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The Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI) organises academic events in order to provide the broader public as well as an expert audience with regular insights into the most recent research results in the fields of Holocaust, genocide, and racism research. These events, some of which extend beyond academia in the stricter sense, take on different formats ranging from small lectures to the larger Simon Wiesenthal Lectures and from workshops addressing an expert audience to larger international conferences and the Simon Wiesenthal Conferences. This reflects the institute’s wide range of activities.


The range of events further extends to the presentation of selected new publications on the institute’s topics of interest, interventions in the public space, the film series VWI Visuals, and the fellows’ expert colloquia.



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Simon Wiesenthal Lecture
Christopher R. Browning: Holocaust history and survivor testimony: The case of the Starachowice factory slave labour camps

Thursday, 18. October 2012, 18:30

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


The factory slave labour camps of Nazi Germany have been an understudied phenomenon of the Holocaust. The large collections of survivor testimonies have been an underutilised source for writing Holocaust history. Through examining the post-war testimonies of 292 survivors of the factory slave labour camps in Starachowice, Poland, given between 1945 and 2008, Browning attempts to examine both the considerable benefits and potential pitfalls that such sources hold for the Holocaust historian. At the same time, through a case study of a single complex of factory slave labour camps, he attempts to illuminate wider issues concerning the Nazi exploitation of Jewish slave labour, the complicity of German industrialists, the conflict between ideologically-driven mass murder and wartime economic necessity within the Nazi regime, the internal dynamics of the slave labour community, and the survival strategies they pursued.


Christopher R. Browning is the Frank Porter Graham Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has delivered the George Macaulay Trevelyan Lectures at the University of Cambridge and the George L. Mosse Lectures at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research has focused on Holocaust perpetrators and the decision-making process that led to the “Final Solution”. Among his books published in German are Ganz normale Männer, Die Entfesselung der Endlösung, and Die Endlösung und das Auswärtige Amt. He has also served as an expert witness in the Holocaust denial trial of Ernst Zündel in Toronto in 1988 and David Irving’s libel suit against Deborah Lipstadt and Penguin Books in London in 2000.

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


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