Welcome to our blog

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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Shared Spaces, Shared Memories, Shared Visions: Contemporary Visual Representations of the Second World War in German Cities

REMINDER: Call for Papers

Workshop at Newcastle University

5 November 2015

To mark the 25th anniversary of the reunification of Germany and the subsequent reassessment of commemoration and memorialisation processes connected with the Nazi period, this one-day workshop will bring together experienced and emerging researchers to discuss visual representations of the German wartime experience. The discourse surrounding the roles played by the wider German population has traditionally been informed by a series of binaries, with the opposing positions of ‘victim’ and ‘perpetrator’ constituting a central component of this engagement. With a focus on the ways in which visual media and physical sites within the German cityscape represent the events of World War Two, this workshop aims to move beyond the established victim/perpetrator binary, and explore the complexities that inform this wartime experience.

Possible topics for papers could include:

  • Competing narratives within the cityscape. How do public spaces in German cities explore and explode the victim/perpetrator division?
  • Online extremism: the impact of Neo-Nazi extremists on the victim/perpetrator discussion (such as websites misappropriating the Dresden bombings).
  • The difficulties of simultaneously presenting victim and perpetrator narratives within a shared space, and management strategies for any resulting conflicts
  • The shared onscreen presence of victim and perpetrator narratives in film and television, and how this impacts on our understanding of Germany as one nation.
  • Narratives of German resistance: comparative representations of the Rosenstraße protest in von Trotta’s 2004 film ‘Rosenstrasse’ and the onsite memorial to the event.
  • How narratives of victimhood and perpetration are explored in city architecture such as the Jewish Museum Berlin’s Libeskind building, or the post reunification design of the Reichstag.

Participants are invited to submit an abstract of 150-200 words for 20 minute papers in English, along with a brief bio and short list of relevant publications (where applicable) to g.jenkins@ncl.ac.uk by 2 September 2015.

Please note: Postgraduate students are actively encouraged to submit proposals.

For further information, contact g.jenkins@ncl.ac.uk or l.e.bath@ncl.ac.uk

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Displaced Children – Child Survivors: International Workshop: 30 May – 1 June 2016

International Tracing Service (ITS)                      Max Mannheimer Studienzentrum (MMSZ)
Bad Arolsen                                                                 Dachau
The Holocaust Studies Program of the Western Galilee College, Akko, Israel
Displaced Children – Child Survivors
International Workshop: 30 May – 1 June 2016
Max Mannheimer Studienzentrum (MMSZ), Dachau
Recently, the world is facing the largest number of people forced to leave their home countries. Children, naturally, are among the victims of this massive displacement.  70 years ago, after WWII, in Europe around 10 to 11 million people were on the move – as survivors of the Shoah, liberated forced laborers and others persecuted by Nazi-Germany, and many of these were children. We believe the lessons learnt then are very relevant today.
In order to explore the experience of children after WWII and the know-how from work of e.g. welfare and Jewish organizations with these children the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen is organizing a joint workshop with the Max Mannheimer Studien Zentrum, Dachau and with guidance of  the Holocaust Studies Program of the Western Galilee College, Akko, Israel on the topic of
Life in the aftermath – Displaced Persons, 
Displaced Children and Child Survivors on the move:
New approaches in education and research
we invite you to get back to us if you are interested in contributing to the Workshop.  We would also appreciate it if you could forward the CfP to your colleagues and other interested parties and would distribute it through your (digital) channels
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Book Launch: If This is a Woman (Wiener Library)

Sarah Helm will be coming to the Wiener Library to discuss her book If this is a Woman: Inside Ravensbruck: Hitler’s Concentration Camp for Women.  For decades the story of Ravensbrück was hidden behind the Iron Curtain and today is still relatively little known. Using testimony unearthed since the end of the Cold War, and interviews with survivors who have never spoken before, Helm has ventured into the heart of the camp, demonstrating for the reader in riveting detail how easily and quickly the unthinkable horror evolved.  Admission to this event is free but booking is essential as space is limited.

  • Contact email: mnicholson@wienerlibrary.co.uk
  • Venue: Wiener Library
  • Wed 11 Feb 2015  Time: 6.30pm-8pm
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Film Screening: Bent (Weiner Library)

Sarah Helm will be coming to the Wiener Library to discuss her book If this is a Woman: Inside Ravensbruck: Hitler’s Concentration Camp for Women.  For decades the story of Ravensbrück was hidden behind the Iron Curtain and today is still relatively little known. Using testimony unearthed since the end of the Cold War, and interviews with survivors who have never spoken before, Helm has ventured into the heart of the camp, demonstrating for the reader in riveting detail how easily and quickly the unthinkable horror evolved.  Admission to this event is free but booking is essential as space is limited.

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From Polish Resistance Herald to Humanity’s Hero: Jan Karski’s Reports on the Holocaust to the World

a lecture by Dr Beate Müller (Newcastle University)

Jan Karski (1914-2000) was a Polish Catholic diplomat who acted as courier for the wartime Polish Government-in-Exile. Karski was smuggled into the Warsaw ghetto and into a concentration camp, where he became an eye-witness of the Nazi genocide. He reported on the situation in Poland and on the fate of Polish Jews, both to Polish politicians in France (1940), as well as to government leaders in London and Washington (1942/43).

After publishing a book about his mission as early as 1944 (Story of a Secret State), Karski maintained a long silence. But since the 1980s, Karski repeatedly testified to his wartime activities and experiences; he received numerous awards and became a celebrity among the ‘righteous’. The Polish government even declared 2014 the Jan Karski Year.

