Conference News

The 3rd Dr Jan Randa Conference in Holocaust and Genocide Studies was introduced with a question which underpinned much of the conference: the question of the uniqueness of the Holocaust and the subsequent legitimacy of using it as a launching pad or reference point from which to discuss other genocides.   Professor Andrew Benjamin raised the concerns of many when he questioned whether this whole debate is destined to remain ‘painfully abstract’.  Yet the conference as a whole proved the very opposite. With scholars from around the world coming together from numerous areas of genocide studies as well as other areas of specialisation, the inconclusiveness of these ongoing questions about the validity of comparative genocide studies proved no hindrance to a dynamic and fruitful ongoing scholarly conversation.

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What emerged was the strength of an interdisciplinary approach to genocide studies which draws on the wealth of research so clearly displayed in this year’s conference.  From historians and theologians to scholars involved in film and media studies, the conference highlighted how academics involved in genocide studies are continually forced to engage in a more practical and public field which confronts the way history is captured and communicated for generations to come.   This imbues every question raised at the conference with a real import and the academics raising them a weighty responsibility: as they discuss and debate questions about archival formation and maintenance, the making and meaning of monuments and memorials, the present and future of museums, the collection and preservation of testimonies and the use of film and literature, scholars involved in genocide studies not only discuss the sites and sources of history and memory, but define, determine and frame their very future. 

 Above all, the conference underscored the evolving reality in which scholars of genocide studies cannot confine themselves to an isolated academic world; rather they are continually called upon in the practical field and deferred to as expert consultants and respected authorities as the uneven terrain of genocide memory and memorialisation is negotiated.   In this context, academic debate simply cannot be ‘painfully abstract’ for it carries a serious responsibility for the practical implementation and realisation of any theory propagated in a conference room.   It is this that made the 3rd Jan Randa Conference such an exceptional display of academia as all those who participated in the debate and discussion had clearly risen to this challenge with an acute sense of their responsibility in giving shape and meaning to genocidal aftermath. 

Katrina Skwarek

 

Conference Registration

The Aftermath conference is open to academics and postgraduate students attached to a university. Please make payment on the Monash E-Cart system by credit card.

REGISTRATION

Registration fees are for the two days (Tuesday and Wednesday 6-7 August) and includes morning and afternoon tea on both days.

  1. Academics – $120.
  2. Postgraduate students – $90.
  3. Monash staff – $90

CONFERENCE DINNER

The conference dinner will be held at Ilona Staller restaurant, 232 Carlisle St, Balaclava on 7 August at 7pm.

The cost is $50 for dinner including a glass of wine. Payment must be made on the Monash e-cart system with your registration to secure a place. 

OPTIONAL TOUR

We have organized a full day tour in the beautiful Yarra Valley. This is scheduled for Monday, 5 August from 9am to 5pm. The tour will include a guided tour of the Healesville Sanctuary, wine tasting  and lunch at a Yarra Valley winery and a visit to the Tarrawarra Art Gallery.

The all inclusive cost for this is $125.

 

Visitors

Discounted accommodation has been negotiated at the venues listed below. When booking your stay, and in order to pay the special rate, please advise that you are visiting Monash University for the Aftermath conference. 
 
Participants in the conference are encouraged to stay in the St Kilda or East st Kilda area. These suburbs are adjacent to Caulfield and the conference will be held at Monash University’s Caulfield campus.

1.  Espresso apartments St Kilda or East St Kilda   www.espressoapartments.com.au 

2.  Quest Kimberley Gardens 441 Inkerman Street East St Kilda http://www.questapartments.com.au/Accommodation/87/Australia/Melbourne_Suburbs/Quest_East_St_Kilda/Welcome.aspx

3. The Cosmopolitan Hotel 6 Carlisle Street St Kilda  www.cosmopolitanhotel.com.au 

4. The Prince Hotel 2 Acland Street St Kilda  http://theprince.com.au/

 

 

Richard Bessel

Richard Bessel is Professor of Twentieth Century History. He works on the social and political history of modern Germany, the aftermath of the two world wars and the history of policing. He is a member of the Editorial Boards of German History and History Today.

He is currently a Senior Fellow at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies.

Richard Bessel’s early research concerned the rise of the Nazi movement in eastern Germany. He was particularly concerned to explore the nature and role of political violence in the Nazi takeover, and was among the first western scholars to use materials in Polish archives to investigate themes in modern German history.

Subsequently he turned his attention to the First World War and its aftermath, producing a major study of the demobilisation in Germany and the extent to which the legacy of the War affected politics and society during the Weimar Republic. He also became increasingly interested in the forces of ‘order’, first examining the police in Weimar Germany and more recently embarking on research on the police in East Germany after 1945.

His most recent book is about Germany in 1945, and more generally on the emergence of the German people from the violence and trauma of Nazism and war. As such, this forms part of a broader research interest on the social, cultural and psychological legacies of the violence of the Second World War across Europe. He is currently working on a ‘brief history of violence.

     
     
     

 

Hasia Diner

Hasia Diner is the Paul and Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History at New York University, with joint appointment in the department of history and the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies. She is also director of the Goldstein Goren Center for American Jewish History. She has built her scholarly career around the study of American Jewish history, American immigration and ethnic history, and the history of American women. She has written about the ways in which American Jews in the early twentieth century reacted to the issue of race and the suffering of African Americans, and the process by which American Jews came to invest deep meaning in New York’s Lower East Side. Her most recent book, We Remember with Reverence and Love: American Jews and the Myth of Silence After the Holocaust (2009) won the National Jewish Book Award in the category of American Jewish Studies. She has also written about other immigrant groups and the contours of their migration and settlement, including a study of Irish immigrant women and of Irish, Italian, and east European Jewish foodways.

 

Ben Kiernan

Professor Kiernan obtained his Ph.D. from Monash University, Australia, in 1983. He is the author of Blood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination from Sparta to Darfur (2007), which won the 2008 gold medal for the best book in History awarded by the Independent Publishers association, and the U.S. German Studies Association’s 2009 Sybil Halpern Milton Memorial Book Prize for the best book published in 2007-2008 dealing with Nazi Germany and the Holocaust in its broadest context, covering the fields of history, political science, and other social sciences, literature, art, and photography. In June 2009, the book’s German translation,Erde und Blut: Völkermord und Vernichtung von der Antike bis heute, won first place in Germany’s Nonfiction Book of the Month Prize Die Sachbücher des Monats, sponsored bySüddeutsche Zeitung and NDR Kultur.

Kiernan is also the author of Genocide and Resistance in Southeast Asia: Documentation, Denial and Justice in Cambodia and East Timor (2007), How Pol Pot Came to Power: Colonialism, Nationalism, and Communism in Cambodia, 1930-1975 (1985, 2004), Cambodia: The Eastern Zone Massacres (1986), The Pol Pot Regime: Race, Power and Genocide in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, 1975-1979 (1996, 2002, 2008), and Le Génocide au Cambodge, 1975-1979: Race, idéologie, et pouvoir (1998). He is the co-author of Khmers Rouges ! Matériaux pour l’histoire du communisme au Cambodge (1981), Peasants and Politics in Kampuchea, 1942-1981 (1982), and Cambodge: Histoire et enjeux (1986), and has published numerous articles on Southeast Asia and the history of genocide. He is a member of the editorial boards of Critical Asian StudiesHuman Rights Review, and Zeitschrift für Genozidforschung.

He was founding Director of the Cambodian Genocide Program (1994-99) and Convenor of the Yale East Timor Project (2000-02). Kiernan’s edited collection Conflict and Change in Cambodiawon the Critical Asian Studies Prize for 2002, and was republished as a book in 2006. He is also the editor of Genocide and Democracy in Cambodia: The Khmer Rouge, the United Nations, and the International Community (1993), and Burchett: Reporting the Other Side of the World, 1939-1983 (1986), and co-editor of Revolution and Its Aftermath in Kampuchea (1983), Pol Pot Plans the Future: Confidential Leadership Documents from Democratic Kampuchea, 1976-1977 (1988), and The Specter of Genocide: Mass Murder in Historical Perspective (2003).

His undergraduate courses include Southeast Asia from Earliest Times to 1900, Southeast Asia since 1900, Vietnamese History from Earliest Times, The Vietnam War, Environmental History of Southeast Asia, and graduate seminars on the Vietnam War and on various aspects of the history of genocide.

 

Conference Program

The Aftermath Conference Program is available for download here (PDF)

 

SPEAKER BIOGRAPHIES AND PAPER EXTRACTS

 

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

Professor Richard Bessel: The University of York

Richard Bessel is Professor of Twentieth Century History. He works on the social and political history of modern Germany, the aftermath of the two world wars and the history of policing. He is a member of the Editorial Boards of German History and History Today.

He is currently a Senior Fellow at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies.

Richard Bessel’s early research concerned the rise of the Nazi movement in eastern Germany. He was particularly concerned to explore the nature and role of political violence in the Nazi takeover, and was among the first western scholars to use materials in Polish archives to investigate themes in modern German history.

Subsequently he turned his attention to the First World War and its aftermath, producing a major study of the demobilisation in Germany and the extent to which the legacy of the War affected politics and society during the Weimar Republic. He also became increasingly interested in the forces of ‘order’, first examining the police in Weimar Germany and more recently embarking on research on the police in East Germany after 1945.

His most recent book is about Germany in 1945, and more generally on the emergence of the German people from the violence and trauma of Nazism and war. As such, this forms part of a broader research interest on the social, cultural and psychological legacies of the violence of the Second World War across Europe. He is currently working on a ‘brief history of violence.

From Bonfeld to Bikernieki: Paths of murder and memory

This lecture is an attempt to engage with the history and memory of genocide by describing the path of the deportation and murder of a single German-Jewish family in late 1941 and early 1942. The lecture will consist of three interrelated parts: 1) an account of the deportation and death of the Familie Zion, from their home in a small farming village in south-western Germany to their murder on the outskirts of the Latvian capital Riga; 2) an examination of how various sites along that path have or have not been commemorated, and what the implications of this are for our understanding of what occurred; and 3) a discussion of the relationship of the historian, and of the public, to events that are part of our own history.

 


Professor Hasia Diner : New York University

Hasia Diner is the Paul and Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History at New York University, with joint appointment in the department of history and the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies. She is also director of the Goldstein Goren Center for American Jewish History. She has built her scholarly career around the study of American Jewish history, American immigration and ethnic history, and the history of American women. She has written about the ways in which American Jews in the early twentieth century reacted to the issue of race and the suffering of African Americans, and the process by which American Jews came to invest deep meaning in New York’s Lower East Side. Her most recent book, We Remember with Reverence and Love: American Jews and the Myth of Silence After the Holocaust (2009) won the National Jewish Book Award in the category of American Jewish Studies. She has also written about other immigrant groups and the contours of their migration and settlement, including a study of Irish immigrant women and of Irish, Italian, and east European Jewish foodways.

No generation of silence: American Jews confront the Holocaust, 1945-1967

In the first decades after the end of World War II and the revelations of the horrendous deaths of six million Jews, American Jewry embarked on a vast, spontaneous, and unorganized memorial process. In the public sphere, in their publications, organizations, and institutions, they made much of the recent catastrophe and they likewise featured it prominently in their political engagements with American society more broadly. While scholars at the end of the twentieth century claimed that a culture of silence reigned and that American Jews refused to claim the Holocaust, the historic record tells a very different story.

 

Professor Ben Kiernan : Yale University

Professor Kiernan obtained his Ph.D. from Monash University, Australia, in 1983. He is the author of Blood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination from Sparta to Darfur (2007), which won the 2008 gold medal for the best book in History awarded by the Independent Publishers association, and the U.S. German Studies Association’s 2009 Sybil Halpern Milton Memorial Book Prize for the best book published in 2007-2008 dealing with Nazi Germany and the Holocaust in its broadest context, covering the fields of history, political science, and other social sciences, literature, art, and photography. In June 2009, the book’s German translation,Erde und Blut: Völkermord und Vernichtung von der Antike bis heute, won first place in Germany’s Nonfiction Book of the Month Prize Die Sachbücher des Monats, sponsored bySüddeutsche Zeitung and NDR Kultur.

