As the summer kicked off into high gear, here at the Center we were busy welcoming visiting scholars and preparing for our  summer fellows, as well as conducting outreach for the Visual History Archive and preparing for our upcoming conferences. 

This month, Center staff welcomed three visiting scholars to the Center, including two undergraduate students from Occidental College and Williams College, who want to conduct research with the Visual History Archive. (Read more about them below.) We also hosted Michigan State University librarian Deborah Margolis, who is featured in our new “Librarian’s Corner” section below. In addition to these visitors, we welcomed our former fellow Maria Zalewska with her undergraduate students from the USC School of Cinematic Arts. 

Visual History Archive Program Coordinator Badema Pitic traveled to the 2018 Annual American Library Association’s conference in New Orleans to conduct a workshop introducing participants to the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive (VHA).  The workshop was attended by around 40 people, including librarians, faculty and students. Next month, Center Associate Director Martha Stroud will travel to Marseille, France to present a paper on her research at the International Network of Genocide Scholars annual conference, where she will also introduce scholars to the VHA.

I spent two weeks in Washington, D.C. co-teaching the 2018 Silberman Seminar “Comparative Racial Theories and Practices from the Third Reich to the Jim Crow South” for university professors at the USHMM Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies. The seminar, which was attended by over two dozen professors from across the country and Canada, was immensely inspiring because of the interdisciplinary discussion and the intriguing and heartbreaking comparisons between the persecution of the Jews in Nazi Germany and the segregation of African Americans in the United States. I am planning to incorporate some readings about the Jim Crow South into future classes. (Read more about it below.)

As we look ahead, we will be soon begin welcoming our 2018-2019 cohort of fellows, starting with Beth and Arthur Lev Student Research Fellow for Summer 2018 Virginia Bullington. In this newsletter and the newsletter next month, we will be introducing you to the Center’s fellows for 2018-2019, who are coming to us from six different countries and represent diverse disciplines including history, Judaic studies, digital humanities, sociology and music. Read more about Virginia and other upcoming fellows below. 

Lastly, we have been hard at work on upcoming conferences. We are excited to announce below the launch of the conference website for our upcoming conference “New Perspectives on Kristallnacht: After 80 Years, the Nazi Pogrom in Global Comparison.” On the website, you can read about the program and our distinguished conference speakers. Don’t forget to register! Also, along with with our partners at Western Galilee College and Appalachian State University, we are preparing for “The Future of Holocaust Testimonies” conference that we are co-organizing together, which will be held in Spring 2019 in Israel. We are also co-organizers of the international conference "In Global Transit: Forced Migration of Jews and Other Refugees (1940s-1960s)," which will be held at UC Berkeley in May 2019. You will find the Call for Papers for both conferences below, which we encourage you to circulate widely. 

Have a great rest of the summer, 

Wolf Gruner

Founding Director of the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research
Professor of History and Shapell-Guerin Chair in Jewish Studies


International Conference “New Perspectives on Kristallnacht: After 80 Years, the Nazi Pogrom in Global Comparison”  

We are looking forward to our 2018 international conference, “New Perspectives on Kristallnacht: After 80 Years, the Nazi Pogrom in Global Comparison,” which will be held November 5-7, 2018 at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and Villa Aurora in Pacific Palisades. The conference is co-organized by the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research and the USC Casden Institute for the Study of the Jewish Role in American Life. The conference is also presented in cooperation with the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington D.C. and the Center for Research on Antisemitism at the Technical University Berlin, Germany. Scholars from across the United States, Germany, Israel and the United Kingdom will convene at the conference representing a wide variety of disciplines, including history, political science, Jewish studies, French and literature.   
To read the program and to learn more about the distinguished speakers, visit the conference website here

Conference registration is now open. Click here to register. 



Visiting Scholars

This month, we welcomed visiting scholars Aria Razfar (Professor of Education and Linguistics, University of Illinois, Chicago), Gregory Kleinman (undergraduate, Occidental College) and Lindsay Klickstein (undergraduate, Williams College) to the Center. Professor Razfar, who will be in residence at the Center until the end of July, is co-hosted by the Center for Advanced Genocide Research and the USC Shoah Foundation’s Education department. He is researching the ways in which the Yiddish language was marginalized in schools and broader society in pre-WWII Germany and Poland.

Undergraduate researchers Gregory Kleinman (Occidental College) and Lindsay Klickstein (Williams College) are both conducting research in the archive for their senior thesis projects. Kleinman is interested in how the climate of 1950s America impacted Holocaust survivors who migrated there following the war, while Klickstein is researching the ways in which testimony detailing Polish-Jewish relations before, during and after the Holocaust has changed since 1946. 

Read more about our visiting scholars here


Upcoming Fellows

In this month’s newsletter and next month’s newsletter, we will be introducing you to our newest cohort of fellows, who will be in residence at the Center during the 2018-2019 academic year. 


Ildikó Barna (Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary, Sociology)
2018-2019 International Teaching Fellow

Professor Barna will visit the Center to incorporate VHA testimonies into her upcoming sociology course, "Racism, Antisemitism and Hate Speech."

Read more about Professor Barna here.


Virginia Bullington (undergraduate, USC, History)
Summer 2018 Beth and Arthur Lev Student Research Fellow

Virginia will conduct research on the impact of cultural attitudes toward victims of sexual violence in post-genocide societies.

Read more about Virginia here.


Kimberly Cheng (PhD candidate, New York University, History, Hebrew & Judaic Studies)
2018-2019 Breslauer, Rutman and Anderson Research Fellow

Kimberly will conduct dissertation research on the interaction between Jewish refugees in Shanghai and their Chinese neighbors from 1937 to 1951.

