Academic Minute Podcast
Wolf Gruner, University of Southern California – #LastSeen Project: Unknown Pictures, Untold Stories of the Holocaust
Photos of the Holocaust are still being found.
Wolf Gruner, Shapell-Guerin Chair in Jewish studies and professor of history at the University of Southern California, explores the history still to be told through images.
Wolf Gruner is the Shapell-Guerin Chair in Jewish Studies and Professor of History at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles since 2008, and Founding Director of the USC Dornsife Center for Advanced Genocide Research since 2014. He is an appointed member of the Academic Committee at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum since 2017. He received his PhD and habilitation from the Technical University Berlin. Gruner is the author of ten books, including Jewish Forced Labor under the Nazis. Economic Needs and Nazi Racial Aims with Cambridge University Press (2006) and Parias de la Patria“. El mito de la liberación de los indígenas en la República de Bolivia 1825-1890 (2015) and the prize winning The Holocaust in Bohemia and Moravia. Czech Initiatives, German Policies, Jewish Responses (2019). He also coedited four more books, including „Resisting Persecution. Jews and Their Petitions during the Holocaust” (2020), and “New Perspectives on Kristallnacht: After 80 Years, the Nazi Pogrom in Global Comparison” (2019). His new study Resisters. How Jews fought Persecution in Hitler’s Germany about forgotten stories of widespread individual Jewish resistance is forthcoming with Yale University Press in summer 2023.
#LastSeen Project: Unknown Pictures, Untold Stories of the Holocaust
The #LastSeen Project – Pictures of Nazi Deportations aims to recover photos of the mass deportations of Jews, as well as Sinti and Roma people, that took place in and from Germany between 1938 and 1945. The deportations started in their hometowns and led to the ghettos and murder sites in the Nazi occupied East.
Launched in October 2021, this is a multi-institutional research and educational project with several partners in Germany. The goal is to preserve and analyze the visual evidence of these crimes, identify the victims, and tell their stories.
The Center for Advanced Genocide research is tasked with locating historical photographs in the United States and other English-speaking countries. Many images have already been found in Germany —in local archives and private possession. A few photos came from the United States, from former liberators and survivors who took images from Nazi offices at the end of the war. Within the first year of the project, the number of German cities for which we now have visual evidence of mass deportations increased from 27 to 60.
Our mission is to make the images available to the public. A free online photo atlas documenting these untold stories of the Holocaust is now available online under LastSeen.org. The completed project will serve as a visual monument and tool in the fight against Holocaust denial, antisemitism, and racism. It is our hope to honor the victims, document the history, and provide an important resource for research and education.
Uncovering and documenting these stories is more important now than ever before.
[USC Dornsife] – #LastSeen Project: Searching for Unknown Pictures of Nazi Deportations
[Berghahn] – The Holocaust in Bohemia and Moravia
[Berghahn] – Resisting Persecution
[The Conversation] – Unknown Holocaust photos – found in attics and archives – are helping researchers recover lost stories and providing a tool against denial
[USC Dornsife] – Center for Advanced Genocide Research
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