Week 1: interview and initial research

Apr 23, 2021

Welcome back to my project analyzing the causes of varying survival rates of Jews living in countries under German occupation during the Holocaust. For the past week I have focused on two things: furthering my research and analyzing my interview with the Claims Conference. As mentioned in my previous blog, I conducted an interview with an historian named Dr. Wesley Fisher from the Claims Conference, an organization that focuses on distributing compensation from Germany to Holocaust survivors and spreading Holocaust education. 

Prior to my interview with the Claims Conference, I read multiple books in order to prepare for my interview and to create a list of questions. The three books that I read are: The Holocaust by Martin Gilbert, Europe against the Jews by Ally Goetz and Black Earth by Timothy Snyder. I gained a greater insight into the unique factors that shaped the experience of each of the four countries of focus. However, I was left wondering about several key factors. These factors include: the role of false papers, the position taken by the Orthodox Church of Greece and Catholic Church of Poland, the number of people able to flee to the Russian Far East and into Central Asia such as Uzbekistan, the role of partisan groups, and assimilation levels by country. Through my interview I learnt about the passive role of the Greek Orthodox Church, mixed reactions by the Polish Catholic Church, the struggle to gain false papers in Italy, high assimilation levels in Denmark, and certain resistance groups barring Jews from entering, one such example is seen in Belarus.

 In addition to answering my questions, I was also recommended further resources. My interviewer recommended to me a book by the name War against the Jews by Lucy Dividovitz, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website and a further contact at the Claims Conference whose area of focus is the Holocaust in Poland. 

My plans for the upcoming week is to set up an interview with the contact that I was given. In order to fulfill my onsite I will be conducting weekly interviews with experts in this field. I also plan to further my research by reading the book that Dr. Fisher recommended to me and also by reading two new books that I have found through the New York Public Library. I look forward to checking back in next week following another interview!



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