Roundtable Spatial Narratives of the Holocaust: GIS, Geo-Visualization, and the Possibilities for Digital Humanities

AHA Session 29
Central European History Society 1
Thursday, January 3, 2013: 3:30 PM-5:30 PM
Rhythms Ballroom 1 (Sheraton New Orleans)
Simone Gigliotti, Victoria University of Wellington
Tim Cole, University of Bristol
Alberto Giordano, Texas State University–San Marcos
Anna Holian, Arizona State University
Paul Jaskot, DePaul University
The Public Practice of History in and for a Digital Age

Session Abstract

This panel explores the potential of drawing on GIS and geo-visualization to uncover and answer new questions about past times and past places. The focus centers on ghettoization, deportation and concentration during the Holocaust, ranging from the scale of the continent/nation/region, through the scale of the city, to the scale of the camp. Papers present the results of three case studies from a broader NSF-funded research project into Holocaust Geographies that pioneers interdisciplinary research in the digital humanities.  In a paper co-authored by Alberto Giordano, Tim Cole uses GIScience to reconstruct the street networks of the Budapest Ghetto, revealing that the ghetto walls not only separated Jews from Hungarian non-Jews, but from their fellow Jews as well, dividing many inhabitants from important resources within their incarcerated community.  In “Retracing the Hunt for Jews,” Alberto Giordano and Anna Holian analyze the spatio-temporal patterns of arrest, detention, and deportation of Jews in German-occupied Italy from September 1943 through March 1945.  Finally, Paul Jaskot uses architectural historical analysis to demonstrate how German officials intended to build and control the Auschwitz complex, and utilizes a digital model of Birkenau to understand the workings of Auschwitz’s killing center.


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