Center Newsletters

March 2019 Newsletter

Sun, 03/10/2019 - 11:55am -- Isabella

March was a busy month with international and domestic travel and several popular campus lectures, in addition to the arrival of our second graduate research fellow of 2019.

Center Associate Director Martha Stroud and I traveled to Akko, Israel to attend the international conference “The Future of Holocaust Testimonies V," which the Center co-organized with the Holocaust Studies Program at Western Galilee College and the Center for Judaic, Holocaust, and Peace Studies at Appalachian State University. 

Later in the month, I presented an invited paper at the Advancing Holocaust Studies Seminar in St. Louis, Missouri, while Martha participated in a panel on responses to the violence in Indonesia during 1965-66 at the annual Association for Asian Studies conference in Denver, Colorado.

In mid-March, we welcomed Danielle Willard-Kyle (PhD candidate, Rutgers University), who is spending a month in residence at the Center as our 2018-2019 Center Graduate Research Fellow. During her residency, Danielle is conducting dissertation research in the Visual History Archive on the experiences of Eastern European and North African Jewish refugees in Italian Displaced Persons (DP) camps after the Holocaust. She will conclude her stay with a public campus lecture in mid-April. Read more about Danielle below.

In March, we were proud to present two public events about the Armenian genocide by esteemed scholars Richard G. Hovannisian (UCLA) and Taner Akçam (Clark University). Both events were co-sponsored by the USC Institute of Armenian Studies and attracted a large number of students and community members. Read more about the lectures below. The Center also co-sponsored a lecture by Hannah Lessing (Austrian Fund for Victims of National Socialism) with the Max Kade Institute for Austrian-German-Swiss Studies, the USC Casden Institute for the Study of the Jewish Role in American Life, and the Louchheim School for Judaic Studies.

We are looking forward to a series of events in April, including lectures by our visiting research fellows and a public lecture by the 2018-2019 Sara and Asa Shapiro Scholar in Residence, Marion Kaplan (New York University). Read more about these upcoming events below.

As we move into April, we are excited about marking the fifth anniversary of the Center for Advanced Genocide Research. We appreciate your ongoing support of our programs and activities and look forward to reflecting on this milestone in next month’s newsletter. 

Wolf Gruner

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


“Preserving History: Armenian Voices from the Classroom to Archive” 
Richard Hovannisian (Professor Emeritus, UCLA)

In this lecture (co-sponsored by the USC Institute of Armenian Studies), Richard Hovannisian, Armenian Educational Foundation Professor Emeritus of Modern Armenian History at University of California, Los Angeles, talked about the history of his Armenian Genocide Oral History Collection, which recently became part of the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive. The collection of audio interviews with Armenian genocide survivors grew out of two courses Professor Hovannisian taught at UCLA over five decades. Three of his former students—Salpi Ghazarian, Lorna Miller, and Tamar Mashigian— shared their experiences collecting testimonies of Armenian genocide survivors during their time at UCLA. The lecture was attended by over 60 people, including many students and community members.

Watch the lecture and read a summary here.

“Talat Pasha's Killing Orders and Denial of the Armenian Genocide” 
Taner Akçam (Clark University)

In this lecture, Professor Taner Akçam, Kaloosdian & Mugar Chair in Armenian Genocide Studies at Clark University, presented on the Krikor Guergeurian Archive and its importance for research on the Armenian Genocide. In particular, Professor Akçam explained that the archive contains documents that prove that the Armenian genocide was both an organized event and part of official Ottoman government policy. Thus  the archive, which is now online and accessible thanks to Professor Akçam’s efforts, is a crucial resource to counter the enduring genocide denial by the Turkish government. This lecture was co-sponsored by our partner the USC Institute of Armenian Studies.

Watch the lecture and read a summary here.


2018-2019 Center Graduate Research Fellow Danielle Willard-Kyle begins her residency

Danielle Willard-Kyle, a PhD candidate in History at Rutgers University, arrived at the Center in mid-March to begin her month-long residency. While at the Center, Willard-Kyle will conduct research with Visual History Archive testimonies of European and North African Jewish refugees who lived in Italian Displaced Persons (DP) camps during and after World War II. She is specifically interested in how individuals remember their time in Italian DP camps from the immediate post-camp period to the present. She hopes that her research will illuminate how displaced populations rebuild their communities, as well as how international actors can help or hinder those efforts. 

She will deliver a public campus lecture on her research on April 16, 2019. For more details and to RSVP, click here

Read more about Danielle Willard-Kyle here



March was a busy month of travel and outreach, as Center staff traveled internationally to attend multiple conferences and conduct Visual History Archive workshops. 

In early March, Center Director Wolf Gruner and Associate Director Martha Stroud traveled to Akko, Israel to attend the conference “The Future of Holocaust Testimonies V”, which the Center co-organized with the Holocaust Studies Program at Western Galilee College and the Center for Judaic, Holocaust, and Peace Studies at Appalachian State University. A summary of the conference will appear in a future newsletter. While in Israel, Martha Stroud traveled to Jerusalem to conduct a VHA workshop at Yad Vashem. 

