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Current Research on Auschwitz History and Memory


The European Association for Holocaust Studies calls for papers on current research on Auschwitz History and Memory.

Date: 14–16 November 2017 (with an optional visit to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum on 13 November)

Venue: Kraków, Poland

Organizers: The European Association for Holocaust Studies (EAHS), in cooperation with the British Association for Holocaust Studies (BAHS), the Pedagogical University of Kraków, and the Jagiellonian University, Kraków (Centre for Holocaust Studies and the UNESCO Chair in Education about the Holocaust)

Sponsors: The Auschwitz-Birkenau Death Camp Victims Memorial Foundation, British Association for Holocaust Studies, German Historical Institute in Warsaw, City of Kraków 

Background: 2017 is an important anniversary year as regards the Holocaust. It marks 75 years since the Wannsee conference, Operation Reinhard, and the beginning in 1942 of the systematic mass murder of Jews and others in the death camps established in Nazi-occupied Poland. Auschwitz has become the most widely recognized symbol of the Holocaust: in the popular imagination, images of the railway tracks leading into Birkenau or of ‘Arbeit macht frei’ function as shorthand for the Nazi genocide as a whole. But perhaps less well known, and certainly less symbolized, is the total destruction of Jewish life in thousands of towns and villages that took place in occupied Poland in 1942. At the core of the Holocaust was a horrific, relatively short but intense wave of mass murder in that year: in mid-March 1942, some 75 or 80 per cent of all Holocaust victims were still alive; by mid-February 1943, some 75 or 80 per cent of them were dead. 2017 will also mark 75 years since the beginning of mass gassing operations at Auschwitz-Birkenau, and 70 years since the opening of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.

Aims: The conference will explore the current state of scholarship on the history and memory of Auschwitz, bringing together scholars working on the history of the camp complex itself, as well as those engaged in broader studies about its memorialization and representation, and the ways in which it has come to function as an icon of the Nazi genocide. 

Possible topics for papers might include:

  • Current scholarship on Auschwitz
  • The history of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum
  • Auschwitz as a symbol of the Holocaust and other Nazi genocides
  • Memory of Auschwitz and its memorialization
  • The role of Auschwitz in Holocaust education 
  • The image of Auschwitz in literature, art, film and music

As the aim of the EAHS is to provide a forum for cutting-edge Holocaust scholarship and education in Europe, we also welcome papers on any other aspect of Holocaust Studies, particularly from European scholars, educators, and museum professionals.

Those who are interested in presenting a paper (20 minutes) at the conference should send a proposal with title, an abstract of 250–300 words, and a short CV/bio of 100 words.

Deadline for sending a proposal, with title and abstract and a CV/bio, to the conference secretariat: 14 Auguts 2017.

Optional study visit to Auschwitz: Conference participants are offered the opportunity on Monday 13 November 2017 to go on an optional one-day study visit to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, which in 2017 commemorates the seventieth anniversary of its establishment in 1947. This study visit, led by museum guides, will in part be a standard tour of the site, but will also include either visiting two or three national exhibitions and the Collections Department or visiting some of the former barracks in the main Auschwitz camp (Auschwitz I) whose interiors have remained virtually intact since the time of liberation in 1945, and have therefore been maintained and preserved in their original condition. Details of the arrangements for this study visit (for which pre-registration will be necessary) will be made available to conference participants nearer to the time of the conference.

Language: English 

Fee: 375 PLN for local participants; 1100 PLN (about 260 EUR) for all other participants.* Fees should be paid into the following bank account, if possible by 8 September 2017:

Bank Name:  BGZ BNP Paribas S.A.
Account Number:  20 1600 1198 1833 4186 1000 0002  
Swift Code (for transfers from outside Poland):  PPABPLPK
IBAN Number (for transfers from outside Poland):  PL20 1600 1198 1833 4186 1000 0002

*The fees for local participants cover the cost of transfers on 13 November 2017 from Kraków to the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum and back to Kraków, as well as all refreshments, lunches and dinners during the conference, which will finish after lunch on 16 November 2017. For other participants the fees cover in addition the cost of 3 nights of bed-and-breakfast hotel accommodation and a contribution to the costs of publication of the conference proceedings. Please note that the organizers are not able to cover the cost of travel to and from Poland. 

Conference committee
Prof. Jonathan Webber, European Association for Holocaust Studies (Chair)
Dr Joanne Pettitt, University of Kent (BAHS)
Dr Piotr Trojański, Pedagogical University of Kraków 
Dr Agnieszka Zajączkowska, Centre for Holocaust Studies
Dr Jolanta Ambrosewicz-Jacobs, UNESCO Chair in Education about the Holocaust  

EAHS business meeting: an EAHS business meeting will be held during the conference, at which all conference participants will be invited to join the Association (if they are not already members) and (if they wish) stand for office as members of the Board or one of its committees.

Conference secretariat (for receipt of proposals, conference registration, and all enquiries) 

Katarzyna Suszkiewicz, assisted by Magdalena Urbaniak
E-mail:   info[at] eahs [dott] eu This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Telephone:  +48 607 097 604