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Simon Wiesenthal Conferences


As it was still being established, the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI) already organised two large international conferences: In June 2006, it held the conference “The Legacy of Simon Wiesenthal for Holocaust Studies” at the International Research Centre for Cultural Sciences (IFK) and in June 2007 the conference “Labour and Extermination” at the Wiener Arbeiterkammer (Vienna Chamber of Labour). In October 2011, the Simon Wiesenthal Conference series was continued with the topic “Scores of Commemoration: The Holocaust in Music” at the Vienna University for Music and Performing Arts.


Beginning in 2012, a three-day “Simon Wiesenthal Conference” has been held every year, in English and German. As with the Simon Wiesenthal Lecture series, the conference topics cover the entire range of topics in international Holocaust research, with a new focus each year. The topics are chosen in collaboration with the International Academic Advisory Board. The calls for papers are posted in the usual forums and are primarily aimed at attracting young, ambitious researchers from across the world. Established, internationally renowned scholars are invited to hold key note addresses or concluding and evaluating talks. Thus, the interested public in Vienna are given access to presentations and discussions of the most recent research insights.


The conference proceedings are published each year in a dedicated series of VWI publications, the so-called VWI-Beiträge zur Holocaustforschung, in English or in German.



Simon Wiesenthal Conference
Survivors’ Toil. The First Decade of Documenting and Studying the Holocaust

from Wednesday, 2. November 2022 -  13:00
to Friday, 4. November 2022 - 13:30

Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI) 1010 Vienna, Rabensteig 3


Due to the limited number of participants the event will be held live and online.


CoverIn December 1945, in the introduction to the first edition of his monograph The Destruction of the Jews of Lwow, Philip Friedman expressed his sense of urgency for Holocaust scholarship – an urgency due in part to the growing number of trials of war criminals. As a trained historian and Holocaust survivor, Friedman hoped that every new publication addressing the crimes against Jews would fight fascism ‘putting a nail in the coffin of this religion of hatred and ideology of genocide.’ During his time as director of the Central Jewish Historical Commission in Poland, his understanding of the importance of Holocaust scholarship was shared by other survivor scholars all throughout Europe. Working in diverse political frameworks and relying on communal support, these men and women helped build the foundations of documentation and research centres, developed methodologies, examined primary sources, and reflected on some of the challenges of the emerging field.

This conference seeks to open a discussion about the crucial first decade of institution building, methodological experimentation, and political negotiations around the study of the Hurban as a European Jewish catastrophe. It will follow up on recent research that surveys pioneering scholars, collective projects, institutions, and publications. The conference will focus on the historical contexts of survivors’ initiatives, their entanglements, their modes of communication within the Jewish community and beyond, their search for an appropriate language and methodology, and their efforts to preserve and create historical sources and their exploring of different disciplinary approaches. It is the aim of the conference to reformulate these questions in an extended and comparative perspective of the European aftermath of the Second World War.

In particular, this conference builds on the 2012 Simon Wiesenthal International Conference Before the Holocaust Had Its Name: Early Confrontations of the Nazi Mass Murder of the Jews, which brought together scholars working to uncover networks and practices in early Holocaust scholarship. Also in 2012, Laura Jockusch’s compelling study Collect and Record! Jewish Holocaust Documentation in Early Postwar Europe was published, which examined the efforts of a diverse community of Ho­locaust scholars working in the Jewish historical commissions. Now, ten years later, this conference will provide an opportunity to revisit, sharpen and broaden those findings.

Abstracts & CVs

SWW2022 CV ABS Wednesday, 2 November 2022

13:00 Welcome
Jochen Böhler (Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies – VWI)
Éva Kovács (Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies – VWI)
Natalia Aleksiun (University of Florida)

13:15–14:00 Keynote
Laura Jockusch (Brandeis University, Massachusetts)
Survivors’ Toil and Aftermath Histories: Taking Stock and Looking Ahead
Chair: Jochen Böhler (Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies – VWI)

14:00 Coffee Break

14:30–16:30 The Ethics of Documenting
Chair: Éva Kovács (Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies – VWI)

14:30 Dan Stone (Royal Holloway, University of London)
Survival through Stupor: Eddy de Wind and Early-Postwar Psychoanalytic Studies of the Nazi Concentration Camps

14:55 Christine Schmidt (The Wiener Holocaust Library, London) & Victoria Martinez (Linköping University, Sweden)
Survivor-Interviewers as Companions of Misery: A Comparative View from Post-war Sweden and England

15:20 Dimitrios Varvaritis (University of Vienna)
“And yet they did not all perish”: Isaac Matarasso and the Early Accounts of the Shoah in Greece

15:45 Daniel Schuch (Friedrich Schiller University Jena)
“A man-made holocaust”: David P. Boder’s 1946 Audio Recordings as Pioneering Research on Trauma

16:10 Discussion

16:30 Coffee Break

17:00–19:00 Building Documentation Networks
Chair: Michael L. Miller (Central European University – CEU)

17:00 Ewa Koźmińska-Frejlak (The International Institute for Holocaust Research, Yad Vashem)
Who Were They? Employees and Associates of the Jewish Historical Commission in Poland: A Collective Portrait

17:25 Rita Horváth (Vienna)
The First Historical Studies about the Holocaust in Hungary Prepared by The National Relief Committee for Deportees

17:50 Sara Buda (Jewish Contemporary Documentation Center Foundation – CDEC, Milan)
Massimo Adolfo Vitale and the Research Committee on Jewish Deportees Contribution to Historiography

18:15 Kata Bohus (University of Tromsø, Norway)
“This mystery will be hard to solve”: Hungarian Holocaust Survivors, Diplomacy, and the Transnational Aspects of Raoul Wallenberg’s Early Memory

18:40 Discussion

Thursday, 3 November 2022

9:00–10:00 “Simon Wiesenthal in Linz” – A Guided Tour of the VWI Archives
Kinga Frojimovics & Sandra Weiss (Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies – VWI)
In appreciation to the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) for supporting this project.

