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A framework for analysing content on social media profiles of Holocaust museums. Results of a Delphi Study

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A framework for analysing content on social media profiles of Holocaust museums. Results of a Delphi Study

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In this report, we present the findings of a Delphi Study aimed at validating a framework which has been designed to analyse Holocaust-related content published on the social media profiles of Holocaust museums. The study may also be considered as a pedagogical tool for teachers to provide orientation for conducting their own analysis or research and find best practices to navigate the various materials available on social media for studying and teaching about the Holocaust. The framework serves the purpose of providing guidance on how to classify information pertaining to three major domains: Historical content of the Holocaust, Contemporary issues related to the Holocaust, and Museum activities and communication. Each domain comprises a set of macro and micro categories, for each of which a definition and examples have been given. Depending on the nature of the posts, some categories may be selected, and others ignored. Key Findings • This Delphi study involved a comprehensive panel of 22 international experts who, in a three round process, reached consensus on a framework composed of a set of macro and micro categories organised into three domains that are suitable for capturing the various topics addressed by Holocaust museums in their social media profiles in the field of Digital Holocaust Memory. • The framework was extensively revised from Round 1 to Round 2, while Round 3 served the purpose of refining some micro categories and their definitions. • The final framework comprises three domains and is constituted by 18 macro categories and 68 micro categories. • Periodisation of historical content, agency and stages of the Holocaust remain open issues as there is still much debate among historians about these notions.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Project funded by
Grant # 2020-792
https://www.holocaust-socialmedia.edu
A framework for analysing
content on social media profiles
of Holocaust museums. Results
of a Delphi Study
A framework for analysing content on social media profiles of Holocaust museums
2
Stefania Manca
RESEARCH TEAM
Stefania Manca, Institute of Educational Technology, Italian Nation Research Council
Ilaria Bortolotti, Department of Psychology of Developmental and Socialisation Processes,
Sapienza University of Rome
Davide Capperucci, Department of Education, Languages, Intercultures, Literatures and
Psychology, University of Florence
Silvia Guetta, Department of Education, Languages, Intercultures, Literatures and Psychology,
University of Florence
Susanne Haake, Department of Media Education, University of Education Weingarten
Donatella Persico, Institute of Educational Technology, Italian Nation Research Council
Martin Rehm, Institute of Educational Consulting, University of Education Weingarten
How to cite: Manca, S. (2021). A framework for analysing content on social media profiles of Holocaust
museums. Results of a Delphi Study. IHRA Project Report. https://holocaust-socialmedia.eu/wp-
content/uploads/Report-Survey_Delphi.pdf
2021
A framework for analysing content on social media profiles of Holocaust museums
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CONTENTS
Executive summary ........................................................................................................................................................................ 5
Introduction .................................................................................................................................................................................... 6
Methods and procedure ................................................................................................................................................................. 8
Results ........................................................................................................................................................................................... 12
Conclusions and open issues ...................................................................................................................................................... 23
References ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 24
Appendix 1. Definitions and examples 1................................................................................................................................... 28
Appendix 2. Survey Round 1 ...................................................................................................................................................... 67
Appendix 2a. Framework Round 1 ........................................................................................................................................... 103
Appendix 3. Survey Round 2 .................................................................................................................................................... 108
Appendix 3a. Framework Round 2 ........................................................................................................................................... 152
Appendix 4. Survey Round 3 .................................................................................................................................................... 156
Appendix 4a. Framework Round 3 ........................................................................................................................................... 204
Appendix 5. List of experts that participated in the study..................................................................................................... 208
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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This report has been developed within the project "Countering Holocaust distortion on
social media. Promoting the positive use of Internet social technologies for teaching and
learning about the Holocaust", funded under the 2020 IHRA Grant Projects Program -
IHRA Grant # 2020-792; IHRA Grant Strategy 2019-2023, line 2 “Countering distortion”.
We deeply thank our survey respondents.
Report available at https://holocaust-socialmedia.eu/results/
A framework for analysing content on social media profiles of Holocaust museums
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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
In this report, we present the findings of a Delphi Study aimed at validating a framework which has
been designed to analyse Holocaust-related content published on the social media profiles of Holocaust
museums. The study may also be considered as a pedagogical tool for teachers to provide orientation
for conducting their own analysis or research and find best practices to navigate the various materials
available on social media for studying and teaching about the Holocaust.
The framework serves the purpose of providing guidance on how to classify information pertaining to
three major domains: Historical content of the Holocaust, Contemporary issues related to the Holocaust, and
Museum activities and communication. Each domain comprises a set of macro and micro categories, for
each of which a definition and examples have been given. Depending on the nature of the posts, some
categories may be selected, and others ignored.
Key Findings
This Delphi study involved a comprehensive panel of 22 international experts who, in a three
round process, reached consensus on a framework composed of a set of macro and micro
categories organised into three domains that are suitable for capturing the various topics
addressed by Holocaust museums in their social media profiles in the field of Digital Holocaust
Memory.
The framework was extensively revised from Round 1 to Round 2, while Round 3 served the
purpose of refining some micro categories and their definitions.
The final framework comprises three domains and is constituted by 18 macro categories and 68
micro categories.
Periodisation of historical content, agency and stages of the Holocaust remain open issues as
there is still much debate among historians about these notions.
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INTRODUCTION
In this report, we present the findings of a Delphi Study aimed at validating a framework which was
conceived to analyse Holocaust-related content published on the social media profiles of Holocaust
museums. We adopt the broad concept of “Holocaust museum” as defined by the Encyclopaedia
Britannica to include “any of several educational institutions and research centres dedicated to
preserving the experiences of people who were victimized by the Nazis and their collaborators during
the Holocaust (1933–45)” (Parrott-Sheffer, 2019, p. n.a.).
Content analysis is a research technique used to make replicable and valid inferences by interpreting
and coding textual and visual material (Krippendorff, 2004; Neuendorf, 2002). By systematically
evaluating texts - documents and communication artefacts, which might contain text in various
formats, as well as pictures, audio or video - qualitative data can be converted into quantitative data
(Huxley, 2020; Lewins & Silver, 2007; Schreier, 2019). Content analysis techniques involve systematic
reading or observation of texts or artifacts which are assigned labels (sometimes called codes) to indicate
the presence of meaningful pieces of content. They are used in social sciences to examine patterns in
communication in a replicable and systematic manner; this method has become a cornerstone in social
media research (Sloan & Quan-Haase, 2018). Social media content analysis has proved to be a suitable
complementary method for quantitative analysis (Mukerjee & González-Bailón, 2020) based on
automatic analysis - such as sentiment analysis, social media analytics, and social network analysis -
when mixed methods are the preferrable approach (Prandner & Seymer, 2020).
In this study, the framework will primarily serve as a guideline for social media content coders who
are not specifically content-savvy. A further aim is to provide a pedagogical tool for teachers to
navigate the various materials available on social media for studying and teaching about the Holocaust.
As also stressed by the IHRA in the new Recommendations for Teaching and Learning about the Holocaust
(IHRA, 2019), social media can be indeed an important part of contemporary education, on condition
that the content provided is firmly grounded in fact and/or based on sound research (Berberich, 2018).
In this sense, Holocaust museums are among the primary agencies for teaching about the Holocaust
and growing research is showing that their social media use is becoming an important instrument of
promotion, education, and global scale outreach (Gray, 2014; Manikowska, 2020).
A specific objective of this study was to build consensus among international experts in the field of
Digital Holocaust Memory on: (i) the validation of a framework composed of a set of macro and micro
categories organised into three domains that are suitable for capturing the various topics involved in
A framework for analysing content on social media profiles of Holocaust museums
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the field study; and (ii) on indications for analysing social media content provided by Holocaust
museums according to framework categories, with specific definitions and examples for each category.
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METHODS AND PROCEDURE
The Delphi method is defined as “a panel communication technique by which researchers collect expert
opinions, enable experts to communicate anonymously with one another and then explore the
underlying information collected” (Yeh, Hsu, Wu, Hwung, & Lin, 2014, p. 711). It is a method based
on consensus development comprising a number of iterations or survey rounds through which the
knowledge generated is reworked by the study team and submitted again for the consideration of the
panel until an overall consensus is reached (Adler & Giglio, 1996; Keeney, Hasson, & McKenna, 2011).
It has proved to be a reliable measurement instrument in developing new concepts and setting the
direction of future-orientated research (Rowe & Wright, 1999). The technique involves seeking the
opinion of a group of experts in order to assess the extent of agreement on a given issue and to resolve
disagreement. However, while it has been used to establish consensus across a range of subject areas
(e.g., health studies, education, social sciences), its use has been scant in the area of Holocaust research
(Cape, 2004). As one of the common approaches of Delphi studies is the search for and identification
of critical elements in environments that are still not well defined (Shaikh & Khoja, 2014), setting up
such a study would help to conceptualise a framework for analysing social media content provided by
Holocaust museums.
Like in other studies performed using the Delphi technique, a series of conditions have been considered
in order to ensure adequate planning and execution, such as anonymity of Delphi participants, iteration
that enables participants to examine or modify their views based on the opinions of the expert group,
controlled feedback informing participants of the other participants’ ideas, and statistical analysis that
allows a quantitative study of data (Rowe & Wright, 1999, cited in Snelson, Rice, & Wyzard, 2012). This
Delphi study mostly employs comments and feedback provided through answers to open questions,
while the adoption of quantitative data techniques has enabled the most problematic categories to be
assessed on the basis of appropriateness and completeness where disagreement among the experts
occurred.
In this study, we have attempted to articulate the significant factors in the complex entity (Skulmoski,
Hartman, & Krahn, 2007) of Digital Holocaust Memory with a group of experts versed in a range of
disciplinary areas (e.g., Contemporary history, Genocide and/or Holocaust studies, Holocaust
education, Cultural studies, Media studies) who were asked to evaluate the framework.
The initial questionnaire was thus based on an existing framework containing macro and micro
categories derived from the study team’s knowledge and review of the literature, as well as from
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adjustments made through some application tests carried out by a group of four researchers who were
not on the panel.
To meet the study objectives, the framework was divided into three sections. The first section
Historical content includes any information about the period, the places and the events that created,
influenced, or formed the backdrop to the historical development of the Holocaust. The second section
Themes - includes a list of topics historically or culturally associated with the Holocaust as matters of
prime or secondary importance, any artistic production related to the Holocaust, and any
contemporary events connected with the Holocaust or related topics. Finally, the third section -
Museum activities and service communication - is composed of a set of categories related to the museum
activities (e.g., in-site and online events) and comprises communications concerning the services
offered by the museums, such as operating time, etc. Each section is composed of a number of macro
and micro categories accompanied by a label, a definition and a few examples taken from social media
content.
A non-probability purposive sample of 44 experts was invited with a personalised email containing a
brief presentation of the study and an explanation of the commitments that were expected from their
participation in the study. They are all active scholars in various fields related to Holocaust study and
were selected within a large plethora of countries. Being aware that Holocaust studies build on
different scholarly traditions, it was important to engage representatives from many different research
cultures in order to reach as wide a consensus as possible.
Twenty-five experts responded to the invitation, of whom 22 agreed to participate and were sent the
link to the first-round survey. As the questionnaire was anonymous and it was not possible to trace the
identity of the respondents, the invitation to complete subsequent questionnaires was sent to the entire
group of 22, except for one participant who had withdrawn and stated that he no longer wished to take
part in the study. This resulted in a decrease in the number of participants both in Round 2 and Round
3 (see Appendix 5 for the list of experts that have agreed to reveal their identities).
This Delphi process comprised three rounds. Although classic Delphi studies recommended from four
to seven rounds (Young & Hogben, 1978), today two or three rounds are considered appropriate to
control and minimize time, cost and participant fatigue and thus produce higher quality results
(Hasson, Keeney, & McKenna, 2000). In this study, although the initial indications given to participants
were based on their willingness to participate in two rounds, the numerous critical issues that emerged
during Round 2, and consequently the need to make important additional changes, made it necessary
A framework for analysing content on social media profiles of Holocaust museums
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to carry out a third round. In each round, participants were asked to independently rank the
appropriateness (e.g., clarity and completeness) of category definitions and the examples of application
related to the subsets of macro and micro categories, across the three domains, using a 5-point Likert
scale (1=Not at all, 2=Slightly, 3=Moderately, 4=Very, 5=Extremely). They were also asked to state
whether the subset was considered complete (Not at all, Marginally complete, Quite complete, Totally
complete, Not sure/ I do not know) and if there was any missing category or further categories to be
added (Yes, No). A free-text response was always available to participants within each of the survey
domains, providing the opportunity to elaborate or explain responses.
Data on participant demographics were also collected including gender, age, country of residence,
main field of expertise, level of knowledge on social media use in Digital Holocaust Memory.
In Round 1 participants were asked to rate the appropriateness of the definitions used in the subsets of
87 macro and micro categories, across the three domains of Historical content, Themes, Museum activities
and service communication, for a total of 47 questions (Appendixes 2, 2a)). In Round 2, each participant
received a revised survey comprising 53 questions and was asked to rate the appropriateness of the
definitions used in the subsets of macro and micro categories, across the three domains of Historical
content, Post-Holocaust, Museum activities and service communication. This survey included 60 categories
from Round 1 and 22 new categories, and participants were asked to rate again the previous categories
and to rate the new categories (Appendixes 3, 3a). In Round 3 each participant received a revised survey
which comprised a total of 53 questions through which they were asked to rate the appropriateness of
the definitions used in the subsets of macro and micro categories, across the three domains of Historical
content of the Holocaust, Contemporary issues related to the Holocaust, Museum activities and communication.
This survey included 81 categories from Round 2 and 4 new categories, and participants were asked to
rate the previous categories again and to rate the new categories one last time (Appendixes 4, 4a).
The study received the approval of the Ethics Committee of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain,
and all participants provided their informed consent to take part in the study at the beginning of the
process, during the online survey. All data were handled in accordance with the European Union data
protection Regulations (GDPR EU Regulation 2016/679).
All surveys were administered using LimeSurvey (https://www.limesurvey.org/), and survey links
were distributed via email.
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Descriptive statistics were used to describe participants’ demographic characteristics and group
responses to each statement in all three rounds. Unlike other studies that mostly use a quantitative
approach to measure consensus, this study mainly relied on analysis of the open-ended responses
provided for each category (macro or micro). An attempt was made to include as many suggestions for
modification, integration or elimination as possible. Nonetheless, when the suggestions went in
opposite directions, or implied very different decisions, it was decided to accept those that were most
frequent or that would best fit the revision of the framework. Descriptive statistics were also used to
measure consensus across the three rounds.
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RESULTS
Of the 22 experts that agreed to participate in this Delphi study, 17 participants completed Round 1
(77.3% response rate), 12 completed Round 2 (54.5% response rate) and 7 completed Round 3 (31.8%
response rate). Table 1 presents the demographic characteristics of participants in each round. Gender
distribution was skewed, with a male preponderance in all three rounds. Participants’ mean age ranged
from 49 to 52 years across the three rounds, where the most represented countries were Israel, United
Kingdom and United States of America. The two main fields of expertise were Genocide and/or
Holocaust studies and Holocaust education. Finally, more than half of the respondents reported being
well or very well informed about social media use in Digital Holocaust Memory.
Table 1. Demographic characteristics of Delphi participants
Round 2
(n=12)
Round 3
(n=7)
Gender
Male
9 (75.0%)
5 (71.4%)
Female
3 (25.0%)
1 (14.3%)
Other
0 (0.0%)
0 (0.0%)
I prefer not to say
0 (0.0%)
1 (14.3%)
Mean age in years (SD)
49.5 (14.2)
52.4 (14.9)
Country of residence
Austria
0 (0.0%)
0 (0.0%)
Germany
0 (0.0%)
0 (0.0%)
Israel
2 (16.7%)
2 (28.6%)
Italy
1 (8.3%)
0 (0.0%)
Switzerland
0 (0.0%)
1 (14.3%)
United Kingdom
6 (50.0%)
2 (28.6%)
United States
3 (25.0%)
2 (28.6%)
Main field of expertise
Contemporary history
3 (25.0%)
2 (28.6%)
Genocide and/or Holocaust studies
7 (58.3%)
4 (57.1%)
Holocaust education
7 (58.3%)
5 (71.4%)
Cultural studies
2 (16.7%)
1 (14.3%)
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Media studies
3 (25.0%)
2 (28.6%)
Jewish history
0 (0.0%)
0 (0.0%)
Geography, GIS, Cartography
1 (8.3%)
0 (0.0%)
Public history
0 (0.0%)
0 (0.0%)
Computer science
0 (0.0%)
1 (14.3%)
How well informed about social media use in Digital Holocaust
Memory
Not at all informed
1 (8.3%)
0 (0.0%)
Slightly informed
0 (0.0%)
1 (14.3%)
Moderately informed
4 (33.3%)
0 (0.0%)
Well informed
4 (33.3%)
4 (57.1%)
Very well informed
3 (25.0%)
2 (28.6%)
Table 2 shows a summary of the Delphi statements for each of the three domains. As the names of the
categories, both micro and macro, and of the three domains changed from round to round, the table
shows all the names used in the three domains and the final labels.
Table 2. Grouped statements by domain
Round 1
Round 2
Round 3
Final
Historical content (1),
Historical content (2),
Historical content of
the Holocaust (3),
Historical content of
the Holocaust (final)
5 macro
categories,
37 micro
categories
7 macro
categories,
48 micro
categories
7 macro
categories,
48 micro
categories
7 macro categories,
48 micro categories
Themes (1), Post-
Holocaust (2),
Contemporary issues
of the Holocaust (3),
Contemporary issues
related to the
Holocaust (final)
5 macro
categories,
36 micro
categories
5 macro
categories,
17 micro
categories
5 macro
categories,
20 micro
categories
5 macro categories,
20 micro categories
Museum activities
and service
communication (1),
Museum activities
and service
communication (2),
4 macro
categories,
0 micro
category
5 macro
categories,
no micro
category
5 macro
categories,
no micro
category
6 macro categories,
no micro category
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Museum activities
and communication
(3), Museum activities
and communication
(final)
Totals
14 macro
categories,
73 micro
categories
17 macro
categories,
65 micro
categories
17 macro
categories,
68 micro
categories
18 macro categories,
68 micro categories
The most significant changes affected the second domain (Themes), which was completely revised from
Round 1 to Round 2 and specifically refocused on post-Holocaust topics or the contemporaneity of the
Holocaust. Some of the original macro and micro categories were moved to the group of categories
under domain 1, while others were eliminated, and new ones were included. Globally, the changes
introduced in domain 2 also had important repercussions in the other two domains, although their
initial design was not altered. Other areas that were found to be particularly troublesome were those
related to the macro categories "Agency" and "Stages of the Holocaust", included within the first
domain (Historical content). In particular, "Stages of the Holocaust was extensively revised from Round
2 to Round 3.
Finally, Round 3 led to adding a further macro category, “Social media events”, as distinguished from
other museum activities, in domain 3.
The final framework is constituted of 18 macro categories and 68 micro categories.
Table 3 presents the mean scores and standard deviations for each statement in response to the request
to rate the appropriateness (e.g., clarity and completeness) of the categories’ definitions and the
application examples. The Table uses the definitive framework structure and the labels of the various
domains, macro and micro categories, and shows in italics previous denominations as well as the
categories which were removed across the various rounds.
Table 3. Mean scores and standard deviations for each statement in response to the request to rate the appropriateness
(e.g., clarity and completeness) of the categories’ definitions and application examples
Dimensions, macro and micro categories
Round 1
(n=17)
Round 2
(n=12)
Round 3
(n=7)
Mean
(SD)
Mean
(SD)
Mean
(SD)
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A. Historical content of the Holocaust
4.6 (0.6)
4.8 (0.5)
4.9 (0.4)
A.1. Places
4.6 (0.6)
4.6 (0.5)
5.0 (0.0)
A.1.1. Local
4.6 (1.0)
4.6 (0.7)
4.8 (0.4)
A.1.2. Regional
4.3 (1.0)
4.5 (0.7)
4.7 (0.8)
A.1.3. National
4.3 (1.1)
4.6 (0.7)
4.7 (0.8)
A.1.4. Transnational (International)
4.2 (1.3)
4.5 (0.7)
4.8 (0.4)
A.2. Timeline
4.7 (0.5)
4.5 (0.5)
5.0 (0.0)
A.2.1. Pre-1933
4.9 (0.4)
4.8 (0.4)
4.8 (0.4)
A.2.2. 1933-1939
4.8 (0.6)
4.8 (0.4)
4.8 (0.4)
A.2.3. 1939-1945
4.6 (0.5)
-
-
A.2.3. 1939-1941
-
4.5 (0.7)
4.8 (0.4)
A.2.4. 1941-1945
-
4.5 (0.7)
4.7 (0.8)
A.2.5. 1945-1950 (Post-1945)
4.8 (0.4)
4.6 (0.7)
4.7 (0.5)
A.3. Agency
4.3 (0.8)
4.5 (0.5)
5.0 (0.0)
A.3.1. Murdered (Victim, Perish)
4.4 (0.9)
4.0 (1.0)
4.8 (0.4)
A.3.2. Survive (Survivor)
4.4 (0.9)
4.4 (0.5)
4.8 (0.4)
A.3.3. Perpetration (Perpetrator)
4.4 (1.0)
4.4 (0.5)
4.8 (0.4)
A.3.4. Collaboration (Collaborator)
4.2 (1.1)
4.6 (0.5)
4.8 (0.4)
A.3.5. Bystanding (Bystander)
4.1 (1.0)
4.2 (0.7)
4.8 (0.4)
A.3.6. Combat and resistance (Resister)
4.3 (1.0)
4.6 (0.5)
5.0 (0.0)
A.3.7. Rescue (Rescuer or Righteous among the Nations)
4.4 (0.9)
4.4 (0.7)
5.0 (0.0)
A.3.8. Liberation (Liberator)
4.3 (1.1)
4.6 (0.7)
4.7 (0.8)
A.4. Groups
4.6 (0.6)
4.4 (1.0)
5.0 (0.0)
A.4.1. Jews
4.9 (0.3)
4.8 (0.4)
5.0 (0.0)
A.4.2. Roma and Sinti
4.8 (0.4)
4.5 (0.8)
4.7 (0.8)
A.4.3. Political opponents
4.4 (1.0)
4.6 (0.7)
4.7 (0.8)
A.4.4. People with disabilities (The disabled)
4.6 (0.8)
4.6 (0.7)
4.7 (0.8)
A.4.5. Slavic peoples
4.4 (0.8)
4.5 (0.8)
4.7 (0.8)
A.4.6. Forced labourers
4.2 (1.3)
4.4 (0.8)
4.5 (0.8)
A.4.7. Homosexuals
4.5 (0.9)
4.4 (1.1)
4.3 (1.1)
A.4.8. Jehovah’s Witnesses
4.4 (0.9)
4.4 (1.1)
4.7 (0.8)
A.4.9. Soviet prisoners of war
4.4 (1.0)
4.6 (0.7)
4.7 (0.5)
A framework for analysing content on social media profiles of Holocaust museums
16
A.4.10. Other
3.9 (1.6)
4.9 (0.4)
4.6 (0.9)
A.5. Stages of the Holocaust
4.2 (0.8)
4.4 (0.7)
4.8 (0.4)
A.5.1. Pre-Holocaust
4.7 (0.5)
4.6 (0.7)
4.8 (0.4)
A.5.2. Definition
4.3 (0.8)
4.4 (1.1)
-
A.5.2. Classification, dehumanisation and symbolisation
-
-
4.8 (0.4)
A.5.3. Isolation or segregation
4.7 (0.5)
4.7 (0.7)
-
A.5.3. Discrimination, isolation and segregation
-
-
4.7 (0.5)
A.5.4. Emigration
4.6 (0.6)
4.3 (1.1)
-
A.5.4. Organisation
-
-
5.0 (0.0)
A.5.5. Ghettoization
4.5 (0.6)
4.7(0.7)
-
A.5.5. Persecution and deportation (Deportation)
4.6 (0.6)
4.8 (0.6)
4.7 (0.5)
A.5.6. Mass murder or Extermination”
4.7 (0.6)
5.0 (0.0)
5.0 (0.0)
A.5.7. Liberation and aftermath
4.7 (0.6)
4.7 (0.7)
4.8 (0.4)
A.5.9. Post-Holocaust
4.5 (0.9)
-
-
A.6. Context and society
-
4.5 (0.7)
4.8 (0.4)
A.6.1. Jews, Jewish identity, history, religion, and culture
4.5 (0.6)
4.8 (0.4)
5.0 (0.0)
A.6.2. Nazi ideology and attitudes towards Jews and other
categories
4.7 (0.6)
4.8 (0.4)
5.0 (0.0)
A.6.3. The camp system (The camps)
4.4 (0.7)
4.4 (0.8)
4.8 (0.4)
A.6.4. Prejudice, discrimination, racism, antisemitism and
antigypsyism (Antisemitism)
4.6 (0.8)
4.7 (0.5)
4.8 (0.4)
A.6.5. War and German occupation in Western and Eastern Europe
4.6 (0.5)
4.4 (0.8)
5.0 (0.0)
A.6.12. Women in the Holocaust
4.6 (0.6)
-
-
A.6.13. Children in the Holocaust
4.5 (0.6)
-
-
A.6.6. Elderly, children and women
4.0 (0.9)
4.5 (0.8)
A.6.7. Fates of individuals (Biography)
4.6 (0.6)
4.7 (0.5)
4.5 (0.8)
A.6.8. International response
-
4.8 (0.4)
4.8 (0.4)
A.7. Artefacts and authentic representation
-
4.3 (1.1)
4.7 (0.5)
A.7.1. Artefacts
-
4.6 (0.8)
4.6 (0.9)
A.7.2. Photographic and filmic evidence
-
4.8 (0.4)
4.8 (0.4)
A.7.3. Literary and documentary production (Literary production)
-
4.9 (0.3)
5.0 (0.0)
A.7.4. Music and theatre
-
4.7 (0.7)
4.8 (0.4)
A framework for analysing content on social media profiles of Holocaust museums
17
A.7.5. Sculptural and visual art (Architecture, sculptural and visual
art)
-
4.7 (0.7)
4.8 (0.4)
A.7.6. Architecture
-
-
4.8 (0.4)
B. Themes
4.2 (0.8)
4.4 (0.9)
4.9 (0.4)
B.1. General topics
3.7 (1.4)
-
-
B.1.5. The ghettos
4.6 (0.6)
-
-
B.1.7. Combat and resistance
4.5 (0.6)
-
-
B.1.8. The Final solution
4.9 (0.4)
-
-
B.1.9. Auschwitz
4.1 (1.0)
-
-
B.1.10. The ending of the Holocaust (liberation and aftermath)
4.7 (0.6)
-
-
B.2. Agency of perpetrator
3.9 (1.2)
-
-
B.2.1. Persecution, deportation, and murder of Jews and other categories
by National Socialism in Germany and directly controlled countries
4.8 (0.4)
-
-
B.2.2. Persecution, deportation, and murder of Jews and other categories
by Italian Fascism and other Nazi accomplices
4.2 (1.2)
-
-
B.3. Biography/General event
3.9 (1.3)
-
-
B.3.2. General event
-
-
B.5. Contemporary event related to the Holocaust
4.1 (1.1)
-
-
B.5.1. Remembrance event
4.5 (0.8)
-
-
B.5.2. Commemoration event
4.4 (0.7)
-
-
B.5.4. Editorial event
4.4 (0.7)
-
-
B.5.5. Artistic or media event
4.5 (0.6)
-
-
B.5.6. Topical subject
4.5 (0.8)
-
-
B. Contemporary issues related to the Holocaust
4.2 (0.8)
4.4 (0.9)
4.9 (0.4)
B.1. Holocaust scholarship (Holocaust research)
-
4.8 (0.4)
4.7 (0.8)
B.1.1. Holocaust research
-
4.8 (0.4)
5.0 (0.0)
B.1.2. Archaeology of the Holocaust
4.3 (0.9)
3.8 (1.4)
4.3 (1.0)
B.2. Heritage of the Holocaust
-
4.7 (0.7)
4.8 (0.4)
B.2.1. Political, legal, cultural and social developments
-
-
4.8 (0.4)
B.2.2. Testimonies and their lessons for the present (Heritage from the
Holocaust: Hope, Faith and Resilience, Testimonies and their lessons for
today: Hope, Faith and Resilience)
4.7 (0.5)
4.7 (0.5)
4.7 (0.8)
B.2.3. The Righteous among the Nations
-
4.6 (0.7)
5.0 (0.0)
B.2.4. Iconic places and people
-
4.4 (0.8)
5.0 (0.0)
A framework for analysing content on social media profiles of Holocaust museums
18
B.2.5. Second and third generations
4.5 (0.8)
4.8 (0.4)
B.3. Parallels and challenges
-
4.6 (0.7)
4.8 (0.4)
B.3.1. Countering Holocaust denial and distortion (Holocaust denial
and distortion)
4.6 (0.6)
4.4 (1.0)
5.0 (0.0)
B.3.2. Antisemitism, racism and hate
-
4.9 (0.3)
5.0 (0.0)
B.3.3. Other genocides
4.3 (0.9)
4.8 (0.4)
4.8 (0.4)
B.4. Remembrance and education
-
4.8 (0.4)
5.0 (0.0)
B.4.1. Remembrance and commemoration
-
4.6 (0.7)
5.0 (0.0)
B.4.2. Public discourse about various aspects of the Holocaust in the
press and other media (Event in the news)
4.6 (0.8)
4.6 (0.5)
4.8 (0.4)
B.4.3. Holocaust education: Teaching and learning about the
Holocaust (Holocaust education)
4.9 (0.3)
4.9 (0.3)
5.0 (0.0)
B.5. Contemporary representation of the Holocaust (Artistic production
related to the Holocaust, Representation of the Holocaust)
4.3 (1.1)
4.7 (0.7)
5.0 (0.0)
B.5.1. Films and documentaries (Cinema and TV, Films and
photographs)
4.5 (0.6)
4.7 (0.5)
4.8 (0.4)
B.5.2. Photographs (Art and photography)
4.5 (0.9)
-
4.8 (0.4)
B.5.3. Literary and documentary production (Literature and poetry,
Literary production)
4.7 (0.6)
4.7 (0.5)
5.0 (0.0)
B.5.4. Music and theatre
4.5 (0.7)
4.6 (0.7)
4.8 (0.4)
B.5.5. Sculptural and visual art (Architecture, sculptural and visual art)
-
4.5 (0.8)
4.8 (0.4)
B.5.6. Artefacts and architecture
-
-
4.7 (0.8)
B.5.7. Digital and visual representation
-
4.8 (0.6)
5.0 (0.0)
C. Museum activities and communication
4.5 (0.7)
4.5 (0.7)
4.7 (0.5)
C.1. Museum event
4.8 (0.6)
4.7 (0.7)
5.0 (0.0)
C.2. Social media events
-
-
-
C.3. Communication and responses to audience (Communication with
audience)
-
4.9 (0.3)
4.8 (0.4)
C.4. Collaborations and endorsements (Collaborations)
4.9 (0.3)
4.7 (0.7)
5.0 (0.0)
C.5. Information about museum operation
4.6 (0.7)
4.6 (0.7)
4.8 (0.4)
C.6. Other
4.7 (0.6)
4.6 (0.7)
5.0 (0.0)
If globally the number of statements on which consensus was achieved improved steadily for each
domain from Round 1 to Round 3, there are also a number of cases where the mean scores decreased
from Round 1 to Round 2 (i.e., A.2.1., A.2.5., A.3.1., A.4., A.4.2., A.5.1., A.5.4., A.6.5., B.1.2., B.3.1., C.1.,
A framework for analysing content on social media profiles of Holocaust museums
19
C.4). However, in these cases, the mean scores increased again or remained stable from Round 2 to
Round 3. There are also a few cases in which the mean scores decreased steadily from Round 1 to
Round 3 (i.e., A.4.7.), decreased from Round 2 to Round 3 (i.e., B.1., C.3.), or increased from Round 1 to
Round 2 and decreased from Round 2 to Round 3 (i.e., A.6.7).
