps, ghettos, and other sites of detention during the Holocaust, with key bibliographic references and indicators of the location of related archival sources for each site.
The Senior Historian of the Museum is located in the Center, participates actively in its programs, and responds to research inquiries from throughout the Museum, other Government agencies, the United States Congress, scholars, and other research institutions worldwide.