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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...
Katarzyna Nowak: 'Recivilising' Refugees – Displaced Eastern Europeans in the Heart of Divided Europe, 1945-1956

Wednesday, 20. April 2022, 15:00 - 17:00


VWI invites Research Center for the History of Transformations (RECET), University of Vienna

Nowak iluThis project will reassess the experiences of Eastern European refugees airbrushed out of the main narratives of World War II displacement. During and after WWII, refugees from Eastern Europe – Poles, Jews, Ukrainians, Belarusians, Roma, and others originating from pre-war Poland’s territory – were exposed to the rehabilitation projects drawn up by both the Western Allies and their own national elites. My research will focus on the hitherto unexplored topic of postwar humanitarian aid as a 20th century form of ‘civilising mission’, which aimed to incorporate these displaced Europeans into the communities of the Western world to hasten post-war reconstruction. To add nuance to the understanding of the refugee experience in the early Cold War period, this work integrates a bottom-up perspective with an institutional one by tracing and unearthing archival materials created by refugees from various social and ethnic backgrounds, who found themselves in Allied-occupied Germany and Austria.

Commented by Claudia Kraft

Katarzyna Nowak is a historian specializing in cultural and social history of Eastern Europe with a particular interest in refugee and migrant history. During her doctoral and postdoctoral research at the University of Manchester, she focused on Displaced Persons in the early Cold War period in a global perspective. She is currently completing her first monograph, entitled Kingdom of Barracks. Polish Displaced Persons in Allied-occupied Germany and Austria, 1945-1952. She has published on the history of gender, refugees, and diaspora.

Claudia Kraft is a Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Vienna since March 2018. She specializes in 20th century comparative European and particularly Central and Eastern European history. Her main fields of research are history of everyday life in state socialist societies after WWII, gender history, history of forced migrations after WWII, memory cultures and politics of history in Central and Eastern Europe, comparative legal history, and new approaches to area studies.

Photo: Two Polish children are given soup at No.17 Displaced Persons Assembly Centre located in Hamburg Zoological Gardens, © Imperial War Museum

Please register by noon on 19 April 2022 under This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and bring a valid photo-ID! The 2G rules (fully vaccinated or recovered) apply at this event. FFP2 masks are mandatory.

Click here to download the invitation as a PDF file.

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