Annihilation, Archive, Autobiography: Networks of Testimony in German-Occupied Europe

The Initiative in Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies is pleased to announce the conference: “Annihilation, Archive, Autobiography: Networks of Testimony in German-Occupied Europe.” The conference will begin on Thursday, March 10, 2011 at 7:30 pm at the Levis Faculty Center with a keynote lecture by leading Holocaust scholar Samuel Kassow and will continue all day Friday, March 11 with pre-circulated papers by a small, international group of scholars. The schedule is below.

A Working Conference Organized by Peter Fritzsche, Brett Kaplan, Harriet Murav, and Michael Rothberg for the Initiative in Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies at the University of Illinois

This working conference, which will take place March 10-11, 2011, will investigate in comparative fashion the task of archiving Jewish life in eastern Europe. The sustained effort to retrieve the history of Jewish communities in eastern Europe marked the twentieth century, but the disaster of World War II at once imperiled, made more necessary, and led to the reconceptualization of archival and autobiographical endeavors. The workshop's ambit will include the wartime assembly of archives and the documentation of autobiography across Europe among Jews and non-Jews, but the focus will be on Jews in eastern Europe.  The workshop is particularly interested in the investigation of how documentation was conceptualized and theorized and how the war transformed notions of the archive, autobiography, and testimony.

Schedule and Participants

Thursday, March 10: Levis Faculty Center, Music Room

7:30 pm: Keynote Lecture by Samuel Kassow, History, Trinity College, "Documenting Disaster: The Lessons of the Ringelblum Archive."

Introduction by Peter Fritzsche, History

Friday, March 11: Location TBA

9:15 am: Welcome, Michael Rothberg, HGMS, University of Illinois

Panel 1

9:30-11:00 am

Dirk Rupnow, University of Innsbruck, Austria: “Annihilation – Collection – Preservation: The Nazi Archive of Jewish History and Culture and its effect on Postwar Memory”

Harriet Murav, Slavic/Comp Lit/German, University of Illinois, “From Testimony to Narrative Fiction: Vasilii Grossman

Respondent: Brett Ashley Kaplan, Comparative Literature, University of Illinois

Panel 2

11:15 am -12:45 pm

Rachel Brenner, Jewish Studies/Hebrew, University of Wisconsin-Madison, “Ideological Formations of Witnessing The Holocaust in Wartime Diaries of Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz and Maria Dąbrowska”

Peter Fritzsche, History, University of Illinois, “Klemperer’s Kitsch: Narrative and its Insufficiency in (an Imagined) Postwar Germany”

Respondent: Marcus Moseley, Jewish Studies, Northwestern University

12:45 -2:00 pm: Lunch for participants

Panel 3

2:00-3:30 pm

Elana Jakel, History, University of Illinois, “Composing a Soviet Yiddish Archive:

The Cabinet of Jewish Culture and the Holocaust in Ukraine, 1944-1949”

Amy Simon, History, Indiana University, “’I Shall Record It All’: Yiddish Diarists Document the Holocaust”

Respondent: Matti Bunzl, Jewish Studies/Anthropology, University of Illinois

Panel 4

3:45-5:15 pm

Arkadi Zeltser, Historian, Yad Vashem (Jerusalem), “The Holocaust in the USSR: Interpretation of Events and Specific Problems of Sources”

Marek Sroka, Library, University of Illinois, “Archiving and Identifying Prewar and Wartime Jewish Photographs in Polish Digital Archives and Research Centers”

Respondent: Samuel Kassow, Trinity College

5:15-5:45: Closing Conversation with All Participants

The workshop has been co-sponsored by the Program in Jewish Culture and Society, the School for Literatures, Cultures, and Linguistics, the Program in Comparative and World Literature, the Department of Slavic Studies, and the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures.