Center Newsletters

November 2017 CAGR Newsletter

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 11:56am -- martha.stroud

With the end of the semester behind us, I am excited to update you on the myriad of recent activities at the Center. November was a lively month, filled with lectures by our fellows and visiting scholars, a conference in Virginia about Holocaust testimonies, which the Center cosponsored, and astounding turnout for another event the Center cosponsored, to name a few highlights. 

We kicked off November with a lecture by Professor Alexander Hinton (Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights at Rutgers University, Newark) about his new book focusing on Comrade Duch, the math teacher turned Khmer Rouge perpetrator. Our Center Research Fellow, Geraldien von Frijtag Drabbe Künzel, wrapped up her four-month residency at the Center with a lecture on the research she has conducted in the Visual History Archive about Jewish-gentile relations in the Netherlands before, during, and after World War II. Our Greenberg Research Fellow, Irina Rebrova, concluded her visit to the Center with a public lecture on the role of oral history interviews in the regional memory of the Holocaust in the North Caucasus in the South of Russia. You can read more about these lectures below. Below you can also see some of the events we’re planning for the semester ahead, with more to be added soon.

In November, in addition to attending our many lectures here at USC, I traveled to Virginia to participate in the “Emerging Questions in Holocaust Testimonies Research” conference at the University of Virginia, which the Center cosponsored. There I delivered a talk on Holocaust video survivor testimonies as new and understudied sources. The conference was a fruitful experience and featured many interesting panels on topics ranging from visual forms of Holocaust memory to the role of the children of survivors in testimonies. Below you can find a blog written by Stephen Smith, Executive Director of the USC Shoah Foundation, in which he offers his reflections and experiences participating in three scholarly conferences about testimony in the last two months.

In November we cosponsored an event (with the USC Feuchtwanger Memorial Library, the USC Max Kade Institute, and several other partners) featuring Edgar Feuchtwanger’s book Hitler, My Neighbor: Memories of Jewish Childhood. The event was a huge success and attracted an audience of 150 people, among them many students and the Consul General of Germany himself.

As we send out this semester-end newsletter, I am presenting at the annual conference for the Association for Jewish Studies, where the Center is also hosting a booth to introduce scholars to the VHA. For faculty at universities that subscribe to the VHA, we are excited to open the competition for the Center’s international teaching fellowship, which you can read more about below.

We look forward to using our year-end newsletter in a couple of weeks to reflect on the Center’s activities in 2017. We express our thanks for your support of our ongoing programs and activities.


Wolf Gruner

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



"Man or Monster? The Trial of a Khmer Rouge Torturer" 

Anthropologist Alexander Hinton (Executive Director, Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights, Rutgers University, Newark) gave a public lecture at the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research about his new book, Man or Monster? The Trial of a Khmer Rouge Torturer, in which he shares insights into the life and trial of the infamous Comrade Duch, commandant of the S-21 prison in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and the lessons Duch might offer as we attempt to understand how ordinary people can be moved to commit genocide.

Watch the lecture and read the summary here

Watch a Facebook Live interview with Professor Hinton here

Read about Professor Hinton and his book here

Being and Belonging: Jewish-Gentile Relations in the Occupied Netherlands Through the Lens of a Microscope

2017-2018 Center Research Fellow Geraldien von Frijtag (Utrecht University, the Netherlands) gave a public lecture focusing on the relations between Jews and non-Jews in the Netherlands just before, during, and just after the Holocaust. In the lecture, she argued for a re-examination of the so-called myth of Dutch tolerance and presented some of the preliminary conclusions from her four-month residency conducting research with testimonies housed in the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive (VHA).

Watch the lecture and read the summary here

The Role of Oral History Interviews in Regional Holocaust Memory: The Case of the North Caucasus

2017-2018 Margee and Douglas Greenberg Research Fellow Irina Rebrova gave a public lecture on the process of remembrance and translation of the memory about the Holocaust in the North Caucasus, South of Russia. During her monthlong residency at the Center, Rebrova examined some of the USC Shoah Foundation’s institutional records about the selection, training, and methodology of interviewers in Russia. Her lecture examined the role of the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive interviews in the construction of social memory of the Holocaust in the Soviet Jewish community and more widely in the post-Soviet society.

Watch the lecture and read the summary here.