10:00–12:00 Politics of Holocaust Documentation and Research
Chair: Philipp Rohrbach (Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies – VWI)

10:00 Máté Zombory (ELTE University, Budapest)
The Crucial Fifties: Jenő Lévai in the International (Political) Field of Holocaust Documentation

10:25 Daniela Ozacky Stern (Western Galilee College & Bar Ilan University, Israel)
Fighters and Documenters: Former Jewish Partisans‘ Activity in the Immediate War Years

10:50 Sabina Ferhadbegović (Friedrich Schiller University Jena)
Albert Vajs, the State Commission, and the Documentation of the Holocaust in Yugoslavia

11:15 Alexander Walther (Friedrich Schiller University Jena)
An Early Attempt of an Integrated History? Helmut Eschwege and Holocaust Research in the GDR

11:40 Discussion

12:00 Lunch Break

13:00–15:00 The Making of Holocaust Research Institutions
Chair: Stephen Naron (Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University & Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies – VWI)

13:00 Stefania Zezza (Tor Vergata University, Rome)
“Tell This to the Living” – Isaac A. Matarasso

13:25 Malena Chinski (Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Shoah, Paris)
Shmerke Kaczerginski (1908–1954), Independent Researcher and Collector of Holocaust Songs

13:50 Justyna Majewska (Jewish Historical Institute, Warsaw)
The Ringelblum Archive from 1940 until Today

14:15 Olga Kartashova (New York University)
The International Networks and Polish Jews‘ Efforts to Prosecute Nazi Criminals

14:40 Discussion

15:00 Coffee Break

15:30–17:30 The Culture of Testimonies
Chair: Marianne Windsperger (Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies – VWI)

15:30 Eleni Beze (University of Thessaly, Greece)
Early Female Voices on the Shoah in Greece

15:55 Thomas Chopard (INALCO & CEFR, Paris) & Claire Zalc (CNRS & EHEES, Paris)
Linking Memorial Books, the Holocaust and Post-war Communities: the Case of Lubartów

16:20 Natalia Aleksiun (University of Florida)
Pages of Jewish History as a Testimony: The Making of Bleter far geszichte

16:45 Henriette-Rika Benveniste (University of Thessaly, Greece)
Marriage and Emigration in the Early Post-Shoah Correspondence of Greek Jewish Survivors

17:10 Discussion

17:30 Coffee Break

18:00–19:00 My Father Szymon Datner – An Evening Talk With Helena Datner (Warsaw)
Chair: Natalia Aleksiun (University of Florida)

Friday, 4 November 2022

9:00–10:30 The Challenges of Methodology and Terminology
Chair: Julie Dawson (Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Shoah,Paris)

9:00 Philip Schwartz (Polish Academy of Sciences)
Elye Spivak’s 1946 Study about the Soviet Yiddish Discourse on War and Holocaust

9:25 Katrin Stoll (Imre Kertész Kolleg, Friedrich Schiller University Jena)
Documentary Truth: Nachman Blumental’s in situ Study of “Vernichtungswissenschaft“ in Poland, 1944–1950

9:50 Aurélia Kalisky (Centre Marc Bloch, Berlin)
At the Crossroads of Disciplines: Unclassifiable Knowledge and Pioneer Methodologies

10:15 Discussion

10:30 Coffee Break

11:00–13:00 Material Culture of Documentation
Chair: Zuzanna Dziuban (Austrian Academy of Sciences - ÖAW)

11:00 Dóra Pataricza (Szeged Jewish Community, Hungary)
The Return to Szeged (Hungary) in the Lights of the Survivors’ Report Cards of the Szeged Jewish Archives

11:25 Viktória Bányai (Centre for Social Sciences, Budapest)
The Parchments of Remembrance: Megillot for the Tomb of the Unknown Jewish Martyr in Paris, 1956

11:50 Rachel E. Perry (University of Haifa, Weiss Livnat Graduate Program in Holocaust Studies)
Not by Word Alone: The Graphic Album as Medium of Holocaust Memory

12:15 Alina Bothe (Center for Research on Antisemitism, Berlin) & Christoph Kreutzmüller (Arolsen Archives & House of the Wannsee Conference, Germany)
Saving Pictures – The Last Seen Project

12:40 Discussion

13:00–13:30 Closing Remarks
Natalia Aleksiun (University of Florida)
Éva Kovács (Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies – VWI)

In cooperation with:



 With kind support of:

Zukunftsfonds kl
     Nationalfonds Logo


For on-site participation, please register by 28 October 2022, 12:00 pm, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Current COVID prevention policies apply. Please bring a photo ID with you.

By attending this event, you consent to the publication of photographs, video and audio recordings made during the event.


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