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Since the 1980s, the politics of remembrance and the central place held by the Holocaust therein have moved into the focus of a global cultural policy debate. Triggered by popular formats such as TV series, the establishment of Holocaust museums, and the erection of memorial sites and memorials, and by documentations, feature films, plays, as well as exhibitions, the highly controversial debate has addressed and continues to address the question of the sense and form of Holocaust remembrance as well as its possibilities and limits.


The Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI) understands its educational mission as the task of preserving the visibility of the cultural context of remembrance and the media anthropological background as well as the discursive context of popular remembrance of the Holocaust and other genocides for its audience. The materiality and the act of remembrance itself are focussed on by making these the very topic and issue of educational questions. This is achieved on the one hand via academic debate and reasoning, on the other by testing the issue in various contexts by experiment. The latter takes place in the framework of “Interventions in Public Spaces”, involving especially artists and writers.




Echoes, memories, and aftereffects – resonances – are usually laden with emotion, sentimental and individual. The aim of this event series is therefore to cultivate anew a conversation beyond the today much discussed ‘echo chambers’ of social media and to offer a space for mutual thought and reflection – in other words for resonating – at the intersection of living memory, collective memory, and scholarly analysis: Different aspects of, approaches to, and perspectives on the research areas of the VWI will be sounded out here; intergenerational conversations will be enabled; questioning, ruminating, and doubting will be allowed – borrowing freely from the words of Bertolt Brecht and Marcel Reich-Ranicki: “Curtains closed and all the questions open.”


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Rivka Brot: Negotiating Justice. The "Legal Lives" of the Jewish DPs in the US-American Zone, Germany, 1945-1950

Friday, 24. May 2019, 15:00 - 16:30

Vienna Wiesenthal Institute, Research Lounge 1010 Vienna, Rabensteig 3, 3rd Floor


Canvas The lecture addresses the role of law for survivors of genocide and mass atrocities living in refugee camps. The Jewish displaced persons (DPs) established a bottom-up fascinating legal and judiciary system, comprised of four different types of courts that encompassed every aspect of their lives as individuals and a community.
The lecture suggests understanding the law not only as a means of maintaining law and order in the camps but also, and not less important, as a means of both reconstructing personal and communal agency. The lecture also demonstrates the use of law as a means to turn the Jews from a group of helpless survivor victims to a politically-charged community.
This understudied historical-legal story, as the lecture shows, serves as a reminder to both the strength of the community and the importance of its law as an independent instrument.

Rivka Brot is a lecturer at the Buchman Faculty of Law, Tel-Aviv University. She has authored various articles relating to legal aspects of the lives of the Jewish displaced persons in the US-American Zone of occupied Germany in the aftermath of the Holocaust. Her book, People in the Gray Zone: The Jewish Kapo on Trial (Hebrew), will be co-published by the Open University Publishing House, the David Berg Institute for Law and History (Tel Aviv University, Faculty of Law) and The Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism.

The event will be moderated by Philipp Rohrbach (VWI)

Organised in cooperation with the Department of Legal and Constitutional History of the University of Vienna

Please register at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Thursday, 23 May 2019, 6.00 pm and bring your ID.

In Kooperation mit dem Institut für Rechts- und Verfassungsgeschichte der Universität Wien

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The Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI) is funded by:


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