Kiernan is also the author of Genocide and Resistance in Southeast Asia: Documentation, Denial and Justice in Cambodia and East Timor (2007), How Pol Pot Came to Power: Colonialism, Nationalism, and Communism in Cambodia, 1930-1975 (1985, 2004), Cambodia: The Eastern Zone Massacres (1986), The Pol Pot Regime: Race, Power and Genocide in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, 1975-1979 (1996, 2002, 2008), and Le Génocide au Cambodge, 1975-1979: Race, idéologie, et pouvoir (1998). He is the co-author of Khmers Rouges ! Matériaux pour l’histoire du communisme au Cambodge (1981), Peasants and Politics in Kampuchea, 1942-1981 (1982), and Cambodge: Histoire et enjeux (1986), and has published numerous articles on Southeast Asia and the history of genocide. He is a member of the editorial boards of Critical Asian Studies, Human Rights Review, and Zeitschrift für Genozidforschung.

He was founding Director of the Cambodian Genocide Program (1994-99) and Convenor of the Yale East Timor Project (2000-02). Kiernan’s edited collection Conflict and Change in Cambodiawon the Critical Asian Studies Prize for 2002, and was republished as a book in 2006. He is also the editor of Genocide and Democracy in Cambodia: The Khmer Rouge, the United Nations, and the International Community (1993), and Burchett: Reporting the Other Side of the World, 1939-1983 (1986), and co-editor of Revolution and Its Aftermath in Kampuchea (1983), Pol Pot Plans the Future: Confidential Leadership Documents from Democratic Kampuchea, 1976-1977 (1988), and The Specter of Genocide: Mass Murder in Historical Perspective (2003).

His undergraduate courses include Southeast Asia from Earliest Times to 1900, Southeast Asia since 1900, Vietnamese History from Earliest Times, The Vietnam War, Environmental History of Southeast Asia, and graduate seminars on the Vietnam War and on various aspects of the history of genocide.

Documenting the Khmer Rouge Regime: Two decades of the Cambodian Genocide Program at Yale

In 1994, Yale University’s Cambodian Genocide Program launched a project to document the history of the Khmer Rouge regime (1975-79) and its crimes. The CGP received the first of three large U.S. State Department research grants, established a Phnom Penh field office — the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam) — and organised a public conference in Phnom Penh on the legal options for bringing surviving Khmer Rouge leaders to justice. From 1995 to 2001, the CGP appointed, equipped, trained and funded the Cambodian staff of DC-Cam, which in 1997 became an independent locally-run institute. The CGP and DC-Cam located and preserved various collections of primary sources, including a 100,000-page archive previously unknown to scholars, that of the Khmer Rouge secret police, the Santebal, which has proved a key documentary resource for the UN-sponsored trials of Khmer Rouge leaders that began in 2007. Working with the University of New South Wales under a grant from the Australian Government, the CGP and DC-Cam catalogued these and other archives on the period. With the support of the Government of the Netherlands, the CGP, UNSW, and DC-Cam mapped approximately 400 mass graves of the Khmer Rouge regime. At Yale in 1997 the CGP launched a multilingual website, which included a bibliographic catalogue and three other large databases of photographic, biographic, and geographic evidence of Khmer Rouge crimes, to which were added in 2005, extensive electronic records of the 1965-75 U.S. bombing of Cambodia. From 1998 to 2005, Yale’s Sterling Library, the CGP, and DC-Cam microfilmed 482 reels of archives of the Santebal and other Khmer Rouge operations. From 1998 to 2013, the CGP translated several collections of Khmer Rouge documents into English and published fourteen books and Working Papers of historical analysis.

 

 

 

Professor Jay Winter : Yale University

Jay M. Winter, the Charles J. Stille Professor of History, is a specialist on World War I and its impact on the 20th century.

His other interests include remembrance of war in the 20th century, such as memorial and mourning sites, European population decline, the causes and institutions of war, British popular culture in the era of the Great War and the Armenian genocide of 1915.

Winter is the author or co-author of a dozen books, including Rene Cassin et les droits de l’homme (Paris: Fayard), co-authored with Antoine Prost, won the prize for best book of the year at the Blois History festival in 2011; Socialism and the Challenge of War, Ideas and Politics in Britain, 1912-18, The Great War and the British People, The Fear of Population Decline, The Experience of World War I, Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History, 1914-1918: The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century,Remembering War: The Great War between History and Memory in the 20th Century, andDreams of Peace and Freedom: Utopian Moments in the 20th Century.

He has edited or co-edited 13 books and contributed more than 40 book chapters to edited volumes. He is co-director of the project on Capital Cities at War: Paris, London, Berlin 1914-1919, which has produced two volumes, the first on social and economic history, published by Cambridge University in 1997, and the second published by Cambridge in 2007. A Cultural History (with Jean-Louis Robert). Work in preparation includes ‘The Degeneration of War,’ ‘The Social Construction of Silence,’ and ‘Anxious futures: population politics in the 21st century.’

Jay Winter was co-producer, co-writer and chief historian for the PBS series “The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century,” which won an Emmy Award, a Peabody Award and a Producers Guild of America Award for best television documentary in 1997.

Beyond redemption: the angel of history before and after the Holocaust

During and after the First World War, commemoration encompassed many elements, but redemptive messages were salient among them. ‘ Never again’ was a phrase which emerged during the 1914-18 conflict, but ‘never’ lasted for 21 years. After the Holocaust, redemptive messages had a taste as of ashes to them. The restoration of the lives of the survivors came before the restoration of the force of the symbolic language of redemption, so evident a generation earlier. The return of classical, romantic, and religious messages, striking after 1918, was rendered virtually impossible by the Holocaust, marking a break in signifying practices bearing directly on commemorative forms for subsequent catastrophes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRESENTERS

 

Dr Avril Alba, presenting in a panel with Associate Professor Jennifer Barrett and Professor Dirk Moses  

Panel: The Holocaust, human rights and the contemporary museum

The Sydney Jewish Museum (SJM) stands on the cusp of a major renovation of its permanent Holocaust exhibition. The factors compelling the development are the passing of the survivor generation, the age of the current permanent exhibition and the demands of ‘contemporary relevance’. At present, the concept of Human Rights is the dominant paradigm within which this generational shift seems set to occur. Exactly how this paradigm will be utilized within the context of the SJM provides a local example of a much larger, global museological trend: the desire to frame the Holocaust within more universalistic theoretical and political frameworks. Our panel engages with the potentialities and limitations of this transition, seeking to ascertain whether it is possible to create an Australian contribution to an increasingly significant global discourse within the context of the SJM.

 

Dr Avril Alba : University of Sydney

Avril is the Roth Lecturer in Holocaust Studies and Jewish Civilisation in the Department of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies at the University of Sydney. From 2002-2011 she was the Education Director at the Sydney Jewish Museum where she also served as the Project Director/Curator for the refurbishment of the Sydney Jewish Museum’s permanent exhibition Culture and Continuity in 2008-09. She holds a BA (Hons)/BMus from the University of Adelaide and a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard University. She received her doctorate in History from the University of Sydney in May 2011. Her doctoral thesis, Redeeming the Holocaust: Uncovering the Sacred Narratives of the Secular Museum explored the largely unexamined topic of museums as sacred spaces. Avril is currently continuing her research into Holocaust museums, memorials and commemoration through a collaborative project that will seek to ascertain the influence and reach of Holocaust memory in the Australian context.

Holocaust memory in Australia: Private or public domain?

With a generational shift from witnesses to post witnesses underway, the original emphasis of the SJM’s founding survivors is being reassessed by their descendants in order to achieve the SJM’s current mission of ‘contemporary relevance’. The new generation of museum leadership is asking: Is the Holocaust of European Jewry radically opposed to the Australian experience or does its memory extend and deepen understandings of ongoing issues of racism in Australia, including the historical as well as ongoing discrimination against Indigenous Australians? Where does the memory of the Holocaust intersect and inform current national debates as to the status and treatment of refugees? And, in addressing these and related concerns, can the memory of the Holocaust housed at the SJM provide a framework for public education with regard to human rights and genocide in both national and international contexts? In other words, does the original, survivor-driven focus of the SJM’s founders serve the institution’s current mission ‘to inspire mutual respect and cross cultural understanding in our society’, or must this focus be reviewed and recast to allow the universal resonance of Holocaust memory to be felt in both national and international forums? This paper addresses whether and how the Holocaust memory housed at the SJM can be harnessed to speak to these and other concerns.

 

Stephen Bain : University of Melbourne (together with Andre Brett and Thomas Rogers. A panel: Genocide on the nineteenth-century Australasian frontier)

Stephen Bain is a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne with an interest in colonial Australian legal institutions. His thesis examines the Port Phillip Aboriginal Protectorate.

The problem of intent: the Lettsom Raid and genocide frameworks in Colonial Victoria

Debate in Australia over the suitability of genocide – as typified by the Holocaust and subsequent efforts to define genocide, including the Genocide Convention – as a conceptual framework to describe the experience of Indigenous Australians at the hands of white settlement has in large part concentrated upon the question of whether government actions or policies have disclosed genocidal intent. This question is particularly prominent in debates relating to child removal and the experiences of the stolen generations, but it is also present in discussions of frontier conflict in the colonial period. Encountering the problem of intent, various historians have proposed alternative frameworks – focusing on acts of genocide, or the foreseeability of genocidal outcomes – derived but distinct from those developed to conceptualise the Holocaust.

This paper will consider these debates and the problem of genocidal intent with reference to the so-called Lettsom raid, which occurred in the Port Phillip District in 1840. Ostensibly a police action, though carried out by military personnel under the command of Major Samuel Lettsom, the raid involved the indiscriminate mass arrest of several hundred Aboriginal people and their subsequent imprisonment in Melbourne. Two people died during the course of the raid, which was instigated in response to conflict in the Goulburn River region in the north of the District. An exploration of the colonial government’s intent in authorising the raid, and of the outcomes it anticipated, may shed new light on the utility of genocide frameworks in conceptualising the Australian frontier.

 


 

Annabelle Baldwin : Monash University

I am a PhD candidate at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. My work looks at sexual violence against Jewish women in the Holocaust, and in particular, how this experience was dependent on the temporal and physical location of the assault – in camps, in hiding, in ghettos, during the initial occupation period and after liberation. My work utilises the testimonies of Jewish survivors conducted and held by the USC Shoah Foundation Institute’s Visual History Archive and considers how this Archive’s collection of testimonies about sexual violence contributes to the existing research on this topic.

Investigating sexual violence during the Holocaust: Memory, oral testimony and the Shoah Foundation Institute’s Visual History Archive

When investigating sexual violence during the Holocaust, the sources produced by perpetrators and bystanders say very little about the experience of sexual violence and the vulnerability of women. The field relies heavily on survivor testimony to fill in the gaps left by the written source material. The Shoah Foundation Institute’s Visual History Archive houses the largest collection of survivor testimonies that discuss sexual violence, with over 1,700 interviews that reference sexual assault. This archive provides the survivor testimonies that most scholars working on the topic of sexual violence during the Holocaust rely on.

These testimonies, collected in the 1990s from all over the world, are invaluable in providing details about the experience of sexual violence during the Holocaust for Jewish women. The timing of the project, some fifty years after the end of the war, meant that survivors had time to think about their experiences of sexual violence and many survivors have reached a point where they feel that they can emotionally bear to talk about it. In addition, the project itself, with its large scope and its mission to record the memories so they could ‘never be forgotten’, impacted upon the way that stories of sexual violence were told and the way that they were collected.

My research involves listening to all of the English language testimonies, and determining what these testimonies can tell us about the experience and memory of sexual violence during the Holocaust and how this is presented to researchers through the archive. This paper explores the challenges and opportunities presented by the collection of testimonies that deal with issues of sexual violence in the Shoah Foundation Institute’s Visual History Archive, and how its processes and definitions impact upon the evidence stored within it.