Edgar Feuchtwanger's Hitler, My Neighbor: Memories of a Jewish Childhood

In this book presentation sponsored by The Feuchtwanger Memorial Library, the Max Kade Institute for Austrian-German-Swiss Studies, the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research, Villa Aurora, and the Thomas Mann House, eminent historian Edgar Feuchtwanger gave an account of the Nazi rise to power from his unique perspective, that of a Jewish boy in Munich, living with Adolf Hitler as his neighbor. The panel was moderated by Professor Paul Lerner and attracted a large audience of 150, including many students.

Reflections on Testimony Conferences

Stephen Smith, Executive Director of the USC Shoah Foundation, offers his reflections after participating in three conferences about Holocaust testimony — the Center's own "Digital Approaches to Genocide Studies" conference held at USC on October 23-24, 2017; "The Visual History Archive: Research Experience" conference held at the American University of Paris on October 26-27, 2017; and the "Emerging Questions in Holocaust Testimonies Research" conference held at the University of Virginia on November 5-7, 2017, which the Center co-sponsored.

Read Stephen Smith’s reflections here

Read more about the “Visual History Archive: Research Experience” conference here.

Read a summary of the “Digital Approaches to Genocide Studies” conference here.

Watch videos of the “Digital Approaches to Genocide Studies” conference here


Research Fellows Conclude Their Residencies

Our 2017-2018 Center Research Fellow Geraldien von Frijtag Drabbe Künzel (Utrecht University, the Netherlands) and our 2017-2018 Margee and Douglas Greenberg Research Fellow Irina Rebrova (Technical University, Berlin) concluded their residencies at the Center in November. Read more about their research in our summaries of their lectures above.


Founding Director's Newest Book Earns Award

Center Founding Director Wolf Gruner's latest book Die Judenverfolgung im Protektorat Böhmen/Mähren. Lokale Initiativen, zentrale Entscheidungen, jüdische Antworten 1939-1945 (Anti-Jewish Persecution in the Protectorate Bohemia and Moravia. Local Initiatives, Central Decisions, Jewish Responses) has received its third prize. It came in second place for the Yad Vashem International Book Prize for Holocaust Research for books published in 2015 and 2016, second to a posthumous award to inaugural Shapiro scholar David Cesarani.

In another recognition of distinction, Professor Gruner was also recently appointed to the Academic Committee for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.


More events being announced soon!

January 30, 2018 at 4pm

2017-2018 Breslauer, Rutman and Anderson Research Fellow Diane Marie Amann's lecture: "Women at Nuremberg" 

February 8, 2018 at 4pm

USC Research with Testimonies: Featuring the Center's Summer Research 2017 Fellows 

February 26, 2018 at 4pm

Philippe Sands's lecture: "East West Street": On the Origins of 'Genocide' and 'Crimes against Humanity'

March 1, 2018 at 4pm

Jennie Burnet's lecture: "Good Amidst Evil: Rescue During the Rwandan Genocide"

March 22, 2018 at 4pm

2017-2018 Katz Research Fellow Kathryn Brackney's lecture: "Phantom Geographies in Representations of the Holocaust"


Call for Applications

2018-2019 International Teaching Fellowship

The USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research invites proposals for its 2018-2019 International Teaching Fellowship that will provide support for university and college faculty to integrate testimonies from the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive (VHA) into new or existing courses. This fellowship is only available to faculty at universities and colleges that subscribe to the VHA, either directly or through ProQuest. Deadline to apply is February 15, 2018. For more details, click here

Career Opportunity at the Center                                                                     

Academic Relations and Outreach Officer 

The USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research is currently seeking a Senior Research Associate (Academic Relations and Outreach Officer) to join USC’s Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History in the Center for Advanced Genocide Research. The Academic Relations and Outreach Officer will be responsible for conceptualizing, developing, and managing projects and programs geared towards reaching the academic community within USC and beyond, in order to raise the profile of the Center’s events, opportunities, and activities and to promote use of the Visual History Archive in research and teaching. The successful candidate should have excellent analytical, writing, and communication skills. They should be knowledgeable in Holocaust or Genocide Studies and possess strong leadership, organizational, project development, and coordination skills. They will be expected to conduct original research in their field of expertise.

Applications are under ongoing review so we recommend applying promptly, if interested. For more details, 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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