2. August 2010 - 10. August 2010
Tagung / Seminar / Workshop

Introduction to the International Tracing Service Collection at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum


Call For Nominations

Seminar for Advanced Undergraduate, M.A., and Early Ph.D. Students: Introduction to the International Tracing Service Collection at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

August 2-10, 2010      

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies (CAHS) is pleased to invite nominations for the seminar Introduction to the International Tracing Service (ITS) Collection at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, designed for advanced undergraduate, M.A., and early Ph.D. students. The seminar is scheduled for August 2-10, 2010 at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in Washington, DC. This seminar is the third in a series designed to encourage the use of the recently opened archival holdings of the ITS. The objective of this seminar is to acquaint promising advanced undergraduate, M.A., and early Ph.D. students with the breadth of this rich and diverse collection. Nominations are welcome for students in all relevant academic disciplines, including history, political science, literature, Jewish studies, psychology, sociology, geography, and others.

The records of the ITS relate to the fates of more than 17 million people who were subject to incarceration, forced labor, and displacement as a result of World War II. Digital copies of the archive are being transferred in their entirety to the Museum. Currently, the Museum holds digital copies of over 50 million pages of documents and 50 million name cards from the ITS Central Name Index, spanning the period of 1933 until the mid-1950s. These documents include: prewar and wartime prisoner arrest, incarceration, and transport records from German concentration camp and police authorities; prewar, wartime, and postwar records concerning foreign and forced labor in the German war economy, generated by the Nazi state, individual German firms, and postwar Allied occupation authorities; and postwar Allied records of individuals and families seeking Displaced Persons status and emigration.  During the first week of the seminar, staff scholars will highlight case studies in five key areas: (1) the Nazi concentration camp system; (2) non-Jewish victim groups; (3) forced labor in the German war economy; (4) Displaced Persons; and (5) war criminals. Participants will be assigned readings on these topics in advance of the workshop and will be expected to arrive prepared to discuss the readings as they relate to the case studies. In the final portion of the seminar, participants will be given the opportunity to further acquaint themselves with Museum resources and to conduct guided research in the ITS collection on one of the five case studies.

Application Process

Advanced undergraduate, M.A., or early Ph.D. students from all relevant academic disciplines are invited to submit an application with the support of a nominating faculty member at their institution.

Applications must be submitted in English and include:

  1. a Letter of Nomination from a faculty member in the nominee’s department that addresses the nominee’s potential as a scholar and specific interest, background, training, and qualifications (including previous coursework, projects, or publications);
  2. a Letter of Intent from the Nominee discussing his/her interest in the field of the Holocaust and World War II, and how the ITS collection might further his/her studies in this area. Nominees are encouraged to consult the USHMM’s preliminary online inventory at for a partial overview of the collection prior to submitting their Letter of Intent; and 
  3. a current CV that includes a description of the candidate’s foreign language skills.

Nominees must be enrolled at an accredited, degree-awarding institution (baccalaureate, the equivalent, or higher). Preference will be given to nominees enrolled in North American institutions whose interests lie in fields related to the Holocaust and World War II. A maximum of 16 students will be selected for the seminar.  Applications and inquiries should be addressed to Eric C. Steinhart, Curt C. and Else Silberman International Tracing Service Research Scholar, Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW, Washington, DC 20024-2126;; 202.314.7814 (phone); or 202.479.9726 (fax). Applications must be received no later than April 15, 2010. Letters of Nomination must be faxed or mailed to the above address. Letters of Intent and CVs may be submitted electronically. Selections will be announced by late May 2010.

For participants, awards include (1) a stipend toward the cost of direct travel to and from each participant’s home institution and Washington, DC; (2) lodging for the duration of the workshop; and (3) $500 toward the cost of incidental expenses and meals, which will be distributed after the workshop’s conclusion via direct deposit. Local participants from the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area will receive a stipend of $250 for the two weeks.

Participants are required to attend the full duration of the seminar.

This program is made possible by a gift in memory of Kurt and Thea Sonnenmark.  Thea Sonnenmark and her parents fled Vienna after Nazi Germany's annexation of Austria in 1938.  Kurt Sonnenmark emigrated from Droesing, Austria.  His parents, Julius and Ida Sonnenmark, were murdered in Auschwitz.  After arriving in the United States, Kurt Sonnenmark enlisted in the U.S. Army.  Thea and Kurt Sonnenmark met and married in 1947.  Thea Sonnenmark was an active Holocaust educator, who volunteered for many years at the Holocaust Resource Center and Archives at Queensborough Community College, where she specialized in teaching young students about the Holocaust.  Kurt Sonnenmark was haunted throughout his life by the loss of his parents and his nostalgic attachment to his homeland.  This gift is derived from the symbolic reparation paid to Kurt Sonnenmark's family by the Austrian General Settlement Fund for Victims of National Socialism.