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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
Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett: Rising from the Rubble. Creating the Museum of the History of Polish Jews

Thursday, 12. June 2014, 18:30 - 20:00

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


The Grand Opening of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews will take place on 28 October 2014 in Warsaw. The museum, which faces the Monument to the Warsaw Ghetto Heroes, completes the memorial complex. At the monument, the memory of those who died is honoured by remembering how they died. In the museum, they are honoured by remembering how they lived.

At the heart of the museum is its multimedia narrative exhibition, which presents the thousand year history of Polish Jews. That history is today an untold story, a story broken by the Holocaust, but with a legacy that lives on.

This lecture will go behind the scenes to show how the museum and its core exhibition evolved from an initial idea in 1993 to become one of the most important museums of Jewish history in the world. The museum and its core exhibition aspire to be an agent of transformation by transmitting the rich civilization of Polish Jews to future generations, by creating a trusted zone for engaging with difficult issues, and by being a bridge across time, people, and continents.

 The lecture will be introduced and moderated by Danielle Spera, Director of the Jewish Museum Vienna.

Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, distinguished University Professor at New York University, is Programme Director of the Core Exhibition at the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, which is on the site of the former Warsaw ghetto and pre-war Jewish neighbourhood. Her books include Image before My Eyes: A Photographic History of Jewish Life in Poland, 1864–1939 (with Lucjan Dobroszycki); and They Called Me Mayer July: Painted Memories of a Jewish Childhood in Poland Before the Holocaust, which she co-authored with her father Mayer Kirshenblatt.

She was honoured with the award for lifetime achievement by the Foundation for Jewish Culture. She currently serves on Advisory Boards for the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, Jewish Museum Vienna, and the New Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow.

140526 Einladung Lecture 34 Kirshenblatt web

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


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