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News – Events – Calls

25. May 2022 08:00 - 30. June 2022 08:00
FellowshipsUkraine Emergency Call
In light of recent events, the City of Vienna is extending its assistance for Ukrainian researchers through an additional funding scheme of €250,000 in order to provide rapid and uncomplicated assistance to Ukrainian researchers and historians in need of support. The VWI is happ...Weiterlesen...
29. May 2022 13:00
InterventionOrte und Opfer der NS-Militärgerichtsbarkeit in Wien
Stadtrundgang und Podiumsdiskussion Am 21. Oktober 2009 beschloss der Nationalrat mit den Stimmen von Grünen, ÖVP und SPÖ ein Gesetz, mit dem Wehrmachtsdeserteure und andere Opfer der NS­-Militärjustiz pauschal rehabilitiert wurden. Dafür waren gesellschaftliche und politische De...Weiterlesen...
01. June 2022 15:00
VWI invites/goes to...Emily Gioielli: Cataclysm – Water and the Holocaust in Central Europe, 1933–1945
VWI invites Piera Rossetto  “Cataclysm” is a socio-environmental history of the Holocaust in (East) Central Europe. Using water as the connecting thread, this study investigates how hybrid human-ecological processes shaped the practices, experiences, spaces and memories of viole...Weiterlesen...
02. June 2022 18:30
Simon Wiesenthal LectureMarc Schoentgen
: Luxemburg – Stolpersteine und Conflicting Memories
Die Geschichte der jüdischen Gemeinschaft in Luxemburg geht auf die nachnapoleonische Zeit zurück und bewegt sich seit mehr als zwei Jahrhunderten im Spannungsfeld von Anpassung, Integration und Ablehnung. Wie überall in Europa stellen die 1930/40er Jahre auch hier eine Kehrtwende dar...Weiterlesen...
13. June 2022 08:30 - 14. June 2022 12:30
WorkshopRecording Romani Voices, Documenting Romani Lives
Testimonies, oral histories, and ethnographic interviews are central sources for the writing of Romani history, in particular the documentation and memorialization of the Romani genocide, and a resource for pedagogical work to combat ongoing persecution against Roma in Europe. They al...Weiterlesen...

Maximilian Becker
Research Fellow (10/2014 - 08/2015)

Survivors and Resisters. European Networks of Survivors and Former Resistance Fighters


Becker webImmediately following the liberation in 1945, victims of persecution by the National Socialists began to establish associations in order to represent their interests, maintain the public memory of the war and the persecution and achieve punishment for those responsible for the crimes. Those associations established transnational umbrella organizations such as the international concentration camp committees that unite former inmates of the large camps and the „International Federation of Resistance Fighters“ (FIR). These organizations united under their auspices associations on either side of the "Iron Curtain". This project aims to analyze the transnational operations that such associations of persecuted persons engaged in at hand of the example of FIR. The activities regarded the politics of memory, reparations and social care for formerly persecuted persons as well as the prosecution of Nazi criminals and collaborators.


Maximilian Becker studied modern and contemporary history as well as the history of East and South-East Europe and international law in Munich. PhD on the German judiciary in annexed Eastern territories in 1939-1945.

Rita Horváth

Research Fellow (10/2017–05/2018)


Negotiating Anger and Memory. Experiences of Hungarian Jewish Child Forced Labourers in Vienna and its Vicinity in 1944–1945 in Literary Memoirs and Testimonies


HORVATHThe experiences of Hungarian Jewish child forced labourers in Vienna and its vicinity in 1944/1945 as related in their testimonies and literary memoirs are the focus of this project. One of the special characteristics of this chapter of the Holocaust is that the majority of the witness accounts were given by former deportees who had been children at the time. Therefore, children’s memories have an especially prominent role in informing us about Viennese forced labour. This project explores the significance of this phenomenon and demonstrates what a wealth of crucial information we can learn from these child survivors.


I shall focus on literary and historical research methods to explore these texts, finally comparing them with other child-survivor testimonies that were given to large-scale testimony-collecting projects. I aim to identify the central topics and their roles within the entire story, as well as the major emotions informing the memoirs and testimonies of child survivors of Viennese forced labour.