The final framework is illustrated in Figure 1, while the complete set of definitions is available in
Appendix 1.
Figure 1. The final framework
A. Historical content of the Holocaust
A.1. Places
A.1.1. Local
A.1.2. Regional
A.1.3. National
A.1.4. Transnational
A.2. Timeline
A.2.1. Pre-1933
A.2.2. 1933-1939
A.2.3. 1939-1941
A.2.4. 1941-1945
A.2.5. 1945-1950
A.3. Agency
A.3.1. Murdered
A.3.2. Survive
A.3.3. Perpetration
A.3.4. Collaboration
A.3.5. Bystanding
A.3.6. Combat and resistance
A.3.7. Rescue
A.3.8. Liberation
A.4. Groups
A.4.1. Jews
A.4.2. Roma and Sinti
A framework for analysing content on social media profiles of Holocaust museums
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A.4.3. Political opponents
A.4.4. People with disabilities
A.4.5. Slavic peoples
A.4.6. Forced labourers
A.4.7. Homosexuals
A.4.8. Jehovah’s Witnesses
A.4.9. Soviet prisoners of war
A.4.10. Other
A.5. Stages of the Holocaust
A.5.1. Pre-Holocaust
A.5.2. Classification, dehumanisation and symbolisation
A.5.3. Discrimination, isolation and segregation
A.5.4. Organisation
A.5.5. Persecution and deportation
A.5.6. Mass murder or Extermination”
A.5.7. Liberation and aftermath
A.6. Context and society
A.6.1. Jews, Jewish identity, history, religion, and culture
A.6.2. Nazi ideology and attitudes towards Jews and other categories
A.6.3. The camp system
A.6.4. Prejudice, discrimination, racism, antisemitism and antigypsyism
A.6.5. War and German occupation in Western and Eastern Europe
A.6.6. Elderly, children and women
A.6.7. Fates of individuals
A.6.8. International response
A.7. Artefacts and authentic representation
A.7.1. Artefacts
A.7.2. Photographic and filmic evidence
A.7.3. Literary and documentary production
A.7.4. Music and theatre
A.7.5. Sculptural and visual art
A.7.6. Architecture
A framework for analysing content on social media profiles of Holocaust museums
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B. Contemporary issues related to the Holocaust
B.1. Holocaust scholarship
B.1.1. Holocaust research
B.1.2. Archaeology of the Holocaust
B.2. Heritage of the Holocaust
B.2.1. Political, legal, cultural and social developments
B.2.2. Testimonies and their lessons for the present
B.2.3. The Righteous among the Nations
B.2.4. Iconic places and people
B.2.5. Second and third generations
B.3. Parallels and challenges
B.3.1. Countering Holocaust denial and distortion
B.3.2. Antisemitism, racism and hate
B.3.3. Other genocides
B.4. Remembrance and education
B.4.1. Remembrance and commemoration
B.4.2. Public discourse about various aspects of the Holocaust in the press and other media
B.4.3. Holocaust education: Teaching and learning about the Holocaust
B.5. Contemporary representation of the Holocaust
B.5.1. Films and documentaries
B.5.2. Photographs
B.5.3. Literary and documentary production
B.5.4. Music and theatre
B.5.5. Sculptural and visual art
B.5.6. Artefacts and architecture
B.5.7. Digital and visual representation
C. Museum activities and communication
C.1. Museum event
C.2. Social media events
C.3. Communication and responses to audience
C.4. Collaborations and endorsements
C.5. Information about museum operation
A framework for analysing content on social media profiles of Holocaust museums
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C.6. Other
The final framework is organised into three domains Historical content of the Holocaust, Contemporary
issues related to the Holocaust, and Museum activities and communication each of which comprises a set
of macro and micro categories.
The domain Historical content of the Holocaust covers any information about the period, the places, the
actions and the events that created, influenced, or formed the backdrop to the historical development
of the Holocaust. This domain includes historical content related to the Holocaust, its antecedents and
its immediate consequences (e.g., Nuremberg Trials, closure of the last DP camps, etc.). The aim is to
encompass every possible type of historical content related to the Holocaust and its material evidence.
Information or facts not related to the history of the Holocaust should not be classified under this
category. It includes the following macro-categories: Places, Timeline, Agency, Groups, Stages of the
Holocaust, Context and society, and Artefacts and authentic representation.
The domain Contemporary issues related to the Holocaust includes a set of categories which refer to the
period after the liberation phase and its immediate aftermath (e.g., Nuremberg Trials, closure of the
last DP camps, etc.), i.e. from the early 1950s onwards, until today. The involved categories are directly
related to the Holocaust or its parallels, to academic research and to its artistic representation. They
also encompass education and commemoration issues, and a number of subjects relevant to the
contemporary challenges and risks of Holocaust memory. Macro-categories are: Holocaust scholarship,
Heritage of the Holocaust, Parallels and challenges, Remembrance and education, Contemporary
representation of the Holocaust.
The domain Museum activities and communication is composed of a set of categories related to museum
events (e.g., the announcement of a new exhibition, a virtual tour, a webinar, etc.), comprising
communications about services offered by the museums (e.g., operating time), communication with
the audience and endorsements from related institutions and individuals. It includes the following
macro-categories: Museum event, Social media events, Communication and responses to audience,
Collaborations and endorsements, and Information about museum operation.
A framework for analysing content on social media profiles of Holocaust museums
23
CONCLUSIONS AND OPEN ISSUES
This Delphi study gathered consensus on a range of social media topics related to Digital Holocaust
Memory as conveyed by Holocaust museums. The findings of this study have enabled the research
team to develop initial guidelines and identify areas for further research. Although the study drew on
an international network of Holocaust studies scholars and views were gathered from a wide range of
related disciplines, the size and composition of the expert panel may not be representative of all IHRA
countries and this may make results not very easy to generalize.
In addition to identifying areas of consensus, the study succeeded in highlighting areas in the field
where there is less certainty, potentially requiring further exploration to resolve these issues. Although
this study generated consensus on the majority of statements, experts also identified a number of
challenges that need to be resolved in order to more effectively use this framework to analyse social
media content and to provide assistance to teachers and educators for selecting educational content.
For instance, one of the topics that required extensive reflection and revision was the Agency
classification and its conceptualisation. The well-established categories of Perpetration, Collaboration
and Bystanding, as conceptualised in early studies, have recently been questioned and greater nuances
between resistance, rescue, opposition and bystanding are needed (Kühne & Rein, 2020). In this sense,
the concept of the “implicated subject” (Rothberg, 2019) could help to further elaborate on the
distinction between victims and perpetrators, as well as on other categories of agency.
As reported above, another controversial macro-category was Stages of the Holocaust. The initial
classification was mostly based on Hilberg’s seminal work (Hilberg, 1985) and his seven-stage model
was found to be unsatisfactory due to its linearity and because it is heavily based on a nearly fifteen-
year span of German history. However, not all stages occurred everywhere and all the time: some either
overlapped or did not occur at all in certain countries. For these reasons, Stanton’s ten-stage model of
genocide (Stanton, 1996) was preferred in combination with Hilberg’s model, resulting in a
classification that condenses some of Stanton’s stages while mapping Hilberg’s model, and maintains
some of the Holocaust’s specificities. However, further examination is still needed to find out which
models are best suited to account for the different situations in different countries.
Periodisation was also found to be still controversial especially for defining key issues like the
beginning of the so-called Final Solution and the mass killings in Eastern Europe in 1941, as well as
what should be considered as part of Holocaust history and what should be ascribed to
contemporaneity. In this study we have considered June 1941 as the watershed between preparation
of the extermination phase and the actual mass killings; however, a further periodisation would
consider 1943 as another key year, when mass murder became "Vernichtung durch Arbeit"
(“Annihilation through work”) and life spans increased by several months or even till the end of the
war for those chosen to work. We have also considered 1950 as the cut-off date for inclusion of historical
A framework for analysing content on social media profiles of Holocaust museums
24
events, in order to include the last migratory movements of survivors and the closure of the last DP
camps as part of the history of the Holocaust. However, any such boundary may seem arbitrary
depending on the implications of the aftermath one wishes to consider. In any case, differences and
similarities can be found in the history of the various countries involved in the Holocaust, thus making
it impossible to arrive at a universally acceptable periodization.
In addition to these open issues, while a strength of the study was its ability to access a network of
scholars and experts in the field of Digital Holocaust Memory, the authors of this study may have
inadvertently introduced some response bias. Further investigation is needed to customize this
framework by taking into account diverse local histories, also in the light of recent studies that have
shown that the Holocaust affected a larger number of countries than previously thought, particularly
when considering the impact of the Holocaust on European colonialism in Africa (Boum & Stein, 2018;
Kissi, 2021). Research into the geography of the Holocaust (Knowles, Cole, & Giordano, 2014) would
provide data for further refinements.
Another limitation of this study is that there is no definitive assurance of the usability of this framework
since its usefulness and effectiveness will have to be verified through application to the real content
found on the social media profiles of Holocaust museums. The next phase of the study will centre on
analysing samples of messages posted on major social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter and
Instagram), thus helping expand the area of virtual Holocaust memory and its academic study
(Walden, 2019).
REFERENCES
Berberich, C. (2018). Introduction: the Holocaust in contemporary culture”. Holocaust Studies, 25(1-2),
1-11.
Boum, A., & Stein, A. A. (2018). The Holocaust and North Africa. Paolo Alto, CA: Stanford University
Press.
Huxley, K. (2020). Content Analysis, Quantitative. In P. Atkinson, S. Delamont, A. Cernat, J.W.
Sakshaug, & R.A. Williams (Eds.), SAGE Research Methods Foundations.
https://www.doi.org/10.4135/9781526421036880564
Kissi, E. (2021). Integrating sub-Saharan Africa into a historical and cultural study of the Holocaust.
Holocaust Studies, DOI: 10.1080/17504902.2021.1970955
Knowles, A. K., Cole, T., & Giordano, A. (2014). Geographies of the Holocaust. Bloomington, IN: Indiana
University Press.
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25
Krippendorff, K. (2004). Content analysis: An introduction to its methodology. London, UK: Sage
Publications.
Kühne, T., & Rein, M. J. (2020). Agency and the Holocaust. Essays in Honor of Debórah Dwork. Palgrave
Macmillan.
Gray, M. (2014). Contemporary Debates in Holocaust Education. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
Hilberg, R. (1985). The Destruction of the European Jewry (revised and definitive edition). New York, NY:
Holes and Meir.
International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (2019). Recommendations for Teaching and Learning about
the Holocaust. https://holocaustremembrance.com/sites/default/files/inline-files/IHRA-
Recommendations-Teaching-and-Learning-about-Holocaust.pdf
Lewins, A., & Silver, C. (2007). Using software in qualitative research: A step-by-step guide. London, UK:
Sage Publications.
Manikowska, E. (2020). Museums and the Traps of Social Media: The Case of the Auschwitz-Birkenau
Memorial and Museum. Santander Art and Culture Law Review, 2/2020 (6), 223-250.
Mukerjee, S., & González-Bailón, S. (2020). Social Media Data: Quantitative Analysis. In P. Atkinson, S.
Delamont, A. Cernat, J.W. Sakshaug, & R.A. Williams (Eds.), SAGE Research Methods Foundations.
https://www.doi.org/10.4135/9781526421036873634
Neuendorf, K. A. (2002). The content analysis guidebook. London, UK: Sage Publications.
Prandner, D., & Seymer, A. (2020). Social Media Analysis. In P. Atkinson, S. Delamont, A. Cernat, J.W.
Sakshaug, & R.A. Williams (Eds.), SAGE Research Methods Foundations.
https://www.doi.org/10.4135/9781526421036921823
Rothberg, M. (2019). The Implicated Subject: Beyond Victims and Perpetrators. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford
University Press.
Schreier, M. (2019). Content Analysis, Qualitative. In P. Atkinson, S. Delamont, A. Cernat, J.W.
Sakshaug, & R.A. Williams (Eds.), SAGE Research Methods Foundations.
https://www.doi.org/10.4135/9781526421036753373
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Sloan, L., & Quan-Haase, A. (2018). The SAGE Handbook of Social Media Research Methods. London, UK:
SAGE Publications.
Stanton, G. H. (1996). The Ten Stages of Genocide. Genocide Watch.
https://www.genocidewatch.com/tenstages
Walden, V. G. (2019). What is ‘virtual Holocaust memory’? Memory Studies.
https://doi.org/10.1177/1750698019888712
Further references
Bailer, B., & Wetzel, J. (2019). Mass Murder of People with Disabilities and the Holocaust. Berlin: Metropol
Verlag + IHRA.
Beorn, W., Cole, T., Gigliotti, S., Giordano, A., Holian, A., Jaskot, P.B., Knowles, A.K., Masurovsky, M.
and Steiner, E.B. (2009). Geographies of the Holocaust. Geographical Review, 99, 563-574.
Cowan, P. & Maitles, H. (2017). Understanding and Teaching Holocaust Education. London, UK: SAGE,
pp. 21-22.
Gilead, I. (2014). Archaeology of the Holocaust. Témoigner. Entre histoire et mémoire [Online], 119, DOI:
10.4000/temoigner.1486.
Goldberg, R. A. (2017). The Bystander During the Holocaust. Utah Law Review, 4, Article 2.
Gray, M. (2015). Teaching the Holocaust. Practical approaches for ages 11-18. London, UK: Routledge.
Guttstadt, C., Lutz, T., Rother, B., & San Román, Y. (2016). Bystanders, Rescuers or Perpetrators? The
Neutral Countries and the Shoah. Berlin: Metropol Verlag & IHRA.
Rosenfeld, A. H. (2011). The End of the Holocaust. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.
Links
https://echoesandreflections.org/pedagogical-principles/
https://www.yadvashem.org/education/
https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/
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https://www.het.org.uk/exploring-the-holocaust-menu
https://www.theholocaustexplained.org/
https://echoesandreflections.org/audio_glossary/
A framework for analysing content on social media profiles of Holocaust museums
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APPENDIX 1. DEFINITIONS AND EXAMPLES 1
a. The global framework
The framework is organised into three main domains: 1) Historical content of the Holocaust, 2) Contemporary
issues related to the Holocaust, 3) Museum activities and communication. The aim of this initial tripartition is to
encompass every possible type of content that a Holocaust museum may publish on its social channels.
The domain Historical content of the Holocaust covers any information about the period, the places, the
actions, and the events that created, influenced, or formed the backdrop to the historical development of the
Holocaust. This domain includes historical content related to the Holocaust, its antecedents and its immediate
consequences (e.g., Nuremberg Trials, closure of the last DP camps, etc.). The aim is to encompass every possible
type of historical content related to the Holocaust and its material evidence. Information or facts not related to
the history of the Holocaust should not be classified under this category.
The domain Contemporary issues related to the Holocaust includes a set of categories which refer to the
period after the liberation phase and its immediate aftermath (e.g., Nuremberg Trials, closure of the last DP
camps, etc.), i.e. from the early 1950s onwards, until today. The categories included are directly related to the
Holocaust or its parallels, to academic research and to its artistic representation. They also encompass issues of
education and commemoration, and a number of subjects relevant to the contemporary challenges and risks of
Holocaust memory.
The domain Museum activities and communication” is composed of a set of categories related to museum
events (e.g., the announcement of a new exhibition, a virtual tour, a webinar, etc.), comprising communications
about services offered by the museums (e.g., operating time), communication with the audience and
endorsements from related institutions and individuals.
b. The domain “Historical content of the Holocaust”
The domain “Historical content of the Holocaust” is organised into seven macro-categories: 1) Places, 2)
Timeline, 3) Agency, 4) Groups, 5) Stages of the Holocaust, 6) Context and society, 7) Artefacts and authentic
representation.
Places = The Holocaust was a profoundly geographical event, rooted in specific physical spaces, times, and
landscapes, and followed a process made up of spatially distinct phases, such as concentration, deportation,
dispersal, and dislocation. Although the Holocaust is usually understood as a European event, the Europe-wide
scale was complemented with related events that occurred in North Africa or elsewhere in the world (e.g., Asia,
North and South America) where the persecuted were able to flee primarily before the war. In the Holocaust
recollection process, events may be viewed at various geographical levels. It is important to note that boundaries
between the categories may be fluid and not sharply delineated, and that one scale affects the others. For
example, local events may affect policies, which can then be implemented regionally or even nationally, and vice
A framework for analysing content on social media profiles of Holocaust museums
29
versa. Besides, many transnational events, such as Operation Barbarossa, did not take place in the abstract
international environment but rather on the local, regional, and national levels simultaneously. Although the
boundaries between these categories may often be blurred, the choice of the specific subcategory will be based
on the explicit content described.
Timeline = The Holocaust is traditionally dated back to the period 19331945, from the appointment of Hitler
as German chancellor on 30th January 1933 until the end of WWII in Europe (8th May 1945) or the beginning of
the Nuremberg Trials on 20th November 1945 (see, for example, https://www.theholocaustexplained.org/events-
in-the-history-of-the-holocaust-1933-to-1939/). However, it is also important to distinguish between events that
occurred during the pre-war period (19331939) and the war (19391945) (for a timeline of events:
https://echoesandreflections.org/timeline-of-the-holocaust/, https://www.yadvashem.org/education/what-
is.html, https://www.ushmm.org/learn/timeline-of-events/), and the immediate consequences of the end of the
war and its aftermath, such as the displaced persons camps and immigration of survivors (1945-1950).
Furthermore, national timelines can be useful for contextualising specific events that took place in countries
other than Germany, such as Italy, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, etc. For example, as far as Italy is concerned,
some date the beginning back to March 1919, with the Fasci di Combattimento foundation, or to 1922, with the
Fascists’ march on Rome (http://www.memorialeshoah.it/timeline-1922-1945/?lang=en).
Agency = The human dimension of the Holocaust is explored by means of “agency”, a key category developed
in Holocaust studies to analyse how human action/behaviour works in a variety of different settings, such as a
specific location or region, an organisation, or a group of individuals, depending on social structure. Contrary
to the idea that individuals took on specific roles during the Holocaust, the term “agency” in the Holocaust
cannot fit seamlessly or neatly into either one of the proposed categories. People who had acted as collaborators
or perpetrators may at some point, depending on the circumstances, act as rescuers or resisters, and persecuted
people may have turned into collaborators at some point. Other cases of change in agency are the mass episodes
of sexual violence committed by the Soviet liberators, in this respect perpetrators; of victims that become
perpetrators, such as Jewish perpetrators of sexual violence within the ghettos; or Soviet POWs who opted to be
trained as camp guards by the Germans. Other problematic cases are collaborators who happened to act as
rescuers for their own personal reasons/gains. Overall, it is important to stress that agency was in large part a
collective accomplishment and dependent on factors often beyond individual control. Besides, recent studies
question the distinction between victims and perpetrators, and suggest an alternative concept, the “implicated
subject” (Rothberg, 2019), to deal with someone who is not a perpetrator himself/herself but is rather an indirect
participant who enables, perpetuates, inherits, and benefits from violence and exploitation. “Implicated subject”
is proposed to replace the more familiar concept of bystander, a concept that suggests disengagement and
passivity. However, given the scope of this framework, despite the blurred contours between many of the
categories that may apply to specific behaviours in a specific event, the proposed categories here provide the
main agency indicators to describe the specific behaviours portrayed in a single section of information and are
not mutually exclusive. Since the proposed categories focus on people’s behaviours and actions, and not on their
roles, it is possible to classify content in different ways depending on the emphasis placed on a specific action.
If, for example, a person’s behaviour is recorded in terms of first perpetrator and then rescuer, it will be possible
to select both relevant sub-categories.
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Groups = Although we embrace the definition of Holocaust adopted by the IHRA (“The Holocaust was the state-
sponsored, systematic persecution and murder of Jews by Nazi Germany and its collaborators between 1933 and
1945”) and other well-known organisations (such as Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, the Holocaust Memorial
Museum in Washington DC, and the Imperial War Museum in London), according to which the term
“Holocaust” should be reserved for the genocide of the Jews alone, we are also aware of broad-based definitions
that include other groups that suffered at the hands of the Nazis and their accomplices, such as Roma and Sinti,
people with disabilities, Slavic peoples, political opponents, forced labourers, homosexuals, and Jehovah's
Witnesses. In addition to civilian victims, some include Soviet prisoners of war. In this category, we decided to
include all groups who suffered at the hands of the Nazis and their collaborators, even if strictly speaking they
cannot be defined as victims of the deliberate mass murder process of the Holocaust, as were the Jews. When
someone or a group falls under more than one expected condition (e.g., Jewish and homosexual, Polish citizen
destined for slave labour, etc.), it is possible to select more than one category.
Stages of the Holocaust = This category is derived from Hilberg’s (1985) six stages of the Holocaust (Definition,
Isolation, Emigration, Ghettoization, Deportation and Mass Murder) and from Stanton’s (1996) ten-stage model
of genocide (Classification, Symbolization, Discrimination, Dehumanization, Organisation, Polarization,
Preparation, Persecution, Extermination, Denial). It is also based on terminology and adaption made by Cowan
& Maitles (2017) on Hilberg’s six stages of the Holocaust (Alienation, Segregation, Deportation, Extermination
(or Annihilation), Liberation). In this framework, we have added a seventh stage (Liberation and aftermath), as
suggested by Cowan & Maitles (2017), and a Pre-Holocaust stage. The resulting periodisation adopted in this
framework condenses some of Stanton’s stages while mapping Hilberg’s model and maintains some of the
Holocaust’s specificities. It is important to stress that while Hilberg’s six stages mostly apply to the Nazis’
systematic attempt to annihilate the Jewish population of Europe and are based on his study of German
documents and how the events of the Holocaust played out in Germany, Stanton’s model was developed to
explain the dynamics of genocide in general and not specifically the Holocaust’s. In Stanton’s model, genocide
develops as a non-linear process, with stages that may occur simultaneously or at different times in each
jurisdiction. Besides, each stage is itself a process in which all stages may take place either chronologically or
simultaneously. Additionally, while the stages defined by Hilberg played out over the course of nearly fifteen
years in Germany, not all stages occurred everywhere and all the time, and some were either merged or skipped
in certain countries (e.g., there were no ghettoes in the West).The process was very fluid and dynamic and did
not follow a linear progression in an equal way, with stages that would occur simultaneously, or in reverse order
(e.g., deportations were preceded by murder on site in the East). For example, in Hungary in 1944 the Holocaust
process took an accelerated route, in contrast with other states, as most Jews spent a short time in ghettos (weeks
or a few months) before being deported to Auschwitz or other camps. Also, other groups, such as Sinti and
Roma, homosexuals, and people with mental and physical disabilities, underwent many of the steps described
by Hilberg, including mass murder. For the above reasons, caution is required when this periodisation is applied
to countries other than Germany or groups other than Jews.
Context and society = This list addresses historical subjects that complement/intersect the other categories
included in the “Historical content” domain and expand the sociological and human components of the
Holocaust. It refers to the diverse cultural, political and social contexts in which the Holocaust took place and
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the ideas that were behind it. It also includes the condition of the Jews before the Holocaust and the international
response to the Holocaust.
Artefacts and authentic representation = Historical information about the Holocaust may also be derived from
the huge disposal of remains of everyday material objects and the expressive production that directly affected
the life of the individual. The human dimension of the Holocaust is portrayed by a variety of everyday objects
such as items for religious services (e.g., tallit, prayer books), toiletries, children’s toys, cloths, kitchen utensils
and recipe books, etc., while factual and expressive production includes many types of products that reflect the
many ways in which Jewish inmates in labour camps, ghettos, and concentration camps portrayed the dark
realities of day-to-day life in Nazi imprisonment. They were either artists that experienced persecution and
internment or ordinary people creating a spontaneous expression of resistance. Diaries, letters, memoirs, poems,
paintings, drawings, theatrical scripts and music executions reflected the ways in which Holocaust victims and
survivors recorded or reflected on their experiences. This category also includes photographic and filmic
evidence of the Holocaust produced by perpetrators and collaborators.
b1. The sub-category “Places”
The sub-category “Places” is organised into four further sub-categories: 1) Local, 2) Regional, 3) National, 4)
Transnational.
Local = An event that took place in a circumscribed place, such as a village (e.g., Jedwabne), a town (e.g., Warsaw,
Paris, Berlin), a concentration camp (e.g., Dachau, Auschwitz), a ghetto (e.g., Lodz, Warsaw), etc. This category
may also include places and spaces that are more individualised and not defined geographically, e.g., cellars or
basements where people hid, the effect of anti-Jewish laws in people's homes, or properties (villas, farms,
factories, etc.) of perpetrators/collaborators.
Examples: 1) “In July 1942, Esther Frenkel was arrested, along with her 2-year-old son, Richard. Esther’s shirt
remained in her Paris flat. It is pictured below, along with a photo of her wearing it. Esther & Richard were
deported separately to #Auschwitz and murdered”. 2) “The Great Deportation began #OTD 22 July 1942. From
22 July till 21 September 1942, over 265,000 Jews were deported from the Warsaw ghetto to the Treblinka death
camp and murdered. Learn about the final moments in the #WarsawGhetto here”. Note: Although two different
places are mentioned in the two examples (i.e., Paris and Auschwitz; Warsaw ghetto and Treblinka), the events
occurred locally in circumscribed places. 3) “One of the most extraordinary stories in Shanghai's history took
place in the neighbourhood of Tilanqiao, which served as ‘a modern-day Noah's Ark’ for Jews during WW2. For
thousands of desperate people in the 1930s, this Chinese metropolis was a last resort. Most countries and cities
on the planet had restricted entry for Jews trying to flee violent persecution by Nazi Germany”. Although this
example may include places to which refugees travelled across the world, the local dimension is prevalent in
this section of information. 4) “In the Battle of Vilnius (1941), Nazi Germany captures the city during the
Operation Barbarossa”. In this example, although the Operation Barbarossa had a transnational dimension,
happening on the local, regional, and national levels simultaneously, the focus is on a localised place.
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Regional = An event that happened in a regional area within a country (e.g., Bavaria in Germany, Zona
d'Operazione del Litorale Adriatico in Italy, Warthegau, General Government in Poland, Vichy Government in
France) or across countries (e.g., Transnistria, Bulgarian-occupied territories).
Examples: 1) “The Operational Zone of the Adriatic Littoral (German: Operationszone Adriatisches Küstenland,
OZAK; or colloquially: Operationszone Adria; Italian: Zona d'operazioni del Litorale adriatico; Croatian:
Operativna zona Jadransko primorje; Slovene: Operacijska zona Jadransko primorje) was a Nazi German district
on the northern Adriatic coast created during World War II in 1943. It was formed out of territories that were
previously under Italian Fascist control until takeover by Germany. It included parts of present-day Italian,
Slovenian, and Croatian territories. The area was administered as territory attached, but not incorporated to, the
Reichsgau of Carinthia. The capital was the city of Trieste”. 2) “Transnistria was set up as a result of successful
military operations beyond the Dniester in summer 1941 and was lost when it became untenable in early 1944.
