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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
Lea David: A Shoe, a Broken Watch and Marbles – How Objects Shape our Memory and our Future

Thursday, 28. April 2022, 18:30 - 20:00

Wiener Wiesenthal Institut für Holocaust-Studien (VWI) 1010 Wien, Rabensteig 3, Research Lounge


Personal items of the missing/killed found at the sites of mass atrocities are often understood as the last tangible link with the absent person. I call such objects ‘Desire Objects’ (DOs) - not in the sense of commodities, where a desire to acquire objects stands against the ability to purchase - but because those objects instigate emotional responses that reflect different sorts of desires regarding the loved ones: that they might come back from the dead; that their memory may be prolonged in the face of their unjust death; that some sense can be made of it, and that we may come to peace with their violent passing. The logic of how and why the DOs are kept privately or donated, then preserved individually or publicly, collected, displayed, left to decay or destroyed, or, in fact, transformed into political symbols, is often obscured or taken for granted. The research asks why a muddy shoe or a child’s marble, recovered from the sites of atrocities, are different from any other muddy shoe or child’s marble.

Lea David is an Assistant Professor at the School of Sociology, University College Dublin. Her research interests cover memory, nationalism, human rights, the intersection between the Holocaust and genocide, and conflicts in the former Yugoslav countries and in Israel/Palestine. Previously, David held several postdoctoral fellowships including the Fulbright and the Mare Curie. She has published in English, Hebrew, and Serbo-Croatian. Her book The Past Can’t Heal Us: The Dangers of Mandating Memory in the Name of Human Rights was published in 2020 with Cambridge University Press and was awarded the Honourable Mention for the 2021 ASA Sociology of Human Rights Gordon Hirabayashi Award.

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Für eine Teilnahme vor Ort bitten wir um Anmeldung bis 26. April 2022, 12:00 Uhr unter This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Es gelten die 2G-Regeln (vollständig geimpft oder genesen) sowie die FFP2-Maskenpflicht. Bitte bringen Sie einen Lichtbildausweis mit.

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


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