Rita Horváth is a literary scholar and historian. She received her Ph.D. from Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan in 2003. Since 2010, she has been a Research Associate at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, Brandeis University and a research fellow at the International Institute for Holocaust Research in Yad Vashem. From 2004, she taught in the Holocaust Studies Programme at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest and between 2005 and 2012 she taught English literature courses and Holocaust literature courses at Bar-Ilan University. Her fields of research are the history of the Holocaust in Hungary, Holocaust literature, trauma, and literary theory.

Devrim Sezer

Research Fellow (02/2019–07/2019)


In the Shadow of Past Injustices. Guilt, Responsibility, and the Politics of Memory


SEZERThis project aims to explore the themes of genocide and collective responsibility in the works of Karl Jaspers, Hannah Arendt, and Raphael Lemkin in a Turkish context. It is based on the premise that Turkey has not come to terms with the Armenian genocide, and that our understanding of this failure can be sharpened by examining these thinkers’ reflections on the Holocaust. The project has two main pillars. First, I will explore the implications of Arendt’s emphasis on the unprecedented nature of the Holocaust for the Armenian genocide and critically evaluate her view of genocide in the light of Lemkin’s original conception. Second, I will focus on Jaspers’ and Arendt’s analyses of guilt/responsibility with particular reference to four groups: perpetrators, bystanders, successor generations, and victims and their descendants. This comparative analysis might help us develop a more robust conception of collective responsibility with particular emphasis on an acknowledgement of past injustices. In addition, the insights gleaned from that discussion can stimulate further scholarly/public debate on the memory of the Armenian genocide.


Devrim Sezer is Associate Professor of Political Thought at İzmir University of Economics. He received an MSc in Political Theory from the London School of Economics and a PhD in Political Science from Carleton University. His research interests include the history of political philosophy, theories of democracy/republicanism, literature and political thought, modernity and its critics, and contemporary debates on public memory and collective responsibility. He has published articles in History of Political Thought and History of European Ideas and contributed chapters to edited books.

Michal Frankl

Research Fellow (10/2018–03/2019)


Citizens of No Man’s Land. Jewish Refugees and Erosion of Citizenship in East-Central Europe, 1935–1939


FRANKLThroughout 1938, a new territory rapidly formed along the borders of East-Central European states: a No Man’s Land for refugees. Smaller or larger groups of people were forced to camp alongside roads, on fields, in dilapidated buildings, between border posts, or in internment behind the lines. Starting with the exploration of this No Man’s Land, this project examines the development of restrictive refugee policies in East-Central Europe and analyses the shift towards ethnic citizenship in the second half of the 1930s. Specifically, it focuses on the prehistory, implementation, and consequences of four large-scale cases of expulsion of Jews that led to border closures and the adoption of harsher policies towards Jewish refugees in 1938 and the denaturalization of Jewish citizens. It seeks to provide a better understanding of the interplay between the marginalisation of Jewish non-citizens and refugees and the erosion of the citizenship status and rights of the remaining Jewish community.


Michal Frankl is a senior researcher at the Masaryk Institute and Archives of the Czech Academy of Sciences and is a work package leader in the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure. He has published widely on the history of antisemitism, refugee policies, and the Holocaust in the Bohemian lands and East-Central Europe.

Diana Dumitru

Research Fellow (02/2019–07/2019)


From Friends to Enemies? The Soviet State and Its Jewry in the Aftermath of the Holocaust


DUMITRUThe primary goal of this research is to explore how Soviet society faced the aftermath of the Holocaust: What was the interaction between the three dynamics of (i) Jewish/non-Jewish encounters, (ii) the strategy/tactics of the Soviet state in this context, and (iii) the various paths taken by Soviet Jews, non-Jews, and the state when grasping the implications of the Holocaust and charting a path forward for Soviet society?


Specifically, this project aims to understand the extent to which an antisemitic agenda was embraced by the Soviet state and its political elites during the late Stalinist era, and what the open and/or hidden channels were for conveying this agenda to the mid- and lower-level agents tasked with its implementation. In so doing, it seeks to grasp the implications for the broader policies towards other ‘nationalities’ within the Soviet Union.


