In the Special Collections at the University of Southern California Libraries there is a book – large, heavy, and musty, it contains the names of thousands of Holocaust survivors who lived in the Pest region of Budapest, the capital city of Hungary, in 1947. (Holocaust Survivors of the Jewish Community of Pest register, Collection no. 6057, Special Collections, USC Libraries, University of Southern California)
We stand with our programmatic partners in both Ukraine and Russia who continue the hard work of building more tolerant communities by educating about the horrors of the Holocaust and the consequences of unchecked hatred. We are deeply disturbed by Russian President Vladimir Putin's call to "denazify" Ukraine—a country with a Jewish president who lost family members in the Holocaust—and by his unfounded claim that the military incursion was justified by “genocide” in Ukraine.
The young boy was walking down the street in Łodz, Poland, when he spotted the treasure. He could not believe his luck! He picked up the belt admiring its beautiful etchings and the decorative metal buckle. With his chest out, he proudly continued walking down the street with his new treasure rolled up and safe in his pocket. Now he would be able to wear long pants instead of the short pants and suspenders young boys wore. His new belt would rocket him from boyhood to manhood status! What a monumental find!
I never intended to spend months listening to Holocaust testimonies.
My name is Chaya Nove, I am a sociolinguist working on a doctoral dissertation about language change in Yiddish vowels. In my research, I consider the Yiddish spoken by Hasidic Jews in New York today (Hasidic Yiddish, or HY) as a living, changing language, with the understanding that this language was once spoken by a group of people in another time and place.
My recent stay at the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my academic career. From the remarkable power and content of the Visual History Archive, to the welcoming and helpful nature of the staff and donor community, I leave my term as the Breslauer, Rutman, and Anderson Research Fellow strengthened by new friendships and enriched by new findings for my work.
As a postdoctoral research fellow at the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research in the 2019-2020 academic year, I carried out a research project focusing on the long-term impact of Hamidian Massacres of 1894-97 and the experiences of genocide survivors with regards to extortion, plunder, and robbery during the genocide of 1915. Since 2008, I have been working on socio-economic aspects of the genocide and of the deterioration of relations among different communities.
I had the opportunity to research the USC Shoah Foundation's Visual History Archive this past summer thanks to the Beth and Arthur Lev Student Research Fellowship. I was initially introduced to the archive through a course taught by Dr. Maria Zalewska in the School of Cinematic Arts entitled “Meme, Myself and I: How We Remember in the Digital Age.” Prior to the course, I was unaware of this resource at USC despite having a visual art practice deeply engaged with Holocaust remembrance and archives.
From visiting family in China during summer breaks growing up, I became acutely aware of the devastation and suffering that occurred during the Japanese occupation of our hometown of Nanjing. Museums, movies, television programs, and commemorative art kept the Nanjing Massacre alive in public memory. But what I also noticed, from visits to museums, shuffling through television channels, and discussions with family, was the seeming absence of Chinese resistance.