The Role of Oral History Interviews in Regional Holocaust Memory: The Case of the North Caucasus


Headshot of Irina Rebrova.

November 14, 2017 at 4:00 PM Pacific Time

A public lecture by Irina Rebrova (PhD candidate, Center for Research on Antisemitism at Technical University, Berlin)
2017-2018 Margee and Douglas Greenberg Research Fellow

Organized by the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research

In this lecture, Irina Rebrova will discuss her research on the process of remembrance and translation of the memory about the Holocaust in the North Caucasus, South of Russia. She studies the mechanism of storytelling by Holocaust survivors interviewed by the Shoah Foundation in the early Post-Soviet states in the 1990s. The Shoah Foundation’s project was almost the first large-scale oral history project for giving voices to the Soviet Holocaust survivors. Soviet Jews who had survived occupation were left out of several postwar European oral history projects. Most of the Soviet Jews lived their whole lives (or the significant part their adult lives before it could be possible to emigrate after the breakup of the USSR) in the Soviet Union, where the theme of mass extermination of the Jews especially within the internal borders has been silenced. In this context, the Shoah Foundation project is a very early and unique experiment to make public the private/family memory of the most traumatic experience of the Soviet Jewry. Rebrova’s research explores the role of these interviews in the construction of social memory of the Holocaust in the Soviet Jewish community and wider in the post-Soviet society.

Irina Rebrova is a PhD candidate at the Center for Research on Anti-Semitism at Technical University, Berlin, Germany. The working title of her thesis is “Memory about the Holocaust in Soviet and Post-Soviet Russian Discourses on World War II (the Case of North Caucasus)”. She holds a Russian degree (candidate of science in history) and MA in sociology (Gender studies). She has published a number of articles on Oral History, Gender History and Social Memory on World War II in Russian, English and German academic journals and edited collections. She is also a Research Associate in Hadassah Brandeis Institute at Brandeis University.