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Aleksandra Szczepan

Fortunoff Fellow (10/2021-08/2022)


Situated Witnessing: Maps as a Tool of Memory in Holocaust Video Testimony


SzczepanThe project explores the significance of the map as a form of Holocaust testimony in the context of video testimony. Its main premise is that Holocaust maps – namely, maps created, used or referred to by Shoah witnesses in the act of bearing witness – are much more than mere visual representations of a given space. They might serve as evidence, as a way of referring to and imagining the past, a tool for memory, an intimate medium of experience, and alternative testimonies. The project aims at a thorough analysis of maps used by the witnesses recorded for the Fortunoff Video Archive in the process of giving testimony, or referred to during the interviews, as well as objects, gestures, narrative tools and language expressions that serve as maps, i.e. situate the testimonies and navigate the witnesses through the space of the Shoah.


Aleksandra Szczepan is a co-founder and member of the Research Centre for Memory Cultures at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków and a collaborator of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum carrying out oral history projects in Poland and Spain. She authored the book Realista Robbe-Grillet (2015) on 20th-century redefinitions of realism. She has been recipient of scholarships from the USHMM, EHRI, the Polish National Science Centre and the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. Her research interests include Holocaust memory, decoloniality in the perspective of Eastern-Central Europe, oral history and space-based testimonial practices of witnesses to the Shoah.


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May 2024
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The Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI) is funded by:


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