This contribution describes and analyses the activities of two expert committees on Jewish politics and analysis of the present age, which were established in New York in 1940 and 1941. The Research Institute on Peace and Post-War Problems and the Institute of Jewish Affairs were meeting places for Jewish people who worked on political strategy papers on how to address the apocalyptic presence of the extermination of the European Jews, based on their range of experiences during the interwar period. They were modelled on the tradition of East European minority protection policies and the Jewish defence against antisemitism in the Weimar Republic; it was their aim to debate the possibilities for saving the Jews as well as the future of Jewish existence. Their activities resulted in the collection of wide-ranging documentation and many reports on the reality of Nazism. These documents are significant sources of information on the immediate effect of the events on contemporaries and bear witness to the attempts to act, understand, report, remember the victims and at the same time design a new Jewish life after the catastrophe in America while war and extermination were still going on.
S:I.M.O.N. is an e-journal of the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI). It appears twice a year in English and German language. S:I.M.O.N. aims at both a transnational and comparative history of the Holocaust and Jewish Studies in Central and Eastern Europe within the broader contexts of the European history of the 20th and 21st century, including its prehistory, consequences and legacies as well as the history of memory.
S:I.M.O.N. serves as a forum for discussion of various methodological approaches. The journal especially wishes to strengthen the exchange between researchers from different scientific communities and to integrate both the Jewish history and the history of the Holocaust into the different “national” narratives. It also lays a special emphasis on memory studies and the analysis of politics of memory. S:I.M.O.N. uses a double-blind review system, which means that both the reviewer’s and the author’s identities are concealed from each other hroughout the review process.
Shoah: The journal deals with the history of the Shoah from multidisciplinary, transnational and comparative perspectives. It seeks to integrate studies on Jews as well as on other groups of victims of the Holocaust, especially on Roma, and of so far less researched regions of (East) Central and (South) Eastern Europe.
Intervention. The journal reports on research projects and their transmission into public events. It also informs about current educational and remembrance programs.
Methods. The journal serves as a forum for the discussion of methodological approaches as, for instance, the everyday history, oral history, gender history, the history of violence, anti-Semitism and racism and the theory of memory and memory politics.
DocumentatiON. The journal contributes to critical approaches on using and interpreting archival materials in the 21st century.
Download the current issue S:I.M.O.N. 2017/1.
The Relations between the Jewish Community of Pest and the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Wien (IKG) from the 'Anschluß' until the Beginning of the Deportations, 1938-1941 In 1938 the Jewish Community of Pest (PIH)] and the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Wien were the two largest Jewish communities of Central Europe. By 1938, the two Jewish communities had cultivated strong relationships with one another for over a century. However, the nature of the relationships between the two Jewish communities had changed drastically in 1938.
As a consequence of the increasingly worsening official anti-Jewish discrimination, ties of social and legal aid had exclusively replaced any other kinds of relationships. Religious life, chiefly issues of kashrut, social aid for members of the community, as well as Emigration from Austria after the 'Anschluß', and issues concerning one’s Hungarian citizenship after the anti-Jewish legislation had been central to the mutual work of extending social and legal aid to one another.
A systematic study of the relationships between the two largest Central European Jewish communities between 1938 and 1941 will enable us to understand how these increasingly adversely influenced central institutions of Jewish life attempted to assist their members and one another during the first phase of the Holocaust. To show how the two communities collaborated and tried to help each other is crucial, since these Jewish institutions are routinely portrayed even in historical works as isolationist bodies that were utterly uninvolved and uninterested in the problems of the Jewish world in general. The study will explore how their ties between 1938 and 1941 (until the beginning of the mass deportation of Viennese Jews) influenced the behaviour of the two communities and their members both in the later phases of the Holocaust and its aftermath. The ties of legal and social aid provided a viable model as well as a context for later patterns of relationships within and also without the Jewish world.
During the first two decades following the Second World War, hundreds of thousands of migrants arrived in the United States of America from all parts of Europe, many of them having fled the Soviet occupation. Several hundred had been in service to Nazi Germany or other powers in league with the Third Reich before 1945: as state ministers, administrative officers of the German occupational forces, adjunct policemen or as guards at the concentration camps and extermination camps. In the late 1970s, the US Department of Justice established an Office for Special Investigations. It was their task to investigate alleged Nazi perpetrators, and, if applicable, to prosecute them for violation of the US immigration and naturalization laws. Their efforts resulted in the deportation from the United States of America of more than a hundred of these persons.
Peter Black recounted the story of this office from an insider's point of view. Beginning with an explanation of the problem of competence, he explained why it took so long for these cases to be initiated, and how it was possible that decades passed between the initiation of a deportation case and the actual deportation. He then went on to analyse a range of cases, described the required evidence and finally presented a discussion of selected individual cases.
During the clerical-fascist Slovak State, "Tóno" Brtko, a docile and poor carpenter, is offered the possibility to 'aryanise' the small Main Street sewing accessories shop of Rozália Lautmannová. Torn between his good-natured principles and his greedy wife Evelyna, he finally agrees to take over the shop by making the deaf and senile lady believe he is her nephew arriving to help her out. Yet he then discovers that the business is bankrupt, and Ms. Lautmannová is only relying on donations from the Jewish community. While letting his wife believe he is making money from the shop, he gradually becomes a supporter of the old lady. More and more, a cordial relationship between the two evolves. When the Slovak authorities finally decide to deport the Jewish population of the small town, Tóno, in a deep conflict with himself and his values, finally opts for hiding Ms. Lautmannová – a decision which turns into tragedy. Obchod na korze won the 'Oscar' for Best Foreign Language Film in 1966. The film was presented on the occasion of a VWI-Visuals presentation on 29 January 2015 in Vienna's Admiralkino.
Elisabeth Gallas: „Facing a crisis unparalleled in history“. Jüdische Reaktionen auf den Holocaust aus New York, 1940 bis 1945