Between those dates Romanian officials administered the area and were responsible for the native Ukrainian
Jews and the Romanian Jews deported there. In this region, Romanians engaged in shootings and placed Jews
in deadly situations; most of these Jews were from the newly acquired regions of Bessarabia and Bukovina”. 3)
“In early March 1941, Bulgaria joined the Axis alliance and, in April 1941, participated in the German-led attack
on Yugoslavia and Greece. In return, Bulgaria received German authorization to occupy most of Greek Thrace,
Yugoslav Macedonia, and Pirot County in eastern Serbia. Though Bulgaria participated in the Balkan Campaign,
the provisions of its adherence to the Axis alliance allowed it to opt out of participation in the war against the
Soviet Union in June 1941”.
National = An event that affected an entire country (e.g., the deportation of the Hungarian Jews, the rescue of
the Danish Jews, the occupation of Belgium).
Examples: 1) “On 20 June 1939, the Finke family was notified that their eldest son, Heinz, was to be included on
a list of youngsters to be sent on a Kindertransport leaving Germany a week later”. 2) “When Raoul Gustaf
Wallenberg reached the Swedish legation in Budapest on July 9, 1944, the intense Nazi campaign to deport the
Jews of Hungary almost entirely to Auschwitz had already been under way for several months. Transports from
Hungary were halted with few exceptions by Miklós Horthy two days earlier in large part because he was
warned by Roosevelt, Churchill, the King of Sweden and even the Pope after the very vocal Swiss grass roots
protests against the mass murder in Auschwitz”.
Transnational = An event that affected a broader area (e.g., Operation Barbarossa, which implied the invasion
of Soviet Union and other formerly-Soviet occupied territories by Nazi Germany) or took place in more than one
country.
Examples: 1) “22 June 1941 marks the start of 'Operation Barbarossa', a turning point in Nazi anti-Jewish policy,
resulting in the mass murder of some 1.5 million Jews under Nazi occupation in forests and ravines such as
Ponar and Babi Yar”. 2) Despite Shanghai being more than 7,000km from their homes, more than 20,000
stateless Jews fled from to Germany, Poland and Austria to China’s largest city to escape the Holocaust between
1933 and 1941”.
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b2. The sub-category “Timeline”
The sub-category “Timeline” is organised into five further sub-categories: 1) Pre-1933, 2) 1933-1939, 3) 1939-1941,
4) 1941-1945, 5) 1945-1950.
Pre-1933 = Any event that occurred before the appointment of Hitler on 30th January 1933 in Germany. This
includes historical antecedents to the period of the Third Reich, and ideas and movements like eugenics, race
hygiene, social Darwinism, as well as history of antisemitism and anti-Judaism before 1933. It also includes any
other historical antecedents that led to the Holocaust in other countries.
Examples: 1) “The Holocaust didn't happen overnight. Were there warning signs of what was to come when the
Nazis came to power in 1933?”. 2) “Jews have lived in Germany since the Middle Ages. And, as in much of
Europe, they faced widespread persecution there for many centuries. It was not until the 19th century that Jews
in Germany were given the same rights as Christian Germans. By 1933, when the Nazis came to power,
Germany’s Jews were well integrated and even assimilated into German society. Despite their integration,
Germany’s Jews still maintained a discernible identity and culture”. 3) “In October 1922, King Victor Emmanuel
III appointed the leader of the Italian Fascist Party, Benito Mussolini, as prime minister of Italy. Over the next
seven years, the Fascists established and consolidated a one-party dictatorship”.
1933-1939 = Any event that took place in the pre-war period (until September 1939), during which the Nazi
regime established the first concentration camps, imprisoned its political opponents, homosexuals, Jehovah’s
Witnesses, and others classified as “dangerous”, and extensive propaganda was used to spread the Nazi Party’s
racist goals and ideals. During the first six years of Hitler’s dictatorship, German Jews were affected by over 400
decrees and regulations that restricted all aspects of their public and private lives and forced thousands of them
to emigrate. Racial laws were established in other countries such as Italy (1938) and anti-Jewish legislation (i.e.,
the “bench Ghetto”) was issued in Poland from 1935 onwards.
Examples: 1) “On November 910, 1938, Nazi leaders unleashed a series of pogroms against the Jewish
population in Germany and recently incorporated territories. This event came to be called Kristallnacht (The
Night of Broken Glass) because of the shattered glass that littered the streets after the vandalism and destruction
of Jewish-owned businesses, synagogues, and homes”. 2) “Following the Anschluss, President Franklin D.
Roosevelt called for an international conference that would discuss the plight of refugees seeking to flee Nazi
Germany and establish an international organisation to work for an overall solution to the refugee problem. In
early July 1938, delegates from 32 countries and a number of non-governmental aid organisations met at the
French resort of Evian on Lake Geneva. Roosevelt chose Myron C. Taylor, a businessman and close friend, to
represent the United States at the conference”.
1939-1941 = Events that occurred after the outbreak of the Second World War on September 1939 until the Soviet
invasion in June 1941. This event marked the extension of the antisemitic persecution of Jews to Eastern Europe
(e.g., invasion of Poland and occupation of Czechoslovakia), and to the West, first with the occupation of the
Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Hungary, and Romania in 1940, and then with
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the occupation of Yugoslavia, Greece, and parts of the Soviet Union in 1941. In terms of stages of the Holocaust,
it includes the extension of Nazi rule East and West and the period of ghettoization in the East.
Examples: 1) “The Battle of Belgium or Belgian Campaign, often referred to within Belgium as the 18 Days'
Campaign (French: Campagne des 18 jours, Dutch: Achttiendaagse Veldtocht), formed part of the greater Battle
of France, an offensive campaign by Germany during the Second World War. It took place over 18 days in May
1940 and ended with the German occupation of Belgium following the surrender of the Belgian Army”. 2) “In
the fall of 1940, German authorities established a ghetto in Warsaw, Poland’s largest city with the largest Jewish
population. Almost 30 percent of Warsaw’s population was packed into 2.4 percent of the city's area”.
1941-1945 = Any event that occurred after the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941 and refers to the period
of mass murder until the end of the war and liberation of the camps. Operation Barbarossa in June 1941 marked
the beginning of the “Final Solution”, with the mass killings (the so-called “Holocaust by bullets”) carried out
by the Einsatzgruppen in the occupied territories. The “Final Solution”, which was the code-name for the Nazis’
plan to solve the “Jewish question” by murdering all the Jews in Europe, was the culmination of many years of
evolving Nazi policy commencing with Hitler’s earliest writings about the need for a solution to the Jewish
question in Europe, followed by the Nazis' attempts to induce mass emigration during the 1930s through to
the plan for collective exile to a specific destination and finally, by 1941, the mass murder of Jews. Systematic
mass killings of Jews began in summer 1941 in the Soviet territories, and in early 1942 a policy called the Final
Solution, which called for the annihilation of all Jews, had coalesced. The year 1941 also marks the establishment
of the death camps (i.e., Chełmno, Bełżec, Treblinka, Sobibór) in 1941 and the gradual conversion of Auschwitz
and Majdanek into death camps in 1942. 1943 was a key year in which the mass murder became "Vernichtung
durch Arbeit" (“Annihilation through work”) and life spans increased to months or even to the end of the war
for those chosen to work. Conditions in camps varied a great deal.
Examples: 1) “Vilna was liberated #OTD 13 July 1944. Some 700 Jews from the ghetto had joined the partisans
in the forests; they fought until the arrival of the Red Army and participated in the liberation of the city”. 2) “The
Raid of the Rome Ghetto took place on 16 October 1943. A total of 1,259 people, mainly members of the Jewish
communitynumbering 363 men, 689 women, and 207 childrenwere detained by the Gestapo. Of these
detainees, 1,023 were identified as Jews and deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp. Of these deportees,
only fifteen men and one woman survived”.
1945-1950 = Any event that occurred after the end of WWII and its immediate aftermath in the late 1940s and
early 1950s. This period ends with the last migratory movements of the survivors, the closure of the last DP
camps, and includes the birth of the State of Israel in 1948.
Examples: 1) “After the war, the top surviving German leaders were tried for Nazi Germany’s crimes, including
the crimes of the Holocaust. Their trial was held before an International Military Tribunal (IMT) in Nuremberg,
Germany. Judges from the Allied powersGreat Britain, France, the Soviet Union, and the United States
presided over the hearing of 22 major Nazi criminals. Subsequently, the United States held 12 additional trials
in Nuremberg of high-level officials of the German government, military, and SS as well as medical professionals
and leading industrialists”. 2) “Wanda Rein married Mordechai Folman #OTD 17 August 1944 in the last
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wedding to take place in the Lodz ghetto. One year after they were separated at Auschwitz, Wanda and
Mordechai Folman were reunited; in 1950 they immigrated to Israel”.
b3. Evaluation of the sub-category “Agency”
The sub-category “Agency” is organised into eight further sub-categories: 1) Murdered, 2) Survive, 3)
Perpetration, 4) Collaboration, 5) Bystanding, 6) Combat and resistance, 7) Rescue, 8) Liberation.
Murdered = This category regards “Individuals who were murdered by the Nazis or their collaborators” (IHRA,
2019). Notable names of victims include Anne Frank and Janusz Korczak.
Example: “#OTD 22 June 1941 marks the start of 'Operation Barbarossa', a turning point in Nazi anti-Jewish
policy, resulting in the mass murder of some 1.5 million Jews under Nazi occupation in forests and ravines such
as Ponar and Babi Yar”. Note: Although in this post there is an explicit mention of the perpetrators (i.e. the
Nazis), most of the relevant information is about the mass murder and the number of victims.
Survive = This category comprises individuals who survived concentration camps, ghettos and Einsatzgruppen
shooting operations, Jewish refugees from Germany and Austria in the 1930s, those rescued in operations such
as the Kindertransport or by the Righteous Among the Nations, or in some other way managed to hide or cross
borders to evade inevitable death. It also includes children kept in hiding or given up for adoption to conceal
their identity, and any other survivor of Nazi persecution. Notable names of survivors are Primo Levi and Elie
Wiesel.
Example: “Kovno was liberated #OTD 1 August 1944. In 1939, about 40,000 Jews lived in Kovno; fewer than
2,000 survived. This photograph shows some of the survivors”.
Perpetration = This category refers to “Individuals who planned, organized, actively promoted and/or
implemented acts of persecution and murder” (IHRA, 2019). While this category is usually applied to Nazi
Germans’ behaviours, many non-Germans were initiators of murder, like the Romanians in 1941 or the
Lithuanians, Latvians and Ukrainians who murdered Jews on the eve of the arrival of the Germans on their own
initiative or under German direction. Complicity and benefitting from persecution are two further elements
implied in perpetration. Although those who benefitted were not necessarily directly involved in persecution,
they purposely took action to receive Jewish property or benefit from looting.
Examples: 1) “This photo shows Jews from Kovno being led by Liby Lithuanian Militia to the Seventh Fort prior
to their execution #OTD 27 July 1941. Follow this link to read chilling reports about the careful planning leading
to the murders”. Note: Although victims are pictured in the photo, the emphasis here is on the Liby Lithuanian
Militia and how they planned the murder. 2) “The Arajs Kommando (also: Sonderkommando Arajs), led by SS
commander and Nazi collaborator Viktors Arājs, was a unit of Latvian Auxiliary Police subordinated to the
German Sicherheitsdienst (SD) that actively participated in a variety of Nazi atrocities, including the killing of
Jews, Roma, and mental patients. Most notably, the unit took part in the mass execution of Jews from the Riga
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ghetto, and several thousand Jews deported from Germany, in the Rumbula massacre of November 30 and
December 8, 1941”.
Collaboration = This category encompasses “Non-German regimes, [groups] and persons who cooperated with
the Nazis and actively supported their policies and carried out actions under Nazi orders and on their own
initiative” (IHRA, 2019) and German citizens that actively collaborated with persecution and deportation of the
Jews. Notable examples of collaborationist regimes were: the Vichy France, a government set up by the Nazis
after they conquered France in spring 1940, with its capital in the town of Vichy, in southern France; the
Independent State of Croatia, a puppet state semi-independent of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, established
in parts of occupied Yugoslavia on 10 April 1941, after the invasion by the Axis powers; the Antonescu
dictatorship that entered Romania into an alliance with Nazi Germany in 1940 and joined the Axis in Operation
Barbarossa in 1941; the Lithuanian Security Police (Lietuvos saugumo policija), subordinate to the Criminal
Police of Nazi Germany, created on 1941, which took an active role in the systematic mass murder of Lithuanian
Jews (see also “Perpetration”). For a list of countries and groups that collaborated with the Axis powers
(Germany and Italy), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collaboration_with_the_Axis_Powers. However,
collaborators may have been single individuals who took advantage of the situation and collaborated to receive
benefits such as Jewish property from looting or Jewish prisoners acting as collaborators in concentration camps.
Other local groups or individuals actively collaborated in acts of persecution and murder, such as the Polish
soldiers in Kielce pogrom in 1946.
Examples: 1) “While the role of Hitler and the Nazis is indisputable, the Holocaust could not have happened
without tens of thousands of ordinary people actively collaborating with the actions of perpetrators. Many more
supported or tolerated the crimes”. 2) “In the Jedwabne pogrom - a massacre of Polish Jews in the town of
Jedwabne, German-occupied Poland, on 10 July 1941 - during which at least 340 men, women and children were
murdered, about 40 non-Jewish Poles were implicated in the massacre. German military police were present in
the town at the time”.
Bystanding = This category regards “States and individuals who were aware of Nazi crimes and decided not to
intervene, despite possessing some freedom of action, thus potentially reinforcing the perpetrators’
determination to commit their crimes” (IHRA, 2019). More in general, “Bystanders” is a catch-all term that has
often been applied to people who were passive and indifferent to the escalating persecution that culminated in
the Holocaust (USHMM, 2020). Examples of bystanding behaviour include not speaking out when people
witnessed the persecution of individuals who were targeted simply because they were Jewish, and, during the
mass murder phase, not offering shelter to Jews seeking hiding places (USHMM, 2020). The term “bystander”
also refers to persons who, under individual circumstances, either did not take action or remained silent in the
face of acts of persecution (a range of behaviours that are common to both German and European populations).
However, a growing number of scholars in recent years have argued that the term “bystander” is becoming
obsolete and should be jettisoned because of its connotations of passivity and inaction. Some of them also
question the distinction between victims and perpetrators and suggests an alternative concept, the “implicated
subject” (Rothberg, 2019), to deal with someone who is not a perpetrator himself/herself but is rather an indirect
participant who enables, perpetuates, inherits, and benefits from violence and exploitation. Although the
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“implicated subject” would replace the more familiar concept of the bystander, a concept that suggests
disengagement and passivity, further research on social dynamics within affected groups and communities
across different regions and countries is needed. Additional future studies will help us attain a full picture of
the range of behaviours that marked relations between Jews and non-Jewsthus moving beyond broad
generalities about “bystanders”. However, despite these recent attempts to revise terminology, in this
framework we have chosen to continue using the term “bystander” because it is still the most widely used in
the literature and familiar to the common reader.
