As we approach the end of the summer and the start of a new semester, the Center has been busy supporting visiting scholars and fellows, preparing to welcome our fall fellows, and finalizing preparations for our November conference. 

This month, we said farewell to our 2017-2018 visiting Fulbright scholar, Julien Zarifian (Université de Cergy-Pontoise), while our three summer visiting scholars wrapped up their time conducting research in the Visual History Archive. (Read more about their research projects below.) We also hosted professors visiting from Grinnell College and the Geneva Academy for introductions to the Visual History Archive and the Dimensions in Testimony program. 

In addition to these visitors, the first member of our 2018-2019 cohort of fellows, Professor Karen Painter (University of Minnesota), visited the Center for her weeklong residency to integrate testimonies in her fall semester course “Music in Nazi Germany." (Read more about her below.)  

In August, we look forward to welcoming our next fellows, Ildikó Barna (Hungary), Jean-Marc Dreyfus (United Kingdom), and Sanna Stegmaier (Germany). (You can read more about them in last month's newsletter.) 

In this newsletter, we continue 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.

Lastly, we are in the final stages of preparing for our upcoming fall conference, “New Perspectives on Kristallnacht: After 80 Years, the Nazi Pogrom in Global Comparison.” We remind you to register for the conference on the conference website, where you can also read about the program and our distinguished conference speakers. You will find the link below.

Enjoy the last days of summer, and we wish you a great start to the fall semester!

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 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. 



Julien Zarifian (France), 2017-2018 Fulbright Visiting Scholar, concludes his residency 

During his time at the Center, Professor Zarifian (Université de Cergy-Pontoise, France) pursued his research project investigating why the United States has failed to officially recognize the massacre of Ottoman Armenians in 1915-16 as genocide, despite the academic consensus to the contrary and the growing tendency to do so in the international community. Throughout his stay, he provided the Center with fresh research perspectives, played a role in Center activities, consulted with staff across the Institute, as well as visiting fellows and scholars, faculty at USC and beyond. 

To read more about the research Professor Zarifian conducted during his residency, read a summary of his April public lecture here.

Center welcomes teaching fellow Karen Painter (University of Minnesota)

Karen Painter, Associate Professor of Musicology at the University of Minnesota, visited the Center for one week in July. Earning an Honorable Mention in the 2018-2019 International Teaching Fellowship competition enabled Professor Painter to spend time at the Center conducting research in preparation for integrating testimonies from the Visual History Archive into her fall course, “Music in Nazi Germany.” She also explored the testimonies of the Visual History Archive for her scholarly research on music and mourning.

Read more about Professor Painter here.


Visiting Scholars wrap up their residencies

This month, the Center said farewell to its summer visiting scholars Aria Razfar (Professor of Education and Linguistics, University of Illinois, Chicago), Gregory Kleinman (undergraduate, Economics & History, Occidental College) and Lindsay Klickstein (undergraduate, History & Jewish Studies, Williams College), who were all conducting in-depth research in the Visual History Archive. 

Professor Razfar, who was co-hosted by the Center for Advanced Genocide Research and the Shoah Foundation’s Education department, spent two months researching the ways in which the Yiddish language was marginalized in schools and broader society in pre-WWII Germany and Poland. Pursuing an additional project, he was also able to meet with the family of the one Persian survivor whose testimony is featured in the Visual History Archive. Professor Razfar hopes to continue his research on the collective memory of the Persian ex-pat community following emigration from Iran. 

Our undergraduate visiting scholars Gregory Kleinman and Lindsay Klickstein concluded their residencies at the end of the month with a joint lunchtime presentation to the Institute staff. Klickstein spent two months at the Center researching how survivor testimony detailing Polish-Jewish relations before, during and after the Holocaust has changed since 1946, while Kleinman conducted research on Holocaust survivors’ transition to 1950s America and the challenges of sharing testimony in a cultural atmosphere of conformity.  


Upcoming Fellows

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


2018-2019 Greenberg Research Fellow

Lukas Meissel (University of Haifa, Holocaust Studies)

Lukas will conduct dissertation research with the survivor testimonies of the Visual History Archive on the tension between the “reality” constructed by camp photographs taken by the SS and the lived experience of camp survivors. 

Read more about Lukas here.


2018-2019 Center Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Gabór Tóth (Hungary)

During his residency for the 2018-2019 academic year, Gabór will continue to refine the digital transcript reader tool he has developed as the 2017-2018 Joint Fellow at Yale University’s Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies and Digital Humanities Lab to facilitate research about the commonalities and differences underlying survivors’ experiences of Nazi persecution.

