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Past International Summer Research Workshops for Scholars


Regarding Atrocity: Photography, Memory, and Representation, June 12–23

This workshop focused on all aspects of atrocity photography, with an emphasis on photographic images of the Holocaust: secret and official photographs; photographs taken by and of perpetrators, victims, and onlookers; the use of photographs during the war and after, for documentation, propaganda, education, and memorialization; in a variety of venues, including books, museums, the internet, and the classroom. Participants from Australia, Canada, Germany, and the US addressed a variety of questions: What separates the sincere desire to understand from voyeuristic curiosity? Does our consumption of photographs of atrocity risk replicating the original violence? Or, if we are to understand an event fully, are we obliged to engage with all the documents that recorded it, even the most disturbing visual sources?


Military Culture and Sexual Violence in the Holocaust and Beyond, August 8–19

This workshop addressed the relationship between sexual violence and military culture in the Holocaust and beyond, and sought to integrate scholarship on gender, militarism and the Holocaust. Participants from political science, history, critical military studies, anthropology, gender studies and journalism analyzed military bonding, peer pressure, hazing, and other related topics in the context of sexual violence and war.

Politics, the State, and Antisemitism: Exploring the Roots of Regional Variation in Civilian Violence during the Holocaust in Europe, July 25–August 5

Recent historical research on the Holocaust in Eastern Europe has focused on the importance of local conditions, experiences, and particularities to the fate of Jewish communities in the region. This workshop examined this scholarship – which focuses on the role of the German occupation, the presence and nature of Soviet rule (and Jewish attitudes toward Soviet rule), and actions of local nationalists and collaborators – and placed it in the context of the role of the state as the key social space where the values, attitudes, and relationships that influenced these factors were formed. Participants compared Poland, Romania, the Soviet Union, and other Eastern European territories in order to bring local histories of the Holocaust in the region into a broader social-scientific analysis of the role of the state in shaping modern society.

Microcosms of the Holocaust: Emotional Communities in the Modern Metropoles of Nazi-Occupied Europe, July 11–22

Throughout the big cities of twentieth-century Europe, Jews and Gentiles lived together, often enmeshed in tight networks that crosscut public and private spheres. Both communities are well-studied in the historiography of the Holocaust, but often is isolation. This workshop examined how the interactions of Jews and Gentiles evolved, during the Holocaust and in the immediate pre- and postwar years. Participants focused on various metropolitan areas in both Eastern and Western Europe where relations between large groups of acculturated Jews and their non-Jewish fellow citizens remained largely free from prewar antisemitic socialization. Drawing on the scholarship on affective relations and the emotional communities they form, the group analyzed transnational patterns in the nature and extent of these relations before the war, their durability (or lack thereof) in the face of increasing antisemitic violence, the extent to which they translated into concrete action during the Holocaust, and the reconstitution of Jewish-Gentile relations in the wake of the Holocaust.


Genocide, Agency, and the Nation-State after Auschwitz, June 29–July 10

The Holocaust is the starkest example of how the nation-state has underpinned and enabled genocide in the modern era. Yet as an organizational form, it equally inaugurated unprecedented possibilities for human freedom and agency for its subjects. This workshop examined how these two facets of the nation-state are structurally related and mutually reinforcing. Participants drew on Anglophone and European philosophy, political theory, critical and postcolonial theory, and gender studies to analyze the link between agency, genocide, and the nation-state, all while exploring the ethical and political implications of their analyses for our response to other genocides in the wake of the Holocaust.

Religion, Fascism, Antisemitism, and Ethno-Nationalism in Europe, 1918–1945, August 3-14

In the wake of World War I, a number of religiously based fascist and nationalist groups emerged throughout Europe, laying the foundation for their subsequent involvement in the Holocaust. This workshop explored how Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox religious leaders, theologians, and institutions throughout Europe addressed the issues of fascism, ethno-nationalism, and antisemitism during the interwar period and after the Nazis came to power in Germany. Particular attention was given to the radical religious groups that began to form throughout Europe during the 1920s and subsequently played an influential role during the Holocaust. Participants explored the origins of these groups, examining the parallels between them that transcended theological differences as well as distinctions based on different national, theological, and cultural settings.


