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Visualizing the History of the Janowska Camp and the Holocaust in Lviv

A project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the UVA Centre for Global Inquiry and Innovation excavating the history of the Janowska concentration camp outside of Lviv.

In this project, Dr Waitman Beorn is excavating the history of the Janowska concentration camp outside of Lviv.  Perhaps as many as 80,000 Jews were murdered there and the site played a critical role in the deportation and murder of the 160,000 Jews of the city and surrounding region.  The camp served as a rare form of hybrid camp: prison/labour camp, transit camp, and killing site.  The site itself is noteworthy as it was located in a major city, with the third largest Jewish population in Poland, with more Jews than in all of the Netherlands. It also became part of the second largest Nazi trial in postwar German history.

This project explores the intersection of and mediation of genocidal policy on the frontiers of the Third Reich.  More importantly, it also excavates the connections between the camp and the city.  Finally, this research analyses in detail important topics such as sexual violence, resistance, collaboration, and extreme violence.  Dr Beorn brings together a variety of sources including aerial and wartime photographs, legal documents, drawings by prisoners, perpetrator and survivor testimony, memoirs, archival documents, and site surveys.  Finally, this work takes seriously the spatial turn and carefully incorporates the importance of space as a category of analysis and a factor that directly impacted the lives of everyone in the Janowska camp.

In addition to including a narrative history of the camp, this project pushes the boundaries of the digital humanities by including a 3D model and social network analysis to more deeply explore the lived experience of the prisoners and perpetrators and the spatial components of life in the camp.  With external support, it will also create a digital web portal for use by the students, educators, and the general public.

This project has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities (US) and the UVA Centre for Global Inquiry and Innovation and is the current subject for an AHRC Research, Engagement, and Development bid application.


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