“Against that Darkness: Perseverance, Resistance, and Revolt at Treblinka”
Chad Gibbs is PhD Candidate in the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an Affiliated Researcher with the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research. Chad received his MA in History from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and his BA in History from the University of Wyoming.
Chad’s work has appeared in The Journal of Contemporary Archival Studies and in geveb: A Journal of Yiddish Studies, among other venues. He has recently held the Breslauer, Rutman, and Anderson Research Fellowship from the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research and the Dori Laub Fellowship from the Yale University Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies in support of his work. Additionally, Chad held the George L. Mosse Distinguished Graduate Fellowship in Modern European Jewish History (2016-2017) and the George L. Mosse Graduate Exchange Fellowship to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2019-2020). His teaching and research have been awarded by the Society for Military History as well as the UW-Madison Department of History and Center for Jewish Studies.
As the Fred and Maria Devinki Memorial Fellow at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, Chad will conduct research for his dissertation, “Against that Darkness: Perseverance, Resistance, and Revolt at Treblinka.” Chad’s dissertation makes of use spatial and social network analyses to uncover relationships and geographies important to prisoner resistance at the extermination camp Treblinka II. Existing scholarly works on the camp predominantly devote their attentions to Treblinka’s role in Nazi designs for the extermination of European Jewry or focus narrowly on the day of the uprising. These approaches leave need for new work focused on the recovery of long-term inmate perseverance strategies and resistance planning. Taking advantage of a greatly expanded testimonial source base, Chad’s research adds to our understanding of life inside the camp by exploring inmate relationships—or social networks—and how prisoners leveraged these bonds to gain some measure of control over lethally restricted camp geography. His dissertation further delivers the first analyses of gender and masculinity in life and resistance at the camp while working to recover the long-overlooked experiences of women inside Treblinka.
Chad’s research and teaching interests extend from Holocaust studies to modern European Jewish history, modern Germany, military history, memory, oral history, gender, and antisemitism. His efforts to identify Treblinka survivors and locate their testimonies have contributed complementary interests in transnational archival practice, dispersed sources, and the issues that diaspora collections like the Treblinka testimonial archive create for historical research.