Wednesday 27 November
In this lunchtime lecture the Museum’s Resident Historian, Emeritus Professor Konrad Kwiet, will present his latest research, entitled ‘Landscapes of Death’.
The Holocaust stood never still. Moving through European and North African landscapes, the murder of the Jews created new places – ghettos and camps, mobile and stationary gassing facilities – or reworked public sites – roads and buildings, synagogues and cemeteries, river banks and dunes, pits and ravines, fields and forests into genocidal landscapes.
Four years ago, Professor Kwiet joined a small group of Holocaust scholars residing in Germany, Poland and Belarus to carry out a large-scale research, publication and exhibition project. They aim to trace murder and memorial sites of the Holocaust dispersed throughout Eastern Europe, and to explore the transformation of these spaces. Their work forms part of a new steadily growing sub-field of Holocaust scholarship dealing with the topography or geography of the Holocaust.
Professor Kwiet will focus on the Ukrainian village of Medzibizh, the burial place of Baal Schem Tov, the founder of Hasidism, as one example of the transformation of Jewish space. Emphasis will be placed on the Jewish world that was, on the destruction during the Holocaust, and on the recent rebuilding of Jewish life initiated by the Satmar, the largest group of the Hasidic movement.
Emeritus Professor Konrad Kwiet is a German-born historian and child survivor of the Holocaust. Formerly the Pratt Foundation Professor in Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at The University of Sydney and the Chief Historian of the Australian War Crimes Commission. He is Emeritus Professor in German and European Studies at Macquarie University, is Adjunct Professor in Jewish Studies and Roth Lecturer in Holocaust, and Resident Historian at the Sydney Jewish Museum. Konrad is the author of 10 books and over 80 articles, chapters and historical dictionary entries. His research interests include: Modern Jewish history, with specific focus on the History of the Holocaust, Antisemitism, German-Jewish relations, Nazi war crimes, German and exile studies.