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Simon Wiesenthal Lectures

 

The Simon Wiesenthal Lecture series has been held in collaboration with the Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance (DÖW) and the Institute of Contemporary History at the University of Vienna since 2007, when the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI) was still being established. As an important aspect of the task of education on recent academic insights in the fields of Holocaust research and genocide studies, the lecture series has developed into the VWI's education flagship.

 

The lectures take place every six to eight weeks, with renowned scholars presenting the most recent research insights on the Holocaust to a professional audience as well as a broader public. They showcase the impressive spectrum of this discipline, its numerous questions and issues ranging from empirical-analytical historiography to topics of cultural scholarship, and involve young scholars as well as established academics.

 

The Austrian State Archive as our co-operation partner has since June 2010 provided us with the perfect location for our lectures: the rooftop foyer of the “Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchiv” at Minoritenplatz in Vienna. This location at the rear façade of the Federal Chancellery of the Republic of Austria is symbolic of the reappraisal of the Holocaust in Austria: After all, this history had been marginalised for decades, just like its immediate historical antecedent, Austrian antisemitism, was cut out of history, its appraisal shoved aside for victims and their descendants to deal with. This has only changed in recent times. The Shoah has simultaneously been moving ever closer to the centre of Austrian historical awareness. It has slowly emerged from the repressed periphery and out of the realm of taboo and silence and into the focus of understanding of Austria’s most recent history. Thus, the Simon Wiesenthal Lectures are held at a place that represents the symbolic and real centre of the Republic and is at the same time also an instance of this turn in the Austrian perception of its own history.

 

 

Simon Wiesenthal Lecture
Roumen Avramov: The Microeconomics of State Antisemitism: Expropriating the Jews Under Bulgarian Rule, 1941–1944
   

Thursday, 23. June 2016, 18:30 - 20:00

Dachfoyer des Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchivs 1010 Wien, Minoritenplatz 1

 

The fates of the Jews from Bulgaria and from the territories occupied by the country (1941–1944) present a striking dichotomy. While those inhabiting Bulgaria proper survived, the Jews from the Greek and Yugoslav lands administrated by the Bulgarian authorities were deported by them into German custody and murdered in Treblinka.

The economics of this Holocaust story has attracted scant attention. The lecture draws evidence from the Bulgarian archives and addresses the Government’s spoliation policies carried out in the realm under its control. They nurtured behavioural patterns, mobilized social actors and fostered institutional networks. Reduced to its basic economic terms, the expropriation of the Jews boiled down to a forced offer of assets and personal belongings which engendered strongly biased customer’s “markets”. This operation remapped segments of the economic tissue and further enhanced the role of the State through the arbitrary interventions of the Commissariat for the Jewish Affairs. In a broader perspective, the myriad of induced economic transactions contributed largely to the banalization of antisemitism among different strata of the society.

Roumen Avramov is a Permanent Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study Sofia. He works in the areas of economic history, history of economic ideas, economic culture and monetary economics. Among his publications are (in Bulgarian) “Communal Capitalism”. Reflections on the Bulgarian Economic Past (vol.1-3, 2007) and in the field of Jewish studies: “Salvation” and Abjection. Microeconomics of State Anti-Semitism in Bulgaria, 1940 – 1944 (2012); the two-volume collection of documents from the Bulgarian archives (co-selected and co-edited with Nadia Danova) on The Deportation of the Jews from Western Thrace, Vardar’s Macedonia and Pirot. March 1943 (2013).

 

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

 

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