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Who was Responsible for the Holocaust, Hitler or the Germans?

One of the topics to be raised during the International Conference on Holocaust Research at Yad Vashem, opening on 21.11.04 entitled: Holocaust Research in Context: The Emergence of Research Centers and Approaches.

16 November 2004

Researchers from Israel and worldwide will take part in the International Conference on Holocaust Research from Sunday-Wednesday, 21-24 November 2004, at the International Institute for Holocaust Research at Yad Vashem. The conference is being held to mark Yad Vashem’s 50th anniversary and in advance of the opening of the new Holocaust history museum.

The emergence and development of Holocaust research is of itself a fascinating topic. Participants will examine a variety of related issues, including: who promoted Holocaust research and why it was so important; how the scholarly world accepted this topic into its realm of work; the influence of changing public interest in directions and modes of research; the differences between perpetrators’ and victims’ perspectives; and the role of survivors in Holocaust studies.

In the four days of the conference, a range of topics connected to Holocaust research will be examined, including:

  • From Survivors to Researchers: The Beginning of Research from the Jewish Perspective
  • Holocaust Research in Poland: Jewish and Polish Historiography
  • Who was Responsible for the Holocaust: Hitler or the Germans?
  • Testimonies: Between Law and Memory
  • From Factual Testimony to Exhibition of the Experience: The Projects to Record Survivors’ Testimonies

“Holocaust research now stands at a crossroads,” explains Professor Dan Michman, Chief Historian of Yad Vashem. “The time has come to examine its growth and development since the end of the war, and assess its future direction.”

The conference will focus on different expressions of Holocaust research from the beginning of its development after WWII. “60 years have passed since the Second World War and 50 years since Yad Vashem was established as the center for commemoration and research of the Holocaust and its lessons,” says Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate Avner Shalev. “At the conference the best researchers from Israel and around the world will attempt to summarize the journey taken by Holocaust research in the various countries over the years.”

Holocaust research is now an accepted discipline, drawing many renowned and published researchers from international academic institutions and centers of learning, among them Prof. Raul Hilberg and Prof. Eberhard Jäckel who will participate in the concluding session of the conference.

Special Session with the participation of Professor Christopher R. Browning:

On Tuesday, 23 November 2004, between 15:30-18:00, a special session will be held on the topic: “Who was Responsible for the Holocaust: Hitler or the Germans?” The session will be held to mark the publication of Professor Browning’s book, The Origins of the Final Solution: The Evaluation of Nazi Jewish Policy, September 1939-March 1942 (Yad Vashem, in association with University of Nebraska Press). Professor Browning, Professor Omer Bartov, Professor Ulrich Herbert and Dr. Jürgen Matthäus will participate in the session.

The conference is generously supported by the Gertner Center for International Holocaust Conferences. Lectures will be held in Yad Vashem’s auditorium in Hebrew and English with simultaneous translation.