The end of the academic year has been a busy time at the Center for Advanced Genocide Research. Over the last month, we continued to host visiting scholars and to organize lectures showcasing some of the innovative research currently being done using USC Shoah Foundation testimonies. This month, we were particularly delighted to welcome our 2017 Sara and Asa Shapiro Scholar in Residence, Brown University Professor Omer Bartov who gave a lecture about his research on the East Galician town of Buczacz (see below). 

We also welcomed the first Center for Advanced Genocide Research Genocide Prevention Research Fellow. A PhD candidate from the University of Chile, Vanessa Belén Dorda Meneses’ research focuses on rape and sexual violence during the Guatemalan Genocide. By watching testimonies of Guatemalan sexual violence survivors, she analyzes how rape was used as a weapon of war during the counterinsurgency (see below).  

This month, Center staff continued to reach out to the international community of scholars and to present the Visual History Archive to participants at several workshops in Michigan and Hungary. You can read more about these outreach efforts below. 



Wolf Gruner

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


"Anatomy of a Genocide: The Life and Death of a Town Called Buczacz"

A Lecture by Omer Bartov, 2017 Sara and Asa Shapiro Scholar in Residence

On May 8th, Omer Bartov, the 2017 Sara and Asa Shapiro Scholar in Residence and John P. Birkelund Distinguished Professor of European History and Professor of German Studies at Brown University, gave the Sara and Asa Shapiro Scholar Annual Lecture at USC’s Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research. His lecture, attended by over 80 people, among them scholars, survivors, students and staff, focused on the history of the East Galician town of Buczacz, which was transformed from a site of coexistence, where Poles, Ukrainians, and Jews had lived side-by-side for centuries, into a site of genocide. In particular, he noted that, contrary to common perception, the Holocaust was not solely an event of industrial killing but that, especially in the small towns of Eastern Europe, there was a communal genocide at play, where the violence took place between neighbors.  

Read about his lecture here

Lunch and Learn with Genocide Survivor Consolee Nishimwe

On May 4th, the Center held a Lunch and Learn event where survivor of the Rwandan Genocide Consolee Nishimwe spoke to staff at the Shoah Foundation about her experiences during the mass violence in 1994, and her life afterwards. Consolee visited the Shoah Foundation for several days in order to give her testimony on film, which will become part of the USC Shoah Foundation’s visual history archive collection on the Rwandan Genocide. 


Facebook Live Interview with Omer Bartov, 2017 Sara and Asa Shapiro Scholar in Residence

This month Professor Bartov inaugurated his residency at the Center for Advanced Genocide Research by participating in a Facebook Live interview where he discussed his research using testimonies and the future of Holocaust scholarship.

Watch the Facebook Live interview with Professor Bartov here

Center Welcomes First Genocide Prevention Research Fellow

The first-ever recipient of the Center for Advanced Genocide Research’s Genocide Prevention Research Fellowship is Vanessa Belén Dorda Meneses, a PhD candidate from the University of Chile. Her goal during her time at the Center has been to identify testimonies in the Visual History Archive of indigenous women who suffered rape and sexual violence during the Guatemalan Genocide and to explore the cultural, psychological and social impacts of such violence.  

Dorda Meneses hopes that her research at USC Shoah Foundation will ultimately contribute to her work at the NGO GUAM which interviews people who have participated in the defense of indigenous communities as part of the ongoing fight for justice in Guatemala.  

Read more about her research here



Center Staff Conducts Workshops in Michigan and Hungary

Martha Stroud and S.J. Crasnow, two staff members from the Center for Advanced Genocide Research, traveled to Michigan this month in order to give Visual History Archive Introduction workshops in the state. The first workshop took place during a two-day interdisciplinary conference on using genocide testimony in research and teaching at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan. Martha and SJ also gave two workshops at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. There the first workshop provided a basic introduction to the Archive, its history and the use of the testimonies, while the second covered more advanced topics for research use. All together roughly 50 participants attended these workshops. 

From Michigan, S.J. continued on to Hungary. Two VHA workshops took place in Hungary. The first was in Eger at Eszterházy Károly University and the second took place in Budapest at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Together around 50 interested participants attended these workshops. In the U.S. and abroad, these workshops about research and teaching use of the testimonies were attended by scholars, educators, administrators, students, and librarians.  

While in Budapest S.J. visited the House of Terror, which documents both the Nazi and Soviet occupations in Hungary as well as the Shoes on the Danube Bank. These shoes by the river are bronze and serve as a memorial to those who were marched to the Danube river by Nazi soldiers and told to take off their shoes before being shot and falling into the river. During the workshop in Budapest participants had the opportunity to watch a clip of a VHA testimony from an interview with Suzanne Nozick in which she talks about her experience of being marched to the Danube, shot along with the others, and surviving.


Call for Papers

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

November 4-6, 2018 at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles

The USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research and the USC Casden Institute for the Study of the Jewish Role in American Life invite proposals for their 2018 International Conference “New Perspectives on Kristallnacht: After 80 Years, the Nazi Pogrom in Global Comparison.” This conference is being organized 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.

For more details, click here