Literary Responses to Genocide in the Post-Holocaust Era, August 4–15

This workshop examined the impact of Holocaust narratives on literary representations of mass atrocity and genocide produced in its aftermath. Participants analyzed the phenomenon of witnessing, issues of memory and representation, and aesthetics of violence in diverse contexts in order to establish a comparative framework for literature that responds to genocide and state-sponsored violence. Participants focused on both new readings of literature about the Holocaust and its aftermath, and the relation of the Holocaust to other significant events, including Apartheid in South Africa, the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s, dictatorship in Argentina, and post-Holocaust readings of the systemic violence of American plantation slavery.


Although the term “collaborator” has served to draw a boundary between Nazi perpetrators and those who assisted them, the situation on the ground was far more complex. Participants in this workshop examined a variety of groups of understudied collaborators and perpetrators in order to shed new light on the forms of collaboration and complicity with the Nazi genocidal project, as well as the postwar consequences of collaboration for individuals and societies.



This workshop examined postwar restitution and reparations projects across Europe, analyzing their origins in the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust and their resurgence following the end of the Cold War. Participants explored these efforts at redress as they relate to evolving notions of victimhood, the reinterpretation of national histories, and the reintegration of Jews into European societies, as well as their implications for transitional justice more broadly.


The Holocaust and World War II displaced or made homeless more than 30 million Europeans from all parts of the continent. The many distinct categories of refugees in postwar Europe have predominantly been studied in isolation from each other, however. This workshop brought together an international team of specialists who discussed how to integrate these important and fascinating stories in a way that illuminates the profound human cost of the war and its aftermath.


Exploring the Plight and Path of Jewish Refugees, Survivors, and Displaced Persons, July 23–August 3

The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies and the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University organized a two-week workshop for advanced doctoral candidates and recent PhDs. The workshop aimed to advance participants’ proposed research projects through both sustained engagement with archival resources in New York and Washington, DC, and intensive workshop discussion among participants, workshop leaders, and other invited respondents. The workshop was held on successive weeks in New York City and Washington, DC, and led by David Engel, professor of Hebrew and Judaic studies, professor of history, Maurice R. and Corinne P. Greenberg Chair of Holocaust Studies, and chair of the Skirball department of Hebrew and Judaic studies at New York University; Michael Brenner, chair of Jewish history and culture at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München; and Alexandra Garbarini, associate professor of history and chair of the Jewish studies program at Williams College. Daily sessions comprised both archival research and presentation and discussion of the participants’ work.

Holocaust Memory in East Central Europe, July 30–August 10

Although often overlooked in the history of the Communist period, Jewish and Romani survivors in East Central Europe pursued a variety of strategies to memorialize the Holocaust and to cope with its aftermath. This workshop explored this history in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Poland, and analyzed it in a comparative perspective. Participants examined several intertwined themes, including the continuities in antisemitic and anti-Gypsy sentiment from the interwar through the Communist period, postwar retribution and restitution, survival techniques during and after the Holocaust, the marginalization of Romani victims in public memorials and restitution, and the transmission of Holocaust memory from one generation to the next in survivor families.

New Sources on the Roman Catholic Church and the Holocaust,  August 13–24

This workshop identified new and emerging areas of research in some of the most important topics related to Church history and the Holocaust. Drawing on the Museum’s unique archival holdings from the Vatican, participants examined the relationship between the Holy See and Zionism, European clerico-fascism and its importation to North America, Vatican diplomacy, and the concept of brotherhood as transformational in post-Holocaust Christian-Jewish relations.


Jews and the Law in Modern Europe: Emancipation, Destruction, Reconstruction, August 1–12

The participants in this workshop compared the expulsions of Jews from various European legal systems during the Holocaust within the context of 20th-century European history. Although historians have long recognized the essential role of the German courts in the exclusion, repression, and ultimate murder of Jews, less attention has been paid to the dynamic relationship between Jews and the European legal systems before, during, and after the Holocaust. Combining the study of jurisprudence and legal institutions with the methodologies of cultural history, gender history, and the history of everyday life, the substantive and symbolic place of law in European Jewish life in Germany, Poland, and France was examined in order to re-situate the Jewish experience within the context of the history of modern Europe.


Sephardic Jewry and the Holocaust, June 16–25

This workshop included both seminar and research components and highlighted the Museum’s recently acquired collections on Sephardic Jewry. Participants assessed different aspects of Sephardic Jewish life during and after the Holocaust in a variety of languages, including Judeo-Spanish, Judeo-Arabic, Greek, Bosnian, Bulgarian, and French. The workshop also showcased the need for further study and the hunger that exists for archival and secondary sources on the topic. The work of these early-career scholars—enriched by their time at the Museum—is positive evidence of the serious work being conducted to explore the impact of the Holocaust on Sephardic communities in Europe and North Africa.

