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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 Törnquist-Plewa: In Search of Transnational and Transcultural Memories of the Holocaust. Examples from Sweden and Poland

Thursday, 19. April 2018, 18:30 - 21:00

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


The memory of the Holocaust was one of the first fully-fledged transnational collective memories to travel around the world. Most of the scholarship tracing the transnational flows of representations of Holocaust memory has focussed on literature, films, and other media products. This lecture, on the other hand, foregrounds the research on memory practices in specific geographic places in order to demonstrate the transnational dimension of national and local Holocaust memories, as well as to trace how this memory actually travels across national borders and what happens during this process. What is the potential of transnational Holocaust memories to produce new stories and new social relations and solidarities?

This lecture presents two different examples of transnational Holocaust memory at work in specific localities: one from the Swedish capital, Stockholm, and one from the provincial Polish town of Szydlowiec, that prior to the Holocaust was a shtetl. In connection with these cases, the lecture discusses the extent to which transnational memories are also transcultural or culturally hybrid memories that have a transformative power, enabling people to imagine new communities and new types of belonging.

Barbara Törnquist-Plewa is a Professor of Eastern and Central European Studies at Lund University in Sweden. Between 2012 and 2016, she led the international research network In Search for Transcultural Memory in Europe (in the framework of the EU COST-programme). Her research focusses on nationalism, identity, and collective memories. She is the author and editor of a number of books and articles in English, Swedish, and Polish. Her latest publications include: The Twentieth Century in European Memory, Amsterdam 2017; Disputed Memory. Emotions and Memory Politics in Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, Berlin/Boston 2016 (both edited with Tea Sindbaek Andersen); and Whose Memory? Which Future? Remembering Ethnic Cleansing and Lost Cultural Diversity in Eastern, Central and Southeastern Europe, New York/London, 2016.

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


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