Nazi Persecution and Postwar Repercussions
The International Tracing Service Archive and Holocaust Research
Rowman and Littlefield 2016
New Books in European StudiesNew Books in Genocide StudiesNew Books in German StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Jewish StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network March 31, 2016 Kelly McFall
Suzanne Brown-Fleming suggests that most people think the archives of the International Tracing Service is largely a list of names and addresses. I was one of these people until I read her excellent new book Nazi Persecution and Postwar Repercussions: The International Tracing Service Archive and Holocaust Research (Rowman and Littlefield, 2016). What Brown-Fleming makes clear in her work is that the archive is far richer and more interesting than that.
The book is partly an extended discussion of the contents of the archive. But Brown-Fleming’s goals are broader than this. She hopes to help people recognize the new kinds of research questions the archive makes it possible to ask and answer. She tries to help researchers imagine how they might employ Big Data approaches to open new vistas on old questions. And she hopes to give people personal examples of the stakes of these questions by offering specific examples of stories, tragedies and conflicts drawn from the archive itself.
Anyone who is interested in research about the Holocaust should read this book. And if you don’t do primary research, you should still read it–to get a better sense of how research is done, to get a better sense of places where our understanding of the Holocaust is still patchy, and to get a better understanding of one of the most important postwar institutions that dealt with refugees and displaced people.