Improbable Images: School Photos in Holocaust Europe – Public Lecture and Closing Keynote Address (Aftermath Conference)

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Date(s) - 22/09/2016
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

H1.16 Ground Floor, Building H Monash Caulfield Campus


Improbable Images: School Photos in Holocaust Europe

Professor Marianne Hirsch and Professor Leo Spitzer
2016 Dr Jan Randa Visiting Scholars

Thursday 22 September, 7.30-9pm
Venue: H116 – Ground Floor, H Building
Monash Caulfield Campus

This public lecture is also the Closing Keynote Address of the 2016 Aftermath Conference – which is predominantly a closed academic workshop.

No cost. No Prior Bookings

-Lodz.School children

Reflecting on the persecution of Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe, this lecture looks at school pictures taken in sanctioned and clandestine ghetto schools in the years of the Holocaust.  Jewish photographers, often surreptitiously, took photos of children and teachers, and many of these, hidden during the war, have been recovered.  These archives of possibility are evidentiary records both of the refusal to submit and the hope of survival..

MH PHOTOMarianne Hirsch is William Peterfield Trent Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and Professor in the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality.  She is former President of the Modern Language Association of America. Hirsch’s work combines feminist theory with memory studies, particularly the transmission of memories of violence across generations.  Her recent books include The Generation of Postmemory: Writing and Visual Culture After the Holocaust (2012), (Spanish edition, 2015), Ghosts of Home: The Afterlife of Czernowitz in Jewish Memory, co-authored with Leo Spitzer (2010), and Rites of Return: Diaspora Poetics and the Politics of Memory, co-edited with Nancy K. Miller (2011).  She is one of the founders of Columbia’s Center for the Study of Social Difference. With Leo Spitzer, she is currently working on a book entitled “School Photos in Liquid Time: Archives of Possibility.”  She is also working on a bookon memory studies and practices, “Memory for the Future: Bodies, Sites, Archives, Action.”


Leo Spitzer is the Vernon Professor of History Emeritus at Dartmouth College. A 2014 Research Fellow at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies, South Africa, and current Fellow at the Center for the Study of Social Difference, Columbia University, he is the recipient of numerous fellowships, including a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and a National Humanities Center award. He writes on photography, testimony, and Jewish refugee memory and its transmission.