A Nazi Killing Center through a Perpetrator’s Lens: The Sobibor Perpetrator Collection
March 1, 2023
This virtual symposium brings together scholars from the US and Europe to discuss the Sobibor Perpetrator Collection, which was recently acquired by the Museum. The collection provides an unprecedented view into the operations of Sobibor, showing the topography of the killing center in new and vivid detail and illuminating interactions among the camp’s SS staff, auxiliary guards, perpetrators’ wives, and local civilians.
Scholars will present the new insights the collection affords into the workings of Sobibor and the wider networks of perpetrators that spanned the so-called Euthanasia Program, other concentration camps, and Operation Reinhard in the implementation of the Final Solution, and discuss the implications of the collection for research and teaching about the Holocaust.
The subject of a new book published by Indiana University Press in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, From “Euthanasia” to Sobibor: An SS-Officer's Photo Collection, the Sobibor Perpetator Collection opens new vistas on one of the most crucial chapters of the Holocaust.
This program is co-organized by the Bildungswerk Stanisław Hantz and the Ludwigsburg Research Center at the University of Stuttgart.
This event is open to the public, but reservations are required.
Information on the collection is available online.
10am EST | 16h CET
Welcome and Opening Remarks
Edna Friedberg, Historian, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Jürgen Matthäus, Director, Applied Research, Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies
Tagan Engel, Granddaughter of Sobibor survivors who escaped during a prisoner uprising, Selma and Chaim Engel
Session I: Introduction to the Collection
Moderator: Anatol Steck, Senior Project Director, International Archival Programs, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Approaching the Sobibor Perpetrator Collection Martin Cüppers, Head, Ludwigsburg Research Center, University of Stuttgart
Coworkers not Comrades: The Case of the Trawniki Men Kimberly Allar, Independent scholar and the Museum’s 2013–14 Ben and Zelda Cohen Fellow
Forgotten Places of the Holocaust: Bełzec and Sobibór in the Aftermath Steffen Hänschen, Staff Scholar, Bildungswerk Stanisław Hantz
11:00 am EST | 17h CET
11:15 am EST | 17h15 CET
Session II: The Collection from the Perspectives of Perpetrators and Victims
Moderator: Patricia Heberer Rice, Senior Historian, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
“It was the humiliation that hurt us the most”: The Deportation of Dutch Jews to Sobibor Katja Happe, Director, KZ-Gedenk- und Begegnungsstätte Ladelund
Sobibor Reflected in Testimony and Visual Sources Anne Lepper, Representative, Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies and Staff Scholar, Bildungswerk Stanisław Hantz
Euthanasia, Aktion Reinhard, and Johann Niemann in the Sobibor Perpetrator Collection Andreas Kahrs, Staff Scholar, Bildungswerk Stanisław Hantz
Rebecca Boehling, Director, David M. Rubenstein National Institute for Holocaust Documentation, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Lisa Leff, Director, Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
The organizers thank Semyon Rosenfeld and Selma Engel for their invaluable contributions to the research on the Sobibor Perpetrator Collection. This program is dedicated to them. This symposium has been made possible by the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Bildungswerk Stanisław Hantz, and the Ludwigsburg Research Center at the University of Stuttgart. The publication of From “Euthanasia” to Sobibor: An SS-Officer's Photo Collection has been made possible in part by the generous support of the Stichting Sobibor / Sobibor Foundation, Amsterdam.