Holocaust Remembrance after Communism

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 While the physical #ISA2020 Annual Conference has been canceled, we’ve created this new online portal so you can take advantage of the book deals normally only given to conference attendees. Our featured International Studies books are now available to everyone with our special virtual booth forty percent discount—use the promo code 09EXP40 to save. Enjoy!

In this post, we ask Jelena Subotic, author of Yellow Star, Red Star: Holocaust Remembrance after Communism, three questions about her research.

1. What’s your favorite anecdote from your research for this book? 

Because of the topic of my book—Holocaust remembrance—most of my research was quite sad and upsetting. While I don’t have a “favorite” anecdote, I remember some powerful moments that will always stay with me. Perhaps the most powerful was the moment I opened an archival file from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum to find my own grandfather’s name among the bureaucrats who worked for the Serbian collaborationist regime under the Nazi occupation. It was a shocking discovery and one that changed the way I think about my own family history.

2. What do you wish you had known when you started writing your book, that you know now? 

One of the motivations behind writing this book was the put the Holocaust histories on the “periphery” (such as the Holocaust in the Balkans) in conversation with Holocaust histories at the “center” (the former Soviet Union, the Baltics, Ukraine, Poland). I did not realize before I started writing the extent to which discreet events on the “periphery” (for example, the early use of the mobile gas van at the Semlin death camp in Belgrade, Serbia in 1942 which was then transported to the Minsk ghetto in Belarus) had an impact on the escalation and intensification of the genocide in its geographic “core.”

3. How do you wish you could change the field of International Studies?

The field of International Studies is very diverse methodologically, theoretically, and philosophically. But this also makes it very fractured. There is not always enough appreciation of different approaches and how they can contribute to our broader understanding of global politics. My hope is that my book is a step in the direction of bridging some of these divides in the field, by demonstrating the scholarly value of a truly interdisciplinary approach, which can expand further the boundaries of the International Studies field.

Jelena Subotic is Professor of Political Science at Georgia State University. She is the author of “Yellow Star, Red Star: Holocaust Remembrance after Communism” (Cornell, 2019) and “Hijacked Justice: Dealing with the Past in the Balkans” (Cornell, 2009) as well as numerous scholarly articles.

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