Mapping Holocaust Survivor Testimonies

Monday April 18, 2022

In honor of Yom Ha'Shoah 2022

The methods of the digital humanities, in particular, making maps with Geographic Information Systems (GIS), have helped us to re-envision Holocaust survivor experience and to raise new questions.

Can digital GIS maps visualize the terrifying, tumultuous journeys of Holocaust survivors? Mapping can illuminate the scope and scale of the Holocaust and spatial and geographical dimensions of individual experience.

But for all that maps show, what can’t they represent? Where do we locate terror, grief, or loss on a map? Can maps help us witness what Primo Levi called “the destruction of humanity” at the heart of the Nazi genocide, or for that matter, individual resilience or resistance to it?

These questions shape Dr. Sharon Oster’s Spring 2022 English 334 Seminar at the University of Redlands, “Mapping Holocaust Memoirs.” In honor of Yom Ha’Shoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, English 334 students will share their final projects, a collection of GIS Storymaps, each retelling a different Holocaust survivor’s story of a forced journey and radically disrupted life, based on their study of Holocaust testimonies from the USC Shoah Foundation Video History Archive.

Oster will welcome Dr. Hannah Pollin-Galay (Senior Lecture of Literature, Tel Aviv University), whose keynote, “Between Maps and Words: The Meaning of Holocaust Memory Today,” will address these practical and ethical questions; and Rabbi Lindy Reznick (Congregation Emanu-El, Redlands), who will offer closing remarks on “Holocaust Remembrance Here and Now.”

This event was made possible by a grant from the Holocaust Education Foundation of Northwestern University (HEFNU), and support from the University of Redlands English Department, Center for Spatial Studies, Office of Campus Diversity and Inclusion, Armacost Library, and University of Redlands Hillel.

H Pollin-Galay rev Author Photo.jpeg


Between Maps and Words: The Meaning of Holocaust Memory Today

Dr. Hannah Pollin-Galay, Tel Aviv University

Dr. Hannah Pollin-Galay is an assistant professor in the Department of Literature at Tel Aviv University, where she is also head of the Jona Goldreich Family Institute for Yiddish Language, Literature and Culture. In that role, she directs projects such as the International Yiddish summer program and Iberzets, an online journal for Yiddish-Hebrew literary translation. Pollin-Galay researches and teaches Holocaust Studies, Yiddish literature, and American Jewish literature. As theoretical pursuits, she explores the connection between language, memory and embodiment. Her first book, Ecologies of Witnessing: Language, Place and Holocaust Testimony came out with Yale University Press in 2018, and she is currently writing a book on the perceived metamorphosis of the Yiddish language during the Holocaust.



Holocaust Remembrance Here and Now

Rabbi Lindy Reznick, Congregation Emanu-El

Rabbi Lindy Reznick is honored to serve as Congregation Emanu El’s first female Rabbi in its 127 year history. She is proud of the inclusive, warm and welcoming, vibrant, 21st century Jewish community that she is helping build at Congregation Emanu El. She works in partnership with her congregation to enhance the depth of mind and spirit in all they do.

Rabbi Reznick is a member of Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) and Southern California’s Board of Rabbis. Most recently she served as school Rabbi at Milken Community Schools, where she was rabbinic spiritual guide, head of Jewish Studies Department, Pastoral counselor, Rabbinic Educator, and served all members of the Middle School Community. Previously Rabbi Reznick worked at Wilshire Boulevard Temple as Rabbi & Rabbinic Educator for Brawerman Elementary School and Director of east campus Religious School of Wilshire Boulevard Temple. Rabbi Reznick was raised in Southern California, and worked in many temples throughout the Los Angeles area.

We invite you to visit the Armacost Library, main floor (to the right of the circulation desk), where you will find a collection of Holocaust survivor memoirs and graphic novels currently on display, in honor of Yom Ha’Shoah.


Supported by a grant from the Holocaust Education Foundation of Northwestern University.

Hillel_Inland-Desert.png University of Redlands Hillel

Sponsored by the English Department, Center for Spatial Studies, Campus Diversity and Inclusion, and Armacost Library.