Fortunoff Video Archive invites applicants to second summer program in Budapest

  • Man with glasses stands in front of wall screens that read "Diaries as Wartime Documentation." Two rows of students sit in front of him at long desks with laptops open.
January 12, 2024

For the second consecutive year, the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies invites students and scholars to Budapest, Hungary, for its nine-day summer course, “Holocaust Testimonies and Their Afterlives.” The session, hosted by Central European University (CEU), runs July 10–19. Applications to the program are due Feb. 14.

This intensive course explores the “era of the witness”—the emergence of Holocaust testimony as a model for eyewitness documentation in the 20th and 21st centuries. Participants directly engage with Holocaust testimony through workshops, seminars, lectures, and film screenings. The course examines first-person testimonies from historical, legal, and moral perspectives. It also introduces new methodological approaches to studying testimony in the digital age and considers the “afterlives” of these materials in related scholarly fields.

In 2023, more than 20 students from 10 different countries—and faculty members from Yale, Brandeis University, and elsewhere—participated in the Fortunoff Video Archive’s course. Carolyn J. Dean, Charles J. Stille Professor of History and French at Yale, was among the faculty at last summer’s session. In her lecture, she explored the concept of the Holocaust survivor as “moral witness” and how that concept has changed in a world in which genocide is a frequent occurrence.

“We built this very special community where we learned from one another. It was intense but intellectually very satisfying,” Naron said.

Isabel Kirsch ’23—who studied anthropology, history, and French while at Yale—also attended the session last summer. For her senior essay, she had written about how Holocaust memory is visible in contemporary French families, archives, and public war memorials. “I received excellent support throughout the senior essay process,” Kirsch said, “but it wasn’t until the CEU summer program that I joined a cohort of scholars whose interests so aligned with my own. The class brought together students from around the world and across disciplines: historians, anthropologists, political scientists, lawyers, artists.

“I’m spending this year expanding on my senior essay research, and I am grateful for my experience at CEU for equipping me to continue down this path and for introducing me to an incredible group of scholars and friends.”

Fortunoff Video Archive Director Stephen Naron helped design the course, along with four core faculty members: Éva Kovács, Vienna Wisenthal Institute of Holocaust Studies; Michael L. Miller, Nationalism Studies and Jewish Studies Program, CEU, Vienna; Avinoam Patt, New York University; and Noah Shenker, University Studies, Colgate University, New York.

This summer, additional faculty members and guest speakers will present the interdisciplinary program in History, Sociology, Jewish Studies, Memory Studies, and Nationalism Studies.

“This program is a clear example of how Yale Library is making an impact internationally with its collections,” Naron said, “and contributing to Yale’s role as a university for the world.”

—Deborah Cannarella

Photo: Gergely Kunt, from the University of Miskolc, Hungary, leading the CEU summer seminar, “Diaries as Wartime Documentation”