Omer Bartov, photo via Wikimedia Commons.
Omer Bartov, photo via Wikimedia Commons.

A leading Holocaust scholar was chosen for a fellowship at the USC Shoah Foundation’s Center for Advanced Genocide Research, where he will delve further into his project about Jewish-Arab relations in Israel and Palestine.

Omer Bartov, a European history and German studies professor at Brown University in Rhode Island, will serve as the center’s 2016-17 Sara and Asa Shapiro Scholar in Residence at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

According to the center, Bartov is known, “among other things, for challenging the myth of the non-ideological German soldier following Hitler’s orders.”

He is the author of nine books. His most recent, “The Voice of Your Brother’s Blood: Buczacz, Biography of a Town,” examines the history of a village in current-day Ukraine that for centuries maintained a peaceful coexistence of Poles, Jews and Ukrainians — until World War II, when the town descended into what Bartov calls “a community of genocide.”

The second half of the book relies on testimony from several archives, including the Visual History Archive, USC Shoah Foundation’s repository of 54,000 testimonies of genocide survivors and witnesses.

During his May 4-11 residency at the Center for Advanced Genocide Research, Bartov plans to conduct research in the Visual History Archive on his newest project: the experiences of Holocaust survivors who immigrated to Palestine after World War II.

“I’m transferring the idea of Buczacz to Israel/Palestine and how Jews and Arabs coexist and how they don’t,” Bartov said. “What are the stories they tell each other that make it possible or impossible for them to share a land? I think looking at that in these testimonies can give very different perspective on that conflict.”

Bartov will give a public lecture at USC on May 8.

The fellowship is endowed by USC Shoah Foundation board member Mickey Shapiro in honor of his parents, who both survived the Holocaust.

Intended to inspire prominent scholars, the Sara and Asa Shapiro Annual Holocaust Testimony Scholar and Lecture Fund, established in December 2015, enables one senior scholar to spend time in residence at USC Shoah Foundation’s Center for Advanced Genocide Research through an invitation by the center.

“We are very honored to welcome the internationally renowned Holocaust scholar Omer Bartov at a time that marks the third anniversary of the foundation of the Center for Advanced Genocide Research,” said Wolf Gruner, director of the USC Shoah Foundation’s Center for Advanced Genocide Research.

“Bartov’s research is special, since, compared with other scholars in the field, he has always been interested in the impact of the murderous policies on the Jews, their relationships with their neighbors, and their responses,” Gruner said.

–City News Service 

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