Examples: 1) “Within Nazi Germany many individuals became active or semi-active participants in Nazi racial
and antisemitic policies. These included civil servants who became involved as part of their normal work:
finance officials processing tax forms, including the steep “tax on Jewish wealth” imposed after Kristallnacht or
processing property seized by the state, including homes and belongings left behind following the
“resettlement” of Jews during the war into occupied territories; clerks who kept files of identification documents
that included one's “race” or “religion”; school teachers who followed curricula incorporating racist and
antisemitic content”. 2) “Many ordinary Germans became involved when they acquired Jewish businesses,
homes, or belongings sold at bargain prices or benefited from reduced business competition as Jews were driven
from the economy. With such gains, these “bystanders” developed a stake in the ongoing persecution of the
dispossessed”. 3) “Outside Nazi Germany, countless non-Germans, from leaders, public officials, and police to
ordinary citizens became involved by collaborating with the Nazi regime following the German occupation of
their countries during World War II. Individuals helped in their roles as clerks and confiscators of property; as
railway and other transportation employees; as managers or participants in roundups and deportations; as
informants; sometimes as perpetrators of violence against Jews on their own initiative; and sometimes as hands-
on killers in killing operations, notably in the mass shootings of Jews and others in occupied Soviet territories in
which thousands of eastern Europeans participated”. 4) “In communities across Europe where the Germans
implemented the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question,” they needed the help of people with local languages
and knowledge to assist them in finding Jews who evaded roundups. As German and local police found willing
helpers lured by the opportunity for material gain or rewards, Jews in hiding in countries from the occupied
Netherlands to occupied Poland faced daunting odds of survival”.
Combat and resistance = This category encompasses “Individuals who actively opposed Nazi policies and
programs through various means” (IHRA, 2019). Resistance refers to “actions of an individual, nation or group
in opposition to persecution at the hands of the Nazis and their partners” and includes “activities aimed at
impeding or inhibiting the Nazi’s criminal policies and programs. Since the Nazis aimed to murder all European
Jews, helping and rescuing Jews can be considered a form of resistance from at least early 1942 onwards.
Reference to specific local conditions is essential in understanding this term” (IHRA, 2019). This category
includes content associated with forms of combat and resistance such as the Jewish armed resistance that took
place in the ghettos (e.g., the Warsaw uprising) and in the camps (e.g., the Sonderkommandos revolt in
Auschwitz or the Sobibór uprising), or of partisan resistance in diverse countries (e.g., the Bielski Jewish
partisans who rescued Jews from mass murder and fought the German occupiers and their collaborators around
Nowogródek in Belarus). It also includes forms of non-violent resistance such as cultural, religious and spiritual
resistance as acts of opposition that are usually related to cultural traditions and the preservation of human
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dignity, intended to undermine an oppressor and inspire hope within the ranks of the resistors (e.g., marking
Shabbat or fasting on Yom Kippur in the concentration camps). Most of the time, as the only possible way to
oppose Nazi tyranny, cultural resistance meant defying Nazi directives by creating schools in the ghettos,
maintaining religious customs, writing poems and songs, drawing, painting, or keeping journals and other
records of ghetto or camp life. A notable example of cultural and spiritual resistance is provided by Ringelblum's
Archives of the Warsaw Ghetto, a collection of documents from the World War II Warsaw Ghetto, collected and
preserved by a group known by the codename Oyneg Shabbos, led by Jewish Historian Dr. Emanuel
Ringelblum. Other examples are: German resistance to Nazism, which included opposition by individuals and
groups, most of whom engaged in active resistance (including attempts to remove Adolf Hitler from power by
assassination or by overthrowing his established regime); anti-Nazi groups, some of which were also antisemitic,
formed by Soviet partisan groups; members of a clandestine military force formed to oppose control of an area
by a foreign power or by an occupation army by some kind of insurgent activity, such as the Italian resistance
movement.
Examples: 1) “On 9 August 1942, 200 Jews escaped Mir; they fled to the forests days before the planned
liquidation of the ghetto. They had been warned by Oswald Rufeisen, a Jew with forged papers who was
working for the Belarus police”. 2) “After the German invasion of the Netherlands, Willem Arondeus became a
leader of a gay resistance group in Amsterdam. The group’s main activities included helping persecuted people
hide and find false identification. Read his story”. 3) “The children pictured below survived the #Holocaust
thanks to the efforts of Jewish resistance fighters Marianne Cohn & Mila Racine. The photo was taken this week
in 1944 in France”. 4) “Theresienstadt was the only Nazi camp in which Jewish religious life was practiced more
or less undisturbed, beginning with the celebration of the first night of Hanukkah in December 1941. Another
spiritual legacy of Theresienstadt was the attention given to the welfare and education of child prisoners. Fifteen
thousand children passed through Theresienstadt. They painted pictures, wrote poetry, and otherwise tried to
maintain a vestige of normal life. Approximately 90 percent of those children eventually perished in killing
centres”. 5) “David Gur was born in Okány, Hungary, in 1926. After the German invasion of Hungary, David
changed his identity and joined the underground resistance and later the Zionist Youth resistance movement”.
Rescue = This category regards “Individuals who helped victims of the Nazis in various ways with the intention
of saving their lives, whether or not they were successful in the rescue” (IHRA, 2019), or countries that made an
effort to save their Jews (e.g., the Danish resistance movement, with the assistance of many Danish citizens,
managed to evacuate 7,220 of Denmark’s 7,800 Jews, plus 686 non-Jewish spouses, by sea to nearby neutral
Sweden). Rescue actions also concerned the Jews who rescued fellow Jews, also sometimes with the help of non-
Jews. The rescue work of the neutral diplomats was a joint effort with local Jews, mostly the Zionist youth
underground and the Budapest Relief and Rescue Committee. The Working Group in Slovakia was a semi legal
Jewish group that tried to rescue Jews in many different ways. Other notable examples of rescuers are Oscar
Schindler, Raoul Wallenberg, and Gino Bartali. In addition to the names of famous rescuers, the history of the
Holocaust is littered with many acts of rescue of Jews that still remain undocumented today.
Examples: 1) “On 9 June 1941 Elisabeta Nicopoi learned about the impending harm to the Jews of Iasi. She
hurried to the home of her co-worker, Marcus Strul, to warn his family of the approaching danger & offer shelter.
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In total, she hid some 20 Jews”. 2) “Diplomats in Budapest in late 1944 issued protective papers and hung their
countries’ flags over whole buildings, so as to put Jews under their country's diplomatic immunity. Some
German rescuers, like Oskar Schindler, used deceitful pretexts to protect their workers from deportation
claiming the Jews were required by the army for the war effort”. 3) “On 9 August 1942, 200 Jews escaped Mir;
they fled to the forests days before the planned liquidation of the ghetto. They had been warned by Oswald
Rufeisen, a Jew with forged papers who was working for the Belarus police”.
Liberation = This category encompasses “Individuals who participated in the release and relief from suffering
of those held captive or forced into hiding by the Nazis and their collaborators. The term is particularly applied
to those soldiers, doctors and religious officials who entered the captured concentration camps in 1944-45”
(IHRA, 2019). Examples of liberators are the Red Army that liberated Auschwitz on 27 January 1945, the U.S.
forces that liberated the Dachau concentration camp on 29 April 1945, and the British Army that liberated
Bergen-Belsen on 15 April 1945.
Examples: 1) ““The invasion has begun...Is this really the beginning of the long-awaited liberation?” Anne Frank
wrote in her diary #OTD in 1944. #DDaythe landing of Allied troops in Normandy, Francebecame one of
the most crucial Allied victories in WWII”. 2) “When the British forces liberated Bergen-Belsen on 15 April 1945,
thousands of bodies lay unburied around the camp and some 60,000 starving and mortally ill people were
packed together without food, water or basic sanitation. Many were suffering from typhus, dysentery and
starvation”.
b4. The sub-category “Groups”
The sub-category “Groups” is organised into ten further sub-categories: 1) Jews, 2) Roma and Sinti, 3) Political
opponents, 4) People with disabilities, 5) Slavic peoples, 6) Forced labourers, 7) Homosexuals, 8) Jehovah’s
Witnesses, 9) Soviet prisoners of war, 10) Other.
Jews = “The Nazis defined Jews as individuals with three or four Jewish grandparents, irrespective of the
religious beliefs or affiliation of individuals or their ancestors. It should also be noted that race laws were applied
at different times and in different ways in various places occupied and controlled by the Nazis and their
collaborators. To further complicate the definitions, there were also people living in Germany who were defined
under the Nuremberg Laws as neither German nor Jew, that is, people having only one or two grandparents
born into the Jewish religious community. These ‘mixed-race’ individuals were known as Mischlinge. They
enjoyed the same rights as ‘racial’ Germans, but these rights were continuously curtailed through subsequent
legislation” (IHRA, 2019). It is important to stress that Jews were subjected to persecution in many other
countries and that antisemitic prejudices existed not only in Germany but all over the world. It should be also
noted that in several countries allied with Nazi Germany, like France, Italy and Hungary, a different definition
of “Jew” was adopted locally by governments on their own initiative.
Example: “’The women and children were thrown into pits while still alive. More than 500 people were buried
in silage pits there’. This Soviet report dated #OTD 20 July 1944 describes the mass murder of the Jews in Lepel”.
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Roma and Sinti = “The Roma and Sinti settled in the countries of modern-day Europe centuries ago. The term
‘Sinti’ designates the members of an ethnic minority that settled in Germany and neighbouring countries in the
early 15th century. The term ‘Roma’ refers to the ethnic minority that has lived in eastern and south-eastern
Europe since the Middle Ages. Since the early 18th century, Roma migrated to western Europe and settled there.
Outside German-speaking countries, the term ‘Roma’ is also used as a collective term for the ethnic minority as
a whole. Like the Jews, the Sinti and Roma were declared ‘racially foreign’ and were therefore excluded from
the people’s community’. The Nazis persecuted as ‘gypsies’ those who had at least one great-grandfather
identified as a ‘gypsy’. This persecution escalated to genocide against the Roma who lived in countries under
Nazi rule” (IHRA, 2019). However, Sinti and Roma were also persecuted in other countries at the hands of other
social and political groups (e.g., the Ustasha regime in Croatia).
Examples: 1) “In a single night #OTD in 1944, German authorities murdered 5,000 #Roma and Sinti in the so-
called “Gypsy Family Camp" in Auschwitz-Birkenau. The liquidation of the camp marked a closing chapter in
the Nazis deadly persecution of Roma”. 2) “Mass arrests and deportations of the Roma to the Jasenovac
Concentration Camp took place from 20th May until the end of July 1942. Upon arrival in the concentration
camp, their personal valuables were confiscated, and a list of inmates was kept only in the early days. Additional
records and documents of the Ustaše origin about the deportation of the Roma to the concentration camp do not
contain names but only the number of persons or train cars used for transport”.
Political opponents = Soon after Adolf Hitler's appointment as chancellor in January 1933, political opponents
became the first victims of systematic Nazi persecution. The first concentration camps were established at the
local level throughout Germany soon after, in February and March, to handle the masses of people arrested as
alleged political opponents. The first major concentration camp was opened in Dachau in March 1933, and it
was the only concentration camp that remained in operation until 1945, providing a model for the Nazi
concentration camp system that replaced the earlier camps. Political opponents were targeted in many other
countries, such as France and Italy, and were either arrested, interned in special facilities, or sent to Nazi
concentration camps.
Examples: 1) “Why do regimes take sudden steps to attack or eliminate opposition groups? The Röhm Purge
killings of Nazi officials and political enemiesshowed the Nazi regime’s willingness to act outside the law and
norms of a civilized society. The purge ended #OTD in 1934”. 2) “By July 1933, all political party opposition to
the Nazis was removed by lawa pivotal move in their efforts to transition Germany to a dictatorship. The
impact of this? The Holocaust could not have happened without the Nazis' rise to power and the destruction of
German democracy”.
People with disabilities = The “euthanasia” program targeted, for systematic killing, patients with mental and
physical disabilities living in institutional settings in Germany and German-annexed territories. The goal of the
Nazi Euthanasia Program was to kill people with mental and physical disabilities: at first, medical professionals
and clinic administrators included only infants and toddlers in the operation, but the program was quickly
revised by extending it to adult patients with disabilities living in institutional settings (USHMM, 2020).
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Example: “Adolf Hitler enacted the Aktion T4 program in October 1939 to kill ‘incurably ill, physically or
mentally disabled, emotionally distraught, and elderly people’. The Aktion T4 program was also designed to
kill those who were deemed ‘inferior and threatening to the well-being of the Aryan race’”.
Slavic peoples = After defeating the Polish army in September 1939, the Germans ruthlessly suppressed the
Poles by murdering thousands of civilians, with the aim of destroying the Polish nation and culture. More
generally, Slavic peoples were targeted by Nazi Germany as racially inferior and subjected to massive forced-
labour programs and forced relocation by the hundreds and thousands (USHMM, 2020). Overall, the treatment
of so-called Slavs (people who spoke Slavic languages) was very uneven. Poles were oppressed and selectively
murdered, other Slavic people such as the Croatians and Slovaks were Nazi allies. In the Soviet territories, Slavs
were not murdered because they were Slavs but because they were or were suspected of being partisans or of
supporting the partisans.
Example: “On 7 September 1939, Reinhard Heydrich stated that all Polish nobles, clergy, and Jews were to be
killed. On 12 September, Wilhelm Keitel added Poland's intelligentsia to the list. On 15 March 1940, SS chief
Heinrich Himmler stated: ‘All Polish specialists will be exploited in our military-industrial complex. Later, all
Poles will disappear from this world. It is imperative that the great German nation consider the elimination of
all Polish people as its chief task’".
Forced labourers =The Nazis subjected millions of people (both Jews and other victim groups) not only to forced
labour but to forced labour under brutal conditions. From the establishment of the first Nazi concentration
camps and detention facilities in the winter of 1933, forced labour formed a core part of the concentration camp
system. Germany’s military campaigns created a huge manpower shortage in the German economy, which Nazi
authorities filled by conscripting foreign workers, and the SS greatly expanded the number of concentration
camps to use prisoner labour for the war effort (USHMM, 2020). Forced labourers were people belonging to
another category (Jews, homosexuals, Poles, etc.) who were assigned to slave labour.
Examples: 1) “Hitler's policy of Lebensraum (room for living) strongly emphasized the conquest of new lands
in the East, known as Generalplan Ost, and the exploitation of these lands to provide cheap goods and labour
for Germany”. 2) “During the Second World War, Nazi Germany and fascist Italy were initially allies. On 8
September 1943 Italy withdrew from the alliance. The German Wehrmacht then captured Italian soldiers and
officers. About 650,000 Italians were transported to the German Reich and the occupied territories. With the
founding of the Repubblica Sociale Italiana (RSI) in 1944, the prisoners were declared ‘military internees’. Thus,
despite the new fascist alliance and without regard to international law, they could be used as forced laborers in
armaments”.
