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The US Military and the Holocaust

International Research Workshop

July 15–26, 2024

Application deadline: The application deadline has passed

The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum invites applications for a research workshop entitled The US Military and the Holocaust. The Mandel Center will co-convene this workshop with Kaete O’Connell, Yale University, and Adam Seipp, Texas A&M University. The workshop is scheduled for July 15–26, 2024, and will take place at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

On the last day of World War II in Europe, more than 1.8 million American military personnel found themselves on the territory of Hitler’s collapsed Reich. During the invasion of German- occupied Europe and for years thereafter, American military personnel encountered and interacted in a variety of ways with the millions of surviving victims of the Holocaust, forced labor, and other crimes of the Nazi regime. While the military was sometimes reluctant to take on responsibilities beyond their traditional war-fighting tasks, the armed forces played a critical role in managing the chaotic and uncertain transition from war to peace after 1945.

The goal of this workshop is to stimulate conversation about the US military’s engagement with the Holocaust before, during, and after the murderous years of the Second World War. The past decade has seen a flourishing of scholarship in many languages on what Frank Stern memorably called the “historic triangle” of Jews, Germans, and occupiers. This contemporary scholarship has complicated Stern’s triangle and simultaneously opened new avenues for thinking about the complex web of relationships that developed across postwar Germany and Europe. 

Our workshop will thus explore the US military’s involvement in the Holocaust from several thematic and chronological angles: 1) the invasion and occupation of Europe, including debates over the bombing of concentration camps, the internment of American prisoners of war in the Nazi camp system, and the liberation of camps in the West, 2) refugee management and humanitarian assistance, 3) the identification, prosecution, and punishment of perpetrators, 4) the post-1945 experiences of refugees and survivors who served in the US military, 5) the Holocaust and race, including the Civil Rights Movement, in the United States, and 6) the memory of war and liberation and the study of trauma. We welcome contributions that discuss the role of the Holocaust in shaping ongoing discussions of American foreign policy and military affairs.

Daily sessions of the workshop will consist of presentations and roundtable discussions led by participants, as well as discussions with Museum staff and research in the Museum’s collections. The workshop will be conducted in English.

Museum Resources

The Museum's David M. Rubinstein National Institute for Holocaust Documentation houses an unparalleled repository of Holocaust evidence that documents the fate of victims, survivors, rescuers, liberators, and others. The Museum’s comprehensive collection contains millions of documents, artifacts, photos, films, books, and testimonies. The Museum’s Database of Holocaust Survivor and Victim Names contains records on people persecuted during World War II under the Nazi regime, including Jews and Roma and Sinti. In addition, the Museum possesses the holdings of the International Tracing Service (ITS), which contains more than 200 million digitized pages with information on the fates of 17.5 million people who were subject to incarceration, forced labor, and displacement as a result of World War II. Many of these records have not been examined by scholars, offering unprecedented opportunities to advance the field of Holocaust and genocide studies.

The Museum’s related collections include:

Participants will have access to both the Museum’s downtown campus and the David and Fela Shapell Family Collections, Conservation and Research Center in Bowie, MD. Learn further information about the Shapell Center here. To search the Museum's collections, please visit

Participants will also have the opportunity to pursue research in the National Archives and Records Administration and the Library of Congress.

To Apply

Applications are welcome from scholars affiliated with universities, research institutions, federal government agencies, or memorial sites and in any relevant academic discipline, including anthropology, art history, economics, genocide studies, geography, history, Jewish studies, law, literature, philosophy, political science, psychology, sociology, religion, and Romani studies, and others. Applications are encouraged from scholars at all levels of their careers, from Ph.D. candidates to senior faculty. Scholars working at the intersections of military history, the history of humanitarianism, Jewish and Romani studies, public history, medical history, memory studies, and/or the history of the federal government are especially encouraged to apply.

The Mandel Center will reimburse the costs of round-trip economy-class air tickets to/from the Washington, D.C. metro area, and related incidental expenses, up to a maximum reimbursable amount calculated by home institution location, which will be distributed within 68 weeks of the workshop’s conclusion. The Mandel Center will also provide hotel accommodation for the duration of the workshop. Participants are required to attend the full duration of the workshop and to circulate a draft paper in advance of the program. Participants must commit to attending the entire workshop.

The deadline for receipt of applications is Friday, February 2, 2024. Applications must include a short biography (one paragraph), a CV, and an abstract of no more than 300 words outlining the specific project that the applicant is working on, plans to research, and is prepared to present during the program. . All application materials must be submitted in English via USHMM Research Fellowships.

 Admission will be determined without regard to race, color, religion, sex, gender (sexual orientation or gender identity), national origin, age, disability, genetic information, or reprisal. The Museum also prohibits any form of workplace discrimination or harassment.

COVID-19 Safety Measures 

The health and safety of Museum guests and staff are always the Museum's top priority. The Museum takes all reasonable safety precautions but cannot guarantee the safety of any participant. Participants acknowledge that their risk of COVID-19 exposure may increase by participating in the program or by engaging in any other travel. By participating in the program, you voluntarily assume all risks related to COVID-19 exposure and release the Museum from any associated liability.  

Per guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Museum encourages all participants to stay up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccinations. The Museum’s safety measures are based on CDC COVID-19 Community Levels and will be adjusted to reflect any changes in the level. Prior to the program, the Museum will provide updates regarding the latest guidelines related to health and safety protocols. Participants agree to abide by all health and safety protocols required by the United States, the Museum, and/or the local jurisdiction rules applicable to the program.

Questions should be directed to

This international research workshop was made possible by the William J. Lowenberg Memorial Endowment on America, the Holocaust, and the Jews.