The Politics of Jewish Spaces: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Preservation, Memory, and Renewal in Post-Holocaust Poland, July 19–30

Workshop participants examined the Polish impulse to restore, preserve, memorialize, and celebrate Jewish spaces and the implications of the cultural politics of Jewish sites in Poland after the Holocaust, particularly in the present day.

Contemporary Antisemitism in Higher Education, July 26–August 6

This workshop assessed the documented rise of contemporary antisemitism on many college and university campuses in the United States. Participants assessed and identified manifestations, ideologies, and possible responses to campus-based antisemitism, and presented independent research that reflected a wide variety of disciplinary interests, including literature, sociology, legal studies, media studies, and philosophy.

Seminar for Advanced Undergraduate, MA, and Early PhD Students: Introduction to the International Tracing Service Collection at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, August 2–10

This workshop brought twenty advanced undergraduate and early graduate students to the Museum for a two-week session devoted to the study of five thematic areas relevant to the history of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. These students assessed these themes through the use of select ITS documents. Topics included the concentration camp system; non-Jewish victims; foreign, forced and slave laborers; Displaced Persons; and war criminals.

Coercive Medical Research and Practice during the Holocaust, August 9–20

This workshop researched victims of coercive Nazi medical experimentation, a group whose experiences remain significantly underestimated and underappreciated in scholarship. Specifically, participants examined the broad range of medical atrocities that arose out of Nazi-controlled human medical experiments and clinical practices by assessing the rich material provided by victim narratives.


North Africa and its Jews in the Second World War, July 13–24

Workshop participants examined the experiences of North African Jewry with especial focus on Nazi, Vichy, Spanish fascist, and local policymakers; anti-Jewish legislation and property confiscation and its implementation and effects on the ground; Muslim-Jewish relations; and Jewish cultural life. Participants also assessed postwar historiography and memorialization of Jewish experiences in North Africa during the Holocaust.

Bringing the past into the Present: Missing Narratives of the Holocaust in Ukraine, July 20–31

Workshop participants explored the experiences of Jews and Ukrainians during World War II and the Holocaust, with particular focuses on Ukrainian forced laborers, the Lvov ghetto, and the Janowska camp, as well as postwar historiography, collective memory, and contemporary treatment and presentation of this history in Ukraine.

Exploring the Newly Opened International Tracing Service (ITS) Archive at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, August 3–14

Twelve researchers from Europe, Israel, and North America participated in this workshop, which occurred at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Staff scholars introduced participants to the collection and assisted them in their research of the ITS materials that pertain to foreign, forced, and slave labor in the German war economy.


Exploring the Newly Opened ITS Archive, June 16–26

Co-sponsored by the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies and the International Tracing Service (ITS), this workshop convened at the ITS Archive in Bad Arolsen, Germany. Workshop participants focused on how best to use and understand ITS materials, which include multi-million page collections of concentration camp, deportation, transport, ghetto, and arrest records; forced and slave labor records; and postwar displaced persons and resettlement records. The workshop’s objective was to utilize the workshop-group setting to explore the various major sections of the documentation and to identify key portions of the material that offer particularly rich opportunities for new research.

Vichy and the Holocaust in France since 1990: Memory, Representation, and Revision, July 7–18

Over the past two decades, important films and landmark novels have succeeded in powerfully evoking and reshaping the historical and moral meaning of Vichy. Workshop participants explored the literary and cinematic Vichy Syndrome, using it as a basis for broader discussion of the problem of memory and historical responsibility in the wake of Vichy and the Holocaust, the nature and transmission of historical knowledge and understanding in France today, and the role of the media and the arts in shaping public perspectives.

Studying Antisemitism in the 21st Century: Manifestations, Implications, Consequences, July 14–25

Workshop participants explored the most fruitful directions for new research about the history of antisemitism to ensure a firm foundation from which to address what we currently know and understand—or do not understand—about contemporary manifestations of antisemitism; intellectual and campus-based manifestations of antisemitism and the media through which they are spread; and the implications and consequences of unchecked antisemitism in intellectual discourse and potential responses to it within the scholarly community.

