“Never again!” – this call can be heard at numerous events, such as the liberation celebrations in the concentration camps, and can be read on banners and posters. Since 1945, it has been the central incentive and central motive for a variety of activities by survivors’ organisations in which former members of the resistance and former political prisoners of concentration camps joined together after liberation. During the Cold War, the survivors’ organisations were often at loggerheads along political and ideological lines, yet they developed a considerable commitment to the historical reappraisal and remembrance of war, resistance, and (political) persecution, to compensation, pensions, and medical care, and to the punishment of the perpetrators. In addition, they were often socially active, organising assistance for political prisoners of postwar dictatorships and providing health support for the survivors, who were severely impaired. As part of the two blocs in the global political conflict of the postwar period, they were also involved in the propaganda campaigns of East and West as well as in the peace movement of the 1970s and 1980s, and worked towards the reconciliation of former enemies of war and the easing of tensions between East and West. The survivors’ associations were part of various networks of local, national, and international organisations, including the United Nations and veterans’ associations.
In recent years, the history of Nazi victims and their manifold activities after persecution have received increased attention in research, in which the ambivalence of former politically persecuted persons has also been addressed. For example, the associations of politically persecuted persons were involved in the exclusion of certain survivors from compensation. In the People’s Republics, they and their functionaries supported the regimes, conveyed the official view of history, and were often deeply involved in political persecutions.
This conference aims to provide a cross-section of research on the survivors and their various associations. The guiding question is therefore deliberately open and broadly formulated. The conference will focus on the relationship between society, politics, justice, memory, and the survivors and their organisations.
Presentations (maximum 30 minutes) could, for example, deal with one or more of the following topics:
- Organisation, networks, and personnel of the associations
- The associations in the field of memory, enlightenment, and historical research
- Social and medical activities/pension and compensation
- The role of survivors and their associations in the prosecution of Nazi criminals
Please send abstracts (maximum 250-300 words) and short CVs (maximum 50-100 words) in German or English not later than 6 December 2020 to
Maximilian Becker firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com with the subject “CFP–Survivors”.
The participants will be notified by mid-January 2021.
The conference will take place on 19/20 April 2021 in Vienna. The conference languages are German and English.
Accommodation costs in Vienna will be covered, travel expenses have to be paid by the participants first and will be reimbursed up to 300 Euros for the cheapest means of transport (usually a 2nd-class train ticket).
Concept: Maximilian Becker, IKT.