 


 

Associate Professor Jennifer Barrett : University of Sydney

JENNIFER BARRETT has published on museums, art, culture and the public sphere. Her current research examines the concept of universalism as it relates museums and human rights.
Her monograph, Museums and the Public Sphere, was published in 2011 (Wiley-Blackwell) and her co-authored monograph with Jacqueline Millner, Australian Artists and Museums, will be published in 2013 (Ashgate Publishing) and has been supported by the Visual Arts Board of the Australia Council. In 2008 she led an Australian International Cultural Council project in Indonesia with the Presidential Palace Museums and currently collaborates with the University of Hong Kong on a museum studies program to support developments in their museum sector. Since 2000 she was Director of Museum Studies at the University of Sydney until 2011 and has held positions in the Faculty of Arts, including Pro Dean (2010), Associate Dean Postgraduate Coursework (2008-2009) and is currently Pro Dean Academic in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Prior to her posting at the University of Sydney she was a member of Art History Department at the University of Western Sydney.

Human rights and Holocaust museums : An Australian contribution?

In the late twentieth century, the role of the museum as a space of public inclusion was hotly debated and the accompanying scholarly discourse, the ‘new museology’ and more recent critical museology challenged museum practitioners and researchers to rethink the role of the museum in the public sphere. What is only beginning to be examined, however, is how distinct communities become both producers and consumers of culture within the museum context. Addressing this lacuna, this paper explores how the SJM, as a community museum, envisages itself as both a reflection of, and contributor to, debates of national and international importance. The potential and challenges for a community Holocaust museum to provide an entry point into national and international debates surrounding issues of discrimination, genocide and human rights are investigated and the advantages and possible pitfalls of such an approach are discussed.

 

 


 

Professor Andrew Benjamin : Monash University

Andrew Benjamin is Professor of Philosophy and Jewish Studies in the Faculty of Arts at Monash University. His forthcoming book is Working with Walter Benjamin. Recovering a Political Philosophy. Edinburgh University Press.

Was the Shoah just a particular genocide? Particularity, uniqueness and questions of universality.

Of the philosophical or theoretical problems that attend the Shoah, one whose presence registers with an exacting acuity concerns claims -positive or negative – as to whether the Shoah is a unique event with a unique referent. If it is not unique, and thus what Fackenheim refers to as a ‘novum’,then it may be that its Jewish dimension is merely a particular and thus subsumable within the broarder concerns of genocide studies. On the other hand, if it is unique then it cannot be be compared to other genocides. Rather than attempt to resolve this problem the aim of this paper will be to investigate what is staged by claims about uniqueness or its denial.

 

Associate Professor Deidre Boyle: School of Media Studies, The New School, New York City

Deirdre Boyle is Associate Professor in the School of Media Studies at the New School in New York City and former Director of their Graduate Certificate in Documentary Studies. She is the author of Subject to Change: Guerrilla Television Revisited (Oxford Univ. Press, 1997) among other books and numerous essays on the documentary in books and journals such as: Cineaste, Frameworks, The Independent, Millennium Film Journal, Short Film Studies, Wide Angle, and in Documentary Testimonies: Global Archives of Suffering, eds. Bhaskar Sarkar and Janet Walker, AFI Film series (Routledge, 2009) and Challenge for Change: Activist Documentary at the National Film Board of Canada, eds. Thomas Waugh, Michael Brendan Baker and Ezra Winton, (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2010), among others. She has been awarded the New School’s Distinguished Teaching Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, Fulbright Fellowship, Asian Cultural Council Fellowships, and an Ace Award for Best Documentary Series on cable TV. She is also a licensed social worker with a special interest in trauma, grief, and loss.

Interviewing the devil: Confronting Cambodia’s masters of genocide

Two new films by survivors of Cambodia’s genocide interview some of the people responsible for the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror. Rithy Panh’s Duch, Master of the Forges of Hellis an extended interview with the head of S-21, the infamous prison where roughly 14,000 were tortured and executed; he was the first defendant in the UN-Cambodian tribunal and was sentenced to life imprisonment. Enemies of the People was made by print journalist Thet Sambath who spent ten years patiently interviewing Brother Number Two, Nuon Chea, chief ideologue of the KR, who is currently on trial for crimes against humanity. Sambath worked with British filmmaker Rob Lemkin, nephew of Rafael Lemkin, the man responsible for the inclusion of genocide into international law.

This essay compares different cinematic approaches to the cinematic prosecution of unreliable witnesses taken by Panh and Lemkin and Sambath and evaluates their respective effectiveness and limitations using the modernist paradigm articulated by historian Hayden White. In the process the essay explores whether shibboleths for representing genocide originally developed for the Shoah apply to other times and cultures and genocides. In conclusion, this paper revisits the question Hannah Arendt raised when contemplating another show trial for genocide perpetrators–who is responsible for evil?

 

André Brett : University of Melbourne (together with Stephen Bain and Thomas Rogers. A panel: Genocide on the nineteenth-century Australasian frontier)

André Brett is a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne with interests in colonial and Pacific history, especially the development and expansion of the colonial state in nineteenth century New Zealand. He has taught post-colonial genocide at the University of Melbourne. His thesis examines the creation and demise of New Zealand’s provincial system of government, 1853-76, and he has a wider interest in how public works have shaped New Zealand society and affected Maori-Pakeha relations.

The Moriori genocide on New Zealand’s Chatham Islands: Colonial genocide, the Holocaust, and politicisation

The extermination of the Moriori on New Zealand’s Chatham Islands (Rekohu/Wharekauri) by two North Island Maori iwi (tribes) does not fit neatly into the legal or scholarly frameworks of genocide. It took place at the furthest frontier of British colonialism, with the bulk of the violence occurring before the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 or the formal annexation of the Chathams in 1842. Narratives of colonial genocides that assume the destruction of an indigenous people by a colonising power or settler society are inadequate for understanding the position of the Moriori. British/Pakeha involvement was minimal. The colonial encounter indirectly shaped the broader context of the genocide, and Pakeha ignorance and inaction compounded the plight of the Moriori, but Pakeha were not the perpetrators. Rather, another colonised group perpetrated the genocide. Contemporary politicisation of the Moriori, especially the invocation of the Holocaust within New Zealand’s post-colonial discourse of domestic race relations, serves further to obscure the reality of what happened on the Chathams and does not help to locate the Moriori experience within the discipline of genocide studies. The Moriori genocide raises difficult questions about definitions, guilt, and conceptual frameworks. These necessitate a new perspective in the study of colonial and indigenous genocides.

 

 


 

Dr Adam Brown : Deakin University (together with  Dr Deb Waterhouse-Watson : Monash University)

Dr Adam Brown is a Lecturer in Media, Communication and Public Relations at Deakin University, and works as a volunteer at the Jewish Holocaust Centre in Melbourne. He is the author of Judging ‘Privileged’ Jews: Holocaust Ethics, Representation and the ‘Grey Zone’ (Berghahn, 2013) and co-author of Communication, New Media and Everyday Life (Oxford UP, 2011). Intensely interested in human and animal rights issues, Adam’s interdisciplinary research has spanned Holocaust representation across various genres, surveillance and film, mediations of rape, digital children’s television culture, and new media. Academia profile: http://deakin.academia.edu/AdamBrown

Between Whores and Heroes : Screening women’s complicity during the Holocaust

The cultural context within which those who attempt to represent the complexities of human behaviour – particularly women’s behaviour – during the Holocaust is a problematic one. Reflecting this, Laura Sjoberg and Caron Gentry have pointed to the ‘monster, mother and whore narratives’ that so often characterise depictions of female Nazi perpetrators. Sexualised images of ‘Nazi girls’ proliferate both traditional media and the online world; thus the ‘screening’ of women’s complicity frequently involves as much a process of concealment as one of exposure. The important subject of women’s participation in the Nazi regime proves particularly contentious when it is negotiated in the arena of Holocaust film. From (s)exploitation films such as Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS (1975) to more ‘serious’ attempt to represent the Nazi past, fictional narratives in which the eroticised bodies of women are exploited for voyeuristic purposes permeate Holocaust cinema. Such (mis)representations of women have often painted history with heavily gendered meanings, re-inscribing patriarchal understandings of the event.

In recent years, an extensive literature has cemented popular culture as a legitimate subject of analysis; however, the subject of women (and especially women’s complicity) on film has yet to become a central concern. Focusing on this issue, we argue that film can play a valuable role in negotiating the complex and sensitive issue of women’s complicity. Through a close analysis of Andrzej Munk’s unfinished Polish film Passenger (1963), only recently releasedcommercially to the viewing public, and Cate Shortland’s German-Australian co-production,

Lore (2012), we contend that Holocaust films do have the potential to provide nuanced portrayals of women’s complicity. The unconventional modes of representation in these films can be seen to engage with issues of moral ambiguity and compromise, expose tabooed issues of sexuality and rape, and subvert the trend in mainstream Holocaust cinema to demonise and fetishise women.

 


 

Danielle Christmas : University of Illinois at Chicago

Danielle Christmas is a Ph.D. Candidate in American Literature at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her dissertation, Auschwitz and the Plantation: Labor and Social Death in American Holocaust and Slavery Fiction, concerns how literary and film representations of Holocaust and slavery perpetrators inform socioeconomic discourses. She has received a number of prizes including the Abraham Lincoln Graduate Fellowship, the Holocaust Education Foundation’s Summer Institute Fellowship, and the Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the United States President’s Award. Recent conference presentations include “When the Holocaust Comes to Harlem” at the 127th Annual American Historical Association Conference, and “Slaving to Kill Jews” at the 44th Annual Conference of the Association for Jewish Studies. Danielle will finish her degree in May 2014. A fuller description of her research and accomplishments can be found at her website, daniellechristmas.com.

The Plantation-Auschwitz Tradition: Reimagining Slavery in Sophie’s Choice and The Confessions of Nat Turner

In this paper, I will discuss William Styron’s Sophie’s Choice (1979) and The Confessions of Nat Turner (1967). In Styron’s novels and the responses to them, two burgeoning discourses emerge: a commitment to the idea that economic motives can explain the histories of the Holocaust and slavery, and the different but equally developing commitment to the idea that racial sentiments against blacks and Jews are the defining feature of these histories. After demonstrating Styron’s commitment to an economic explanation, I will describe the fate of that economic explanation in Stanley Engerman’s and William Fogel’s controversial history of slavery, Time on the Cross (1974).  All of these works were controversial because critics claimed they failed to take racism seriously and, in failing to do so, produced what were regarded as exculpatory accounts of Holocaust and slavery perpetrators.  Finally, then, my interest is in the emerging consensus that, because an account based in self-interest is exculpatory, what we understand to be racist crimes can only be understood through the lens of inexplicable and unpardonable evil. 

 

Rachel Deblinger : University of California, Los Angeles

Rachel Deblinger is a Doctoral Candidate in the UCLA History Department. She is currently writing her dissertation, “‘In a world still trembling’: American Jewish philanthropy and the shaping of Holocaust survivor narratives in postwar America (1945-1953),” which explores how American Jews came to know stories about Holocaust survivors in the early postwar period through the efforts of American Jewish communal organizations to aid survivors in Europe. Her research traces the representation of Holocaust survivors to the earliest postwar years, providing a necessary history of survivor representation in America before the 1980s and ‘90s and considers how particular forms of media transmission (print, radio, film) create meaning and define narrative construction.

Her essay, David P. Boder: Holocaust Memory in Displaced Persons Camps appears in After the Holocaust: challenging the myth of silence, edited by David Cesarani, and Eric J. Sundquist (London: Routledge, 2012).

Rachel is currently the Rabbi Joachim Prinz Memorial Fellow at the American Jewish Archive and during the academic year 2011-12, she was the Samuel and Flora Weiss Research Fellow at YIVO and a Charles H. Revson Foundation Fellow in residence at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. Rachel holds a MA in Comparative History from Brandeis University and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Colgate University.

Broadcasting survivor voices: listening to Holocaust narratives on postwar American radio

This paper engages with long overlooked radio broadcasts about the Holocaust in the late 1940s and 50s that featured survivor narratives in speeches, interviews, and performed radio dramas. These broadcasts were often intended to attract diverse audiences, including Jews and non-Jews across the country, to advocate for changed immigration policies, raise funds for relief efforts, and spread awareness of the DP crisis in Europe. As such, they offer a unique way to think about American responses to the Holocaust in the early postwar period and how American audiences first heard survivor voices.

