Jewish Archives, Artefacts and Memory in Transit

Jun 14, 2023  | 1:00pm - 2:00pm ET

Virtual Exhibition Panel | Christine Schmidt (Wiener Holocaust Library), Simone Lässig (GHI Washington), Anna-Carolin Augustin (GHI Washington), Indra Sangupta, (GHI London), Christina von Hodenberg (GHI London)

The Wiener Holocaust Library’s current exhibition, Holocaust Letters, examines Holocaust-era private letters as sites of knowledge production as well as for their traces of the material past, including enforced Jewish migration.

With the soon-to-be-launched virtual Holocaust Letters exhibition as a starting point, this virtual panel will explore new ways and research into thinking about archives, artefacts, and other primary sources, including material sources as well as those not held in traditional archives, to help us gain deeper insight into the history of Jewish refugees in transit and the knowledge those migrants possessed, produced, transmitted, or lost.

The panelists will discuss what happens when migrants leave their homes and try to convey both their sense of loss and their disorienting experience of learning to live somewhere new in correspondence and artefacts that capture experiences before, during, or after their migration. In terms of correspondence, how did they craft and understand their words in accordance with who they were writing to and when? How do Holocaust-era letters, photographs, and other artefacts communicate experiences? What happens to the “archive” in the context of transoceanic migration or persecution, such as the Holocaust?

This event is being convened as part of the Holocaust Letters exhibition events series organized by the Holocaust and Genocide Research Partnership in cooperation with the German Historical Institute London, the German Historical Institute Washington with its Pacific Office at UC Berkeley, and the California Institute of Technology.


  • Dr Christine Schmidt, Deputy Director and Head of Research, Wiener Holocaust Library: Introduction and Holocaust Letters
  • Prof Simone Lässig, Director, German Historical Institute Washington: The Research Field „In Global Transit“ – An Introduction
  • Dr Anna-Carolin Augustin, Research Fellow, German Historical Institute Washington: Jewish Ritual Objects in Transit: Archives of Knowledge or Vessels of Memory?
  • Dr Indra Sangupta, Head of India Research Programme, German Historical Institute London: Jewish Calcutta and Refugees from Hitler’s Europe: An Exhibition held in Calcutta in February 2018
  • Prof Christina von Hodenberg, Director, German Historical Institute London: Closing Remarks


Virtual Event guidelines:

  1. The Library will send you a Zoom link and joining instructions via email prior to the event. Please check your junk email folders.
  2. Please try and join 5 minutes before the event start time and we will let you into the room (do try and bear with us if this takes a few minutes).
  3. If you would like to ask a question during the event, please type your question into the chat function, and we will endeavour to answer as many questions as possible during the Q&A. Your webcam will not be seen during this event.
  4. The event will be recorded for the Library’s YouTube channel and will be shared at a later date.