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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
!!! CANCELLED !!! Joanna Tokarska-Bakir: The Figure of the Bloodsucker in Polish Religious, National and Left-Wing Discourse, 1945-1946

Thursday, 26. November 2015, 18:30 - 20:00

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


The lecture will consider the metaphor of the ‘Jewish Bloodsucker’, widely disseminated in 20th-century Central and Eastern Europe. This archetypal metaphor, activated by critical situations, recalls the sorcerer-vampire who penetrates into the community and deprives it of its life substance, leaving only empty shells. Its role in shaping the imagination of Poles in the first two years after the Second World War is difficult to overrate. The figure of the bloodsucker revealed its murderous potential in the wave of pogroms that swept across the country in 1945 and 1946, incited by rumours of Jewish ritual murders. The genealogy of the figure of the bloodsucker and its role in shaping the imagination of Polish people in the first two years after the Second World War will be presented in terms of religious, national and left-wing political discourse.

Joanna Tokarska-Bakir is a cultural anthropologist, religious studies scholar, and professor at the Institute of Slavic Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences at Warsaw. She specialises in the anthropology of violence and is the author of, among other publications, a monograph on blood libel, Légendes du sang. Une anthropologie du préjugé antisémite en Europe, Paris 2015. As a holder of the Marie Curie Gerda Henkel Fellowship (2013 – 2015), she has most recently been working on a project on post-war anti-Jewish pogroms in Eastern Europe at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS), Princeton, NJ.


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


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