From Prosecution to Historiography: American, Jewish, and German Perspectives on the US War Crimes Trials in Nuremberg, 1946–49, July 21–August 1

Workshop participants provided in-depth, comparative analysis of the 12 so-called Nuremberg successor trials, highlighting the intellectual concepts and motivations underlying the trial series. Analysis focused particularly on the dynamics of the trials as well as the narratives that were passed down from the trials to the historiography of the Third Reich and the Holocaust.


The Holocaust in Eastern Europe: The Impact of Church-Fostered Antisemitism, July 30–August 10

Workshop participants analyzed the impact of church-fostered antisemitism on the Holocaust in Eastern Europe, detailing the historical and cultural differences among the respective Eastern European churches—from the roots of anti-Jewish thinking, to overt participation in deadly acts of antisemitism and murder, to postwar implications in Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Ukraine, and the former Yugoslavia.

Geographies of the Holocaust, August 6–17

Few events in human history were as spatially complex or as well-documented as the Holocaust. Workshop participants considered questions of geography and methods that illuminate the role of perpetrators in planning the Holocaust and reveal the larger patterns embedded in the movements of millions of people. Learn more.

American Religious Organizations and Responses to the Holocaust in the United States: Reichskristallnacht as a Case Study, August 13–24

Workshop participants addressed the crucial question of how American Catholics, Protestants, and Jews—the three dominant religious groups in the United States during the 1930s—responded to Reichskristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass), the opening pogrom of the Holocaust in November 1938.


Intelligence and the Holocaust, July 31–August 11

Workshop scholars conducted research utilizing recently opened archival materials to clarify the degree of awareness of the Holocaust of intelligence agencies, their operatives, and recruits during the Holocaust; the role of intelligence agencies in shaping the perspective of their governments regarding the Holocaust and in dealing with actual or alleged perpetrators during and following World War II; and the involvement of intelligence agencies in dealing with other post-Holocaust issues such as displaced persons, property restitution, postwar trials, and perpetrator immigration/denaturalization/deportation cases.


Prosecuting the Perpetrators: War Crimes Trials in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, June 6–17

This workshop addressed the problem of postwar trial records as a historical source for the study of the Holocaust. Participants examined the presentation of the Holocaust in the investigations and prosecution of Nazi war criminals and local collaborators, the role of ideology and political expedience in the trials, and the legal practices of the Soviet Union and East European countries; as well as attempted to provide methodological guidelines for scholars who will be using war crimes trial records.

Survival, Displacement, and Struggle: Jewish Displaced Persons in the Wake of the Holocaust, July 18–29

Workshop participants attempted to reconcile the often contradictory depictions of the DP experience and to bring their various methodological and disciplinary perspectives into conversation in order to construct a more complete and multifaceted picture of the Jewish Displaced Persons.


Gender and the Holocaust, June 14–25

Workshop participants examined the issue of gender and the Holocaust, including the influence of gender on thinking and writing about the Holocaust after the war.

The Holocaust and Antisemitism in Christian Europe, June 22–July 2

Workshop participants examined the nature and role of antisemitism embedded in the response of the Christian churches to National Socialism, as well Jewish responses to Christian antisemitism.

Jewish Holocaust Diaries and Early Memoirs, 1933–1954: Disclosing Identity and Survival Strategies, August 2–13

One of the major themes in contemporary Jewish studies is the impact of modernity on Jewish identity, of which the Holocaust is an extreme example. This workshop examined the evolving religious, cultural, and political self-understanding of Jews during the Holocaust, as well as their vision of a potentially meaningful Jewish existence afterward, and also assessed possible links between changes in Jewish identity and the selection of survival strategies in the face of the Nazi assault.


Interpreting Testimony, August 4–15

Workshop participants examined the crucial and contested status of testimony in writing and interpreting the history and postwar cultural impact of the Holocaust. Participants used oral histories, war crimes trial testimony, and other forms of testimony to explore its potential uses in advanced scholarly work.

Foreign Forced Laborers, Prisoners of War and Jewish Slave Workers in the Third Reich: Regional Studies and New Research, August 11–22

Workshop participants considered the history of Jewish and non-Jewish forced and slave laborers in Austria, Belgium, former Czech territories, Germany, Poland, and Belorussia and other areas in the former USSR.

Jewish Resistance and Jews in National Resistance Movements in Nazi-Occupied and Axis Countries, August 11–22

Participants examined how Jews participated in national resistance movements seeking the restoration of national sovereignty and renewal of national purpose in their respective countries. Specifically, participants looked at the role of Jews in the establishment of the movements and the construction of their respective ideologies; the status of Jews in the leadership structure of such movements; the role of Jewish youth movements in national resistance; the role played by Jews in underground and rescue movements; and the role of Jews in the culture and propaganda efforts of underground movements on behalf of the resistance.