Homosexuals = The Nazi campaign against homosexuality targeted over one million German men who,
according to the state, carried a “degeneracy” that threatened the “disciplined masculinity” of Germany.
Denounced as “antisocial parasites” and as “enemies of the state”, over 100,000 men were arrested under a
broadly interpreted law against homosexuality. Approximately 50,000 men served prison terms as convicted
homosexuals, while an unknown number were locked up in mental hospitals. Hundreds were castrated under
court order or coercion (USHMM, 2020). At the time, other countries also had discriminatory legislation against
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homosexuals, who, in some cases, were subjected to chemical castration or prison sentences (e.g., United
Kingdom).
Example: “After the German invasion of the Netherlands, Willem Arondeus became a leader of a gay resistance
group in Amsterdam. The group’s main activities included helping persecuted people hide and find false
identification”.
Jehovah’s Witnesses = Jehovah's Witnesses were subjected to intense persecution under the Nazi regime as they
were accused of being unwilling to accept the authority of the state, of having international connections, and
because they were strongly opposed to both war on behalf of a temporal authority and organized government
in matters of conscience (USHMM, 2020). Jehovah's Witnesses were also persecuted in other countries (e.g., in
Hungary, they were persecuted by the Hungarians and sent to the forced labour camp in Bor, Serbia).
Example: “Jehovah's Witnesses suffered religious persecution in Nazi Germany between 1933 and 1945 after
refusing to perform military service, join Nazi organisations or give allegiance to the Hitler regime. An estimated
10,000 Witnesseshalf of the number of members in Germany during that periodwere imprisoned, including
2000 who were sent to Nazi concentration camps”.
Soviet prisoners of war = After invasion of the Soviet Union by German forces on 22 June 1941, , millions of
Soviet soldiers were encircled, cut off from supplies and reinforcements, and forced to surrender. The brutal
treatment of Soviet POWs by the Germans was due to a number of reasons, mostly because German authorities
viewed Soviet POWs not only as Slavic sub-humans but also as part of the “Bolshevik menace”, which in Nazi
ideology was linked to the concept of a “Jewish conspiracy”. Second only to the Jews, Soviet POWs were the
largest group of victims of Nazi racial policy (UHSMM, 2020). While the majority were treated murderously,
some were given the option of becoming auxiliaries to the Nazis and thus had a way to escape the treatment in
POW camps. Many became ardent persecutors in death camps and other killing facilities.
Examples: 1) “During Operation Barbarossa millions of Red Army (and other Soviet Armed Forces) prisoners of
war were taken. Many were executed arbitrarily in the field by German forces or handed over to the SS to be
shot, under the Commissar Order. Most, however, died during the death marches from the front lines or under
inhumane conditions in German prisoner-of-war camps and concentration camps”. 2) “In 1941 Himmler
instructed Globočnik to start recruiting mainly Ukrainian auxiliaries among the Soviet POWs, due to ongoing
close relations with the local Ukrainian Hilfsverwaltung. Globočnik had selected Karl Streibel from Operation
Reinhard as the key person for this new secret project. Streibel, with the assistance of his officers, visited all POW
camps for the Soviets behind the lines of the advancing Wehrmacht, and after individual screening recruited
Ukrainian as well as Latvian and Lithuanian volunteers as ordered”.
Other = Any other targeted group that can be related to previous ones. It comprises the German common
criminals, the so-called “asocial” or “work shy”, such as alcoholics, homeless, beggars, prostitutes, paedophiles
and sexual deviants, unemployed, and violators of laws prohibiting sexual relations between Aryans and Jews,
who ended up in camps, where they were tagged with the black triangle and interacted with Jews and other
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prisoners. This group also includes national groups who suffered under Nazi occupation without being
particularly targeted by their racial policies (e.g., Greeks).
Example: “People with previous criminal convictions were among the first to find themselves targeted by the
Nazis. From 1937 onwards, many previous criminals were rearrested in large raids. One such raid, ordered by
Himmler and carried out on 9 March 1937, saw two thousand people arrested across Germany and sent to
camps”.
b5. The sub-category “Stages of the Holocaust”
The sub-category “Stages of the Holocaust” is organised into seven further sub-categories: 1) Pre-Holocaust, 2)
Classification, dehumanization and symbolization, 3) Discrimination, isolation and segregation, 4) Organisation,
5) Persecution and deportation, 6) Mass murder or “Extermination”, 7) Liberation and aftermath.
Pre-Holocaust = This category encompasses any event that occurred before the appointment of Hitler on 30th
January 1933. This includes historical antecedents to the period of the Third Reich, and ideas and movements
like eugenics, race hygiene, social Darwinism as well as history of antisemitism and anti-Judaism before 1933,
in Germany and other countries that were involved in the Holocaust. It also includes any other historical
antecedents that led to the Holocaust in other countries.
Example: “Adolf Hitler made the swastika the centerpiece of the Nazi flag. Today it is known as a symbol of
hate. Learn how a sign once associated with good fortune became the most recognizable icon of Nazi
propaganda”. N.B.: Although there is a reference to today’s meaning of the swastika, the focus of the post is on
its origins and how it became the symbol of Nazism.
Classification, dehumanization and symbolization = This category encompasses the first, second and fourth
stages of Stanton’s model and regards the process through which: people are divided into “them and us”
(Classification); names or other symbols are given to the classifications and people are named “Jews” or
“Gypsies”, or distinguished by colors or dress, such as the yellow star (Symbolization); Jews are denied their
humanity and are equated with animals, vermin, insects, or diseases (Dehumanization). It also comprises
Hilberg’s Definition stage, according to which in Germany, in early 1930s, Jews are defined as the “other”
through legalized discrimination. In 1935 the Nuremberg laws defined who was a Jew and who was not a Jew.
Definitions were also adopted by other governments allied with Nazi Germany such as Italy in 1938, France in
1940, Slovakia and Hungary in 1941.
Example: “Jews throughout Nazi-occupied Europe were forced to wear a badge in the form of a Yellow Star as
a means of identification. This was not a new idea; since medieval times many other societies had forced their
Jewish citizens to wear badges to identify themselves. The badges were often printed on coarse yellow cloth and
were a garish yellow colour. The star, which represented the star of David, was outlined in thick, black lines and
the word 'Jew' was printed in mock-Hebraic type. In the Warsaw ghetto, Jews wore a white armband with a blue
Star of David on their left arm. In some ghettos, even babies in prams had to wear the armbands or stars. Jewish
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shops were also marked with a Yellow Star. The star was intended to humiliate Jews and to mark them out for
segregation and discrimination. The policy also made it easier to identify Jews for deportation to camps”.
Discrimination, isolation and segregation = This category combines Stanton’s Discrimination category with
Hilberg’s Isolation and Segregation. It also includes Hilberg’s Emigration and Ghettoization as discriminatory
measures. Starting from 1933, German Jews are subjected to more than 400 decrees and regulations that
restricted all aspects of their public and private lives. They were not allowed to attend German schools or
universities, could not go to public parks or movie theatres, and were excluded from the civil service; Jewish
businesses were taken over by Germans and Jewish doctors and lawyers had their licenses taken away. This
made it less likely for Germans to interact with Jews in their daily life. With the invasion of Poland in 1939, Nazi
Germany imposed similar restrictions on Polish Jews. Other countries adopted acts of isolation and segregation
without German intervention, for instance Italy and Hungary beginning in 1938 or Slovakia. From the mid-
1930s, German Jews were also encouraged to leave Germany. Through discriminatory laws, many Jews,
especially artists and academics, left Germany when they were no longer allowed to operate in their professions,
while Kristallnacht in 1938 encouraged many others to leave the area. According to the new immigration laws,
Jews could obtain exit visas as long as they left behind their valuables and property. With the annexation of
Austria in 1938, emigration became “forced emigration” since it became the policy in the Reich areas. Unlike
German Jews who experienced a steady, but gradual decline of their legal rights during the first five years of
Nazi regime, Austrian Jews did not have much time to prepare for emigration. With the beginning of World
War II in 1939, the Nazis applied their racial laws to the countries they invaded and occupied. Thus, Jews in
these territories also tried to emigrate outside the enlarged Third Reich. It is worth stressing that many refugees
who fled experienced further persecution after the start of the war, notably Jews who fled to the Netherlands,
which was later occupied by Nazi Germany. Starting from 1939, Jews were forcibly removed to segregated
sections of Eastern European cities called ghettos, where they were isolated from the non-Jewish population and
from other Jewish communities. Ghettos were set up as temporary measures to isolate the Jews while the Nazis
searched for a way to solve the “Jewish problem”. German occupation authorities established the first ghetto in
Poland in Piotrków Trybunalski in October 1939. The first deportations of Jews from the Reich, and of Jews from
areas recently annexed by Germany began in October 1939 towards the Lublin area in Poland. The largest
ghettos in the occupied or controlled Poland were established in Warsaw and Lodz, and in Eastern Europe in
Vilna and Kovno. Although they were initially meant to be temporary and some were in operation for only a
few days or weeks, others were active for several years. The vast majority of ghetto inhabitants died from
disease, starvation, shooting, or deportation to killing centres. Also in the occupied Soviet areas, ghettos were
often set up after the first wave of murder since the Nazis were infighting about using or not using Jewish labour
and eventually decided to exploit it in the short-term.
Examples: 1) “Between August and December 1938 Italy adopted a series of legislative provisions that deprived
Italian Jews of their civil rights and came to be known as “Racial Laws”. The racial policies of the Fascist
government had begun in 1937 with the Royal Decree 880, which prohibited the ‘acquisition of concubines and
the marriage of Italian citizens with subjects of the Italian colonies’. A year later the policy concentrated mainly
on foreign and Italian Jews”. 2) “Unlike German Jews, who were often able to save part of their property as a
basis for existence in a new country and could emigrate with relative ease to Palestine, the United States and
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Western Countries, Austrian Jews in general were less well established and were robbed of all their property
before being allowed to leave the country”. 3) “On 15 June 1940, Portuguese Consul-General, Aristides de Sousa
Mendes, began issuing visas to Jews who were hoping to flee France. In just 1 week, he issued 1,575 visas (often
free of charge) against the explicit instructions of his government”. 4) “Baruch Shuv was born in Vilna, Poland
(today Lithuania), in 1924. Baruch was relocated to the Vilna ghetto, where he found work at a German garage”.
Organisation = This category is derived from Stanton’s model and regards the preparatory measures taken for
subsequent stages, namely active persecution, deportation and mass murder. States organized secret police to
spy on, arrest, torture, and murder people suspected of opposition to political leaders. Motivations for targeting
a group were indoctrinated through the mass media and through special training for murderous militias, death
squads and special army killing units like the Nazi Einsatzgruppen, which murdered about two million Jews in
Eastern Europe.
Examples: 1) “The Einsatzgruppen were formed under the direction of SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard
Heydrich and operated by the Schutzstaffel (SS) before and during World War II. The Einsatzgruppen had their
origins in the ad hoc Einsatzkommando formed by Heydrich to secure government buildings and documents
following the Anschluss in Austria in March 1938. Originally part of the Sicherheitspolizei (Security Police; SiPo),
two units of Einsatzgruppen were stationed in the Sudetenland in October 1938. When military action turned
out not to be necessary due to the Munich Agreement, the Einsatzgruppen were assigned the task of confiscating
government papers and police documents. They also secured government buildings, questioned senior civil
servants, and arrested as many as 10,000 Czech communists and German citizens. From September 1939, the
Reichssicherheitshauptamt (Reich Main Security Office; RSHA) had overall command of the Einsatzgruppen”.
2) “The Germanic SS (German: Germanische SS) was the collective name given to paramilitary and political
organisations established in parts of German-occupied Europe between 1939 and 1945 under the auspices of the
Schutzstaffel (SS). The units were modelled on the Allgemeine SS in Nazi Germany and established in Belgium,
Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway, whose populations were considered in Nazi ideology to be especially
"racially suitable". They typically served as local security police augmenting German units of the Gestapo,
Sicherheitsdienst (SD), and other departments of the German Reich Main Security Office”. 3) “Political and
ideological indoctrination was part of the syllabus for all SS cadets but there was no merger of academic learning
and military instruction like that found at West Point in the United States. Instead, personality training was
stressed, which meant future SS leaders/officers were shaped above all things by a National Socialist worldview
and attitude. Instruction at the Junker Schools was designed to communicate a sense of racial superiority, a
connection to other dependable like-minded men, ruthlessness, and a toughness that accorded the value system
of the SS. Throughout their stay during the training, cadets were constantly monitored for their ‘ideological
reliability’. It is postulated that the merger of the police with the SS was at least partly the result of their shared
attendance at the SS Junker Schools”.
Persecution and deportation = This category combines Stanton’s Persecution with Hilberg’s Deportation. At
this stage, victims are identified and separated, death lists are drawn up, their property is often expropriated. In
addition to segregation into ghettos (see Discrimination, isolation and segregation), victims are deported into
concentration camps, or confined to a famine-struck region and starved. They are deliberately deprived of
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resources such as water or food in order to slowly destroy them. Programs are implemented to prevent
procreation through forced sterilization or abortions. Children are forcibly taken from their parents. These are
the immediate antecedents of genocidal massacres. First deportations begin with the “territorial solutions” of
the Nisko project, an operation organized by Nazi Germany to deport Jews to the Lublin District of the General
Government of occupied Poland in 1939 (the plan was later cancelled in early 1940). In occupied or controlled
Poland, starting from December 1941 Jews are transported from Polish ghettos to concentration camps and death
camps. In the months following the Wannsee Conference, the Nazi regime continued to carry out their plans for
the “Final Solution”. Jews were “deported” and transported by trains or trucks to six camps, all located in
occupied Poland: Chełmno, Treblinka, Sobibór, Bełżec, Auschwitz-Birkenau, and Majdanek-Lublin. At the same
time as ghettos were being emptied, masses of Jews and also Roma (Gypsies) were deported from the many
distant countries occupied or controlled by Germany, including France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway,
Hungary, Romania, Italy, North Africa, and Greece. Key events include, for example, the systematic
deportations from the Netherlands in July 1942 and the beginning of the systematic deportations of Jews from
Hungary in May 1944 (USHMM, 2020). It is worth stressing that deportation may have occurred at the hands of
different entities, not necessarily the Nazis’, as with the eviction of Jews from Alsace-Lorraine in 1940.