Read more about Kimberly here.


Jean-Marc Dreyfus (University of Manchester, Holocaust Studies)
2018-2019 Center Research Fellow

Professor Dreyfus will conduct research in the archive for his upcoming book project on the treatment of corpses and human remains during the Holocaust.

Read more about Professor Dreyfus here.


Karen Painter (University of Minnesota, Music) 
2018-2019 International Teaching Fellow Honorable Mention 

Professor Painter will visit the Center to incorporate VHA testimonies into her upcoming music course, "Music in Nazi Germany."

Read more about Professor Painter here.


Sanna Stegmaier (PhD candidate, King’s College, London and Humboldt University, Berlin, History & Cultural Studies)
2018-2019 Center Graduate Research Fellow Honorable Mention 

Sanna will conduct dissertation research on the challenges and ethical implications of posttestimony witness projects such as Dimensions in Testimony.

Read more about Sanna here.



This month Center Director Wolf Gruner co-taught the 2018 Silberman Seminar, which compared racist ideas and practices in Nazi Germany and the Postbellum American South, at the Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. This two-week seminar, which was attended by over 20 professors from community colleges and research universities across the country, including Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, Nebraska, Florida, Montana and New York, and Canada. Highlights of the seminar included a screening and discussion of the film The Birth of a Nation and a guided visit to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, where the group discussed the exhibition with some of the curators. Professor Gruner also took the opportunity to introduce attendees to the Visual History Archive and its relevance for related research. 

2017-2018 Summer Graduate Research Fellow Maria Zalewska returned to the Center with students from her undergraduate seminar “Media Memory: Remembering the Holocaust in the Digital Age”. The class received an introduction to the VHA and the work of the Center and had the opportunity to interact with the Dimensions in Testimony program and receive a demonstration of the virtual reality experience “The Last Goodbye.”

This month, VHA Program Coordinator Badema Pitic traveled to New Orleans to give a workshop about the VHA at the 2018 American Library Association conference. The workshop was attended by librarians, faculty and students from across the country. Badema introduced attendees to the history of the Visual History Archive, the wealth of material in the VHA, and the strategies helpful in searching it.





Librarian's Corner

This new series will introduce you to librarians who are advocates for the VHA at their institutions and in future newsletters will highlight information and resources of particular interest to librarians.

In the first part of our Librarian’s Corner series, we are introducing Deborah Margolis, the Middle East Studies librarian at Michigan State University. Deborah is a long-time advocate and supporter of the Visual History Archive and manages the Visual History Archive on her campus. During her visit to the Center in June, we had the opportunity to learn more about Deborah’s VHA-related activities at Michigan State, as well as the personal motivation behind her work.

Deborah was introduced to the Visual History Archive shortly before Michigan State University became a full access site in 2014. Ken Waltzer, now Professor Emeritus at Michigan State, introduced Deborah to the Visual History Archive and invited her to participate in a week-long workshop in 2013, which was led by Visual History Archive curator Crispin Brooks.
Since Michigan State University became a VHA access site in 2014, the VHA has been used in a number of courses. In the 2017-2018 academic year, the VHA was utilized in a year-long history honors college research seminar entitled “History and Testimony in the Digital Age: Studying the Holocaust.” Besides this seminar, Deborah was involved in at least two other undergraduate Jewish Studies courses at MSU that focus on postwar American Jewish history, in which students used the VHA. Together with the Digital Scholarship Librarian Megan Kudzia, Deborah introduced students to the VHA and instructed them on how to search it using the index search. Deborah is also active when it comes to VHA outreach in the wider community …. read more here.


Call for Papers

The Future of Holocaust Testimonies V  

International conference and workshop in Akko, Israel, March 2019

The Holocaust Studies Program of Western Galilee College, the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research at the University of Southern California, and the Center for Judaic, Holocaust and Peace Studies at Appalachian State University announce the fifth international interdisciplinary conference and workshop on “The Future of Holocaust Testimonies” to be held March 11-13, 2019 in Akko, Israel. 

Survivors and their testimonies have been central to Holocaust research and memorial culture, but as fewer and fewer survivors remain among us, we need to consider how and in what forms Holocaust scholarship and the memory of the Holocaust will continue. One critical focus will certainly be the legacy that survivors leave behind in the forms of written, audio, and video testimonies, as well as in the transmission of their testimony to their children and grandchildren, who have their own stories to tell, as well as to researchers. In addition, those who are not survivors or their descendants seem destined to play an increased role in the transmission of the history and memory of the Holocaust. 

For more information on the conference and application process, click here


In Global Transit: Forced Migration of Jews and Other Refugees (1940s-1960s)

International Conference at German Historical Institute West and The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life at the University of California, Berkeley, May 2019

- Simone Lässig (German Historical Institute Washington/GHI West, UC Berkeley)
- Wolf Gruner (USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research, Los
- Francesco Spagnolo (The Magnes, UC Berkeley)
- Swen Steinberg (University of Dresden)

In cooperation with:
- India Branch Office of the Max Weber Foundation, New Delhi (Indra Sengupta, Razak Khan)
- China Branch Office, Beijing (Max Jacob Fölster)

This international conference will examine the experience of Jewish and other refugees who found haven – but not new homes – in Asia, Africa, and Latin America during the Second World War. The conference aims to illuminate the particularities of (usually) involuntary Jewish migration from and between countries of the global South that have received little scholarly attention thus far. We seek, moreover, to use the experience of Jewish refugees as an analytical prism to consider the phenomenon of forced migration more generally.

For more information on the conference and application process, click here