These sources provide access to understanding how American Jewish communal organizations used available technologies at the time to convey stories about Holocaust survivors and make meaning about the Holocaust for American audiences. Considering them as audio sources calls attention to their value not only as Holocaust narratives, but as public discourse constructed for entertainment and consumption. By appealing directly to the listener and dramatizing the experiences of Holocaust survivors, early postwar radio shows disembodied survivor voices and now challenge notions about authenticity in survivor narratives, suggesting that the source of authenticity has shifted over time. Inserting these early radio broadcasts into the contemporary conversation about authenticity and voice adds a new layer for understanding the debate between video and audio testimony. Additionally, the paper suggests that these programs can be seen as a model for thinking about narratives constructed in response to contemporary humanitarian crises.

Analyzing radio broadcasts of Holocaust narratives generated in reaction to the DP crisis in postwar Europe shows that organizational responses to humanitarian crises create narratives that impact how people around the world hear eyewitness accounts and understand historical events

 

Dr Daniella Doron : Monash University

Dr. Daniella Doron is a Lecturer in Holocaust and Genocide Studies in the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation, within the School of Philosophical and Historical Studies, a position supported through the philanthropy of Naomi Milgrom. She received her Ph.D. in 2009 from the Departments of History and Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University, where she defended a dissertation entitled In the Best Interest of the Child: Family, Youth, and Identity in Postwar France, 1944-1954. Most recently she was the 2010-2012 Schusterman Postdoctoral Fellow in Jewish Studies at Colgate University, offering courses in modern Jewish history, Jewish history and autobiography, and Jewish migration and diaspora. Previously, she was the 2009-2010 Ray D. Wolfe Postdoctoral Fellow in Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto, where she offered courses on Postwar Jewish history and Children and the Holocaust.

Narratives of child abduction and apostasy: The question of forgiveness in post-Holocaust France
This paper will examine why the issue of the return of so-called Jewish ‘lost children’ captured the communal imagination of French Jews in the aftermath of the Holocaust. Soon after the war international Jewish agencies launched into the task of locating traces of Jewish lost children: youth who had been hidden with non-Jewish families throughout the theater of war, sometimes in abusive and sometimes in loving circumstances. In particular, Jewish agencies and ordinary individuals feared the influence of Christianity on Europe’s youngest Jewish survivors. This issue appeared as a leitmotif in the Jewish press, and well as garnered a surprising degree of concern amongst Jewish individuals who penned letters to agencies about the troubling topic. And yet evidence suggested that the subject of lost children was largely mythical. Postwar Jewish leaders believed that few children remained unmonitored and unknown to Jewish agencies. In other words, in their private discussions they did not consider it a pressing problem, but nonetheless highlighted the hot topic of lost children in their public pronouncements and organizational periodicals. This presentation will focus on how these narratives of child abduction and apostasy—long a trope both within Jewish and French history—of Jewish children functioned as a springboard for discussions about the security of Jews within the French nation after Vichy. French Jews carefully worded the topic of rescuing Jewish children in the language of gratitude and the valorization of French republicanism, but their concerns about Jewish children remaining in the hands of non-Jews also bespoke a level of insecurity about their safety and equality in the newly rebuilt France.

 

Jeremiah Garsha : San Francisco State University

Jeremiah Garsha is a graduate student in the Department of History at San Francisco State University. His research interests include comparative genocide and the collisions of African and European history under colonialism. He is currently writing his thesis on German, British, and American anti-colonial intellectual thought in fin de siècle literature, and has published numerous articles on memory politics and memorialization. Beyond academia, he has also worked as a genocide monitor for Zimbabwe under the aegis of the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation, in partnership with the United Nations’ Office of the Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide.

Who owns the atrocity? Memorials in Californian and Namibian public spaces

Abstract: Using Imre Kertész’s 2001 essay “Who Owns Auschwitz,” as a jumping off point, this paper takes a comparative approach in examining the changing memorial representations of two colonial genocides; the indigenous Poma people of California and the Herero and Nama in German South West Africa, today Namibia. While temporally and geographically removed from one another, the production (and silencing) of historical memory unites these genocides under emerging and shifting national narratives. This paper contextualizes contemporary sites of historical memory of these genocides—in public memorials and monuments—by tracing their current presentation back through the transformations these sites have undergone. The paper particularly focuses on the commission and changes to plaques marking the site of the Pomo Indian massacre at Bloody Island in Clear Lake, California, and the transformation of the Shark Island concentration camp, off the coast of Luderitz, Namibia, into a municipal campground for tourists, as well as the cemetery of Swakopmund, Namibia, which until 2005, allowed all terrain vehicles to drive over thousand of unmarked indigenous graves. The paper further explores the Namibian preservation of inherited monuments honoring the fallen German colonial perpetrators and the co-option of the Pomo massacre site by the “Native Sons of the Golden West,” an Anglo-American organization. Overall this paper unpacks the strategies of preservation, transformation, and commemoration of these genocides as they relate to the construction and shifts in national narratives, underscoring the interplay of physical locations in the construction of remembering and forgetting atrocious history.

 

Dr Gideon Greif : Tel Aviv University

Dr. Gideon Greif is an Israeli Historian, and a world-famous researcher on Auschwitz and the “Sonderkommando” in Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Greif is Chief Historian at “Shem Olam – Faith and the Holocaust” Institute in Israel, Chief Historian at the Foundation for Holocaust Education Projects in Miami, Professor for Jewish History at the Tel Aviv University and Professor for Jewish History at the University of Texas at Austin. He wrote numerous books and articles on the Holocaust. He is lecturing on the Holocaust all over the world.

The unread Sources on the Holocaust and their value for the understanding, teaching and researching of the Holocaust

The common assumption among scholars, historians and educators is, that we have by now read all the relevant materials on the Holocaust, have been acquainted to all written and oral materials and nothing can surprise us anymore concerning the Holocaust, its facts, processes and its outcome.

The author of this paper has come to the surprising conclusion, that most educated people, even experts on the Holocaust, have not yet read and studied even 5 percent of the written and oral materials existing in archives and in libraries.

The outcome is a certain ignorance, superficiality and mixture of facts, evidences and some basic misunderstandings, even among professionals. The paper explains where all those precious fortunes of historical materials on the Holocaust can be found and studied, and describes what are the main fields which still have to be read, learned and taught. It is a surprising, bothering truth, which can be corrected and ameliorated.

As a “case study” this paper deals with the “Yossele Karmin” collection of testimonies by Holocaust survivors in Israel.

 

 


 

Professor Sean Hand : University of Warwick

Seán Hand is Professor of French at the University of Warwick, UK. He is the author of Emmanuel Levinas (Routledge, 2008),  Alter Ego: The Critical Writings of Michel Leiris (Legenda, 2004), and Michel Leiris: Writing the Self (Cambridge University Press, 2002). He is the editor of Post-Holocaust France and the Jews 1945-1955 (NYU Press, 2014), Facing the Other: the Ethics of Emmanuel Levinas (Routledge, 1996), and The Levinas Reader (Blackwell, 1989). He is the translator of Eric Blondel, Nietzsche. The Body and Culture (Athlone, 1991), Emmanuel Levinas, Difficult Freedom. Essays on Judaism, (Johns Hopkins, 1990), and Gilles Deleuze, Foucault (Continuum, 1988). He is a Chevalier des Palmes Académiques. He is also a Senior Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy, a Fellow of the  UK Royal Society of Arts and of the UK Chartered Institute of Linguists, and a member of the Academia Europaea.

States of secrecy: Re-presenting Jan Karski

Yannick Haenel’s 2009 French-language work Jan Karski summarizes both Karski’s limited presence in Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah, and his 1944 English-language Story of a Secret State which recounts his efforts to bring the existence of Nazi mass exterminations to the attention of the Allies, before switching into a first-person imaginative rendition of Karski’s struggles and feelings during and after the war. The book produced a strong denunciation by Lanzmann and certain historians, and a defence by Haenel and others, that dramatized anew already classic debates about the use and representation of the Holocaust (and incidentally a ‘French’ overdetermination in this area) but also served to obscure alternative forms of secretion, identity and reconfiguration in Haenel’s work that pose more unsettling questions about the dialectic of duty and desire at the heart of Holocaust recollection and ‘Aftermath’ conscience.

 

Dr Sona Haroutyunian : University of Venice, Italy

Sona Haroutyunian is a graduate of Yerevan State University, where she received her Masters of Arts with honors in pedagogy, philology, and literary translation in 1996, and later her Ph.D. in philology. She received her second Ph.D. in linguistics at the University of Venice, where she has been an instructor of Armenian language and literature since 2001. Along with teaching, Dr. Haroutyunian has also directed her skills towards working as the Cultural Advisor to the Ambassador of Armenia in Italy. Actually she is in the USA teaching a one semester course on “Armenian Genocide through Literature and Translation” as a Visiting Professor at California State University, Fresno.

She is the author of many scholarly papers as well as of 4 books among which the Armenian translation of genocide narrative “Skylark Farm”.

The Theme of Genocide in Literature, Translation and Cinema

The present study springs directly from my experience in working with genocide narratives and from my present course at California State University Fresno on the Armenian Genocide and Translation. With a focus on the renowned Italian-Armenian novelist Antonia Arslan’s genocide narrative Skylark Farm, I present the literary genre as an instrument, which brings greater attention to the historical phenomenon of the Armenian Genocide. To what extent can an author use the devices of literary fiction while still remaining authentic in the telling of history? Does reading fiction about this particular historical event alter the way we think about the nature of historical memory? The power of translation related to the Genocide as an instrument of cultural, historical, and linguistic interaction will be both explored and problematized. For example, why has this particular book been chosen for translation into 18 languages? What difference does reading genocide literature in translation make? Is there something about the genocide as an event that calls into crisis the very notion of eventfulness that resists or eludes translation? And finally, in what ways have these translations contributed to the awareness of the genocide in their given countries? Exploring the impacts these translations have had in their given countries, there will also be examine the reader reactions following their respective publications in various languages by presenting exclusive interviews with some of the translators. During the lecture the metaphorical relationship between memory and translation will also be examined.

And finally, I will focus on the theme of Armenian Genocide in Cinema and will deal with the Italian directors the Taviani brothers and their film “Skylark Farm”, a co-production by Italy, Spain, Belgium, France and the European production company Eurimages.

The aim of the paper will be to analyze the different effects that each medium (literature-translation-cinema) may have on the experience of its readers/audience—what that medium is trying to cultivate, the limitations of each and how all of them in different ways bring greater attention to the historical phenomenon of the Armenian Genocide.

With the projection of some exclusive documents the audience will have a unique chance to “visit the backstage” of the novel.

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Professor Richard G. Hovannisian : University of California, Los Angeles

Richard G. Hovannisian is the first holder of the endowed chair in Modern Armenian History at the University of California,Los Angeles (UCLA). A Guggenheim Fellow, he has published, among others, five volumes on the Armenian Genocide in comparative perspective, twelve volumes on historic Armenian cities and provinces and five volumes on the first Republic of Armenia, 1918-21. He has been honored by numerous national and international bodies, including the Armenian National Academy of Sciences, Jewish World Watch, and Facing History and Ourselves

Integration of Armenian oral history into historical narrative

The UCLA Armenian Oral History collection of more than 800 interviews with survivors of the Armenian Genocide is highly instructive regarding the uses and limitations of oral history. Most of the interviews were done more than 50 years after the genocide so that one of the challenges has been to determine what was the actual living experience and what may have been absorbed based on subsequent scholarly or popular narratives.

Armenian Oral History provides unique insights into social, economic, cultural, and political history of a people that no longer exists in most of its historical homeland. It is invaluable in the reconstruction, to the extent possible, of personal, family, community, and national life on the eve and immediately following an enormous unanticipated calamity. It also encompasses the wide range of interpretations of the victims as to causation, often revealing bewilderment even after the passage of so much time, as well as the differing memories and responses.

This aspect of Armenian Oral History is now being enriched by the testimony of second and third generation descendants of perpetrators and bystanders, to whom individual family narratives have been passed down and who often provide a counter history to that which is propagated by the State.

Oral history has added an element to historical research that, when used scrupulously, breathes convincing life into the scholarship.