Examples: 1) “’I am on the train. I do not know what has become of my Richard. He is still in Pithiviers. Save
my child, my innocent baby!!!’ Esther Frenkel threw this postcard out of the train wagon on the way from
Pithiviers to Auschwitz #OTD 7 August 1942”. 2) “The deportation of Jews on trains was the last part of a long,
slowly-developing process of humiliation, exclusion, persecution and hatred. What happened in #Auschwitz
was the final stage of state-sponsored ideological hatred that was gradually turning into genocide”. 3) “Joseph
Muscha Mueller was 12 when strangers took him from his classroom, claiming he had appendicitis. Although
he protested, the Roma boy was taken into surgery and sterilized. Afterwards, he was supposed to be deported
to Bergen-Belsen, but his foster family managed to hide him”. 4) “Adolf Hitler enacted the Aktion T4 program
in October 1939 to kill ‘incurably ill, physically or mentally disabled, emotionally distraught, and elderly people’.
The Aktion T4 program was also designed to kill those who were deemed ‘inferior and threatening to the well-
being of the Aryan race’”.
Mass murder or “Extermination” = This category regards mass murder and deals with both the mass killings
that took place in Poland and other Eastern occupied territories (i.e., the so-called “Holocaust by bullets” carried
out by the Einsatzgruppen) and the massive use of gas in the death camps and other minor mass murder
facilities. Another term that is usually used is “extermination”, which was used by the Nazis, a word usually
associated with killing pests, since they viewed the Jews as less than human and as pests. The Nazis and their
accomplices killed children, women, and men mostly through shooting, suffocation in gas chambers, and
imprisonment in labour and death camps. Conditions in the camps were such that many prisoners died from
disease, such as typhus, malnutrition, and exhaustion from overwork. Two-thirds of the entire European Jewish
population was killed by the Nazis. The Holocaust included some 6 million Jews murdered by the Germans and
their partners, and in addition to the Holocaust several millions more were murdered by the Germans and their
partners or died owing to brutal mistreatment or to the war itself. It is also important to highlight that the advent
of systematic mass murder did not coincide with the Nazis’s adoption of the Final Solution” but occurred when
a given community first faced murder. In the case of the Soviet territories this took place in summer 1941, in the
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case of Poland in December 1941, in the case of Western Europe in Spring 1942, and in the case of Hungary,
mostly at the beginning of Spring 1944.
Examples: 1) “This photo shows Jews from Kovno being led by Liby Lithuanian Militia to the Seventh Fort prior
to their execution #OTD 27 July 1941”. 2) Dr. Korczak and Stefania Wilczynska were given the choice not to be
deported together with the children of the Warsaw orphanage, but they refused. #OTD 5 August 1942, they were
sent with the 192 orphans to the gas chambers of Treblinka”. 3) “’The women and children were thrown into
pits while still alive. More than 500 people were buried in silage pits there’. This Soviet report dated #OTD 20
July 1944 describes the mass murder of the Jews in Lepel”. 4) “Beginning in 1944, Nazi authorities began the
liquidation of the Lodz ghetto. Over 72,000 Jews were deported to the Auschwitz-Birkenau killing centre before
the end of August”.
Liberation and aftermath = This category deals with content associated with the end of WWII and the liberation
of the camps by the Allies. As Allied and Soviet troops moved across Europe against Nazi Germany, they
encountered concentration camps, mass graves, other sites of Nazi crimes, as well as thousands of prisoners
evacuated during the Death Marches. Though liberation of Nazi camps was not a primary objective of the Allied
military campaign, US, British, Canadian, and Soviet troops freed prisoners from their SS guards, provided aid
to survivors, and collected evidence. Soviet forces liberated Auschwitzthe largest killing centre and
concentration camp complexon 27 January 1945. The Soviets also overran the sites of the Bełżec, Sobibór, and
Treblinka former killing centres, and of Majdanek in July 1944, while regaining ground in the East and preparing
for the occupation of Germany. American forces liberated several concentration camps including Buchenwald,
Dora-Mittelbau, Flossenbürg, Dachau, and Mauthausen, while British forces liberated concentration camps in
northern Germany, including Neuengamme and Bergen-Belsen (USHMM, 2020). The long process of liberation,
which began in the Soviet areas in spring 1943 as Nazi Germany and its partners were pushed back and
eventually defeated, affected not only camps, but also cities, towns and villages. However, the process of
liberation did not mark the end of survivors’ sufferings, as many of them found themselves living in displaced
persons camps where they often had to wait years before emigrating to new homes. Many feared returning to
their former homes due to post-war violence and antisemitism, while finding refuge in other countries was
frequently problematic or dangerous (USHMM, 2020). Other tens of thousands of homeless survivors simply
moved to Western European countries, where they were placed in refugee camps and displaced persons camps.
The Nuremberg Trials, which started on 20th November 1945, the Polish pogrom in Kielce and the Jewish
immigration to Israel in 1948-1950 are part of the Holocaust aftermath. In terms of time, this stage extends to the
late 1940s and early 1950s.
Examples: 1) “Vilna was liberated #OTD 13 July 1944. Some 700 Jews from the ghetto had joined the partisans
in the forests; they fought until the arrival of the Red Army and participated in the liberation of the city”. 2) “In
1947, the British forced the ship Exodus 1947, carrying 4,500 Holocaust survivors to Palestine, to return to
Germany. In most of these cases, the British imprisoned Jews who had been denied access to Palestine in
detention camps set up on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. The immigrants were sent back to France but
were refused permission to disembark. The British eventually decided to send the Jews back to Germany”.
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b6. The sub-category Context and society”
The sub-category “Context and society” is organised into eight further sub-categories: 1) Jews, Jewish identity,
history, religion, and culture, 2) Nazi ideology and attitudes towards Jews, and other categories, 3) The camp
system, 4) Prejudice, discrimination, racism, antisemitism and antigypsyism, 5) War and German occupation in
Western and Eastern Europe, 6) Elderly, children and women, 7) Fates of individuals, 8) International response.
Jews, Jewish identity, history, religion, and culture = This category includes content related to the history of
Judaism and Jewish culture and life.
Example: “Judaism, monotheistic religion developed among the ancient Hebrews. Judaism is characterized by
a belief in one transcendent God who revealed himself to Abraham, Moses, and the Hebrew prophets and by a
religious life in accordance with Scriptures and rabbinic traditions”.
Nazi ideology and attitudes towards Jews and other categories = This category deals with content related to
the discrimination policy against the Jews and other categories targeted by the Nazis. Discrimination policy may
be concerned with any anti-Jewish measures such as the requirement to wear the yellow badge, the Nuremberg
Laws, and the law against homosexuality, etc.
Examples: 1) “The Nazis persecuted a range of different groups on ideological grounds. Their policies towards
all victim groups were brutal, but not identical. Here’s what to know about the persecution of gay men by the
Nazi regime”. 2) “#OTD 20 June 1939, the Finke family was notified that their oldest son, Heinz, was to be
included on a list of youngsters to be sent on a Kindertransport leaving Germany a week later. By mid-1942, he
never heard from his family again”.
The camp system = Between 1933 and 1945, Nazi Germany and its allies established over 44,000 camps and other
incarceration sites (including ghettos). Camps were also set up by some of the regimes allied with Nazi Germany,
for instance in Croatia, Romania and Vichy France. The perpetrators used these sites for a range of purposes,
including forced labour, detention of people thought to be enemies of the state, and for mass murder. A specific
type of camp was created under Operation Reinhard (German: Aktion Reinhard or Aktion Reinhardt), which
was the codename for the secretive German plan to exterminate Polish Jews in the General Government district
of German-occupied Poland: camps of this kind were set up at Chełmno, Bełżec, Sobibór, Treblinka (the latter
began as a labour camp and was then re-established as a site of murder). This category encompasses content
associated with the camp system, which included concentration camps, labour camps, prisoner-of-war camps,
transit camps, and killing centres (or death camps or “extermination” camps). It is also important to highlight
that some camps were hybrids, in that they served more than one function, e.g., Majdanek and Auschwitz-
Birkenau as concentration/death camps, Treblinka having a labour camp in addition to the death camp.
Examples of related content may be the conditions of prisoners in Dachau, Bergen-Belsen, Auschwitz-Birkenau,
or the liberation of the camps by the Allies.
Examples: 1) “These shoes are a powerful reminder of lives lost during the Holocaust. In July 1944, Soviet forces
liberated the Majdanek camp. The SS had hastily fled with most of the prisoners. The shoes, shown in our
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Museum, were among the haunting evidence of Nazi crimes discovered”. 2) “US military photographers
provided some of the first visual evidence of atrocities at Nazi camps. William A. Scott III of Atlanta, Georgia,
arrived at Buchenwald in April 1945, where he saw things that were ‘worse than a dream’”.
Prejudice, discrimination, racism, antisemitism and antigypsyism = This category encompasses content related
to a wider spectrum of discriminatory expressions and practices, including many implicit or hidden
manifestations of racism, and exclusion of specific categories of people, which occurred historically and
geographically. It includes discriminatory attitudes and measures taken against specific groups such as the Jews
and the Roma and Sinti. Less well known than the term antisemitism, “antigypsyism” is specific racism towards
Roma, Sinti, Travellers and others who are stigmatized as “gypsies” in the public imagination. The term is often
used in a narrow sense to indicate anti-Roma attitudes or the expression of negative stereotypes in the public
eye or in hate speech.
Examples: 1) “The history of the Holocaust shows that targeting an entire group has far-reaching consequences.
It can lead to an increase in xenophobia, racism, and extremism throughout society. Learn about where
#antisemitism began and how it has evolved over centuries”. 2) “Antisemitism, hatred of Jews, has been called
‘the longest hatred’. While the #Holocaust is history's most extreme example of #antisemitism, today
antisemitism is again on the rise. It poses a dangerous threat worldwide. Learn about its origins”. 3)
“Antigypsyism has existed in different forms for at least 500 years and reached its most destructive form in the
Holocaust, during which an estimated 500.000 people were killed as ‘Gypsies’ by the Nazi Germans and their
collaborators in many European countries”.
War and German occupation in Western and Eastern Europe = This category deals with content related to the
Nazi German military campaign in Western and Eastern European countries, and in North Africa. Content in
this category includes any reference to military occupation, Nazi German policy in the occupied countries and
life conditions of people in these countries. It also includes mass deportation of Jews and other local population
at the hands of Nazi Germany and its local collaborators.
Example: “22 June 1941 marks the start of ‘Operation Barbarossa’, a turning point in Nazi anti-Jewish policy,
resulting in the mass murder of some 1.5 million Jews under Nazi occupation in forests and ravines such as
Ponar and Babi Yar”.
Elderly, children and women = This category encompasses specific content related to the elderly, children and
to the condition of women, as separately targeted from men, who in turn were disproportionately affected by
hard labour experiences and incarcerated in many camps that originally only housed men. The elderly were
particularly affected by deportation and mass killing, and were among the first to die in the overcrowded,
starving ghettos as well as to be selected for the gas chambers. Children endured a radical disruption to their
young and innocent lives and were usually the first victims of the Nazi’s murderous policy. The Nazis
particularly targeted Jewish children, but also ethnically Polish and Romani (or Gypsy) children along with
children with mental or physical disabilities (see Aktion T4). The Nazis and their collaborators killed children
both for these ideological reasons and in retaliation for real or alleged partisan attacks. According to estimates,
1,500,000 Jewish children were killed during the Holocaust. A much smaller number were saved, others simply
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survived, often in a ghetto, occasionally in a concentration camp, while some were saved in various programs
like the Kindertransport and the One Thousand Children, in both of which children fled their homeland. The
reality of World War II and the Holocaust forced women to cope with new, unforeseen circumstances and
fundamental dilemmas, compelling them to make difficult and often fateful decisions. They often did their best
to protect their families, to obtain food, to find work, and to defend their childrensometimes even paying the
unbearable price of separation. Women took on a number of roles at that time: they ran public soup kitchens
and children’s dorms, they worked as teachers and caretakers, as doctors and nurses, and they even joined
partisan groups and underground resistance movements.
Examples: 1) “In July 1944, Ester Lurie was sent to the Stutthof Concentration Camp; there she managed to obtain
scraps of paper and a pencil from one of the secretaries. She drew these #portraits of the female prisoners in
secret”. 2) “’The women and children were thrown into pits while still alive. More than 500 people were buried
in silage pits there’. This Soviet report dated #OTD 20 July 1944 describes the mass murder of the Jews in Lepel”.
3) “#AnneFrank is the most well-known hidden child of the Holocaust. But there were tens of thousands of
children whose families placed them in hiding to protect them”.
Fates of individuals = This category focuses on people in order to emphasise their individuality and humanity,
and how they were affected by these historical events rather than vice versa. The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial
and Museum, for example, uses its social media feeds to draw attention to the birth, nationality, occupation (if
known) and death of individuals sent to Auschwitz, while the Stolpersteine app creates similar posts on
Instagram.
Examples: 1) “Zipora Granat was born in Belfort, France, in 1931. After her mother was deported & later
murdered in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp, Zipora was hidden in a number
of cities by local welfare organisations”. 2) “1 July 1936 | Belgian Jewish boy Andre Hartstein was born in
Antwerp. He emigrated with his family to France. In December 1943 he was deported from Drancy to
#Auschwitz. After the selection he was murdered in a gas chamber. He was 7”. 3) “We know no more about Max
Klein than the key dates of his life. He was born in Berlin on 20 June 1887. On 18 October 1941, Max Klein was
deported with the ‘I. Transport’ from Grunewald station to the Łódź ghetto, where he was murdered on 26
February 1942 (Stolpersteine Berlin, Goßlerstr. 20)”.
International response = This category encompasses the actions or responses of other nations not directly
involved in the Holocaust. It also includes the response of Jewish groups outside the areas of Nazi domination,
i.e. in North America and Mandatory Palestine. In the aftermath of the Holocaust, the world was shocked to see
photographs of unimaginable horror; skeletons of victims stacked in piles by the hundreds and thousands, and
living skeletons describing unspeakable brutality and atrocity. Yet, historians have been asking if an event of
this magnitude could have occurred without the knowledge of the Allies, and if the Allied governments knew
this was taking place why nothing was done to stop mass murder. One of the recurring questions is if the Allies
could have acted to prevent the Holocaust or limited the destruction of six million Jews and millions of other
innocent victims. In the decades since the Holocaust, some national governments, international bodies and
world leaders have been criticized for their failure to take appropriate action to save the millions of European
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Jews, Roma, and other victims of the Nazi regime. Critics say that intervention, particularly by the Allied
governments, might have saved substantial numbers of people and could have been accomplished without
diverting significant resources from the war effort. Other researchers have challenged such criticism. Some have
argued that the idea that the Allies took no action is a myththat the Allies accepted as many German Jewish
immigrants as the Nazis would allowand that any theoretical military action by the Allies, such as bombing
the Auschwitz concentration camp, would have saved the lives of very few people. Others have said that the
limited intelligence available to the Allies made precision bombing impossible since, as late as October 1944,
they still did not know the locations of many of the Nazi death camps or the purpose of the various buildings