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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
Hana Kubátová: Peasants, Elites, and Other Locals. The Making of the Holocaust in Eastern Slovakia

Thursday, 6. May 2021, 18:30 - 20:00

Die Veranstaltung findet online statt:


This lecture addresses the making of the Holocaust in the poorest and ethnically most diverse Slovak region during World War II, the Šariš Zemplín County. With approximately 440,000 people living here, the region was home to Slovaks, Hungarians, Germans, Czechs, Ruthenians, and the country’s largest Jewish and Roma populations. Poor living conditions were exacerbated by high unemployment, almost zero industry, unstable weather conditions, and inadequate soil fertility, leaving the region and its people virtually dependent on assistance from the center. Placing the concepts of the periphery, belonging, and social corruption at the center of analysis, this presentation looks into individuals’ actions within social structures, exploring how both peasants and local elites negotiated hierarchies of authority and power amid growing anti-Jewish persecution.

Hana Kubátová is an Assistant Professor at the Charles University and head of its Center for the Transdisciplinary Research of Violence, Trauma and Justice. Her research interests include majority-minority relations in wartime and postwar Slovakia, identity construction, and microdynamics of (ethnic) violence. Hana Kubátová's contributions have appeared in Contemporary European History, Holocaust Studies: Journal of Culture and History, Nations and Nationalities, and other scholarly outlets. Her upcoming special issue of East European Politics and Societies, co-edited with Natalia Aleksiun, explores biographies of belonging in the Holocaust. 

Mit der Teilnahme an dieser Veranstaltung stimmen Sie der Veröffentlichung von Fotos, Video- und Audioaufzeichnungen zu, die im Rahmen der Veranstaltung entstehen.

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


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