"‘Writing to Survive’: The Phenomenon of Keeping a Diary in National Socialist Concentration Camps: Motivations, Functions, Language"
Dominique Schröder received a Staatsexamen (Master of Education equivalent) in history and German studies from the University of Bielefeld in Germany. During her fellowship at the Museum she was a Ph.D. candidate in history at the same institution. For her Barbara and Richard Rosenberg Fellowship, Ms. Schroeder conducted research on “‘Writing to Survive’: The Phenomenon of Keeping a Diary in National Socialist Concentration Camps: Motivations, Functions, Language.”
Ms. Schroder is the author of “Ueberlegungen zum methodischen Umgang mit Tagebuechern als Quellen der Konzentrationslagerforschung” [Thoughts on the Methodical Use of Diaries as Sources for Research in Concentration Camps] in eds. Janine Doerry, Alexandra Klei, Elisabeth Thalhofer und Karsten Wilke’s, NS-Zwangslager in Westdeutschland, Frankreich und den Niederlanden. Geschichte und Erinnerung (Paderborn: Schoningh 2008), as well as numerous entries for the German encyclopedia “Vergangenheitsbewältigung” (2007). She was nominated for the 2008 Fondation Auschwitz Prize in Brussels. In addition to English Ms. Schroeder is fluent in German and has thoroughly studied Polish, Dutch, Spanish and French.
During her tenure at the Center, Ms. Schröder studied the experiences of Jewish and political prisoners of twelve Nazi concentration camps by examining their diaries. The use of diaries during the Holocaust allowed victims to communicate not only with themselves but also with imagined or real companions. She utilized techniques in historical semantics and linguistics pragmatics to analyze narrative patterns and wording of the diary entries to determine the emotional impressions the experience of camp life had on inmates. Ms. Schroeder used the many Jewish sources in the Museum’s archives, but also collections such as the Eleanor Oppenheimer Morris Collection, the Iwona Bonacia Collection and the Thelma Dixon Collection.
Ms. Schroder was in residence at the Mandel Center from July 1 to November 30, 2008.