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This is the blog of the Newcastle-based Research Group on Genocide and Mass Violence. For more about the group, click here. This post will always remain at the top; please scroll down  for the nost recent posts.

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Lecture: The Music of Theresienstadt (Professor Adam Gorb)

On Thursday 8th September, 2016, 6:30-8:00pm, a lecture will be given at the Wiener Library by eminent composer and scholar Professor Adam Gorb of the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester on the subject of the music scene at Theresienstadt concentration camp. The work of composers such as Viktor Ullmann, Hans Krasa, Gideon Klein and Pavel Haas will be considered. An original copy of the libretto (by Peter Kien) of Viktor Ullmann’s opera composed in Theresienstadt, The Emperor of Atlantis, is held in the library’s collections.

Venue of event: The Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide, 29 Russell Square, London, WC1B 5DP

Website Address: http://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=267

Contact email: info@wienerlibrary.co.uk

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Exhibition Focus: Finding Treblinka with Dr Caroline Sturdy Colls and Michael Branthwaite (Exhibition talk, guided tour)

On 19th July 2016, 6:00-8:00pm, The Wiener Library’s new exhibition Finding Treblinka explores the Nazi labour and extermination camps of Treblinka using the ground-breaking research of archaeologist Dr Caroline Sturdy Colls and artistic responses to the topic curated with lead artist Michael Branthwaite, both of Staffordshire University. At this event, Dr Caroline Sturdy Colls will talk about the history and archaeology of Treblinka, a Nazi labour and extermination camp where between 800,000 and 1 million Jews, Poles and Roma from across Europe were killed during the Holocaust. The very few survivors and the almost total destruction of the camp by the Nazis have left a scant historical record, making Sturdy Colls’ non-invasive archaeological methods particularly appropriate for the study of the Treblinka. The talk will be followed by a tour by the curator Michael Branthwaite of specially commissioned artworks that respond to Sturdy Colls’ work and to the subject of Treblinka produced by Michael Branthwaite, Janine Goldsworthy, Dave Griffiths, Hilary Jack and Jenny Steele. There will also be an opportunity to be in conversation with Sturdy Colls and Branthwaite to explore the linked archaeological and artistic methodology employed during the Finding Treblinka project. The event also features a reception and a chance to view the Finding Treblinka exhibition. The exhibition includes highlights from the Library’s collections, such as a contemporary map of Treblinka, Nazi documentation and testimony from survivors. It examines the history and architecture of the camps and the forensic archaeological process that helped reveal the camp’s history. Admission is free.

Venue of event: The Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide, 29 Russell Square, London, WC1B 5DP

Website Address: http://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=266

Contact email: info@wienerlibrary.co.uk

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Film Showing and Discussion: My Grandmother’s Sitting Room

A showing of My Grandmother’s Sitting Room, a short film depicting the journey to find the grandmother filmmaker Laure Levy never knew. Levy’s grandmother, Franze Levy, was lost in the Holocaust, and in the film Laure visits Franze’s old home near Leipzig in Germany – the meeting place of her literary set that included the likes of Thomas Mann. As this circle drew Franze into danger, we pass from the comfort of her sitting room to a period of growing insecurity, and her arrest and escape to Holland. The discovery of a recent item takes us to a remote building outside Amsterdam as we pass from the height of German culture to Nazi brutality. For Laure, making this film has been the first step in documenting the extraordinary lives of the women in her family who were killed before she was born. The film will be followed by a discussion with the filmmaker. Admission is free but booking is essential as space is limited. To book tickets please visit http://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=254

Contact email: info@wienerlibrary.co.uk

Date and Time: Wed 8 Jun 2016, 6.30pm-8pm

Venue of event: The Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide, 29 Russell Square, London, WC1B 5DP

Website Address: http://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=254

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Panel Discussion: Stepping Off the Map – Healing the Wounds of History (Dr Merrilyn Thomas with Ian Bruce and Mike Carmody)

