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The Ravine: A Family, A Photograph, A Holocaust Massacre Revealed

15 November 2021
1.00pm – 2.15pm AEDT
This event has ended
headshot of a women speaking with flags behind

Part of the Lessons and Legacies Regional Meeting, Sydney a biannual conference in Holocaust studies.
Chair: Professor Konrad Kwiet
Convenors: Avril Alba (University of Sydney), Ruth Balint (UNSW Sydney) and Jan Lanicek (UNSW Sydney).

In 2009 Wendy Lower began researching a photograph just brought to her attention at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The documentation of the Holocaust is vast, but there are few known images of a Jewish family at the actual moment of murder, in this case by German officials and Ukrainian collaborators. A Ukrainian shooter’s rifle is inches from a woman’s head, obscured in a cloud of smoke. The woman is bending forward, holding the hand of a barefoot boy. And one can see the faint shins of another child, slipping from the woman’s lap.

Wendy Lower’s detective work—in Ukraine, Germany, Slovakia, Israel, and the United States—recovers astonishing layers of detail concerning the open-air massacres in Ukraine. Her search for the identities of the victims, of the killers—and of the photographer who openly took the picture, are dramatically uncovered. Finally, in the hands of this scholar, a single image unlocks a new understanding of the place of the family unit and resistance in the history and aftermath of Nazi genocide.

Wendy Lower is the Director of the Mgrublian Center for Human Rights and John K. Roth Professor of History at Claremont McKenna College. Dr. Lower is the author of Nazi Empire-Building and the Holocaust in Ukraine (2005), The Diary of Samuel Golfard and the Holocaust in Galicia (2011); and co- editor (with Ray Brandon) of Shoah in Ukraine: History, Testimony, Memorialization (2008). Her book, Hitler's Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields (2013) was a finalist for the National Book Award and has been translated into 23 languages. Her recent book, The Ravine: A Family, A Photograph, A Holocaust Massacre Revealed, was published in February 2021 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.