Comparing Victims: Research into the Life Histories of Victim Groups

This interdisciplinary workshop is designed to tackle problems of life history research and research ethics for study of victim groups in the twentieth century. The purpose of the seminar is to bring scholars together to discuss the possibilities of and difficulties in identifying victims and comparing victim groups in 20th-century history. This involves the discussion of biographical approaches in social history, such as collective biographies when dealing with victim groups, and will also include the discussion of legal, methodological and ethical matters. This interdisciplinary approach addresses scholars from history, social sciences, psychology and epidemiology in which biographical samples are central to the research.

The workshop is organized in conjunction with the AHRC project on Victims of Medical Experiments under National Socialism (


10.00 enrolment and coffee

10.30 12.30 Session 1 Paper 1: Paul Weindling, Centre for Health, Medicine, and the Society, Oxford Brookes University Introduction: “From the ‘Nameless Dead’ to Naming Victims: Research Methods and Problems”

Paper 2: Margit Berner, Department of Anthropology, The Natural History Museum, Vienna Face and death masks. Last Witnesses in the Anthropological Collection of the Natural History Museum, Vienna

Paper 3 Gabriele Czarnowski, Institute for Social Medicine and Epidemiology, Medical University, Graz Between social historical research, intimacy and trauma: abortion on forced laborers in Nazi Germany/Austria

12.30 1.30 Lunch break

1.30- 3.30 Session 2

Paper 4: Katherine Venables, Department of Public Health, University of Oxford “Assembling a cohort of 20,000 Porton Down veterans for an epidemiological study into their subsequent mortality and cancer experience”

Paper 5: Oliver von Mengersen, Documentation and Cultural Centre of German Sinti and Roma »Stereotypes and Identity – issues of dealing with Nazi documents related to the persecution of the Roma and Sinti«

Paper 6: Assafa Endeshaw, Department of Law, Oxford Brookes University: “Intellectual Property and Ethical Issues Beyond the Grave”

3.30-4.00 Coffee and tea

4.00-5.00-Session 3 Paper 7: Rakefet Zalashik, New York University Restitution and health

Paper 8: Dieter Steinert, Department of History, University of Wolverhampton Child forced laborers in National Socialist Germany and German occupied Eastern Europe, 1939-1945

Paper 9: Michal imunek, Charles University, Institute of History, Prague Victims of human experiments, euthanasia and sterilization in the aftermath of the German occupation of Czechoslovakia

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5.30  6.00 Discussion and summary Round Table on Data Protection, Confidentiality and Memory

Register with, and contact: Anna v. Villiez [email protected] fee: 5 £/3 £ (students)