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Simon Wiesenthal Lectures


The Simon Wiesenthal Lecture series has been held in collaboration with the Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance (DÖW) and the Institute of Contemporary History at the University of Vienna since 2007, when the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI) was still being established. As an important aspect of the task of education on recent academic insights in the fields of Holocaust research and genocide studies, the lecture series has developed into the VWI's education flagship.


The lectures take place every six to eight weeks, with renowned scholars presenting the most recent research insights on the Holocaust to a professional audience as well as a broader public. They showcase the impressive spectrum of this discipline, its numerous questions and issues ranging from empirical-analytical historiography to topics of cultural scholarship, and involve young scholars as well as established academics.


The Austrian State Archive as our co-operation partner has since June 2010 provided us with the perfect location for our lectures: the rooftop foyer of the “Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchiv” at Minoritenplatz in Vienna. This location at the rear façade of the Federal Chancellery of the Republic of Austria is symbolic of the reappraisal of the Holocaust in Austria: After all, this history had been marginalised for decades, just like its immediate historical antecedent, Austrian antisemitism, was cut out of history, its appraisal shoved aside for victims and their descendants to deal with. This has only changed in recent times. The Shoah has simultaneously been moving ever closer to the centre of Austrian historical awareness. It has slowly emerged from the repressed periphery and out of the realm of taboo and silence and into the focus of understanding of Austria’s most recent history. Thus, the Simon Wiesenthal Lectures are held at a place that represents the symbolic and real centre of the Republic and is at the same time also an instance of this turn in the Austrian perception of its own history.



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Simon Wiesenthal Lecture
Paul A. Shapiro: Opening the archives of the International Tracing Service. How did it Happen?

Thursday, 18. December 2008, 18:30 - 21:00

Jüdisches Museum Wien, Dorotheergasse 11, A-1010 Wien


Mit Datenschutz-Argumenten hat das Internationale Rote Kreuz jahrzehntelang den Zugang zum größten Holocaust-Archiv der Welt blockiert. Sein International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen (Hessen) verfügt über einen Bestand von rund 50 Millionen Dokumenten zu rund 17,5 Millionen Menschen. Aufgabe des Suchdienstes war und ist die Sammlung, Ordnung, Aufbewahrung und Auswertung von Unterlagen über zivile Opfer der NS- Herrschaft. Im November 2007 kam es nach großem internationalem Druck zur Freigabe der Akten für die historische Forschung. Paul Shapiro war maßgeblich an der Öffnung des ITS- Archivs beteiligt. In seinem Vortrag wird er über die politischen Hintergründe, die diplomatischen Schritte zur Öffnung, die Inhalte des ITS-Archivs, seine Zugänglichkeit und die neuen Chancen für die Holocaust-Forschung sprechen.

(Vortrag in englischer Sprache)


Paul A. Shapiro, Dr., ist Direktor des Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies am United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C.










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


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