Read more about Gabór here.


2018-2019 Katz Research Fellow in Genocide Studies

Bieke Van Camp (University Paul-Valéry, Montpellier, Contemporary History)

Bieke will conduct dissertation research analyzing what the VHA testimonies reveal about what she calls “the enigma of survival” – the question of why some deportees survived concentration camps while others did not. 

Read more about Bieke here.


2018-2019 Center Graduate Research Fellow

Danielle Willard-Kyle (PhD candidate, Rutgers University, History)

Danielle will conduct dissertation research in the VHA on how European and North African survivors’ memories of life in Italian DP camps after the Holocaust have changed over time. 

Read more about Danielle here.


Upcoming Visiting Scholars 

Anne-Berenike Rothstein (University of Konstanz, Germany) 

Professor Rothstein will conduct research on methods of transforming and mediating memory of the Holocaust, in consultation with Center staff and the Dimensions in Testimony team.

Read more about Anne-Berenike here



In the beginning of July, Center Associate Director Martha Stroud traveled to Marseille, France to present at the 6th International Network of Genocide Scholars (INoGS) Global Conference on Genocide. At the conference, Dr. Stroud chaired a panel on violence’s long-lasting effects and participated in another panel, presenting her research on social stigma in the aftermath of the 1965 killings in Indonesia.  During the conference, Dr. Stroud consulted with many scholars in attendance about not only the relevance and power of the Visual History Archive for their specific projects, but also about its importance for research and teaching about genocide and mass violence in general. She hosted an exhibition at the conference for scholars to come and learn more about the Visual History Archive and experience a hands-on introduction to the archive.


Librarian's Corner

(This series introduces you to librarians who are advocates for the VHA at their institutions, as well as highlighting information and resources that will be of particular interest to librarians.)

As part of our Librarian’s Corner Series, we hope to introduce librarians and researchers elsewhere to the wealth and breadth of our Visual History Archive collections. In this issue of our newsletter, we will focus on the Armenian Genocide collection, which in March 2018 became the second largest collection in the Visual History Archive. 

In late 2016, the USC Shoah Foundation finalized the integration of 333 testimonies about the Armenian genocide into the VHA. These testimonies are part of the Armenian Film Foundation collection, and they represent unique testaments to the genocide that were not produced as typical oral history interviews, but rather as film footage interviews that were integrated into filmmaker Michael J. Hagopian’s 17 documentary films. Considering their initial purpose, the testimonies from the Armenian Film Foundation cover a wide range of topics and contexts, including the unique footage of a funeral, of Muslim Armenians in Syria, and group interviews. In addition to the interviews with survivors, the collection also features a number of interviews with scholars of Armenian genocide. To learn more, click here.

In early 2018, historian Richard G. Hovannissian donated his own collection of over a thousand interviews with Armenian genocide survivors, ten of which were integrated into the Visual History Archive in March 2018. The Richard G. Hovannisian Armenian Genocide Oral History Collection is the VHA’s first audio-only collection, but it also comprises documents, photographs, transcripts and translations relating to the interviews. To learn more about the Hovannisian collection, click here.

All of the testimonies housed in the Armenian genocide collection are indexed, subtitled, and, if necessary, translated, which makes them available to even those researchers and students who are not fluent in Armenian, Turkish, Kurdish, and other featured languages. To explore the entire collection, visit the VHA at 133 testimonies from the collection are also available in VHA Online


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


Memory through the Screen: Polish Cinema and WWII

International conference at the University of Southern California, October 18-19, 2018

The Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Southern California is pleased to announce its third annual film conference this fall. This year’s conference, which is co-sponsored by the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research, will highlight cinema concerning World War II and the Holocaust. While a big part of the conference will concern Polish cinema, conference organizers welcome papers about the representation of War and Holocaust in other cinematic traditions as well.

What do we witness when we watch cinema on the Holocaust? Cinema offers a unique archive of war memory, and Polish Cinema especially as six million of Poland’s population perished in WWII. Of the six million lost, three million were Jews, which constituted ninety percent of Polish Jewry. This two-day event will explore how the stories of these lost voices have been —and can be — told in film. As scholars have noted, the memory of WWII depicted in Polish cinema is layered, perhaps even split between the memory of the Poles and the memory of the Jews. Polish cinema captures and transmits this double memory, which complicates the notion of a collective memory.

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