 

Professor Konrad Kwiet : University of Sydney

In January 2000, following my retirement as Professor in German and European Studies, and Deputy Director of the Center for Comparative Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Macquarie University, Sydney, I took up the position as Adjunct Professor in Jewish Studies and Roth Lecturer in Holocaust Studies in the Department of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies at The University of Sydney. In January 2012, I have been appointed as Pratt Foundation Professor in Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Sydney University. For more than 20 years I have been the resident historian at the Sydney Jewish Museum. My areas of research and teaching cover the fields of Modern Jewish History and |German History, the History of the antisemitism, the Holocaust and war crimes as well as of exile-studies.

I have also been the chief historian of the Australian War Crimes Commission (SIU); Visiting Professor in Jewish Studies in Amsterdam, Oxford, Heidelberg, Frankfurt am Main and Berlin, and Senior Scholar-in-Residence at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Jewish Revenge: The Killing of an SS Officer

My presentation intertwines Holocaust history and testimony. I will say a few words on the archival transmission of a testimonial account recorded in Bucharest in May 1945.  A Jewish partisan fighter recalls in graphic details the killing of a captured German SS officers known for his Judenaktionen. As a rule, Jewish revenge and partisan warfare did not permit the taking of prisoners. I will then outline my search for biographical data to reconstruct the live story of the Jewish survivor as well as the career of the Nazi perpetrator, buried somewhere in a remote forest of Western Ukraine. The partisan died in Israel in 1995. Up to this point in time I have not yet uncovered the identity of the genocidal killer. I now believe, that I never will.

 

 

 

Helen Lewis : University of Technology, Sydney

Helen Lewis is midway through a non-traditional PhD at the University of Technology Sydney. It will comprise an accessible history, Constant Witness—1939–45 through the eyes of a combat cameraman, built around her father’s war career as a cinematographer in the British Army Film and Photographic Unit; and an exegesis that interrogates selected images of the liberation of Bergen Belsen concentration camp which he filmed.

Her research interests incorporate war photography including the ethics and aesthetics of filming atrocity as well as how these images are read; memory/postmemory and material objects; and the role of the personal narrative in military history.

She is a writer and editor who works largely for the Australian Government producing radio/film scripts, media liaison materials, articles, reports, brochures, booklets, newsletters and websites. She has also written short stories and is co-author of The Don’t Panic Guide to annual report production, a benchmark publication in annual reporting.

The inspiration for her present field of writing and study stems from the recall of an early childhood memory of finding a cache of Belsen photographs among her father’s things.

Reading horror—re-anchoring images of the liberation of Bergen Belsen

Since their first publication and broadcast, images of the liberation of Bergen Belsen concentration camp have been controversial, providing fertile ground for scholars investigating the influence of photographs and film on collective memory and the generational transmission of trauma. It is a discourse that has been, ‘… both vivid and sustained …’ (Zelizer 1999, pp. 98-9).

My father, Mike Lewis, a British Army combat cameraman of Polish Jewish parents was one of the men assigned to film the camp’s liberation. Though the images he and his fellow sergeant cameraman took have been repeatedly used in books and documentaries, they have remained largely unacknowledged and anonymous (Gladstone 2002, p. 316); and their images have often been conflated with those from other camps, in some cases, deliberately (Haggith 2006 pp. 92,113).

In Constant Witness, a biographical history, I am combining selected images, from the Imperial War Museum and my father’s personal archive, with documents, oral history and memoir to re-anchor the images to their original purpose and meaning. Through the experience of the chronicler, I explore how we can transmute viewing these images into an act of remembrance. For the Belsen dead, stripped of identity, have only the testament of these witnesses and their images, grotesque as they are, to mark the fact that they existed at all.

Gladstone, K. 2002, ‘The AFPU: the origins of British Army combat filming during the Second World War’, Film History: an international journal vol. 14, no. 3/4, pp. 316-31.

Haggith, T. 2006 ‘The Filming of the Liberation of Bergen-Belsen and its Impact on the Understanding of the Holocaust’, in S.C.D. Bardgett (ed.), Belsen 1945: new historical perspectives, Vallentine Mitchell, Great Britain & United States.

Zelizer, B. 1999, ‘From the Image of Record to the Image of Memory: Holocaust Photography, Then and Now’, in H. Hardt & B. Brennen (eds), Picturing the past : media, history, and photography, University of Illinois Press, Urbana.

 

Jess Melvin : The University of Melbourne

I am a third year PhD student in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at the University of Melbourne. I am writing my thesis on the 1965-66 mass killings in Aceh, Indonesia, using original oral history testimony and previously unpublished military and government documents to piece together a narrative of the violence and demonstrate the level of state involvement behind the violence.

Establishing the relationship between the Indonesian Military and the Sumatran death squads during the Indonesian genocide: Comparing North Sumatra and Aceh

Joshua Oppenheimer’s new film ‘The Act of Killing’ has thrust the activities of the Sumatran death squads into the public spotlight. But where did the death squads come from? Were they an example of a spontaneous mobilisation of the people or were they established and coordinated by the Indonesian military? This presentation will trace the origins of the mobilisation of civilian militias by the Indonesian military during the 1950s- 1960s and the formation of the death squads during the aftermath of the 1 October 1965 ‘communist coup attempt’ (which acted as the trigger event for the genocide), before attempting to establish patterns in the involvement of the death squads in the implementation of the killings, paying particular attention to the provinces of North Sumatra and Aceh. It will argue that the role of the Indonesian military in establishing and coordinating the death squads would now appear undeniable.

 

Professor Dan Michman : Bar-Ilan University, Yad Vashem

Dan Michman is Professor of Modern Jewish History and Chair of the Finkler Institute of Holocaust Research at Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan; and serves also as Head of the International Institute of Holocaust Research and Incumbent of the John Najmann Chair in Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem. He is member of the editorial boards of several scholarly periodicals and of many academic committees and boards of institutions in Israel and abroad. His publications cover a broad variety of topics regarding the Holocaust and its impact and memory. Among the books he authored are: Days of Holocaust and Reckoning, 1-12 (published in Hebrew, Spanish and Russian); Holocaust Historiography: A Jewish Perspective. Conceptualizations, Terminology, Approaches and Fundamental Issues (published in six languages); The Emergence of Jewish Ghettos During the Holocaust (published in English, German and Hebrew).

 

Erin Mosely : Harvard University

Erin Mosely is a doctoral candidate at Harvard University concentrating on African Studies and History. Her research explores the impact of global discourses such as human rights and transitional justice on the production of history in the wake of prolonged conflict and war. Particular interests include the politics of memory and memorialization practices, the role of legal procedure (broadly defined) in shaping individual narratives about the past, and the dynamic interplay between national, international, and local interests in determining how history gets framed and interpreted. She is also very interested in post-conflict artistic and cultural production, which may utilize very different idioms for explaining and representing past experiences of violence. Regionally, Erin’s work focuses on the Great Lakes region of Africa (specifically Rwanda, DRC, Burundi, and Uganda), though she has also done comparative research on South Africa, Kenya, and Sierra Leone.

In addition to her academic work, Erin has been involved in various other projects, including the development of a traveling history exhibit in partnership with the National Museums of Kenya; research for a torture reparations case in the UK (Ndiku Mutua and others v. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office); and youth empowerment and arts advocacy in Goma, DRC as a volunteer for the 2012 Salaam Kivu International Film Festival. She is currently conducting dissertation research in Rwanda on a Fulbright grant.

Erin received a B.A. in American Studies from Northwestern University in 2003 and a M.Sc. in Human Rights from The London School of Economics and Political Science in 2006.

Reflections on Rwanda’s post-genocide archival landscape, 1994-present

Over the past two and a half decades, transitional justice has emerged as a dominant paradigm within the realm of post-conflict reconstruction and reconciliation efforts. My research critically engages with this growing phenomenon, through an examination of its relationship to the production of history in the case of post-genocide Rwanda. What are the discursive and pedagogical implications of transitional justice initiatives in Rwanda? How are they shaping historical knowledge about the country’s past, as well as the narrative possibilities of historical reconstruction more generally?

While my larger project explores a full range of transitional justice and memorialization initiatives in Rwanda, for this paper I focus on one specific aspect of the research, namely the emergence of a new generation of archives and research institutions, such as the Genocide Archive of Rwanda, the Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace, and the Commission for the Fight Against Genocide (to name but a few). All of these institutions have assumed a key pedagogical role in the country, as producers and disseminators of new historical research, as consultants in Rwanda’s national curriculum reform efforts, and as source bases for the exhibitions on display at the official genocide memorial sites. As such, scholars are now faced with both the challenge and the opportunity to reflect more deeply on Rwanda’s archival impulse—in particular its conceptual, political, and methodological underpinnings.

In June 2013 I will have completed nine months of fieldwork in Rwanda, including interviews with various government officials, curators, archivists, librarians, historians, teachers, students, and international NGOs. In this paper, I offer some of my preliminary observations and insights into the goals, visions, and agendas associated with Rwanda’s shifting archival landscape, as well as the significant constraints under which many institutions are currently operating. I also explore the complex role of international partners and donors, and the relationship between genocide awareness/prevention and the writing of history in Rwanda, two imperatives whose aims occasionally work at cross-purposes.

Professor Dirk Moses : European University Institute, Florence

Dirk Moses is Professor for Global and Colonial History at the European University Institute, Florence. He is the author of German Intellectuals and the Nazi Past and many articles, chapters, and anthologies on genocide. He is senior editor of the Journal of Genocide Research and is finishing a book entitled Genocide and the Terror of History.

The Holocaust and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights

This paper reconstructs the heated public debate about the Canadian Museum for Human Rights under construction in Winnipeg. The devotion of the museum’s central gallery to the Holocaust and Nazi regime has sparked controversy about the relationship between the Holocaust, human rights and genocide. Whether public memory of the Holocaust reveals or conceals other genocides is the bone of contention. Many take it as given that widespread shock about the Holocaust caused the so-called human rights revolution, crowned by the U.N. Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the Convention on the Punishment and Prevention of Genocide in 1948. By increasing sensitivity about gross violations generally, the Holocaust is said to inspire interest in and research on other genocides. The Holocaust’s institutionalization in official memorial days by the United Nations, Great Britain, and other countries shows that it has become the bedrock of a new, global, cosmopolitan ethic that is newly sensitive to others’ suffering. In these ways, it is claimed, the Holocaust reveals other genocides. Skeptics are not so sure. A close reading of the U.N. debates in the second half of the 1940s shows that its human rights regime cannot be deduced from Holocaust consciousness because no such consciousness then existed. What is more, the Holocaust’s later iconic status purveys a false universalism that obscures alternative forms of traumatic violence, let alone other genocides: only that which resembles the Holocaust is a legible transgression—which accounts for the seemingly ubiquitous effort of so many victim groups to affix the term “holocaust” to their suffering. Far from constituting a symbolic idiom that empowers non-Jewish victims to win public recognition, the Holocaust occludes their experiences by establishing an unattainable monumental threshold. In these ways, it is claimed, the Holocaust conceals other genocides. These conflicting interpretations will be analysed to provide background for any Australian discussion of the relationship between the Holocaust and human rights.

 

Dr Katarzyna Person : Center for Jewish History, New York,  Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw

I am a historian specializing in Eastern European Jewish History. I hold a PhD in history from Royal Holloway, University of London. My PhD thesis, which dealt with assimilated Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto, will be published in fall 2013 by Syracuse University Press. I am also an editor of two volumes of documents from the Ringelblum Archive, the Underground Archive of the Warsaw Ghetto and articles on the history of the Holocaust and its aftermath.

 I work in the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw and I am currently a Prins Postdoctoral and Early-career Fellow in the Center for Jewish History in New York, where I research Polish-Jewish relations in DP camps. 

 “I am not a denouncer, nor have I ever been one”. Denunciations of alleged collaborators and reactions to them in the post-war Jewish Community.

