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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.

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


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