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Simon Wiesenthal Lectures


The Simon Wiesenthal lecture series takes place regularly every six to eight weeks and aims to present the latest research findings on the Holocaust to both a professional and a broader audience. They take into account the impressive spectrum of this discipline, the numerous questions and issues from empirical-analytical historiography to topics of cultural studies and involve young scholars as well as established academics.


Since 2007, when the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI) was still being established, the lecture series – at that time in cooperation with the Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance (DÖW) and the Institute of Contemporary History at the University of Vienna– has developed into the flagship of the VWI's outreach activities as a supporting element in the communication of recent academic findings in the field of Holocaust research and Holocaust and genocide studies.


For over a decade, the Austrian State Archives generously offered shelter to the Simon Wiesenthal Lectures in the roof foyer of the Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchiv. During the challenging years of the pandemic, the lectures were held online. From autumn 2022, in order to reach out to further audiences, a new cooperation partner was found in the Wien Museum. Until the reopening of the main location at Karlsplatz, the SWL will take place at MUSA, Felderstraße 6-8, next to the Vienna City Hall.



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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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