Holocaust Mobilities: Beyond the Mapping, Stressing the Narratives

Authors: Seth Kudym*, University of Nebraska - Omaha
Topics: Historical Geography, Temporal GIS, Qualitative Research
Keywords: HGIS, temporal, mobilities, digital, humanities, GIS, Holocaust
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Roosevelt 7, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper builds on already presented research on the journeys of Holocaust survivors, centered around Minsk, Belarus. Again, it asks beyond “How did people survive the Holocaust?” to “What types of transportation did they use?” and “Where did they go after the war and why?” Drawing on recent research in “mobilities," it examines how people, places, and things interact with each other, promoting mobility or resulting in immobilities (“stillness” and “waiting”). Using audiovisual accounts from the Shoah Visual History Archive (VHA), 30 Holocaust survivor accounts were examined through the method of narrative analysis, viewing each as “scripts” that were analyzed at multiple levels. Journeys were compared on sex, ages, and country of origin lines. This paper presentation is to more fully flesh out the struggles, the triumphs, and qualitative patterns that arose that I had yet to explore in a conference setting. There was simply more to share than vector datum on a series of maps. This is to give the viewer a greater sense at the humanity (and lack thereof) discovered after spending 400 hours with these simultaneously depressing and yet incredibly inspirational survival accounts. This work contributes to the rapidly growing field of digital humanities and provides a springboard for further research on the mobilities and immobilities of Holocaust survivors. It also answers a call for geographers and GIS users to utilize their research skills to benefit the field of Holocaust & Genocide Studies.

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