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Footage across the East-West Divide


Di, 18/05/2021 – 16:00 bis 18:00


Online via Zoom

Presentation by Nadège Ragaru at the H2020 “Visual History of the Holocaust”. Research Seminar 2021–2022

In the fourth session of CERCEC’s H2020 „Visual History of the Holocaust“ Research Seminar, Prof. Nadège Ragaru (Sciences Po, Paris) speaks about the life and afterlife of film footage documenting the deportation of Jews in 1943.

The March 1943 deportation of Jews from Bulgarian-held territories in Greece and Yugoslavia left only a few visual traces. Among them is a silent film footage, several minutes long, with partially edited rushes. This talk reconstructs the life and afterlife of this archival footage and its journey across the East-West divide during the Cold War. It follows the transformations of this visual document from an archival trophy into legal evidence and into visual traces of a foregone past. As the moving images travelled in time and space (Bulgaria, West Germany, Israel, etc.), they underwent multiple editing, and successively acquired documentary, judicial, and memorial values. In the last resort, this case study shows how a microscopic frame of analysis can contribute to both the Visual History of the Holocaust, and the transnational history of East-West competition/collaboration in war crime trials.

Prof. Nadège Ragaru is the author of “Et les Juifs bulgares furent sauvés….” Une histoire des savoirs sur la Shoah en Bulgarie, Paris: Presses de Sciences Po, 2020.

As part of the Horizon 2020 project “Visual History of the Holocaust”, this seminar focuses on film documents created by Soviet filmmakers during the liberation of Nazi-occupied territories. The history of the Holocaust in Eastern Europe, the literature on mass violence, and the history of still and moving images serve to contextualize this little-known corpus of Soviet film images documenting Nazi crimes. Participants are invited to examine the period from 1941 to 1947, and thus to consider the different phases in which the identity of the victims was explicitly discussed or ignored. The seminar aims to engage in a dialog about the visual traces of Nazi atrocities in Central and Eastern Europe and the USSR. The Research Seminar 2021–2022 is hosted by CERCEC and coordinated by Sarah Gruszka, Valérie Pozner, and Irina Tcherneva.

Hosts: Center for Russian, Central European and Caucasian Studies (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
Eur’ORBEM (Sorbonne University/CNRS)

Video page
a. Rettung der bulgarischen Juden