‘The Impossibility of Impartiality: Researching the Holocaust’ with Elise Bath
Elise Bath of the Wiener Holocaust Library manages the International Tracing Service (ITS) Digital archive, which contains over 30 million documents related to the experiences of over 17.5 million people affected by Nazi persecution. A great deal of her time is spent using the archive to trace what happened to individual victims of Nazi persecution, usually on behalf of their families. Her talk will concern the position of ITS Researchers, and how their subjectivity and emotional response to the research work are not only inevitable human reactions but are actually real assets. She will discuss how pretending to be neutral or impartial is not only impossible, but also in the context of working with such a potentially traumatic archive, quite wrong. She will discuss how she and her team use their subjectivity, empathy, and concern for the people using the service to improve their work and build stronger relationships with enquirers.
Exploding the Archive is a student-led initiative which hopes to explore some of the important themes within archival research and to create an engaging and open online meeting space for PhD researchers working with a variety of archival material to discuss the challenges they are facing in the archives.
All the online sessions are free. Book here.