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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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VWI invites/goes to...
Aleksandra Szczepan, Situated Witnessing: The Map as a Tool of Memory in Holocaust Video Testimony

Wednesday, 1. December 2021, 15:00 - 17:00



VWI invites Masaryk Institute and Archives of the Czech Academy of Sciences

Szczepan IlluThe project explores the significance of the map as a form of Holocaust testimony. Its main premise is that Holocaust maps – namely, maps created, used, or referred to by witnesses to the Holocaust – are much more than mere visual representations of a given space. They might serve as evidence, as a way of referring to and imagining the past, a tool for memory, an intimate medium of experience, and alternative testimonies. The project aims at a thorough analysis of maps used by Holocaust survivors and eyewitnesses in video testimonies, as well as objects, gestures, narrative tools, and language expressions that serve as maps – all of them situate the testimonies and navigate the witnesses through the space of the Holocaust.

Cartographic testimonies help us reassess the concept of testimony as a predominantly narrative, temporal, and verbal form of expression. By focusing on space and body as fundamental frames of experience, memory, and witnessing, we can, moreover, understand better how long-lasting violence, inflicted on rural and urban communities during the German occupation, made genocide a “communal event both cruel and intimate” (Bartov) and reconsider the conceptualizations of East-Central Europe in Holocaust research.

Commentator: Michal Frankl

Aleksandra Szczepan is a literary scholar, co-founder, and member of the Research Centre for Memory Cultures at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków and a collaborator of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in oral history projects in Poland and Spain. She authored the book “Realista Robbe-Grillet” (2015) on 20th century redefinitions of realism. She has been recipient of scholarships from the USHMM, the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (EHRI), the Polish National Science Centre and the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. Her research interests include Holocaust memory, decoloniality in the perspective of East-Central Europe, oral history, and space-based testimonial practices of witnesses to the Holocaust.

Michal Frankl is a senior researcher at the Masaryk Institute and Archives of the Czech Academy of Sciences. His research focuses on the history of modern antisemitism and the Holocaust as well as the history of ‘refugeedom’. He is the principal investigator of the ERC Consolidator grant “Unlikely Refuge? Refugees and Citizens in East-Central Europe in the 20th Century” and is active in the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (EHRI).

Description of the picture: map of the mass execution of Jewish residents of Mszana Dolna (Poland) from 19 August 1942, drawn by an eyewitness interviewed by Yahad – In Unum. © Courtesy of Renata Masna


Click here to download the invitation as PDF file.

In cooperation with:

Masaryk Institut

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