As was the case across liberated Europe, the story of  Holocaust survivors’ fight against wartime collaborators was carried out against the backdrop of lynch law, accusations, rumors and anonymous denunciations. The Jewish press and surviving court documentation clearly shows that the shadow of collaboration was always present in the postwar community as passionate exchanges on survival, resistance and victimhood penetrated the camps and screams of “kapo” or “OD-mann” commonly preceded brawls and fights. Complaints of slander or false accusations gradually became a staple of honor court proceedings throughout the new Jewish communities. Based on previously un-studied documents from the Honor Court of the Central Committee of Polish Jews and the Honor Courts in Germany, Austria and Italy, my paper will examine the research use of denunciations and the alleged collaborators’ responses to them. I will look at their affective and instrumental motives, discussing the content and language used in letters or statements of denunciation. I will also discuss how those writing denunciations ascertained their credibility and dealt with charges of false accusations. I will then look at the impact on the people against whom allegations were launched and examine how they affirmed their innocence and established their identity as a victim rather than as a perpetrator. How did they attempt to prove that they too deserve to belong to the survivors’ community? What strategies did they use to refute charges made against them?

On this basis I will look at the way in which the memory of the Holocaust was reflected in early denunciations and their role in the quest for both justice and for personal and communal revenge in the postwar Jewish community.

 

Thomas Rogers : University of Melbourne (together with Stephen Bain and Andre Brett. A panel: Genocide on the nineteenth-century Australasian frontier)

Thomas Rogers is a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne with an interest in colonial Australian history. His thesis examines the underlying ideologies and mythologies of free settlers in the Port Phillip District (now Victoria) from 1835 to 1850. It is particularly concerned with the relationship between physical and rhetorical dispossession in that District.

Massacre at Murdering Gully: Frontier violence as an act of genocide

In early 1839, most of the Tarnbeere Gundidj (clan) of the Djargurd wurrung language group of western Victoria was killed in a massacre perpetrated by British sheep owners and shepherds. The site of the massacre, near Mt Emu Creek, became known as Murdering Gully. The massacre there was perpetrated by private citizens, without any government involvement whatsoever. This lack of government involvement in the massacre itself, however, obscures the roles that colonial officials played in the aftermath of the event. Furthermore, questions about the intent of the colonial government could prove a peripheral distraction to an examination of the Murdering Gully massacre as an act of genocide.

Unusually, for this kind of case, there are a number of primary sources to which the historian can refer, including recorded statements by survivors, and some oral history. Drawing on these sources, this paper presents a consideration of the massacre at Murdering Gully within the framework of genocide studies. Through a close examination of this relatively well-documented frontier massacre, this paper will attempt to address larger questions in Australian history, including the question of official intent. It will also consider the applicability of genocide studies as an interpretive framework for historians of the Port Phillip District, or early Victoria.

 

 

Associate Professor Adam R. Seipp : Texas A&M University

Adam R. Seipp is an Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in History at Texas A&M University. His second book, “Strangers in the Wild Place: Refugees, Americans, and a German Town, 1945-1952,” was published in March 2013 by Indiana University Press. His first book, “The Ordeal of Peace: Demobilization and the Urban Experience in Britain and Germany, 1917-1921,” was published in 2009. In addition, he has written a number of journal articles and book chapters on refugees in post-1945 Europe, American basing policy during the Cold War, and the First World War. He holds a PhD in European History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. See also: http://history.tamu.edu/faculty/seipp.shtml.

Buchenwald stories:  Oral history, concentration camp liberators, and the American story of World War ii

On April 11, 1945, American soldiers reached the massive concentration camp complex at Buchenwald near Weimar, Germany.  They discovered almost 50,000 survivors, many near death.  Buchenwald was by far the largest camp complex yet liberated by the Americans.  The newsreel footage and the eyewitness account broadcast by Edward R. Murrow a few days later shocked audiences around the world.  General Eisenhower, touring several liberated camps including Buchenwald, said that “We are told the American soldier does not know what he is fighting for.  Now, at least, he knows what he is fighting against.”

This paper, based on article I am preparing for submission to the Journal of Military History, explores the way that testimony about the liberation of the concentration camps, and particularly Buchenwald, has shaped and been shaped by the changing American encounter with World War II and the Holocaust.  I am drawing from a large corpus of testimonies, including roughly 75 recorded oral history interviews, contemporary accounts including letters written home by soldiers, newsreel footage, and a substantial collection of correspondence from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

I argue that testimonies about the liberation of concentration camps have changed substantially in the six decades since the end of the war.  Soldiers, including some who left very vivid testimonies in the immediate aftermath of liberation, have been profoundly influenced by the growing centrality of the Holocaust in American public memory of World War II that began in the 1970s.  As a result, soldier accounts given after that point have often refashioned the liberation of Buchenwald, adding key details that more accurately reflect media depictions of the murderous death camps hundreds of miles to the east, the most prominent of which was Auschwitz-Birkenau.  Examples abound, but include the certainty on the part of a number of witnesses that they personally saw gas chambers at Buchenwald, where there were none, or the equally firm insistence that the gates of Buchenwald were decorated with a sign that read “Arbeit macht frei,” when there was no such sign.

This paper is by no means an effort to discredit testimony, but rather to suggest that eyewitness testimony is the result of an accretive process that can tell us as much if not more about changing American visions of World War II as it can about the events of those terrible days in April 1945.

 

Dr Noah Shenker : Monash University

Dr. Noah Shenker is the 6a Foundation Lecturer in Holocaust and Genocide Studies in the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation, Monash University. In 2009 he received a Ph.D. in Critical Studies from the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, completing his dissertation which he has recently adapted into the book Formations of Memory: Documenting Holocaust Testimony. During his doctoral studies he was the recipient of various fellowships including the Charles H. Revson Fellowship for Archival Research at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies. His teaching at Monash includes the units “Genocide,” “The Holocaust in Film,” and “Trauma and Memory in the Modern World.” His research engages issues of testimony, trauma, and genocide in visual culture.

Through the lens of the Holocaust: Traces of the Shoah in testimonies of the Cambodian genocide.

No longer able to devote itself exclusively to testimonies of the Holocaust, the USC Shoah Foundation Institute has branched out to house interviews from other genocides. This talk examines the Shoah Foundation’s recent efforts to train the Documentation Center of Cambodia in collecting testimonies of Khmer Rouge victims. In exploring the transfer of methodologies developed for recording survivors of the Nazi genocide to the Cambodian context, this paper argues that while the archival model of the Shoah Foundation can obscure the historical specificities of the Cambodian genocide, it can nonetheless illuminate the aesthetic, archival, and performative mediations of traumatic testimony.

 

Dr Jordy Silverstein : Monash University/Macquarie University

Dr Jordy Silverstein completed her PhD in Jewish history at the University of Melbourne in 2009. Since then she has researched and taught in the fields of Holocaust memory, Jewish identity, sexuality and gender at the University of Melbourne, and Monash and Macquarie Universities, where she is currently employed. Jordy has been published in journals such as borderlands, the Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, and the Journal of Jewish Education. The manuscript based on her PhD thesis, entitled “Narrating the Holocaust in the Diaspora: Critiques of Holocaust Historiographies,” is currently under consideration at Berghahn Books.

New sources of postmemories of the Holocaust: Listening to the descendants

In a series of interviews with Holocaust educators that I conducted in 2006 it became evident that many educators teach their students about the Holocaust in order to instruct them in how to materialise a particular set of memories, histories, and identities. As one teacher articulated it, “we’re dealing with how do we live and work with this memory and what are we supposed to do about it”. In this paper I will investigate this question of what teachers are “dealing with”, and explore the memories that are being discussed within the Third Generation with this impetus in mind.

Indeed, when members of the Third Generation are asked, it becomes clear that they are hearing that the memories of the Holocaust should be embraced and utilised in order to formulate memories and identities. As one respondent in Melbourne in their late 20s wrote at the beginning of 2012, their family’s “lessons from the Holocaust were not to shut ourselves down, but to build connections.”

These uses of memories of the Holocaust can be understood by exploring them in the terms of postmemory, as offered by Marianne Hirsch. Hirsch’s idea of postmemory suggests an idea of memories that are carried by those who come after the event. This is an idea of memory grounded by “an ethical relation to the oppressed or persecuted,” which can be understood to be impelling action: it asks descendants to conceptualise a relationship to other oppressions, other genocides. In this paper I will investigate some of the ways that the postmemories of the Holocaust are functioning as a repository for knowledge about the Holocaust and its aftermath, and of what can be done with this knowledge. In doing so I will open up the possibility for a deeper understanding of the various ways in which the Holocaust can be remembered and conceptualised, as well as for an expansion of our understanding of what constitutes a memory and use of the Holocaust.

 

Dr Belinda Smaill : Monash University

Belinda Smaill is a senior lecturer in Film and Television Studies at Monash University. She is the author of The Documentary: Politics, Emotion, Culture (2010) and co-author of Transnational Australian Cinema: Ethics in the Asian Diasporas(2013). Her research areas include documentary studies, women and cinema and Australian film and television.

From New Zealand to Cambodia and East Timor: The Documentary Work of Annie Goldson

Annie Goldson is one of Australasia’s most accomplished documentary filmmakers. Based in Aotearoa/New Zealand, Goldson works as a scholar and practitioner, holding a professorship in the Department of Film, Television and Media Studies at the University of Auckland. Her work is consistently politically engaged, whether it is in relation to political movements, crises or individuals. This paper is part of a larger research project focusing on a trilogy of Goldson’s documentaries. Punitive Damage (2000), An Island Calling (2008) and Brother Number One (2012) are all feature length films that concentrate on the murder of a New Zealand citizen who has become fatally caught up in a political crisis in another nation in the Asia Pacific (East Timor, Fiji and Cambodia respectively).  In this paper I focus on Punitive Damage and Brother Number One. Both documentaries are about an outsider, a sojourner, who has traveled into a warzone and become caught up in the political crisis of a nation and culture that is not their own. Through the testimony given about the life and death of this individual, the viewer is also asked to hear testimony and witness images that refer to the genocidal events that have taken place in East Timor and Cambodia. Although the foreigner is an exceptional case in these histories, he is the primary vehicle for emotional identification for the viewer. The activity of framing and relaying the social suffering that accompanies catastrophic events has been at the heart of many documentarians’ commitment to their craft. This paper asks what is at stake in Goldson’s approach and for a mode of “documentary witnessing” that looks not only across cultures, but also foregrounds the privileged position of the outsider.

 

Dr Victoria Team : Monash University

Victoria Team, MD, MPH, DPH, is an associate research fellow at the Social Sciences and Health Research Unit, School of Psychology and Psychiatry, Monash University, and a research fellow at Mother and Child Health Research Centre, LaTrobe University. Her research interests are in the area of women’s health. Her publications focus on body image, breastfeeding, immigration, caregiving, and lifestyle issues.

Genocide-related issues in non-genocide research

People, in communities which have experienced genocide, might have painful personal and social memories that occur in daily life and arise in discussion on any topic. In this presentation, I raise potential genocide-related, psycho-social and emotional issues in researcher-participant accounts, which should be considered at the time of human ethics application. I provide an example of genocide-related issues that arose at the time of interviewing an elderly couple from Ukrainian-Jewish background as part of my Doctor of Public Health research project titled ‘Eating habits and physical activity among Ukrainian Australians.’ During the introductory part of the interview, I asked the participants if they felt comfortable with me recording their answers to questions. As a result, I was subjected to questioning similar to interrogation because I was suspected of being affiliated with a secretive organization, aimed at exposing personal information related to their Jewish ethnicity as well as their immigration circumstances. Their reaction was heavily based on their personal and social memories of genocide that also was evident in their everyday life in the form of fear of anti-Semitism and suspicion of unknown people. I would like to suggest that researchers planning a project involving participants from genocide-affected communities be aware of the potential for genocide-related issues that might arise at the time of data collection. Furthermore, because these are vulnerable communities, researchers might consider completing a general ethics application form even if their research project appears to pose minimal risks to researchers and to participants. Moreover, I would like to suggest that past and present genocide-affected communities be included in the list of vulnerable population groups in ethics application forms. Researchers should be aware of specific counseling services in Australia available to support people from genocide-affected communities.