The Coventry/Dresden reconciliation project of 1965 was organised by Coventry Cathedral and the German organisation Aktion Sühnezeichen Friedensdienste (ASF). Its aim was to heal the wounds of a past war. Unknown to most of those involved, it became the means of making a new war less likely, of maintaining peace in Europe. Hosted by ASF and the Wiener Library, Cold War historian and UCL honorary research fellow Dr Merrilyn Thomas will explain the reconciliation project’s place in the history of the Cold War. In a unique act of Cold War co-operation, the British and East Germans aimed use the project to help stabilise the GDR and reduce the chance of a hot war breaking out at a time of heightened Cold War tensions. Dr Thomas, who was herself a young volunteer on the project, will be joined by a number of other speakers, including two other former volunteers. Professor Ian Bruce and Mike Carmody will give first-hand accounts of their experiences of life behind the Iron Curtain in 1965. Stepping Off the Map: Memories of a Cold War Adventure, edited by Merrilyn Thomas with Foreword by John Witcombe, Dean of Coventry Cathedral, and Preface by Canon Dr Paul Oestreicher, will be available for sale at the event, price £7.99.

Your contact email: info@wienerlibrary.co.uk

Date and Time: Mon 9 May 2016, 6.30pm-8pm

Venue of event: The Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide, 29 Russell Square, London, WC1B 5DP

Website Address: http://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=253

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Book Launch: Matters of Testimony: Interpreting the Scrolls of Auschwitz (Nicholas Chare and Dominic Williams)

In 1944, members of the Sonderkommando—the “special squads,” composed almost exclusively of Jewish prisoners, who ensured the smooth operation of the gas chambers and had firsthand knowledge of the extermination process—buried on the grounds of Auschwitz-Birkenau a series of remarkable eyewitness accounts of Nazi genocide. This careful and penetrating study examines anew these “Scrolls of Auschwitz,” which were gradually recovered, in damaged and fragmentary form, in the years following the camp’s liberation. It painstakingly reconstructs their historical context and textual content, revealing complex literary works that resist narrow moral judgment and engage difficult questions about the limits of testimony. Nicholas Chare is Associate Professor of Art History at the Université de Montréal. He is the author of Auschwitz and Afterimages: Abjection, Witnessing and Representation and After Francis Bacon: Synaesthesia and Sex in Paint, and the co-editor, with Dominic Williams, of Representing Auschwitz: At the Margins of Testimony. Dominic Williams is Montague Burton Fellow in Jewish Studies at the University of Leeds. He has published articles on modernism, the First World War, contemporary poetry and theHolocaust. In addition to co-editing Representing Auschwitz, he has co-edited, with Fabio A. Durão, Modernist Group Dynamics: The Politics and Poetics of Friendship. The event will consist of a brief talk from Dominic Williams, followed by a round-table discussion and then a reception.

Participants:

Anne Karpf, Reader in Professional Writing and Cultural Inquiry, London Metropolitan University.

Barry Langford, Professor of Film Studies, Royal Holloway, University of London.

Vic Seidler, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Goldsmiths, University of London.

Dan Stone, Professor of Modern History, Royal Holloway, University of London.

Zoe Waxman, Senior Research Fellow, Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies.

Admission is free but booking is essential as space is limited

Contact email: info@wienerlibrary.co.uk

Date and Time: Thu 2 Jun 2016, 6pm-8pm

Venue of event: The Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide, 29 Russell Square, London, WC1B 5DP

Website Address: http://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=247

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Book Launch: Life is War: Surviving Dictatorship in Communist Alban (Dr Shannon Woodcock)

Dr Shannon Woodcock’s new book, Life is War: Surviving Dictatorship in Communist Albania, turns to the small nation of Albania. From sheltering Jewish refugees from genocide in World War Two, this book explores how the multicultural and multi faith Albanian community was attacked by the Communist Party between 1944 and 1991 in order to create a homogenous and violently policed atheist state. This work is a contribution to the field of genocide studies as it explores the persecution of racial and ethnic groups in the context of Enver Hoxha’s unique application of socialist political ideology. Through following the life stories of six individuals, Life is War uses oral history to bring the reader into the homes and memories of those who survived Albanian communist persecution. Dr Woodcock will speak about ethnic and racial persecution within the uniquely isolated and oppressive Albanian communist state. This period in Albanian history (1946 –1991) is framed by the Holocaust and the Yugoslav wars, and provides the missing link in terms of genocide studies and history between World War Two, when the Albanian community famously sheltered and protected Jewish refugees from Europe, and the 1990s, when theAlbanian community of Kosovo was the target of Milosevic’s genocidal “Operation Horseshoe.” Life is War explores how racial concepts and stereotypes, alongside gendered stereotypes, were vital to the organisation of the communist state. Dr Shannon Woodcock is a genocide scholar who has held the Pearl Resnick Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and published widely in the field of the Holocaust of Romani people in Romania. She is currently a research associate in the Faculty of Creative Industries at Queensland University of Technology, Australia, where her current project examines colonial genocide in Australia. Admission is free, but booking is essential as space is limited.

