Mapping the Holocaust for UBC Classes: Interactive Maps of Key Locations in Holocaust History and Memoirs

Project TitleMapping the Holocaust for UBC Classes: Interactive Maps of Key Locations in Holocaust History and Memoirs
Principal InvestigatorMarcie Schlick
Co-ApplicantsDr. Bozena Karwowska, Associate Professor and Chair of Modern European Studies, Faculty of Arts
Lisa Rutloh, Student, Faculty of Arts, Modern European Studies
Macy Richards, Faculty of Arts, Anthropology
Funding Year2021
Project Summary
This project will use the UBC Wiki to develop interactive digital maps to create resources for future students in CENS303, Representations of the Holocaust courses (sections on the ghettos and the camps). As undergraduate assistants and Witnessing Auschwitz Seminar participants, we know that interactive maps will help students visualize the spatial contexts of the literature and historical material covered in the course. CENS303 deals with the complex topic of the Holocaust, and while this tragedy can never be entirely understood, we believe that the history can be better contextualized through concrete examples. This project focuses on the anthropology of literature and social geography and aims to provide students with tools to understand the course material of CENS303. There is great importance in understanding the big picture in relation to the locations of ghettos and camps throughout the Third Reich and German-occupied territories from 1933-1945. This is particularly important to consider as the Nazis and their collaborators established over 1100 ghettos and over 1000 camps, resulting in the death of 6 million Jews and 5 million other victims. Plotting this over a map would enable students to further visualize the size of the Holocaust. Though general maps like this exist, there is an urgent need to provide students with interactive maps specific to the readings and historical material of CENS303 sections.The goal of the course is to familiarize students with as many different representations of the events of the Holocaust as possible in a 3-credit course, therefore this means we call upon accounts from all across the European content and students are often not familiar with spacial aspects of works they are to discuss. As almost all of the works we read come from survivors, where they come from and where they went during the Holocaust is an important part of their story. To provide an example: we start these courses by reading a memoir of Halina Birenbaum, who experienced life in Warsaw Ghetto and then was taken from Warsaw, Poland through KL Lublin and Auschwitz to Neustadt, Germany – a distance of over 700km. She wrote her memoir in the 1960s in Israel. In her memoir, she describes the same locations in the Warsaw Ghetto and Birkenau that other authors that students discuss in this course, though students are not always able to realize this without being able to place the stories on the map. While we recognize that not all Holocaust related materials or information are appropriate to be used for open resource projects, the maps we create will contain information that is suitable for the project. They will provide information such as dates, locations and general history that highlight and elaborate on details found in the course content. The project team, with the help of experts from the Auschwitz Museum and Memorial, will review all materials before adding them to maps to ensure they are appropriate to be shared under a Creative Commons license.
Grant type OER Rapid Innovation
Funded Amount $2,000