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Ayelet Eva Herbst
EHRI-Fellow (2023)


Escaping the Lemberg Ghetto and Janowska Camp: Flight and Survival of the Holocaust in Lwów


In this doctoral dissertation, Ayelet Eva Herbst follows the trails of Jews who escaped Lwów [today: Lviv, Ukraine] between 1941 and 1944 and survived the Holocaust under German occupation in territories of the Reich Commissariat Ukraine, the General Government, and the Third Reich. Examining the different factors influencing their decision-making process, choices and possibilities of escape, this work offers insights into Jewish reactions, coping, and self-agency during the Holocaust. Consequently, it centers ego-documents such as diaries, memoirs, and interviews with Holocaust survivors as primary sources for investigation and analysis.

The dissertation presents Lwów as a case study par excellence, as it not only stood as the third-largest Jewish center in Poland during World War II, but also comprised of Jews from diverse social, cultural, and religious backgrounds. Furthermore, following the German occupation of Lwów, the city became a central location that facilitated the enslavement and mass killings of hundreds of thousands of Jews from the broader region of eastern Galicia. Nevertheless, Lwów and its Jewish community remain markedly understudied within the rich body of Holocaust research. In this manner, this dissertation will not only provide a comprehensive escape account of individuals from diverse backgrounds, but also contribute to a critical gap in historiography of the Holocaust in Poland. During her fellowship, Herbst will undertake research at the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute’s archive and library.



Ayelet Eva Herbst is a PhD candidate at the Ludwig Maximilian University in the institute of Eastern and Southeastern European History. She studied Holocaust, Communication and Tolerance at Touro University Berlin and graduated in 2018 with a master's thesis on Jewish refugee movements to eastern Ukraine during the Second World War. She is a scholarship holder of the Ernst Ludwig Ehrlich Studienwerk, a recipient of the Conny Kristel Fellowship, as well as a residency of the Institute for Urban History of East Central Europe in Lviv. Her research interests focus on Jewish migration and displacement in Eastern Europe during the Second World War, the Holocaust, and its aftermath. Specialising in ego-documents, Herbst employs a bottom-up approach to study everyday lives and history of experiences through a contextualising analysis of wartime diaries, testimonies, interviews, and memoirs. In the past 5 years she has provided such expertise to different memorial projects across Berlin.

May 2024
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The Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI) is funded by:


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