Call for Applications Workshop Contradictory Sources: Specific Problems of the Holocaust in the Soviet Union

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Call for Applications

Contradictory Sources: Specific Problems of the Holocaust in the Soviet Union 

Sunday-Thursday, July 31–August 4, 2022, Jerusalem


The Moshe Mirilashvili Center for Research on the Holocaust in the Soviet Union of the International Institute for Holocaust Research at Yad Vashem and the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) are pleased to invite applications for a research workshop entitled, “Contradictory Sources: Specific Problems of the Holocaust in the Soviet Union.” The workshop is scheduled for July 31–August 4, 2022 at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. This is the fourth research workshop co-organized by Yad Vashem and USHMM with a focus on the former Soviet Union.


Researchers of the Holocaust in the USSR and the history of Soviet Jewry during World War II encounter problems and contradictions when comparing the small body of documents that were drawn up at the time of the events with the massive trove of sources (such as materials of the Extraordinary Commission, court transcripts, memoirs, and interviews) composed after liberation from Nazi occupation. As many of the materials representing the bulk of available sources were created over the past three decades, they reflect some of the issues inherent to individual memories, personal postwar experiences, and collective memory. 


Along with temporal factors, regional differences play an important role when assessing documents, especially with respect to culture, local realities, and the ways in which different authors understood events. Many contradictions in Holocaust research also emerge when we compare analogous information in the German and Soviet sources. Such contradictions have profoundly impacted divergent historiographical approaches.


These questions are relevant to a broad chronological, geographic, and thematic spectrum: namely, the history of the territories annexed by the USSR in 1939-1940, the territories occupied by the German and Romanian armies in 1941-1942, the history of the Jews who found themselves in the Soviet rear and in the Red Army, the memory of the Holocaust, and the experiences of locals throughout the territory occupied by Nazi forces.


The goal of this workshop is to discuss the factors that influence the views of the narrators and authors of documents written both during and after WW II. Applications will also be accepted for any proposals touching upon any aspect of source criticism described above.


In addition, this workshop invites applications from participants in each of the previous three research workshops to provide updates on the progress of their research, re-engage with source materials at Yad Vashem, and network with new research workshop participants.


Participants will be expected to submit a paper (no more than 15 pages) a month prior to the beginning of the workshop for circulation among all participants. Daily sessions will include 30-minute presentations followed by a discussion (up to 30 min), as well as an opportunity for participants to do research at Yad Vashem’s library and archives.


Applications will be accepted from doctoral candidates (aspirants) and scholars who obtained their Ph.D. (or candidate of science degree) within the last five years. Applications are welcome from scholars working in all relevant academic disciplines, including anthropology, archaeology, art history, geography, film studies, history, Jewish studies, law, literature, material culture, philosophy, political science, religion, sociology, and other fields.


Please note that the organizers of this event intend to hold the workshop on site at Yad Vashem. However, if it is impossible to physically convene from July 31-August 4 due to the Coronavirus pandemic, then the workshop will be held either entirely online or in a hybrid in-person and online format. Details on the workshop’s format will be sent out well in advance of the beginning of the program.


All application materials must be received by 29 April 2022. Incomplete applications will not be considered after this date. Late applications will not be accepted. The selected participants will be notified by 29 May 2022


Please send all application materials via email to


  1. A current Curriculum Vitae outlining the applicant’s qualifications (including previous coursework, research projects, presentations, and publications).
  2. An abstract of no more than 1000 words for your proposed paper (including title and discussion of methodological and theoretical issues).
  3. A letter of recommendation (for students only) addressing the applicant’s scholarly potential. To preserve the confidentiality of recommendation letters, faculty recommenders must email their signed letters (on institutional letterhead) directly to


The workshop organizers are Dr. Arkadi Zeltser, Director of the Moshe Mirilashvili Center for Research on the Holocaust in the Soviet Union at Yad Vashem ( and Dr. Daniel Newman, Program Manager in the Division of International Academic Programs, USHMM (


The organizers will cover the cost of economy class flights to and from the workshop, lodging for the workshop’s duration and meals. Participants must obtain their own health insurance.

The workshop will be conducted in English.

This program is made possible by a generous support of Michael and Laura Mirilashvili, the Jewish Euro-Asian Congress to Yad Vashem’s Moshe Mirilashvili Center for Research on the Holocaust in the Soviet Union of the International Institute for Holocaust Research and is supported by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.