Professors and students at the Pyramids in Cairo, Egypt.

CENTERS

Two Days Exploring Holocaust History

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Over two days in January, the George and Irina Schaeffer Center for the Study of Genocide, Human Rights and Conflict Prevention held its third international conference: Home as a Place for Anti-Jewish Persecution in European Cities, 1933-1945: Crossing Urban Social History and History of the Holocaust.

As the History of the Holocaust has taken a spatial turn, borrowing concepts and tools from geography, this notion found itself reflected throughout the conference proceedings. Often times the idea of the urban center and neighborhoods was used. The spatial turn that occurred during the last fifteen years in Anglophone Holocaust studies focused on the looting and the seizure and reallocation of the apartments occupied by Jews, mainly in Reich's cities, but apartment blocks and ordinary cities as spaces of persecution, occupied territories and other Axis countries, the interactions with non-Jewish neighbors as well as spatial aspects are still in need of study. Recent work opened this new field of investigation and inspired this conference.

Inspired by the organizers’ current research on the Parisian case, the conference dealt with policies of seizure and reallocation of the apartments of the Jews in Paris, but wasn’t restricted to those questions. The conference bridged various perspectives and methods and focus on urban housing as a place for anti-Jewish persecution. Social scientists from various fields confronted various methods, investigations and cases, in Reich cities, but also in Western, Southern and Eastern European occupied cities. 

Throughout the course of the conference, presenters often explored micro-histories, involving neighbors, maids, gardeners and concierges who all had a hand in Jewish daily lives. Scholars explored cases such as the city of Budapest and the story of how a concierge had to tell the authorities who was or was not Jewish, or the case of the synagogue bombings of October 1941 that were carried out by far-right extremists in several Parisian synagogues – among them the synagogue on rue Saint-Isaure in the 18th arrondissement and the impact which this particular bombing had on a Jewish family living on that same street. The conference ended on a note to think about the issue of gender while going forward with this research.

This event was co-organized with the Centre de recherches historiques of the EHESS and l'Institut de sciences sociales du politique, Université Paris Nanterre-ENS Paris Saclay-CNRS and took place January 11th and January 12th. Sessions on the first day took place at The American University of Paris while sessions on the second day were held at the Mémorial de la Shoah in the historic marais district of Paris where many Jews lived and were persecuted during the war. This partnership was the opportunity to create ties between AUP and this venerable institution.

Speakers and Presenters:

Karen Adler (Concluding Remarks), University of Nottingham – Claire Andrieu (Panel Chair), Centre d’Histoire de Sciences-Po – Annette Finley-Croswhite, Old Dominion University – Shannon Fogg (Keynote Speaker), Missouri University of Science and Technology – Valeria Galimi, University of Milan – Sarah Gensburger (Panel Chair), CNRS-ISP University – Hilary Handin, University of New York – Laura Hobson-Faure (Panel Chair), CREW-Paris 3, Sorbonne Nouvelle – Kostis Kornetis, Carlos III – Victoria Khiterer, Millersville University – Geraldien von Frijtag Drabbe Künzel –  Nathalie Moine, CNRS-CERCEC – István Pál Ádám, CEFRES – Nadège Ragaru, CERI, Sciences-Po – Monika Stępień, University of Warsaw – Teresa Walch, University of California.