Editorial


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.

Articles

Download PDFHeavy fighting around 'fortress Breslau' resulted in the German surrender on May 6, 1945 and almost completely destroyed the city. The following three years saw the 'relocation' of the city's entire German population to the West. It was the beginning of the city's great transfer period, which inevitably caused the losses of homes and identity crises: it included the ‚resettlement‘ of the German inhabitants, the settlement of Poles, the forced resettlement of the Ukrainian population, the expulsion of the returned members of the German-Jewish community as well as the directed settlement of Polish Shoah survivors. Breslau became Wrocław: the city was rid of German traces, utterly Polonized and, together with the entire area of Lower Silesia, celebrated as a „recovered territory“. The Polish settlers who surged into the city immediately after the end of the war, including Polish Jewish survivors, were supposed to find a new home there. This proved to be too great a challenge under the circumstances of the immediate post-war era: Wrocław was immersed in chaos and destruction, the presence of its German inhabitants was still apparent throughout the city (at least until 1948), the reorganization of the Polish state structures as well as the political consolidation of power was only just underway. Moreover, other factors also contributed to the demolition of initial prospects that Jewish life would be established in post-war Poland. This contribution aimed to analyse and illuminate these factors at hand of the example of Wrocław.

SWL-Reader

Download PDFIn 1992, the government of the Federal Republic of Germany decided to dedicate a memorial to the victims of the genocide of Sinti and Roma. The Memorial for the Sinti and Roma of Europe murdered under National Socialism by the artist Dani Karavan was inaugurated in October 2012 in the centre of Berlin, near the former Reichstag building. The planning and construction phase spanned two decades, during which many discussions addressed the significance awarded to the Nazi persecution of “gypsies” next to the Holocaust. These discussions reached an apex in a controversy enacted via media between Yehuda Bauer (then the director of the International School for Holocaust Studies in Yad Vashem) and Romani Rose (the head of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma). This paper critically reflects the debates in light of new research results on the genocide of Sinti and Roma.

Events

Duschehubka

Download PDFThis text is the penultimate chapter of Zoltán Halasi's book Út az üres éghez (Road to an Empty Sky). With this work, which was first published in Hungarian, the author created a singular memorial to Polish-Jewish culture and its destruction. Setting out from the Yiddish Holocaust poem Dos lid funm ojsgehargetn jidischen folk by Itzhak Katzenelson, Halasi records what was lost in the Shoah in the course of nineteen compelling chapters. He takes on the grab of an art historian, a literary critic and a travel guide when he reports about a wooden synagogue and the Jewish quarter in Warsaw. In the role of a German banker, he illuminates the aims of the Nazi monetary policies, as a writer of SS brochures he highlights the absurdity of racism. Depicting a Selektion in the Warsaw ghetto, he shows the grim logic of compulsive acts in catastrophic situations, draws an image of the running of the extermination camp Treblinka. The cynical words of two German policemen provide an insight into the rituals of mass executions and introduce us to the craft of murder. The final chapter is an interplay of slithers of narrative by Jewish children on the run and by those who helped and hid them that borders on the unbearable.
The chapter reproduced on the following pages has three parts: Part one is a Treblinka railway station master's report to the Polish Home Army. In the second part, a former Jewish detainee who managed to escape from the extermination camp Treblinka gives a literary treatment of his arrival at the camp. The final part consists of an inner monologue by the Treblinka extermination camp's director of administration.

The book will shortly be published in Polish at the Nisza publishing company in Warsaw. The German-speaking public was first presented with the work on December 1, 2015 at the Simon Wiesenthal Conference 2015. The German translation by Éva Zádor and Heinrich Eisterer is in progress.

Die ungarische Zwangsarbeit in Wien, in den Jahren 1944/45, deren Spuren wir im Rahmen des Projekts „BEWEGT ERINNERN“ am 27. Mai 2014 freilegen wollten, ist eine Erinnerungsgeschichte, die innerhalb der Wiener Stadtgeschichte einen „blinden Fleck“ darstellt. Die Spuren dieser wichtigen Erinnerung offenbaren sich weder in der Stadtarchitektur noch im Stadtmobiliar auf eine lesbare Art und Weise, es existieren auch keine Erinnerungsorte, die unsere Aufmerksamkeit auf diesen Inhalt oder auf diese Identität lenken würden. Für die Wienerinnen und Wiener sind es womöglich Räume, welche in anderen Stadtgeschichten eine Rolle spielen, mit der betrachteten Epoche aber nicht mehr in Verbindung gebracht werden, da sie ja auch keine erkennbaren oder deutlichen „Zeichen“ oder „Spuren“ dieser Geschichte auf der Haut tragen. Aus diesem Grund ist es wichtig, eine Geschichte, eine Erinnerung, die sehr wohl noch besteht und präsent ist, auch wenn sie in der Textur der Stadt kaum mehr zu erkennen ist, wieder in die Erinnerung zu rufen, indem man an gewissen Orten dieser Geschichte gedenkt. Durch die Gedenkfahrt wurde also eine Veränderung des Stadtbildes angestrebt, indem Erinnerungsorte hinzugefügt wurden, um ein tieferes Verständnis von Räumen zu erlangen.

Die Idee einer Bustour durch Wien im Gedenken an ungarische Zwangsarbeiterinnen und Zwangsarbeiter 1944/45 bot die Gelegenheit, unsere, im Rahmen des Lehrgangs Social Design – Arts as Urban Innovation an der Universität für Angewandte Kunst theoretisch erarbeiteten Konzepte auch praktisch umzusetzen. Die Gedenktour wurde so zu einem Versuch, durch ein tieferes Verständnis von mental und real verschütteten und vergessenen Identitäten von Räumen, die individuelle Rekonstruktion eines Stadtbildes zu bewirken, indem wir diesem neue Erinnerungsorte hinzufügten. Es ging um einen Prozess, der eine persönliche Aneignung der Stadt und ihrer Identität anregt, aber auch umsetzt.

 

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