School of Information Sciences

Bernadette Callery Archives Lecture Series presents Ethics Access of Holocaust Documentation


Katharina Hering (MLIS ’10), Project Archivist at the National Equal Justice Library at the Georgetown Law Library in Washington, D.C., will present her research titled, Holocaust Reparation and Restitution Files in German State Archives: Institutional Approaches to Managing Ethical and Technical Challenges for Providing Access.”

Monday, September 26, 2016

3:00 p.m.
Alumni Hall, Connolly Ballroom
A kosher catered reception to follow

Following the Second World War, hundreds of thousands of Holocaust survivors filed reparation, restitution and pension claims with West German state agencies. Recently, archivists have noticed an increased research interest in the case files documenting these claims. Providing access to these records, and enabling their discovery, has posed significant technical and ethical challenges for archives and archivists. This is due to the large volume of files, the privacy laws protecting the confidential information that survivors had to provide, and preservation issues. In this lecture, Hering will discuss how different German state archives have managed these challenges, and how archivists reflect about their roles as custodians of public records, who are committed to respecting the informational self-determination of Holocaust survivors.

About Katharina Hering
Katharina Hering is the Project Archivist for the National Equal Justice Library at Georgetown Law Library in Washington, D.C., and active on the steering committee of SAA’s International Archival Affairs Roundtable. She holds a PhD in history from George Mason University in Fairfax, VA and an MLIS specializing in archives, records management, and preservation from the University of Pittsburgh. While pursuing her MLIS, she worked for the Rauh Jewish Archives at the Senator John Heinz History Center as part of the Pitt Partners Program.

Q&A Discussion Panelists

Lauren Apter Bairnsfather
Dr. Lauren Apter Bairnsfather is the Executive Director of the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh. She was born and raised in McKeesport, PA. While writing her senior honors thesis at the University of Texas, Lauren became acquainted with two Sephardic Holocaust survivors. Inspired by these women, Lauren went to work at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum Photo Archives in Washington, DC. From there, she enrolled in graduate school at the University of Chicago, completing a thesis "The Second Generation and the Future of Holocaust Remembrance." After two years running Spertus Museum in Chicago, Lauren returned to the University of Texas at Austin to pursue a PhD in History. Her dissertation examines the period of British rule in the Palestine Mandate and the British White Papers that encouraged then abruptly halted Jewish immigration from Europe in 1939. After completing her PhD in 2008, Lauren worked for a family foundation in Dallas and for the College of Liberal Arts at UT Austin, coming home to Pittsburgh in 2015 to take the helm of the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh.

Adam Shear
Adam Shear is Associate Professor of Religious Studies & History at the University of Pittsburgh, where he also directs the Jewish Studies Program. At Pitt since 2001, he teaches courses on medieval and modern Jewish history, on relations between Jews, Christians, and Muslims, and on western religion more generally. His research focuses on early modern Jewish intellectual and cultural history, with a particular focus on the history of books and the transmission of knowledge. Among his publications are The Kuzari and the Shaping of Jewish Identity, 1167-1900 (2008), The Hebrew Book in Early Modern Italy, co-edited with Joseph R. Hacker (2011); and Perspectives on Jewish Culture in Early Modern Europe, co-editor with Richard Cohen, Natalie Dohrmann, and Elchanan Reiner (2014).  Along with colleagues from JTS, Columbia, and Stony Brook, he is currently project director for a large-scale digital humanities research project on the dissemination and movement of early printed books and their influence in Jewish and non-Jewish culture, “Footprints: Jewish Books through Time and Space.” He recently became one of two editors of the AJS Review, the scholarly journal of the Association for Jewish Studies.  Shear is a native of Washington DC.  He studied history and Jewish studies at Yale University (BA) the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the University of Pennsylvania (MA, PhD). 

David Schlitt
David Schlitt is the Director of the Rauh Jewish History Program and Archives at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. An archivist-historian with a decade of experience in public history, Schlitt has worked at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts, and in 2015 served as the Yiddish-language project archivist for the Elie Wiesel Archives at Boston University's Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center. Schlitt holds a Master’s Degree in American Jewish History from the University of Michigan and a BA in Yiddish Studies from Columbia University.


This event is brought to you in part by the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh, the University of Pittsburgh Jewish Studies Program, and the Rauh Jewish History Program & Archives at the Senator John Heinz History Center.

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