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C²DH historians Blandine Landau and Gerben Zaagsma spoke to Hanna Siemaszko, the producer of the SciLux podcast on science in Luxembourg, about their projects and the impact of digital technologies on Jewish studies.

Jewish Studies and Digital Humanities

In recent years digital humanities approaches have made their way into the field of Jewish studies, an encounter that is often simply referred to as DHJewish. Supported by funding from the Rothschild Foundation Hanadiv Europe, the C²DH led a three-part project to help drive this momentum. In January 2021 we organised the first ever international conference on Jewish Studies in the Digital Age. This was followed by the launch of the #DHJewish  Jewish Studies and Digital Humanities website, in June 2022, which offers a single access point to news and events and a projects directory. The website also provides access to a dedicated Zotero bibliography and an online community on Zulip. Finally, in September 2022, the edited volume Jewish Studies in the Digital Age appeared in the De Gruyter Oldenbourg series Studies in Digital History and Hermeneutics. The DHJewish project was led by Gerben Zaagsma and the team included Marc Gori, Leoida Haxha and Jordan Ricker.

Jewish studies

Digital Shoah Memorial Luxembourg

With the idea of building a bridge between the dead and the living, the Fondation luxembourgeoise pour la Mémoire de la Shoah (FLMS) and the C2DH have set themselves the task of creating a digital memorial to remember the people who lived in Luxembourg before and during World War II and were persecuted by the Nazis, who defined them as Jews based on the Nuremberg Race Laws passed in 1935.

The primary goal of the memorial is to reconstruct the lives of those men, women and children as well as their social environment during their stay in Luxembourg and to describe their fate during the Second World War.

The aim of this digital scientific project is to research, identify and tell the stories of all those members of Luxembourg society, some of whom had lived in Luxembourg for a long time and some of whom fled to Luxembourg from other parts of Europe during the 1930s and became victims of the racially motivated persecution of Jews during the German occupation, which began with the invasion by the Wehrmacht on 10 May 1940.

The memorial is a public project and is open to all interested parties, researchers, survivors, descendants of victims, associations and schools. 

The memorial was officially launched on 12 October 2022 at a ceremony held at Neimënster Abbey and attended by the Minister for Culture, Sam Tanson.

The Memorial was officially launched on 12 October 2022 at Neimënster Abbey in the presence of the Minister for Culture, Sam Tanson.

Study of the Spoliation of Jewish Property

Shortly after it was founded in 2018, the Fondation luxembourgeoise pour la Mémoire de la Shoah contacted the C2DH to follow up on the 2009 report by the Special Commission for the Study of the Spoliation of Jewish Property. Since January 2020, a joint PhD between the University of Luxembourg and the School of Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS) in Paris has focused on the mechanisms used for the dispossession of people considered as Jews in Luxembourg, from both an economical and a micro-historical perspective. 

Etudes juives
©Marc Sieweck

It will soon be followed by six research projects developed in connection with the 2021 agreement between the Luxembourg Government and the representatives of the Jewish Community of Luxembourg to explore unresolved questions about the spoliation of Jewish property linked with the Holocaust. Three PhD projects will focus on “spoliation” and three research projects will conduct “provenance” research in the three main cultural institutions of Luxembourg concerned with this issue.  

All seven projects will provide a renewed perspective on the issue of dispossession, connected to the latest research conducted by internationally acknowledged researchers and institutions.

Media coverage

Mémorial digital - D'LETZEBUERGER LAND, 12 mai 2023

Combatting antisemitism through education - Delano Online, 28 janv. 2023

26 janv. 2023

Wie Erinnerung bewahren? - Die Warte, 26 janv. 2023

Un parcours mémoriel de la Shoah inauguré - Luxemburger Wort Online, 20 nov. 2022

Un parcours mémoriel de la Shoah inauguré au Luxembourg - Times of Israel (French), 10 nov. 2022

Was in Erinnerung bleibt, lebt - TAGEBLATT.LU, 16 oct. 2022

Prolongements - D'LETZEBUERGER LAND, 7 janv. 2022

Déposséder - dépossédé - TAGEBLATT, 10 juil. 2021