CfP: The way out. Microhistories of flight from Nazi Germany

International Conference, Luxembourg, 24.01.2018 - 26.01.2018

In recent years, the microhistorical turn in Holocaust history has placed increasing importance on individual practices and experiences by exploring new, nominative mass sources and combining a prosopographical approach with quantitative analysis of individual trajectories. As Claire Zalc and Tal Bruttmann state in the introduction to Microhistories of the Holocaust (2016): “Reducing the level of analysis increases knowledge, because smaller spaces can better elucidate the complexities of decision-making, help reestablish the “space of the possible”, show how reality was experienced at the individual level, and ultimately provide more compelling insights into the events that contemporaries faced in their day-to-day lives.” The micro-level of the individual and the family is a scale of observation that sheds light in a new way on the relationships between Jewish migrants and representatives of state authorities and places individual behaviour in the context of its social and political environment. It enables us to observe migrants in their networks and groups of belonging, trace their biographical and migratory trajectories and identify their agency, the means at their disposal and the opportunities or obstacles that the policy framework allowed them, so that we can identify their spaces of possibility and constraint.

This international conference will study the broad theme of the flight of Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany in the 1930s and their trajectories during the war and its aftermath from multiple perspectives. We invite scholars in history, social and political science, law and related research fields to submit their research.

Proposed research topics include, but are not limited to:
– Reconstructing patterns of flight, assistance to refugees
– Interrelations between flight and persecution
– The transfer of refugees’ assets across borders and economic integration in the country of asylum
– The role of human smugglers
– The new lives of refugees in Western European countries of asylum and the recomposition of Jewish communities
– How private and public law has been affected by German anti-Semitic legislation in liberal European states
– The attitudes and policies of state authorities towards Jews (continuity and change before, during and after the war)
– Individual, family and group responses to Nazi persecution and the role of networks
– Aryanisation, spoliation and their aftermath in European countries after 1945
– Policies and patterns of resettlement/migration of Jewish DPs after the war between Eastern and Western Europe and between Europe and the USA/Israel
– Primary sources for microhistory

Submissions should be submitted via the EasyChair conference management system ( and should include title and abstract (max. 400 words) as well as a short biography (max. 200 words), all in one pdf document. The submission deadline is September 1, 2017. Notification of acceptance will be sent by the end of September 2017. For any questions concerning submissions and the conference, please contact .

Presentations should be no more than twenty minutes long. Presentations can be made in English, French and German. An interpreting service will be provided. We will offer a number of travel bursaries to applicants with limited or no alternative access to funding. We aim to publish selected contributions.

Key note speakers:
Dalia Ofer (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), opening keynote:
Methodology and importance of microhistory in understanding the Holocaust
Claire Zalc (Institut d’histoire moderne et contemporaine, Ecole normale supérieure, Paris) : Le renouveau des sources dans l’étude de la Shoah et les perspectives microhistoriques
Susanne Heim (Institut für Zeitgeschichte, München/Berlin):
Ökonomie der Flucht. Enteignung, Erpressung und Gegenwehr
Frank Caestecker (Universiteit Gent):
State persecution and protection: the political determinants of the Jewish refugee flow (1933-1948)

Scientific Committee:
Vincent Artuso, Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C2DH), Luxembourg
Didier Boden, Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne
Frank Caestecker, Universiteit Gent
Katarina Capkova, Institute of Contemporary History (USD), Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague
David Fraser, University of Nottingham
Susanne Heim, Institut für Zeitgeschichte, München/Berlin
Marc Gloden, Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C2DH), Luxembourg
Ismee Tames, NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Amsterdam
Claire Zalc, Institut d’histoire moderne et contemporaine, Ecole normale supérieure, Paris

Executive Committee (C2DH):

Denis Scuto
Vincent Artuso
Narveen Kaur
Jakub Bronec


Denis Scuto
Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History
Université du Luxembourg
Maison des Sciences Humaines
11, Porte des Sciences L-4366 Esch-Belval


18. Juli 2017

The way out. Microhistories of flight from Nazi Germany, 24.01.2018 – 26.01.2018 Luxemburg, in: H-Soz-Kult, 14.07.2017, <>.