The Lodz Ghetto, August 12–23

Workshop participants presented a nuanced mosaic of Jewish life in the Lodz Ghetto, drawing on Jewish and non-Jewish documentation that describes daily administration and operations; postwar testimonies by survivors; trial records; published and unpublished diaries and journals; artworks; songs; poetry; and photographs.


The Churches and the Holocaust: The Responses of Laity, Clergy, and Church Authorities, June 18–29

Taking into account new source material, participants discussed the responses of the Christian churches to the Holocaust. Among the themes examined were churches and society; theology and faith; protest; the Nazi Party and the churches; collaboration; rescue; church sources and new archival materials; and postwar perspectives.

Locating the “Righteous” of France, July 2–13

Workshop participants assessed the rescue of Jews by Gentiles in wartime France. Defining “righteousness” in the context of the Holocaust was discussed, as were postwar efforts by the French to confront the issue of collaboration with the Nazis, and the impact this has had on relations between Jews and Christians. Additional subjects discussed included the condition of the Jewish population in France during World War II and the rescue efforts of Evangelical pastor Roland de Pury in Lyon and Catholic bishop Paul Rémond in Nice.

Culture within Ghetto Settings, Europe, 1933–1945, July 30–August 10

This workshop explored aspects of the visual arts, theater, music, and literature produced by artists and writers in a variety of “ghetto settings.” Among the subjects discussed were the types of work created by Jews and other artists within the increasingly limited social and physical space of ghettos, as well as the differences or similarities that are evident in this art. The panelists attempted to shed new light on the functioning of culture and the creative process in a world under duress.


Film, Television, and the Holocaust, July 17–28

Participants in this workshop examined how historical footage of the Holocaust has been utilized and manipulated in television and movies since 1945. Discussion focused on the effects of its use on public perceptions about the Holocaust and potential threats to the integrity of original footage in light of technological developments that allow computer images to be easily and rapidly altered. Scholars in this workshop included experts in film studies, modern languages, international politics, and film history and analysis.

Interdisciplinary Approaches to Videotaped Holocaust Testimony, July 31–August 11

This workshop allowed scholars to study audiovisual Holocaust testimony from an international and interdisciplinary perspective and discussed the implications for the use of videotaped testimony in a variety of public settings, as well as its relation to written materials about the Holocaust and other forms of public memorialization.


SS Racial Policies and Forced Population Movements in Occupied Europe, July 5–16

The participants investigated the role of the SS in the preparation, planning, and implementation of National Socialist racial policies in German-occupied Europe. Building off of a case study from Eastern Europe, workshop participants focused discussion on the history of SS institutions, the development of SS ideology from both perpetrator and victim perspectives, SS plans to re-engineer the population and landscape of territories incorporated into the German Reich, how SS ideology was transformed into concrete population policy, and the ideological backgrounds of SS officials involved in implementing racial policies.

The Nazi “Final Solution” in Ukraine, July 18–31

Participants in this workshop examined the Holocaust in Ukraine, a topic previously under-studied due to the lack of access to archival documentation. They discussed the role of the SS and police apparatus in implementing the “Final Solution” in cooperation with civil and military authorities and non-German allies. Discussion analyzed the range of perpetrators, regional considerations influencing German policy, cross-agency cooperation between the SS and police with other German institutions, and the issue of native collaborators. Participants came from Germany, the United States, and England.

The Jewish Resistance Movement in Nazi Concentration Camps in Light of Archival Sources, July 18– 31

The participants in this workshop came from Canada, Poland, Germany, and the Czech Republic to assess and define the nature of Jewish resistance in Nazi concentration camps based on information held in the Museum’s Archives and additional materials that were recently opened in Poland. The Museum’s archival materials used consisted of ex-concentration camp inmate and perpetrator testimony that had not previously been available to Polish researchers.

Sephardic and Oriental Jewry in the Holocaust, August 1–14

Seven scholars from a wide array of disciplines, including history, musicology, literature, and poetry, came to the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies to study the fate of Sephardic and Oriental Jews during the Holocaust. By looking at this under-studied issue through the lens of songs and poetry, the scholars sought to learn more about the identity of the Sephardic Balkan and North African Jewish victims of the Nazis and their allies. Participants came from Israel, Germany, and the United States.