Diana Dumitru is Associate Professor of History at Ion Creangă State University of Moldova. She has authored over thirty articles and two books. Her second book, The State, Antisemitism and the Collaboration in the Holocaust. The Borderlands of Romania and the Soviet Union, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2016. She is a member of the advisory board of the EU project European Holocaust Research Infrastructure.

Michal Schvarc

Research Fellow (10/2017–08/2018)


„We Are all Aware of the Fact That the Jew Is Our Greatest Enemy.” The Carpathian Germans and their Share in the Holocaust in Slovakia


SCHVARCThis project combines different methodological approaches to investigate the role of the German-speaking population in the Slovak Holocaust. It will incorporate socio-historical portrayals, a quantitative and qualitative analysis of newspapers, the political and organisational history of National Socialism, micro-history, and research on Nazi perpetrators. The project will analyse the interdependencies of racist ideology and antisemitic propaganda within its everyday exercise. Consequently, the antisemitic propaganda of the Deutsche Partei – the German Party in Slovakia – as the sole representative of the Carpathian Germans after 1938, the participation of their members in anti-Jewish riots, the entanglement of the party in ‘Aryanisations’, the role of the paramilitary volunteers in the deportations of 1942, the reactions of the German-speaking population to the events and mass killings, as well as the behaviour of the party and its sub-organisations after the military occupation of Slovakia by Nazi Germany at the end of August 1944 will be examined carefully. Finally, the question will be investigated whether and to what extent Carpathian Germans were held accountable in the post-war period and later in the 1950s and 1960s either in Czechoslovakia or in the Federal Republic of Germany.


Michal Schvarc completed his doctorate studies at the Matej-Bel University in Banská Bystrica in 2008 with a dissertation on the German Party of Slovakia, 1927–1938. After working in the Banská Bystrica State Archives, the National Slovakian National Museum, and the Slovak National Museum, he has since 2008 been working at the Historical Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences in Bratislava.

Kateřina Králová

Research Fellow (08/2020–05/2021)


(INTER)MISSION. Parent-Child Separation due to Conflict in Twentieth-Century Europe


Web KralovaK This project aims to shed light on how former child refugees of conflict zones and the communities they adhere(d) to in their host countries look back on these times. The research focusses primarily on externally displaced children separated from their parent(s) who were once threatened by violent conflict from the Second World War up to the Cold War. I take into account three focus groups: 1) the Kindertransporte, 2) child refugees from the Greek Civil War, and 3) child refugees from the 1956 Hungarian Uprising. My aim is to document and examine how they came to terms with their displacement and coped with family separation not only during their childhood but also – and most significantly – in adulthood. To this end, I regard social inclusion, adaptation mechanisms, and attitudes towards war as central analytical variables, all of which crystallised from my previous research on Holocaust survivors and Greek Civil War refugees.


Kateřina Králová is Associate Professor of Modern History and Head of the Department of Russian and Eastern European Studies (2017–2020) at Charles University, Prague. In her research, she has been focusing on reconciliation with the Nazi past, the Holocaust, and its aftermath. She authored the book Das Vermächtnis der Besatzung. Deutsch-griechische Beziehungen seit 1940 (Böhlau, 2016; BpB 2017) as well as numerous articles and volumes in Czech, English, German, and Greek. Her second book, about Holocaust survivors in postwar Greece, is under review.


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Petre Matei

Research Fellow (01/2021 – 7/2021)


Roma Deportations to Transnistria during the Second World War. Between Central Decision-Making and Local Initiatives


Web MateiThe deportations to which 25,000 Romanian Roma fell victim were not the result of German pressure on the Romanian government but the consequence of their long-term exclusion by local actors. To understand these deportations, it is thus necessary to compare the older attitudes toward Roma specific to certain milieus (nationalist parties, eugenicists, and law enforcement agencies) with the measures taken against Roma during the Second World War.


As the Roma in Romania suffered very different fates during the war, the project will examine how exactly such differences ensued. There was an overlap of agendas regarding the Roma on behalf of various actors who, in certain contexts, would collaborate or compete, radicalising themselves in the process. The criteria for identifying the ‘undesirable’ Roma were vague and subjective, allowing local stakeholders to interpret and negotiate them in accordance with their own agendas. This project also explores the defensive strategies embraced by the Roma deportees, who referred to the same formal criteria to prove that the measures against them were abusive.


