United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

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Ryan Woldruff, Sarah Lowe, Meghan Terry, David Klevan, Nourah Alrashad, Vickie R. Phipps, Neil O. Ward, and Kelly Celeste.


Our team spent 6 months working with The United States Memorial Holocaust Museum exploring the digital space and its potential to “reconstruct the lives of school children who fell victim to the Holocaust. By piecing together information from online databases and scanned records, you will enable the museum and other researchers to understand more fully the experiences of young people from the Lodz ghetto during the Holocaust.”


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Two major questions framed our 6 month work with the Lodz Ghetto Project:

1) How do we respectfully design engaging and worthwhile experiences between users and content?
2) How do we create an electronic space that is scalable, instructive, and responsive to USHMM- specific research needs?

Those global questions informed the initial set of questions formed by our research team. During the project, we analyzed the site and identified design opportunities as well as supporting research that could be used to support future grant writing efforts. Due to the proprietary nature of the work, project details cannot be shared.



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Wanting to learn more after the USHMM project, I travelled to German and Poland during the summer of 2014 to participate in an International Faculty Development Seminar entitled Ruin and Revival: History, Modern Memory, and Identity. The seminar focus:

What is the role of historical memory in the formulation of individual and national identities in contemporary post-Holocaust and post-communist Poland and the former East Germany? During this seminar, we’ll explore the construction and transmission of memory through multiple lenses—art, literature, and culture; institutions, education, and politics; place, monument, and memorial…





Our hosts Małgorzata “Gosia” Nowicka, Dr. Bogdan A. Radomski, and Benjamin Lorch along with our host institutions CIEE Study Center Berlin, Centre for Contemporary History Potsdam (Zentrum für Zeithistorische Forschung Potsdam,) and  Warsaw School of Economics  arranged for presentations such as:

  • Historical, Social and Political Determinates of Social Memory. Professor Jadwiga Staniszkis. University of Warsaw. Poland.
  • Can Art be Immune to Society’s Historical Memory? Professor Grzegorz Grochowski. Polish Academy of Science.
  • Poles and Russians. Difficult Coexistence: Historical Experience and Future Perspectives. Dr. Stawomir Debsjki. Director, Polish-Russian Dialogue Committee.
  • Poles and Germans – from Destruction and Ruins to Open Coexistence and Cooperation: is European Union a Panacea for Historical Deadlocks among nations?
  • Historical Memory and Xenophobia, Nationalism, Racism: are these Factors correlated? Professor Nina Gtadziuk-Okopien.
  • Presenters Andrzej Brylak: Krakow’s history on location including Old Town: Wawel Castle, Cloth hall, St. Mary’s Church, Collegium Maius of Jagiellonian Unviersity, Florianska street, Kazimierz, and Podgorze Districts.
  • Presenter Dr. Agnieszka Kocur-Smolen: Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.
  • Living Together for centuries, Two Nations in One Country: Poles and Jews. Major questions of our Comment History. Dr. Sebastian Rejak.
  • Topography of Terror. Ms. Katja Lucke and Mr. Andres Sander.
  • East Side  Gallery and studio visit with Mr. Gunther Schaefer.
  • Berlin Education Lecture by Roman Kroke.