 

Dr Joseph Toltz : University of Sydney

Dr Joseph Toltz teaches at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. He completed his dissertation on the subject of musical experiences of Jewish Holocaust survivors during the war years. In 2011 he was the Barbara and Richard Rosenberg Fellow at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and has presented papers on his research at 16 institutions and conferences in the past twelve months. In 2011 Joseph published in Holocaust Studies: A Journal of Culture and History (Vol. 16:3), as well as book chapters and articles on the electronic group Kraftwerk, the children’s opera Brundibár and the Jewish approach to illness.

 

Witnessing through song: David Boder’s 1946 musical testimony from the European Displaced Person’s camps

In July 1946, a Latvian-born American psychologist ventured into the displaced camps of post-war Europe. Just shy of 60 years old, David Boder had studied with Wilhelm Wundt and Vladimir Bekhterev, two foundational figures in the early formation of the Psychological discipline. Funded by the US National Institute for Mental Health, Boder intended on documenting an ‘inventory of trauma’ with as many survivors as he could interview. Armed with a Pierce-Armour Wire Recorder, approximately 200 spools of wire, and a working knowledge of eight languages, Boder departed for Paris on the same ship as those attending the Paris Peace Conference. Once there, he set to work in displaced persons’ houses and camps, moving from Paris to Geneva, then Tradate and finally receiving permission to enter the US occupied zone of Germany, where he concluded a punishing three-month project in Munich before returning to Paris. His 130 audio interviews with Holocaust survivors and bystanders are among the earliest extant recordings of testimony. Alongside and at times embedded in the interviews are songs that the survivors heard, performed or even composed in response to the traumatic experiences of those years. As well as individual song sessions, Boder recorded choral groups and religious services in his musical collection. While Boder’s audio interviews are well known to scholars and historians, and immediately available to the general public via a specialized website administered by the Illinois Institute of Technology (http://voices.iit.edu/), Boder’s musical component is not accessible except in the physical holdings at IIT, the Library of Congress and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. This paper will examine the content and range of Boder’s music collection, the motivation behind the recordings, and will speculate on the reasons why the musical section of this resource has been neglected in the historical, ethnographic, post-Holocaust narrative.

 

Professor Janet Walker : University of California

Janet Walker is Professor of Film and Media Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her books as author or (co-)editor include Trauma Cinema: Documenting Incest and the Holocaust, Westerns: Films through History, and Documentary Testimonies: Global Archives of Suffering. She directs an on-going project, Video Portraits of Survival, to create expressive video shorts about local residents who are survivors and refugees of the Holocaust, and is writing about media, space, and environment.

Fatal environments:  Documentary film and (other) cartographies of genocide

“I did not want to go to Poland,” Claude Lanzmann explained to his audience at Yale University.  “I thought that one can talk about this from everywhere, from any place¾from Paris, from Jerusalem, from New Haven…And I said, ‘what will I see in Poland, I will see the nothingness, I will see the absence’” (Felman and Laub, Testimony:  1992, 256).  But, of course, he did make that trip and many more, in the course of creating the landmark documentary Shoah (1985).  With this presentation, I explore documentary film as one cartographic practice among others through which we might sense, map, critically analyze, and transmit the fraught meanings of genocidal acts in and through the sites where they took place. 

Physical location matters deeply, therefore, but so do insights about the affective dimensions and unassimilability of place and occurrence.  This talk draws on concepts from trauma studies and critical human geography to maintain a determinedly anti-essentializing view of situated violence, and to further the contingent assumption that even the most site-specific documentaries contribute to the construction of the environments they might seem only to record and picture.

The protagonist of Mr. Death concludes from his visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau, based on forensic evidence and having not found ventilation shafts from below ground, that neither Krema I nor Krema III could have been used as a gas chamber.  I use the occasion of this conference to discuss the paradoxes presented by subjects and filmmakers¾and myself as researcher¾traversing and mapping “fatal environments” for our respective purposes.

How do situated documentaries participate in the changing relationships among bodies, places, and material histories of genocide?  Embracing Aftermath’s comparative charge and my hemispheric origin, the topics of the documentaries under study range from the European Holocaust to the Native American genocide so memorably discussed by Richard Slotkin (The Fatal Environment: 1985) whose title I have adapted.

 

Dr Deb Waterhouse-Watson : Monash University (together with Dr Adam Brown : Deakin University)

Dr Deb Waterhouse-Watson is an Associate Lecturer in Media, Communications and English at Monash University, Melbourne. She recently published Athletes, Sexual Assault and ‘Trials by Media’: Narrative Immunity (Routledge, 2013) and her research interests include: discourse and representation; women in Holocaust film; sexual violence; popular genres of literature and film such as fantasy, romance and science fiction; sport; and law. Academia profile:http://monash.academia.edu/DebWaterhouseWatson

Between Whores and Heroes : Screening women’s complicity during the Holocaust

The cultural context within which those who attempt to represent the complexities of human behaviour – particularly women’s behaviour – during the Holocaust is a problematic one.

Reflecting this, Laura Sjoberg and Caron Gentry have pointed to the ‘monster, mother and whore narratives’ that so often characterise depictions of female Nazi perpetrators.

Sexualised images of ‘Nazi girls’ proliferate both traditional media and the online world; thus the ‘screening’ of women’s complicity frequently involves as much a process of concealment as one of exposure. The important subject of women’s participation in the Nazi regime proves particularly contentious when it is negotiated in the arena of Holocaust film. From (s)exploitation films such as Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS (1975) to more ‘serious’ attempt to represent the Nazi past, fictional narratives in which the eroticised bodies of women are exploited for voyeuristic purposes permeate Holocaust cinema. Such (mis) representations of women have often painted history with heavily gendered meanings, re-inscribing patriarchal understandings of the event.

In recent years, an extensive literature has cemented popular culture as a legitimate subject of analysis; however, the subject of women (and especially women’s complicity) on film has yet to become a central concern. Focusing on this issue, we argue that film can play a valuable role in negotiating the complex and sensitive issue of women’s complicity. Through a close analysis of Andrzej Munk’s unfinished Polish film Passenger (1963), only recently released commercially to the viewing public, and Cate Shortland’s German-Australian co-production,

Lore (2012), we contend that Holocaust films do have the potential to provide nuanced portrayals of women’s complicity. The unconventional modes of representation in these films can be seen to engage with issues of moral ambiguity and compromise, expose tabooed issues of sexuality and rape, and subvert the trend in mainstream Holocaust cinema to demonise and fetishise women.

 

 

Professor Ghil’ad Zuckermann : University of Adelaide

Professor Ghil’ad Zuckermann, D.Phil. (Oxford), Ph.D. (Cambridge) (titular), is Chair of Linguistics and Endangered Languages at the University of Adelaide. A native speaker of a reclaimed tongue (Hebrew) and fluent in 10 other languages, he is an expert of Revivalistics (including Revival Linguistics and Revivalomics), language contact, borrowing, lexicology and the study of language, culture and identity. He has recently launched together with the Barngarla community the reclamation of the no-longer-spoken Barngarla language of Eyre Peninsula, South Australia. Professor Zuckermann is Visiting Professor at the Pilpel Genomics Lab, Department of Molecular Genetics, Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel), and at the Institute for Advanced Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is also Distinguished Visiting Professor and Oriental Scholar at Shanghai International Studies University (China). He serves as editorial board member of the Journal of Language Contact and consultant to the Oxford English Dictionary. He is the author of the revolutionary bestseller Israeli – A Beautiful Language (2008), Language Contact and Lexical Enrichment (2003) and Revival Linguistics (forthcoming by Oxford University Press); co-author of Tingo (2011, Tel Aviv), and editor of Burning Issues in Afro-Asiatic Linguistics (2012) and Jewish Language Contact (in press), a special issue of the International Journal of the Sociology of Language. He has published more than 100 articles in Israeli (Revived Hebrew), English, Italian, Yiddish, Spanish, German, Russian, Esperanto and Chinese. Further particulars:

Linguicide and Native Tongue Title: Proposed compensation for the loss of Aboriginal languages

Language is an archaeological vehicle, full of the remnants of dead and living pasts, lost and buried civilizations and technologies. The language we speak is a whole palimpsest of human effort and history.            Russell Hoban (children’s writer, 1925-2011 – cf. Haffenden 1985: 138)

Linguicide (language killing) and glottophagy (language eating) have made Australia an unlucky place. These twin forces have been in operation in Australia since the early colonial period, when efforts were made to prevent Aboriginal people from continuing to speak their language, in order to ‘civilize’ them. Anthony Forster, a nineteenth-century financier and politician, gave voice to a colonial linguicide ideology, which was typical of much of the attitude towards Australian languages (Report on a public meeting of the South Australian Missionary Society in aid of the German Mission to the Aborigines, Southern Australian, 8 September 1843, p. 2, cf. Scrimgeour 2007: 116):

The natives would be sooner civilized if their language was extinct. The children taught would afterwards mix only with whites, where their own language would be of no use – the use of their language would preserve their prejudices and debasement, and their language was not sufficient to express the ideas of civilized life. 

It is not surprising therefore that out of 250 known Aboriginal languages, today only 18 (7%) are alive and kicking, i.e. spoken natively by the community children.

This paper proposes the enactment of an ex gratia compensation scheme for loss of Indigenous languages in Australia. The 1997 Bringing Them Home report recommended compensation for the victims of Stolen Generation policies. Whilst some states have enacted ex gratia compensation schemes for the victims of the Stolen Generation policies, the victims of linguicide are largely overlooked by the Australian government. The paper highlights the benefits of reviving Aboriginal languages that were lost as a result of invasion and colonization. The proposed compensation scheme for the loss of Aboriginal languages ought to be used to support the effort to reclaim the lost languages. After evaluating the limits of existing Australian and international law on linguistic human rights, the paper proposes a statute-based ex gratia compensation scheme, which can be entitled, Native Tongue Title.

 

 

 


SESSION RESPONDENTS AND CHAIRS

 

Professor Bain Attwood : Monash University

Bain Attwood is Professor of History at Monash University. He is the author of Rights for Aborigines (2003), Telling the Truth about Aboriginal History(2005), and Possession: Batman’s Treaty and the Matter of History (2009).

 

 

Associate Professor Mark Baker : Monash University

Mark Baker is Director of the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation and Associate Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies in the School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies.

He completed his D.Phil at Oxford University and was twice a Fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Before moving to Monash, he was a lecturer in Jewish history at the University of Melbourne and has taught widely in the field of Modern Jewish History, the Holocaust and Genocide, the Arab-Israeli Conflict, and Terrorism in Modern Conflict.

He is the author of The Fiftieth Gate (HarperCollins, 1997), a personal book about memory of the Holocaust which was the recipient of numerous prizes and is taught on the NSW curriculum for HSC English studies. For more than a decade he edited Generation, a quarterly journal of Australian Jewish thought, and is a regular columnist for the Jewish and wider media.

 

Professor David Chandler : Monash University

David Chandler is an Emeritus Professor of History Monash University, where he taught from 1972 to 1997. His five books about Cambodia include Brother Number One: a Political Biography of Pol Pot (2nd edition, 2000 ) and Voices from S-21: Terror and History in Pol Pot’s Secret Prison (1999).

 

Professor Leah Garrett : Monash University

Leah Garrett is the Loti Smorgon Professor of Contemporary Jewish Life and Culture at Monash University. She has published extensively on Jewish literature and is currently completing her fourth book, Kosher Soldiers: Jewish American Literature of World War II.

 

Dr Julie Kalman : Monash University

Julie Kalman is a Senior Lecturer in history at Monash University. She is a specialist of nineteenth-century France and her writing to date has dealt with the interplay between French and Jewish history in this period. Her most recent publications include the articles ‘The Jew in the Scenery: Historicising Nineteenth-Century French Travel Literature’ and ‘Going Home to the Holy Land: The Jews of Jerusalem in Nineteenth-Century French Catholic Pilgrimage’ and her book, Rethinking Antisemitism in Nineteenth-Century France.

 

Dr Ernest Koh: Monash University

Ernest Koh received his BA (Hons) in History and PhD in Asian Studies from The University of Western Australia. He is a historian of modern Southeast Asia, and his research spans the fields of imperial history, post-colonial histories of the nation, as well as social and economic history. He is the author of Diaspora at War (Brill, 2013) and Singapore Stories (Cambria, 2010), and co-editor of Oral History in Southeast Asia (Palgrave MacMillan, 2013).