Petre Matei is a researcher at the Elie Wiesel National Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania. He holds a PhD in History from the University of Bucharest. He has been a research fellow at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, has carried out oral history interviews with Roma and Jewish survivors, has published around twenty articles on Roma history, and with Vintilă Mihăilescu he co-edited Condiția romă. Schimbarea discursului [The Roma Condition. Changing Discourse] (Iași 2014) and Roma. Der Diskurswandel (Vienna 2020). His research interests focus on Roma history, the Holocaust, compensation, and memory.


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Anna Menyhért

Research Fellow (9/2020 - 5/2021)


Trauma in the Digital Age


Web MenyhertThis project focusses on how digital environments change the nature of the transmission, representation, and processing of trauma, and introduces the emerging interdisciplinary field of Digital Trauma Studies. The project analyses how traumatic content reaches users on digital media and how social media platforms and online communities – such as Facebook groups related to present-day and historical traumas, migrant blogs, and tweet-chains including the #MeToo movement – can become platforms for processing trauma. The end result will be a book based on case studies linked to different social media platforms, including the Facebook group The Holocaust and My Family; migratory trauma and its political background in Hungarian migrants’ blogs; the contemporary cultural and political implications of the Treaty of Trianon as transmitted via YouTube; and the resilience of trauma victims in connection with the #MeToo campaign on Twitter. The book discusses how each digital media platform shapes trauma-related communication according to its own characteristic features.


Anna Menyhért is Professor of Trauma Studies at the Budapest University of Jewish Studies. From 2016 to 2018, she was a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Research Fellow at the University of Amsterdam. Previously, she led the Trauma and Gender in Literature and Culture Research Group at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest. Her research interests include trauma studies, social media studies, memory studies, critical theory. and women’s writing.


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Katarzyna Nowak

Research Fellow (10/2021-08/2022)


'Recivilising' Refugees: Displaced Eastern Europeans in the Heart of  Divided Europe, 1945-1956


NowakThis project will reassess the experiences of Eastern European refugees airbrushed out of the main narratives of World War II displacement. During and after WWII, refugees from Eastern Europe – Poles, Jews, Ukrainians, Belarusians, Roma, and others originating from pre-war Poland’s territory – were exposed to the rehabilitation projects drawn up by both the Western Allies and their own national elites. My research will focus on the hitherto unexplored topic of postwar humanitarian aid as a 20th century form of ‘civilising mission’ which aimed to incorporate these displaced Europeans into the communities of the Western world to hasten post-war reconstruction. To add nuance to the understanding of the refugee experience in the early Cold War period, this work integrates a bottom-up perspective with an institutional one by tracing and unearthing archival materials created by refugees from various social and ethnic backgrounds who found themselves in Allied-occupied Germany and Austria.


Katarzyna Nowak is a historian specialising in cultural and social history of Eastern Europe, with a particular interest in refugee and migrant history. During her doctoral and postdoctoral research at the University of Manchester, she focused on Displaced Persons in the early Cold War period in a global perspective. She is currently completing her first monograph, entitled Kingdom of Barracks. Polish Displaced Persons in Allied-occupied Germany and Austria, 1945-1952. She has published on the history of gender, refugees, and diaspora.


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Thomas Chopard

Research Fellow (02/2019–07/2019)


Jewish Migrations across Central and Eastern Europe after the Holocaust. A Transnational Perspective


CHOPARDThis project will offer a comprehensive analysis of Jewish mass migrations after the Holocaust, analysing the reasons, trajectories, and legal treatment of Jewish migrants. It will encompass trajectories from their respective homelands to their final departure from Europe, combining a transnational approach with microhistories of this global phenomenon. By studying the implementation and variability of legal and humanitarian categories, it will especially focus on the elaboration of a hospitality policy in Europe for Jewish migrants after the Holocaust through the category of “Jewish Displaced Persons”.


Thomas Chopard holds a PhD from the EHESS in France and was until recently a Jewish studies postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Historical Research at the University of London. After focussing on anti-Jewish violence in Central and Eastern Europe between 1914 and 1924, his research now deals with Jewish post-Holocaust migrations.

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