Chad Gibbs Awarded 2020-2021 Breslauer, Rutman, and Anderson Research Fellowship

Mon, 07/06/2020 - 2:00pm

Chad Gibbs, a PhD candidate in the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, has been awarded the 2020-2021 Breslauer, Rutman, and Anderson Research Fellowship at the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research. He will be in residence at the Center during September 2020 in order to conduct research for his dissertation, entitled “Against that Darkness: Perseverance, Resistance, and Revolt at Treblinka.”

During his time at the Center, Gibbs will explore Visual History Archive testimonies by Treblinka uprising survivors, individuals who escaped before the uprising, and Polish eyewitnesses to the camp. While the 1943 Treblinka uprising is relatively well-known today, Gibbs’ research explores the lesser-known roots of this uprising and deepens and expands our understanding of resistance by Jewish prisoners at Treblinka. He is using innovative methods to investigate how the prisoners’ social networks and spatial practices contributed to the success of the resistance organization at Treblinka. Since almost no contemporary documentary evidence for this location exists and remaining physical evidence is limited, the Visual History Archive testimonies are of the utmost importance for his work. In addition, Gibbs has identified a small group of relevant individuals who gave interviews to multiple institutions over several decades. He plans to comparatively analyze these interviews to determine if there are differences in how each individual recalls the Treblinka uprising over time and to explore whether the differences that emerge are due to the frailty of memory, due to different interviewing techniques and practices, or due to other factors.

Gibbs earned his BA in History at the University of Wyoming and his MA in History at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. In his master’s thesis, which also focused on Treblinka, Gibbs used Visual History Archive testimonies as vital sources.

Gibbs has been awarded multiple fellowships, awards, and honors in his academic career. Most recently, in the 2019-2020 academic year, he was a George L. Mosse Graduate Exchange Fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has earned fellowships at the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies at Yale University and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum for the coming academic year. Last year, he participated in the Jack and Anita Hess Faculty Seminar at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. He has participated in national and international conferences and has published a number of articles, including an article in The Journal of Contemporary Archival Studies, in which he reflects on the historical impact of widely dispersed diaspora archives.

The Breslauer, Rutman, and Anderson Research Fellowship is awarded annually to an outstanding advanced-standing Ph.D. candidate from any discipline for dissertation research focused on testimony from the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive and other unique USC research resources. The fellowship enables the recipient to spend one month in residence at the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research during the academic year and to deliver a public lecture about his or her research. The fellowship is made possible through the generosity of Gerald Breslauer, Mickey Rutman, and Tammy Anderson.


USC Shoah Foundation