Contact email: info@wienerlibrary.co.uk

Date and Time: Wed 25 May 2016: 6.30pm-8pm

Venue of event: The Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide, 29 Russell Square, London, WC1B 5DP

Website Address: http://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=244

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Lecture and Reception: A Modernist in Exile: The International Reception of H.G. Adler: Lecture by Nikolaus Wachsmann

Taking the research and writings of the scholar and Holocaust survivor H. G. Adler as its starting point, this lecture explores the history of the Nazi concentration camps, from their inception in 1933 through to their demise in the spring of 1945, focusing on the shifting function of the camps, as well as the experiences of prisoners, perpetrators and onlookers. Nikolaus Wachsmann is Professor of Modern European history at Birkbeck College, University of London, and author of the prize-winning Hitler’s Prisons. His comprehensive account of the Nazi camps was published last year by Little, Brown, under the title: KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps. The book received special commendation by the judging panel of the Fraenkel Prize in 2014. This event is part of the ‘A Modernist in Exile: The International Reception of H.G. Adler’ at theUniversity of London on 20 May. Registration for this event is separate. For more information and to register for the 20 May programme, visit this link for further information: http://www.sas.ac.uk/support-research/public-events/2016/modernist-exile-international-reception-hg-adler. Admission is free but booking is essential as space is limited

Contact email: info@wienerlibrary.co.uk

Venue of event: The Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide, 29 Russell Square, London, WC1B 5DP

Date and Time: Thu 19 May 2016 Time: 6pm-8pm

Website Address: http://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=251

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Dr Ana Antic: Fraenkel Prize Lecture: Wounded minds: Experiencing the violence of the Nazi New Order in Yugoslavia

In WWII, death and violence permeated all aspects of everyday lives of ordinary people in Eastern Europe. Moreover, almost entire populations were drawn into fierce and uncompromising political and ideological conflicts, and many ended up being more than mere victims or observers: thethemselves became perpetrators or facilitators of violence, often to protect their own lives but also to gain various benefits. Yugoslavia in particular saw a gradual culmination of a complex and brutal civil war, which ultimately killed more civilians than did the foreign occupying armies. This lecture will tell a story of the tremendous impact of such pervasive and multi-layered political violence, and will look at ordinary citizens’ attempts to negotiate these extraordinary wartime political pressures. It proposes to use Yugoslav psychiatric case files as unique windows into this harrowing history in order to gain an original perspective on the effects of wartime violence and occupation through the history of psychiatry, mental illness and personal experience. By looking at patient files as historical sources, it explores the socio-cultural history of wartime through the eyes of (mostly lower-class) psychiatric patients. Moreover, the experiences of observing, suffering and committing political violence critically affected the understanding of human psychology, pathology and normality in WWII and post-war Balkans and Europe. Thelecture traces the formation and re-definition of psychiatric concepts, categories and practices in the context of extreme violence, Nazi occupation and post-war socialist revolution. It shows how such brutal external conditions and unprecedented anti-civilian violence transformed psychiatric and scientific paradigms, and changed psychiatric and broader public evaluations of the human psyche. Ana Antic is a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology at Birkbeck. She is a social and cultural historian of twentieth-century Europe, with a special interest in the history of violence, everyday life and psychiatry. Her first manuscript, Therapeutic fascism: Experiencing the violence of the Nazi New Order in Yugoslavia, is forthcoming with OUP. Dr Antic is the joint winner of the 2015 Fraenkel Prize. Admission is free but booking is essential as space is limited.

