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Emily Gioielli

Research Fellow (01/2022-08/2022)


Cataclysm: Water and the Holocaust in Central Europe, 1933–1945


Gioielli“Cataclysm” is a socio-environmental history of the Holocaust in (East) Central Europe. Using water as the connecting thread, this study investigates how hybrid human-ecological processes shaped the practices, experiences, spaces and memories of violence and persecution of European Jews, and how, in turn mass death and persecution shaped the natural world. Using methods and questions from both environmental and social history, “Cataclysm” investigates four themes that were defined by the cooperation and sometimes tension between human initiative and natural processes in Central Europe: the construction of genocidal spaces and “pariah landscapes”; forced and slave labor operations in camps and ghettos; mass killing operations; and resistance and adaptation to the environments of destruction produced by the National Socialist regime and their allies across central, eastern, and southeastern Europe.


Emily Gioielli is an Assistant Teaching Professor of History in the Humanities and Arts Department at Worcester Polytechnic Institute starting in August 2021. Her research focuses on the history of violence and regime change from a transdisciplinary perspective and the history of women, gender, and sexuality in twentieth-century East Central Europe. She holds a PhD from Central European University (Budapest), and her research has been supported by Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena, the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), the Rockefeller Archive Center, and the Open Society Archives in Budapest.


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


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