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Tue 03-12-2013
Using Audio-Visuals in Memory Studies of the Shoah/Holocaust - New Approaches in a Digital Era


  Expert Meeting & seminar presented by the Commission for the History and Culture of Jews in the Netherlands (Menasseh Ben Israel Institute), the   Huizinga Institute and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.






3 December 2013




Trippenhuis,     Kloveniersburgwal 29, 1011 JV Amsterdam,  The Netherlands



Memory is crucial for Jewish identity and Culture. Stories about the past do not just describe the self – they are the self’s medium of being. They situate us in relation to our families, communities, and traditions, giving shape to our experiences, telling us where we came from and offering guideposts for the future. Immediately after the Shoah/Holocaust Jews have connected with the past by telling about it and by remembrance. But even more important has been to tell the world about what has happened to Jews, as memory can also be a warning.

Those memories have been created in a specific context and are personal. This seminar explores the value of audiovisual and oral collections for the writing of history, while keeping in mind that memories cannot just be used, but, like any other source, must be analyzed and contextualized.




09:00     registration and coffee


09:30     Introduction by Selma Leydesdorff - Professor of Oral History and Culture, University of Amsterdam - Chair: Tessel M. Bauduin, Huizinga Institute


09:50     Part I: Keynotes

Chair: Selma Leydesdorff


The Past and Future Uses of Holocaust Testimonies, Noah Shenker - Lecturer in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation, Monash University


History in Memory, Memory in History: How to take in account collections of testimonies for better analysing Shoah, Denis Peschanski - Professor of History, Center for Twentieth Century Social History, Université de Paris


Using Existing Sources and  Generating Sources: Why Oral History Matters, Albert Lichtblau - Chair of the Centre for Jewish Cultural History and Assistant Professor of History, University of Salzburg




12:15     LUNCH


13:15     Part II: Varieties of archives and ways to work

Chair: Nanci Adler - Division head holocaust and genocide studies, NIOD-KNAW Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Amsterdam          


Return and reception of Jewish survivors: testimonies collections as historical source, Dienke Hondius - Assistant Professor of Contemporary History, VU University Amsterdam


Teaching with testimonies: international coursework using Skype, Dawn Skorczewsky – Fullbright Scholar, Free University Amsterdam and Brandeis University


“Hide and seek” - the use of oral history material preparing an exhibition in the Jewish Historical Museum, Hetty Berg – Curator, Jewish Historical Museum


The use of existing material while researching Alexander Pechersky the leader of the Sobibor revolt, Selma Leydesdorff - Professor of Oral History and Culture, University of Amsterdam


15:00     coffee & tea break


15:30     Part III: Presentations

Paula Witkamp - Project Manager, Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS-KNAW)

Lonnie Stegink - Project Manager, Shoah Visual History Archive, Jewish Historical Museum

Puck Huitsing - Director of Collections & Services, NIOD-KNAW Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies


16:15     Panel discussion: Oral History, Testimony, Life story - with: Nanci Adler, Dienke Hondius, Paula Witkamp

Chair: Puck Huitsing


16:45     Closing remarks by Selma Leydesdorff


17:00     Reception, on the occasion of the 40-year jubilee of prof. dr. Selma Leydesdorff



Participation is free, but please register in advance by submitting the online registration form on the website of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.


Conference committee 

Dienke Hondius, Puck Huitsing, Lonnie Stegink, Selma Leydesdorff





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