Visualizing and Analyzing Family’s Trajectories in the Holocaust: Representational Models

Authors: Maël Le Noc*, Texas State University, Alberto Giordano, Texas State University, Tim Cole, Bristol University
Topics: Historical Geography, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: Holocaust and genocide, geography of families, Hungary, Italy, GIScience
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 16
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Throughout our multi-year collaboration on the geography of the Holocaust, we have often returned to questions related to the family, including family members separation, family structure, and household composition. From a methodological perspective, we strived to refine spatial analytical tools to study families and to develop models and visualizations applicable to diverse social and historical contexts. From a Holocaust perspective, we sought to understand how families fared during this genocidal event, and in particular how traditional family structures were reconfigured.
In this presentation, we briefly touch on all these aspects, with examples from Hungary and Italy. In the Hungarian case, we discuss a survey of Jewish survivors living in Budapest in the summer of 1945. We propose a model to identify and differentiate familial relationships that allow us to explore family structures and to map them at the level of individual housing unit. Results indicate a remarkable scarcity of the typical nuclear family structure in post-Holocaust Budapest, matched by the diversification of family structures (e.g., all females, all siblings). In the case of Italy, the model we propose allow us to investigate patterns of arrests of Jewish victims during the Holocaust while simultaneously exploring the three dimensions of geographical data—spatial, temporal, and thematical. Our results highlight the systematic extent to which perpetrators targeted families as opposed to individual victims. Although the two models differ in terms of scale, unit of analysis, type of representation, and family characteristics explored, we believe both can be generalized to other contexts.

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