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Yad Vashem Convenes Leading Researchers to Reconsider the Jewish Refugee Problem during the Period 1933-1945 in light of Current New Perspectives on the Holocaust

Biennial International Conference to be largest and most diverse conference of its kind

15 December 2016

Starting Sunday, 18 December 2016, Yad Vashem's International Institute for Holocaust Research will host its biennial international conference, entitled "The Jewish Refugee Problem During the Shoah (1933-1945) Reconsidered." The three-day conference will convene leading scholars in the field of Holocaust research and education from around the world to examine various aspects of the Jewish refugee problem during the Nazi era and present their findings. This conference is the largest, most multifaceted conference of its kind, discussing the topic of the Jewish refugee crisis during the period of the Shoah. It covers the broadest range of countries from which and to which Jews fled, with a special emphasis on refugees in the Soviet Union during the Holocaust.

Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev will address the opening session of the conference, followed by Prof. Dan Michman, Head of the International Institute for Holocaust Research at Yad Vashem and Incumbent of the John Najmann Chair for Holocaust Studies. In addition, keynote speaker Norman Goda, Norman and Irma Braman Professor of Holocaust Studies at the University of Florida, USA, will present "A Career in Refugees: James McDonald, the Jews and the Holocaust."

A special session of the Moshe Mirilashvili Center for Research on the Holocaust in the Soviet Union will be held, entitled "Jewish Refugees in the Soviet Union." Prominent scholars addressing the panel include: Eliyana Adler (Pennsylvania State University, USA); Natalie Belsky (University of Minnesota, Duluth, USA); Sara Bender (University of Haifa, Israel, and Sigita Zemaityte, Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania). This session will be held in Hebrew, English and Russian with simultaneous translation.

The closing panel will feature a roundtable discussion in which the participants will discuss to what extent the current refugee crisis allows for new insights regarding the Jewish refugee problems of the Nazi era. Renowned scholars taking part in the discussion are: Prof. Yehuda Bauer, Yad Vashem Academic Advisor; Prof. Deborah Dwork (Clark University, USA); Prof. Dina Porat, Yad Vashem Chief Historian; and Guy Miron of Yad Vashem's International School for Holocaust Studies.

"The policies and attitudes of governments, international organizations and Jewish committees and communities towards Jewish refugees in the Nazi era was a topic that achieved certain scholarly attention in the 1960s and 1970s but afterwards was overshadowed by intensive research on the many other aspects of Nazi persecution and murder," explains Prof. Michman, moderator of the panel. "In this conference, we would like to reconsider the Jewish refugee issue in light of our much better understanding of the Holocaust period in general, and gain insights into topics that were not researched in the past, such as the fate of Jewish refugees in the Soviet Union and Southern Europe."

The conference proceedings will be in held in Hebrew and English, with simultaneous translation.

Press interested in covering this conference, or for more information regarding the activities of the International Institute for Holocaust Research, please contact media.relations@yadvashem.org.il.

This conference was made possible with the generous support of The Gertner Center for International Holocaust Conferences and the Gutwirth Family Fund.

The special session regarding Jewish Refugees in the Soviet Union was made possible with the generous support of the Moshe Mirilashvili Center for Research on the Holocaust in the Soviet Union.