USC Campus. Photo by John Schreiber.
USC Campus. Photo by John Schreiber.

A Holocaust studies professor from the Russian State University for Humanities in Moscow was awarded a fellowship to study at the USC Shoah Foundation’s Center for Advanced Genocide Research, it was announced Thursday.

Kiril Feferman was selected by a review committee from a crowded field of applicants for the originality of his research project on the role that religion played in the survival and rescue of Jews in Nazi-occupied Soviet territories from 1941 through 1944.

Little is known about the subject “in part because the Soviet Union was disinterested in documenting such cases,” said Wolf Gruner, director of the center. “Dr. Feferman has been a leader in piecing together this side of history. We are pleased to welcome him to the Center for Advanced Genocide Research, where he will find ample resources to take his research to new heights.”

A native of Russia, but schooled and academically educated in Israel, Feferman will be in residence at the Center for Advanced Genocide Research from mid-October to mid-February 2016.

He said the USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive, a collection of 52,000 video interviews of survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust and other genocides, “is an incredible resource that will grant me access to hundreds of testimonies that address this under-researched topic.”

“The religiously motivated behavior by the rescuers and the rescued in Soviet territory during the Holocaust is not well understood,” Feferman said. “With 7,000 references in the Russian language to categories such as ‘religious discrimination,’ ‘religious populations’ and ‘religion and philosophy,’ the Visual History Archive offers a potential wealth of untapped information in this domain.”

The beginning of Feferman’s project can be traced back to 2007, when he first examined the phenomenon of religiously motivated behavior by the rescuers and the rescued, as a member of the Yad Vashem Public Commission to Designate Righteous among the Nations.

Ultimately, he hopes to shed light on whether and to what extent life- and-death decisions by Jews and non-Jews were informed by religious factors in Nazi-occupied Soviet areas during World War II.

City News Service

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.