Center Newsletters

May 2019 Newsletter

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 2:33pm -- Isabella

As the 2018-2019 academic year drew to a close in May, the Center welcomed more visiting researchers and fellows, and our focus shifted towards the international conferences we are co-organizing this summer, as well as upcoming international travel, outreach, and research. 

This month, we were excited to welcome back our team of interdisciplinary Latin American scholars for the 2019 Interdisciplinary Research Week. This international team of researchers from Mexico, Argentina, Chile, and Colombia returned to the Center to continue working on a collaborative research project they began in 2017 on the forced emigration of Jews to different Latin American countries before, during and after the Holocaust. Read more about Interdisciplinary Research Week below.

We also welcomed our 2019 Beth and Arthur Lev Student Research Fellow Anna Lee, who will be in residence at the Center for one month this summer. Anna, who is a USC undergraduate student, will spend her time conducting research in the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive in order to discover whether survivors of violent attacks describe activism as a form of healing or coping. She plans to compare genocide survivor testimonies from the VHA with interviews from survivors of school shootings. She will present on the results of her research in a public lecture during the 2019-20 academic year. Read more about Anna Lee below.

This month also included the conference “In Global Transit: Forced Migration of Jews and Other Refugees (1940s – 1960s)”, which the Center co-organized with several institutional partners. The three-day conference convened more than 30 international scholars to present new research on the migration of Jewish survivors to various parts of the world, including India and Latin America. Read more about the conference below. Next month, another conference the Center is co-organizing, entitled “Comparative Lenses: Video Testimonies of Survivors and Eyewitnesses of the Holocaust and Other Genocides”, will be held at the American University of Paris.

In June, our international travels for the summer begin. The Center’s staff and I will cross the globe — traveling to France, Germany, Mexico, Spain, and Cambodia — to present research, attend conferences, teach faculty and conduct outreach. We are looking forward to sharing the Visual History Archive with more scholars around the world. We hope you will enjoy our summer newsletters, which will not only cover our ongoing activities, as always, but also introduce you to the fellows who will be joining us in the next academic year. 

Wolf Gruner

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


“Missing Links: Social Bonds and Barriers among Italian Jewish Deportees”

Bieke Van Camp (PhD candidate, University Paul-Valéry, Montpellier, France)

2018-2019 Katz Research Fellow in Genocide Studies

In this lecture, Bieke Van Camp (PhD candidate, University Paul-Valéry, Montpellier) presented some of the findings of her ongoing doctoral research on social interaction and group survival strategies in the Nazi concentration and extermination camps. She focused her lecture on the network analysis she has conducted of 28 Italian deportees who are interviewed in the VHA, showed maps of the hundreds of bonds these 28 deportees created, and reflected on the nature of those bonds, and their significance for survival. 

Read more about Bieke Van Camp here.

Watch a video of the lecture and read a summary here

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

International Conference at the Magnes Collection, Berkeley, CA 

This three-day conference convened more than 30 experts from Germany, Great Britain, India, Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, and the United States to present new research on the migration of Jews and other refugees between the 1940s and 1960s. The conference was organized by Wolf Gruner (USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research, Los Angeles), Simone Lässig (German Historical Institute Washington DC), Francesco Spagnolo (The Magnes, UC Berkeley), Swen Steinberg (Queen's University, Kingston).

The insightful presentations from junior and senior scholars touched on migration topics as illegal borders crossing, state restrictions, citizenship, racism, and individual Jewish experiences in countries, like Brasil, Kenya, India, Mexico, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Columbia. In addition to nine panels, the conference featured a keynote lecture by Tobias Brinkmann (Penn State University), an excursion to Chinatown in San Francisco, and an introduction to The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Family Life at the University of California at Berkeley, which is a collection of artefacts and art as product of Jewish migration.

The conference included presentations by four members of the Center’s 2017-2019 Interdisciplinary Research Week team, as well as by 2018-2019 Breslauer, Rutman & Anderson Research Fellow Kimberly Cheng.

Read more about the conference here.


2017-2019 Interdisciplinary Research Week Team visits Center for another week of collaborative research

The Center welcomed back a team of international scholars from Latin America for our 2019 Interdisciplinary Research Week. The group includes Lorena Cardona González (Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina), Daniela Gleizer Salzman (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México), Sandra Gruner-Domic (Los Angeles), Emmanuel Kahan (Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina), Nancy Nicholls Lopeandia (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile) and Yael Siman (Universidad Iberoamericana, México). While in residence, they continued working on a collaborative research project comparatively examining the individual experiences and narratives of Holocaust survivors in several Latin American countries, focusing on the less well-researched period of the 1940s. They concluded their stay with a presentation to Institute staff.

To read about the team’s research during their visit, click here

2019 Beth and Arthur Lev Student Research Fellow Anna Lee begins her residency

Anna Lee, a rising senior at USC majoring in English Literature with a minor in Spanish & Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL), will be in residence at the Center for one month this summer as our 2019 Beth and Arthur Lev Student Research Fellow. She will be researching how activism following mass shootings can serve as a way for survivors to cope with trauma. She plans to compare testimonies of survivors of massacres from the Holocaust and Guatemalan collections with interviews from survivors of recent mass shootings such as the school shooting in Parkland, Florida in 2018.
She will deliver a public lecture about her research during the 2019-2020 academic year.

To read more about Anna, click here

Visiting Researcher Benjamin Nestor conducts dissertation research in Visual History Archive

This month, visiting researcher Benjamin Nestor (PhD candidate in Holocaust/Modern Germany History, Marquette University) spent a week at the Center conducting dissertation research in the Visual History Archive.

While at the Center, Benjamin consulted testimonies from survivors who lived in the District of Galicia to understand how they perceived Einsatzgruppe C, the paramilitary death squads responsible for mass killings in Nazi-occupied Europe. Although his dissertation is mainly a perpetrator-oriented study, his time in the VHA proved fruitful for understanding survivor experiences in these areas. During his time at the Center, Benjamin was surprised to find VHA testimonies of survivors from some of the exact locations he is researching, as well as testimonies from translators that were part of the Einsatzgruppen Trial. 

Read more about Benjamin Nestor here.


In June, Professor Gruner will travel to Paris to attend the international conference “Comparative Lenses: Video Testimonies of Survivors and Eyewitnesses of Genocide and Mass Violence,” which the Center is co-organizing with the American University in Paris and Yahad in Unum. Later, he will give a lecture about the systematic destruction of Jewish homes during Kristallnacht at the Center for the Research on Antisemitism, Technical University Berlin, Germany. 

At the end of June, Professor Gruner will travel to Mexico City for a weeklong seminar on Holocaust and genocide studies. The course, which Professor Gruner is co-teaching in Spanish with Victoria Sanford, is co-organized by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC and the Museo de Tolerancia, Mexico, DF, and is designed for university professors from throughout Latin America. Participants will come various countries, including Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Colombia. Gruner will give an introduction to the Visual History Archive.

At the end of June, the Center’s VHA Research Officer Badema Pitic will attend the annual Memory Studies Association conference in Madrid, Spain, presenting a paper entitled “Remembering Home: Songs of Longing in Trans-local and Transnational Communities of Eastern Bosnians”, sharing the relevance and potential of the VHA with fellow scholars, and offering demonstrations of Dimensions in Testimony to interested attendees.


June 6-7, 2019 at the American University in Paris

International conference "Comparative Lenses. Researching Video Testimonies on Genocide and Mass Violence" 

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