Researchers Remember Forum

Second and Third Generation Researchers and the Legacy of the Holocaust

The groups known as the "Second Generation" and the "Third Generation", children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors, have produced a long list of researchers in various scientific fields. These researchers can be divided into two basic groups: those who chose to devote their professional lives to researching topics pertaining in some way to the trauma of the Holocaust, their family background or communal or national history, and those whose fields of research have no direct connection to the Holocaust. There are those about whom one can state that their entire field of research is driven by the trauma that their parents and grandparents experienced, which they translated into an almost therapeutic force that propelled their research. And there are others who don't see any connection between their professional choices and their personal past, yet the Holocaust often appears to accompany their professional life like a shadow that follows them everywhere.


Many members of the "Second Generation" and "Third Generation" faced unanswered questions as children, questions that they feared to ask. Others asked, but found it difficult to continue raising queries as a result of their parents' and grandparents' responses. Is there a connection between their background and their choice of a research profession where they are taught to use various analytical tools and encouraged – or at times even forced - to ask questions and discuss difficult issues in depth? That is one of the issues that the "Researchers Remember" Forum discusses, as its members examine the connection between professional choices made by researchers of the "Second Generation" or the "Third Generation", and their Holocaust legacy.


The idea behind the Forum is based on a combination of time, place, and interpretation. Most "Second Generation" members were born between the mid 1940's and the end of the 1970s. Most "Third Generation" members were born between the 1980s and the beginning of the 21st century. They were raised in various locations throughout the world, and their parents and grandparents had different Holocaust experiences. However the ones we focus on in this forum all have an additional common denominator, their choice of a research profession. The forum serves as a framework to discuss, examine, and probe the connection between these three factors.


Among the questions asked are: How do "Second Generation" and "Third Generation" researchers deal with Holocaust memory? Did their "Second Generation" and "Third Generation" background influence their professional choices and if so, in what way? How does their research, and the research tools that they constantly employ, impact upon the way that they deal with the Holocaust and its influence on their lives and that of their families? These are the initial questions that were asked in forum discussions.


The project is divided into two stages. The first is a focus group that meets monthly to discuss these and other questions connected to their being both "Second Generation" and "Third Generation" members and researchers. The second, run directly by Prof. Judy Baumel-Schwartz, is the creation of an international network\forum of "Second Generation" and "Third Generation" researchers who expressed a willingness to fill out a detailed questionnaire that deals with their personal background and professional choices.


The forum will sponsor an international conference on Nov. 9-10, 2020 at Bar-Ilan University that will examine the processes that unfolded during its research and the project's findings.




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Prof. Judy Baumel-Schwartz Prof. Zehavit Gross Prof. Haim Taitelbaum Prof. Ilan Tsarfati
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Dr. Dan Carter Prof. Shmuel Refael-Vivante Prof. Dov Schwartz Dr. Liat Steir-Livni