Later in the month, as one of ten prominent scholars from the US and Canada invited to the “Advancing Holocaust Studies Seminar” in St. Louis, Missouri, which was organized by Carol Rittner and John Roth, Professor Gruner presented a paper about his personal engagement with and future avenues of Holocaust Studies. At the annual Association for Asian Studies conference in Denver, Colorado, Martha Stroud participated in a panel about Indonesian mass killings of 1965-66, delivering a paper about the lingering stigma that former political prisoners, family members of the victims, and even those not as closely affected by the killings still feel, experience, or fear.

Martha Stroud also traveled to Yale University to attend an event entitled “A Demonstration and Critical Examination of USC's Dimensions in Testimony” organized by the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies and featuring presentations by Kia Hays (Program Manager, Dimensions in Testimony, USC Shoah Foundation), Dan Leopard (Saint Mary’s College), and Noah Shenker (Monash University). The following day, Martha conducted a VHA workshop at Yale, also organized by the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies.

At the Center in March, VHA Program Coordinator Badema Pitic welcomed students from USC Professor Anna Krakus's classes Slavic Languages and Literature 397: Literature and Film in Eastern European Historical Experience and General Education Seminar 120G: Eastern European Crime Stories: Legal Fiction from Crime to Punishment for introductions to the Visual History Archive and Dimensions in Testimony. 

Upcoming Events

April 2, 2019 at 4PM, USC Main Campus, SOS 250

Public lecture by Gabor Toth, 2018-2019 Postdoctoral Research Fellow: "In Search of the Drowned in the Words of the Saved: Testimonial Fragments of the Holocaust"

April 8, 2019 at 12:30PM, USC Main Campus, Doheny Memorial Library 241

Public lecture by Sven Reichardt (University of Konstanz): "Fascism's Global Moments: New Perspectives on Entanglements and Tensions between Fascist Regimes in the 1930s and 1940s"

April 11, 2019 at 11AM, USC Main Campus, USC Shoah Foundation Leavey Library, 4th Floor 

Shapiro Scholar Annual Lecture by Marion Kaplan (New York University): "Did Gender Matter During the Holocaust?"

April 16, 2019 at 4PM, USC Main Campus, SOS 250

Public lecture by Danielle Willard-Kyle, 2018-2019 Center Graduate Research Fellow: “Afterlives: Memories of the Displaced Persons Camps in Italy"

April 23, 2019 at 12PM, Doheny Memorial Library 241

Public lecture by Bieke Van Camp, 2018-2019 Katz Research Fellow in Genocide Studies: "Missing Links: Social Bonds and Barriers amongst Italian Jewish Deportees"

April 25, 2019

5th anniversary of the Center for Advanced Genocide Research's inauguration 

Librarian's Corner

As part of our Librarian’s Corner series, we hope to introduce librarians and researchers elsewhere to the wealth and breadth of our archival collections at USC. In this issue of our newsletter, we focus on the Guatemalan Collection in the Visual History Archive.  

In 2014, the Center and the USC Shoah Foundation began its discussions about the need to include the Guatemalan genocide in our archive. Soon the possibility of a collaboration with the Guatemalan nonprofit La Fundación de Antropología Forense de Guatemala (FAFG) emerged. The FAFG wanted to record and preserve the testimonies of Mayan survivors of the Guatemalan genocide. During the civil war in Guatemala (1960-1996), over 200,000 people were brutally murdered and forcefully disappeared in what was organized and systemic violence against Guatemala’s indigenous population, especially during the period between 1978 and 1983. 

In 2015, the USC Shoah Foundation and the FAFG staff started recording the first interviews in Guatemala with the survivors of the genocide. A year after, the Center for Advanced Genocide Research organized the first international conference on this topic: “A Conflict? Genocide and Resistance in Guatemala,” featuring a keynote with two prominent Guatemalan genocide activists, Rosalina Tuyuc Velasquez and Marvyn Perez. To learn more about the Center’s work related to genocide against indigenous communities, click here.

To date, 31 interviews about the Guatemalan genocide are currently available in the Visual History Archive (26 are in Spanish, 5 are in K’iche, all of them are indexed), but in total FAFG has already conducted over 550 interviews. In order to be indexed and integrated into the Visual History Archive, the large remaining corpus of testimonies needs funding.

The available testimonies are accessible at 10 Guatemalan testimonies are also available in VHA Online. To watch an excerpt from a Guatemalan genocide survivor testimony, click here

Donate to Special Collections

Please consider donating private papers, documents, photographs or films regarding the Holocaust and other genocides. The Center works with USC Libraries Special Collections to preserve private collections and make them accessible for academic research worldwide and student investigation at USC.

To find out more about donating materials, email us as or call 213-740-6001.

For more information about the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research and its work, please visit our website at:

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