“Saving lives at all costs - Adolf Silberschein, the ‘Committee for Relief of the War-Stricken Jewish Population’ and the Jewish Relief and Rescue Network in Switzerland 1939-1945"
Anne Lepper is currently a PhD Candidate in history at the Free University of Berlin (Germany). As the Center for Holocaust Studies at the Institute for Contemporary History - Munich & Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies Exchange Scholar, Ms. Lepper will be conducting research for her dissertation, “Saving lives at all costs - Adolf Silberschein, the ‘Committee for Relief of the War-Stricken Jewish Population’ and the Jewish Relief and Rescue Network in Switzerland 1939-1945.”
Ms. Lepper has published several articles on her work, including “Das Netzwerk jüdischer Hilfsorganisationen und die Verhandlungen über den Freikauf von Juden gegen Ende des Zweiten Weltkriegs” (Jahrbuch Historie). She is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, including an EHRI fellowship in 2019, a travel grant by the Stiftung Zeitlehren in 2017, both the Yad Vashem Summer Research Fellowship and a doctoral fellowship by the Hans-Böckler-Stiftung in 2016, and the Scientific Award of the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland in Germany for her master's thesis in 2015. Ms. Lepper is fluent in German, English and Spanish and can understand and read French. She has worked as a representative of the Yad Vashem International School for Holocaust Studies in Germany, as a guide for “Germany Close Up: American Jews Meet Modern Germany,” and as an editor for the Berlin-based “Learning from History” magazine. She is the co-founder and administrator of the ongoing “Flucht, Exil, Verfolgung. Geteilte Erinnerungsräume – ein interaktiver Stadtrundgang” project. Ms. Lepper is also a staff member of the Bildungswerk Stanisław Hantz, where she conducts research on and organizes educational trips to Nazi killing sites in Poland, the Baltic countries, and Ukraine. In this capacity, she mainly focuses on research about the camps established in the context of the so-called Aktion Reinhardt: Bełżec, Sobibór and Treblinka.
For her current project, Ms. Lepper seeks to reconstruct the network of Jewish organizations and individuals in Switzerland during WWII and to place it in the broader context of international relief and rescue activities during the Holocaust. Her main focus is on the RELICO, a relief organization established by Adolf Silberschein in Geneva in September 1939. By depicting the extensive network of the RELICO both on the national and international level, she will describe how cooperation and conflicts shaped the (joint) work of Jewish relief and rescue organizations during the Holocaust. Drawing on the museum’s resources, she will provide an in-depth analysis of the possibilities and limitations faced by both individuals and institutions within a highly restricted context.