Contact email: info@wienerlibrary.co.uk

Venue of event: The Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide, 29 Russell Square, London, WC1B 5DP

Date and Time: Wed 27 Apr 2016, 6.30pm-8pm

Website Address: http://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=250

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Book talk: Before the Holocaust: New Histories of the Concentration Camps

This programme, co-hosted with the Centre for German Jewish Studies at the University of Sussex and co-sponsored by Harvard University Press, will include Kim Wünschmann and Christopher Dillon in conversation with Nikolaus Wachsmann on recent publications focused on the Nazi camp system. A reception will follow the presentations and discussion. Kim Wünschmann, Before Auschwitz: Jewish Prisoners in the Prewar Concentration Camps, Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press, 2015. Before Auschwitz explores the instrumental role of the concentration camps in the development of the Nazi regime’s anti-Jewish policies in the 1930s. Investigating more than a dozen camps, from theinfamous Dachau, Buchenwald, and Sachsenhausen to less familiar sites, the study uncovers a process of terror meant to identify and isolate Jews from German society and economy. The book analyses the function of terror in this process of turning ‘Germans’ into ‘Jews’ and forcing them into emigration. It also investigates Jewish responses and resistance to this most brutal form of exclusion. Dr Kim Wünschmann is DAAD Lecturer in Modern European History and Acting Deputy Director of the Centre for German-Jewish Studies at the University of Sussex. She specialises in German and German-Jewish history in modern times. In 2012, she received her PhD in History from Birkbeck, University of London. Dr Wünschmann held Fellowships at the Franz Rosenzweig Minerva Research Center for German-Jewish Literature and Cultural History and the Martin Buber Society of Fellows in the Humanities and Social Sciences at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 2014, she was a Visiting Scholar at the Zentrum Jüdische Studien Berlin-Brandenburg. Christopher Dillon, Dachau and the SS: A Schooling in Violence (Oxford University Press, 2015). Dachau and the SS offers the first sustained academic study of the SS personnel at Dachau, a “school of violence” for concentration camp personnel throughout the pre-war period of the Third Reich. Combining extensive new research into the pre-war history of Dachau with insights from interdisciplinary scholarship on perpetrator violence, the book analyses the socialization of thousands of often very young males into the values of concentration camp service. It appraises the contributions of ideology, careerism, institutional dynamics, and ideals of masculinity to this process and explores the legacies of the Dachau School for the wartime criminality of the Third Reich. Dr Christopher Dillon is a Lecturer in Modern European History at King’s College London. His research focuses on modern Germany history, particularly the Weimar and Nazi eras. He was part of the AHRC-funded project “Before the Holocaust: Pre-War Concentration Camps in Nazi Germany” at Birkbeck College. Admission is free but booking is essential as space is limited

Contact email: info@wienerlibrary.co.uk

Venue of event: The Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide, 29 Russell Square, London, WC1B 5DP

Date and Time: Mon 25 Apr 2016, 6pm-8pm

Website Address: http://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=252

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Lecture by Professor Erika Hagelberg: Is there such a thing as a Jewish genome?

New developments in DNA technology are having a huge impact on industry, medical science and forensic identification. They have also opened new opportunities for research in archaeology and human evolution, as we have seen in the recent identification of the skeleton of Richard III, and the advances in Neanderthal genetics. The technology is also aiding a growing industry in genetic genealogies, where human identity is defined in terms of patterns of DNA variants, obtained easily and cheaply from commercial companies, and giving rise to controversial notions, like that of a Jewish genome. In this talk Professor Hagelberg will describe the opportunities offered by human evolutionary genetics, as well as some of the limitations and more troubling aspects of research on genetic genealogies. Erika Hagelberg’s father came to the UK on a Kindertransport in 1939, aged 13. She studied biochemistry in London and gained a PhD at Cambridge. Her main field of research is the analysis of DNA from archaeological bones, and she has worked on several high-profile cases, including the identification of the skeletal remains of Joseph Mengele and of the Romanov family. She is professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Oslo, and Cheney Fellow in the Arts at the University of Leeds. In partnership with The Second Generation Network.

Contact email: info@wienerlibrary.co.uk

Venue of event: The Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide, 29 Russell Square, London, WC1B 5DP

Date and time: Tue 12 Apr 2016, 6.30pm-8pm

Website Address: http://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=242

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