 

Professor Andrew Markus : Monash University

Andrew Markus is the Pratt Foundation Research Professor of Jewish Civilisation at Monash University and is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. He has published extensively on Australian immigration and race relations, including the co-authored Australia’s Immigration Revolution (2009). Andrew heads the Scanlon Foundation social cohesion research program and is the principal researcher on the Australian Jewish population and Yiddish Melbourne research projects.

 

 

 

 

 

                                   

 

There are five bursaries of $1000 AUD on offer to assist with attendance at the Aftermath conference on the 6 & 7 August 2013.

These bursaries are available only to graduate students and non-tenured academics from outside of Australia (and with current institutional affiliations) who have had abstracts accepted for presentation at the Aftermath Conference.

These bursaries are competitively based, and will be considered and awarded by the Aftermath Steering Committee.

 

Bursary applications have now closed

To apply please fill out the following form, sign it, and return it ASAP to:

Dr. Miriam Munz, aftermath@monash.edu

 

IMPORTANT NOTES:  If you are awarded a bursary and do not (for whatever reason) attend the conference, all monies must be returned to the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation.

 

  1. Applicant Title and Name: ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
  2. Applicant Address

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Applicant Email Address: ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
  2. Title of Abstract: ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
  3. Institutional Affiliation: ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
  4. Please give details of your current employment status. For example:

 Example:  sessional, fractional, full-time student, post-doc

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

  1. Please confirm and check the following:

 

c I agree to return a $1000 bursary received from the ACJC if I do not attend the conference

c I understand that the decision is final and remains at the discretion of the steering committee.

 

Name: (please print)             …………………………………………………………………

Signature                                …………………………………………………………………

Call for Papers – Aftermath Conference in Holocaust and Genocide Studies

Aftermath: Sites and Sources of History and Memory

Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

6-7 August 2013

Hosted by the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation in partnership with the History Program at Monash University and the University of Warwick

Keynote Speakers Include: Professor Hasia Diner, New York University; Professor Ben F. Kiernan, Yale University; Professor Richard Bessel, University of York.

 

Call for Papers: 

The field of Holocaust and Genocide Studies is at a critical juncture.  Archives, testimony projects, documentation centres, and new tools in the fields of salvaging and mapping sites of conflict have proliferated and thus present new and urgent possibilities for documenting and transmitting histories and memories of traumatic events.  Consequently, the expansion of new sources (ranging from recently opened Holocaust archives to the creation of Rwandan testimony projects) and the unearthing of sites of destruction (in locations like Cambodia and Darfur) compel explorations of how evidence will be accessed and interpreted with an attention to their cultural, historical, topographical, and media specificity, and how they will be engaged not only in scholarly and pedagogical terms but also in larger areas of social and political practice.

This conference is situated within the field of Holocaust and Genocide Studies and so will address core conceptual and methodological questions concerning comparative approaches to genocide research using newly available sources and sites.  That comparative stake is all the more important given that many recent and contemporary methods of documenting and analysing genocides, ranging from the Armenian and Cambodian contexts to the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, have often been circumscribed by historiographical and archival frameworks and practices shaped by the experiences and debates surrounding the Holocaust.

With that in mind, this conference is interested in engaging the following questions:

  • How do scholars and archivists incorporate sources encompassing ephemera, memoirs, architectures and topographies, testimonies, photographs, and found moving image footage, among others, into the writing of the Holocaust in particular and genocides more broadly?
  • In what ways can we integrate traditional modes of scholarly inquiry with developments in documenting, preserving, and addressing new sources which are often captured in real time and thus require more immediate critical and social intervention?
  • What are the challenges and opportunities for scholars attempting to work with a growing collection of data across multiple platforms and media (online videos, multimedia testimonies, social networking and mapping tools, and digitized text-based sources) that span various disciplines and methodologies that are often alien to their traditional areas of training?
  • To what extent are there limits and possibilities of utilizing the Holocaust as a conceptual framework for documenting other genocides?  Are the cultural, historical, and site-specific aspects of non-Holocaust events compromised in the process of adopting the Holocaust as a methodological paradigm? 

Abstracts:

Abstracts are due March 1, 2013 

Abstracts should be no more than 300 words long, for a paper of 20 mins duration; include title of paper, author’s name and institutional association, and the abstract. Upon acceptance of the paper, we will request a brief (60 word approx.) biography of the author. Proposals for panels with multiple papers on a common topic should follow the above format for each author and panel chair.

Please send all abstracts of paper or panel proposals by March 4, 2013, addressed to:

aftermath@monash.edu

More information on travel bursaries, registration costs, full schedule and other downloadable conference information will be available soon from the conference website: artsonline.monash.edu.au/artsonline-3

 

 

 

 

Aftermath Events

The 3rd Dr Jan Randa Conference in Holocaust and Genocide studies brings together distinguished keynote scholars, academics and postgraduate students from around the world. Join us for this Public Symposium featuring Aftermath Conference Keynotes Richard Bessel, Ben Kiernan and Jay Winter, and moderated by Dr Daniella Doron.

Understanding Genocide in the Shadow of the Holocaust

Histories and memories of the Holocaust have often been woven together into a paradigm that shapes how we understand and commemorate other genocides. This symposium examines the limitations and possibilities of exploring those traumatic events through the conceptual lens of the Shoah.

This event is co-hosted by the ACJC and the Monash Institute for Public History.

No cost, no prior bookings.

Visit http://artsonline.monash.edu.au/artsonline-3/events/ for more details of Associated events

 

About Dr Jan Randa

Dr Jan Randa 

drrandaDr. Jan Randa was born in 1911 in a small village in Subcarpathian Ruthenia. After studying at various Yeshivoth, he moved to Prague in 1930 where he was appointed deputy religious and Hebrew studies teacher in State Primary Public, Council and High Schools Prague I-IV.

His extensive Jewish knowledge was soon recognised by heads of the community and he was approached to work with Dr. Augustin Stein to translate the Haggadah and Pentateuch into Czech. He was also appointed assistant to Dr. Tobias Jacobovitz, the head librarian at the Library of the Jewish Religious Community.

Funded by the community, Dr. Randa was sent to Charles University, where he attained his first doctorate in Hebrew Linguistics in 1939, weeks before the university was shut down by the Nazi occupiers.

In 1942, he was transported to Theresienstadt, where he became a member of the Talmudkommando, a select group of rabbis and Hebraists tasked with sorting through religious texts for use by the Nazis in their proposed Museum of the Forgotten Race. The group was disbanded in 1944, after which Dr. Randa was transported to Auschwitz, Schwarzheide and Sachsenhausen.  He was liberated in 1945.

Upon returning to Prague, Dr. Randa became secretary to the Chief Rabbi, Gustav Sicher, in order to fund his further education at Charles University. He attained a second doctorate in law but, soon after setting up his legal practise, was forced to flee with his wife and two children as the iron curtain closed on Czechoslovakia.

Arriving in Australia in 1949, Dr. Randa joined the staff of the fledgling Mt. Scopus Memorial College, where he remained until his retirement forty one years later. Dr. Randa passed away in December 1996.

 

Call for Papers

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe field of Holocaust and Genocide Studies is at a critical juncture.  Archives, testimony projects, documentation centres, and new tools in the fields of salvaging and mapping sites of conflict have proliferated and thus present new and urgent possibilities for documenting and transmitting histories and memories of traumatic events.  Consequently, the expansion of new sources (ranging from recently opened Holocaust archives to the creation of Rwandan testimony projects) and the unearthing of sites of destruction (in locations like Cambodia and Darfur) compel explorations of how evidence will be accessed and interpreted with an attention to their cultural, historical, topographical, and media specificity, and how they will be engaged not only in scholarly and pedagogical terms but also in larger areas of social and political practice.

This conference is situated within the field of Holocaust and Genocide Studies and so will address core conceptual and methodological questions concerning comparative approaches to genocide research using newly available sources and sites.  That comparative stake is all the more important given that many recent and contemporary methods of documenting and analysing genocides, ranging from the Armenian and Cambodian contexts to the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, have often been circumscribed by historiographical and archival frameworks and practices shaped by the experiences and debates surrounding the Holocaust.

With that in mind, this conference is interested in engaging the following questions:

  • How do scholars and archivists incorporate sources encompassing ephemera, memoirs, architectures and topographies, testimonies, photographs, and found moving image footage, among others, into the writing of the Holocaust in particular and genocides more broadly?
  • In what ways can we integrate traditional modes of scholarly inquiry with new developments in documenting, preserving, and addressing new sources which are often captured in real time and thus require more immediate critical and social intervention?
  • What are the challenges and opportunities for scholars attempting to work with a growing collection of data across multiple platforms and media (online videos, multimedia testimonies, social networking and mapping tools, and digitized text-based sources) that span various disciplines and methodologies that are often alien to their traditional areas of training?
  • To what extent are there limits and possibilities of utilizing the Holocaust as a conceptual framework for documenting other genocides?  Are the cultural, historical, and site-specific aspects of non-Holocaust events compromised in the process of adopting the Holocaust as a methodological paradigm? 

Abstracts:

Abstracts are due March 1, 2013 

Abstracts should be no more than 300 words long, for a paper of 20 mins duration; include title of paper, author’s name and institutional association, and the abstract. Upon acceptance of the paper, we will request a brief (60 word approx.) biography of the author. Proposals for panels with multiple papers on a common topic should follow the above format for each author and panel chair.

Please send all abstracts of paper or panel proposals by March 1, 2013, addressed to:

aftermath@monash.edu

More information on travel bursaries, registration costs, full schedule and other downloadable conference information will be available soon from the conference website.

3rd Dr Jan Randa Conference in Holocaust and genocide studies

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWelcome to the website for the 3rd Dr Jan Randa Conference in Holocaust and genocide studies. The 2013 Aftermath Conference is hosted by the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation in partnership with the History Program at Monash University and the University of Warwick. Keynote Speakers include: Professor Hasia Diner, New York University; Professor Ben Kiernan, Yale University; Professor Richard Bessel, University of York; Professor Jay Winter, Yale University. Information about registration and travel can be found on this website. The full schedule and other downloadable conference information will be available soon.Emails inquiries about the conference should be directed to: aftermath@monash.edu

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHThis conference is situated within the field of Holocaust and Genocide Studies and so will address core conceptual and methodological questions concerning comparative approaches to genocide research using newly available sources and sites.  That comparative stake is all the more important given that many recent and contemporary methods of documenting and analysing genocides, ranging from the Armenian and Cambodian contexts to the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, have often been circumscribed by historiographical and archival frameworks and practices shaped by the experiences and debates surrounding the Holocaust. 

 

 

 

 

Jay Winter

jay-winter1Jay M. Winter, the Charles J. Stille Professor of History, is a specialist on World War I and its impact on the 20th century.

His other interests include remembrance of war in the 20th century, such as memorial and mourning sites, European population decline, the causes and institutions of war, British popular culture in the era of the Great War and the Armenian genocide of 1915.

Winter is the author or co-author of a dozen books, including Rene Cassin et les droits de l’homme (Paris: Fayard), co-authored with Antoine Prost, won the prize for best book of the year at the Blois History festival in 2011; Socialism and the Challenge of War, Ideas and Politics in Britain, 1912-18, The Great War and the British People, The Fear of Population Decline, The Experience of World War I, Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History, 1914-1918: The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century,Remembering War: The Great War between History and Memory in the 20th Century, andDreams of Peace and Freedom: Utopian Moments in the 20th Century.

He has edited or co-edited 13 books and contributed more than 40 book chapters to edited volumes.  He is co-director of the project on Capital Cities at War: Paris, London, Berlin 1914-1919, which has produced two volumes, the first on social and economic history, published by Cambridge University in 1997, and the second published by Cambridge in 2007.  A Cultural History (with Jean-Louis Robert). Work in preparation includes ‘The Degeneration of War,’ ‘The Social Construction of Silence,’ and ‘Anxious futures: population politics in the 21st century.’

Jay Winter was co-producer, co-writer and chief historian for the PBS series “The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century,” which won an Emmy Award, a Peabody Award and a Producers Guild of America Award for best television documentary in 1997.