"The Elderly in the Ghettos: A Study of Łódź, Vilna, and Kovno, 1939-1944"
Elizabeth Strauss received an M.A. in political science and a B.A. with highest honors in German from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. During her fellowship at the Museum she was a Ph.D. candidate in modern European history at the University of Notre Dame. For her Barbara and Richard Rosenberg Fellowship, Ms. Strauss conducted research for her project, “The Elderly in the Ghettos: A Study of Łódź, Vilna, and Kovno, 1939-1944.”
Ms. Strauss is the recipient of several honors and awards, including a Dr. Sophie Bookhalter Fellowship in Jewish Culture at the Center for Jewish History; a Maria Salit-Gitelson Tell Memorial Fellowship at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research; a Holocaust Educational Foundation Research Fellowship; various scholarships and fellowships from the University of Notre Dame and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and a Congress-Bundestag Scholarship to study German at the Werner-Heisenberg Gymnasium in Neuwied, Germany. Ms. Strauss was also selected to participate in the Yiddish for Holocaust research program sponsored by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Indiana University. Ms. Strauss has worked as a teaching assistant at the University of Notre Dame and as a collection development assistant at the Davis Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is fluent in German, has reading knowledge of Yiddish, and has basic knowledge of Spanish.
During her tenure at the Center, Ms. Strauss studied elderly Jews in the ghettos, their socioeconomic context, their roles in Jewish communities, and the treatment of the elderly as an embodiment of the totality of the Holocaust. She drew upon both German and Jewish sources to examine both the perpetrator and the victim perspectives to develop an integrated history of the elderly in the ghettos during the Holocaust. She consulted records generated by official Jewish institutions, documents of perpetrators, and personal records in the Museum’s archives to reveal the experiences of the elderly in the Łódź, Vilna, and Kovno ghettos.
Ms. Strauss was in residence at the Mandel Center from February 1 to September 24, 2008.