This talk will introduce the audience to Karski’s reports and will show how Karski’s own representations of his wartime mission changed over time, and how other people’s engagements with Karski’s work and his legacy developed.

Date: Wednesday 21 January 2015 6.15pm

Venue: Bewick Hall, City Library, Newcastle upon Tyne

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‘The Holocaust Memorial Museum: Sacred Secular Space’ Dr Avril Alba, University of Sydney

Northumbria University: Thursday 22 January, 3pm, Sutherland Building Boardroom 1

Avril Alba teaches and researches in the areas of Holocaust and modern Jewish history. Prior to jointing the Department of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies at the University of Sydney in 2012, Avril worked as Education Director at the Sydney Jewish Museum where she also curated the permanent exhibition Culture and Continuity. She is currently the lead consulting curator for the redevelopment of the museum’s permanent Holocaust exhibition. Her monograph, The Holocaust Memorial Museum: Sacred Secular Space, will be published in 2015 by Palgrave Macmillan. In this heritage seminar, Avril will be talking about the intersection between her research and curatorial practice.

All welcome. Please RSVP  to helen.williams@northumbria.ac.uk

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Wiener Library: Debate and Social Media discussion, “How useful is social media for keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive?”

Wed 28 Jan 2015
Time: 6pm – 7pm

If you’re aged 16-25 we’re inviting you to attend our annual social media debate at the Library on Wednesday 28 January 2015. As part of our Holocaust Memorial Day event programme, the debate is hosted by the Wiener Library’s Young Volunteers and we will be discussing the following question:   How useful is social media for keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive?  We’ll be live-tweeting the discussion using the hashtag #WLdebate, so join in the discussion online. We’ll be discussing and responding to the tweets we receive during the debate.  Refreshments will be served.  Free but limited places so please email kjackson@wienerlibrary.co.uk to register.

Venue of event: The Wiener Library
Email: kjackson@wienerlibrary.co.uk
Website Address: http://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=171

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Wiener Library: Talk by Dame Stephanie Shirley ‘Let IT Go’

Mon 26 Jan 2015

Time: 6.30pm-8pm

Dame Stephanie Shirley will be delivering a special talk at The Wiener Library in the week of Holocaust Memorial Day. Dame Stephanie will discuss in particular the story of her life and her experience as a child refugee from Nazism. She has recently published an autobiography Let IT Go: The Story of an Entrepreneur Turned Ardent Philanthropist. The book goes back to her childhood memories of being sent away at the age of five to escape the Nazis, on one of the last Kindertransport trains out of Europe.  As a young refugee, Stephanie Shirley found love and acceptance with an English foster family, and vowed that she would repay them by living ‘a life worth saving’. Dame Stephanie’s subsequent career – which included breaking through barriers of sexism in the workplace to build a leading software company, and providing national leadership in championing charitable giving – was in many ways defined by these childhood experiences.  Dame Stephanie’s talk at The Wiener Library will tell a moving and uplifting life story of survival and success that will provide valuable inspiration as we enter the 70th anniversary year of the liberation of the Nazi camps and ghettos.  Attendance at this event is free but booking is essential as space is limited.

Email: mnicholson@wienerlibrary.co.uk
Website Address: http://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=175
Venue of event: The Wiener Library

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Wiener Library Film Screening: Night Will Fall

Date: Wed 21 Jan 2015
Time: 6.30pm-8.30pm

This special screening of Night Will Fall will be introduced by the film’s acclaimed Director Andre Singer and Executive Producer Richard Melman. Night Will Fall tells the story of the liberation of the Nazi German concentration camps, which will be widely commemorated across the world in this 70th anniversary year. Using remarkable archive footage and testimony from both survivors and liberators, it tells of the efforts made to document the almost unbelievable scenes that the Allies encountered in 1945.  The film explores how a team of top filmmakers, including Sidney Bernstein, Richard Crossman and Alfred Hitchcock, came together to make a film to provide undeniable evidence of what the Allies found, but the film was stopped in its tracks by the British Government and only now, 70 years on, has it been completed.  Andre Singer has been a documentary filmmaker for over forty years. He ran the BBC Documentary Department’s Independent Unit in the 1990s where he founded the award-winning documentary strand Fine Cut (now Storyville). Andre was the Executive Prodcuer of the 2014 BAFTA-award winning and Oscar-nominated documentary The Act of Killing.  Richard Melman became a Producer and Director making films for the BBC, Channel 4 and other major broadcasters, inclduing the BAFTA nominated series ‘Cold War’ commissioned by Ted Turner for CNN. He was one of the instigators and then Channel Director for Artsworld (now Sky Arts) and Channels Director and Head of Programming in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.  Admission is free, but booking is essential due to limited places.

Venue of event: The Wiener Library
Email: mnicholson@wienerlibrary.co.uk
Website Address: http://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=174

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Wiener Library Photographic Archives Workshop

This workshop has been rescheduled from Friday 7 November.  As part of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust’s arts programme, we’re delighted to be hosting a workshop on our photographic archives.  Led by our Photo Archivist, Marek Jaros, participants will explore the image collections of the Wiener Library and learn about their preservation, storage and digitisation. Additionally, Marek will lead a discussion on the use of images in Holocaust education as well as explaining issues surrounding access for researchers and publishers.  Free but booking essential due to limited places.

Venue of event: The Wiener Library
Email: mnicholson@wienerlibrary.co.uk

Website Address: http://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=169

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