All posts, History, Research, Research postgraduates

Rhodes and the Holocaust: Oral History through generations

Milena Callegari Cosentino (PhD Teaching Fellow, Department of History) presented a paper ‘Rhodes and the Holocaust: Oral History through generations’ at the 2019 Oral History Conference.


On June 28th and 29th I had the opportunity to attend the Oral History Network Ireland 2019 Conference entitled ‘Oral History in a Digital World’. The conference took place at Mary Immaculate College, in Limerick, Ireland.

It was a rich experience, connecting and hearing from scholars in the field from various places and countries, such as Ireland, the Netherlands, Australia, UK, and USA.

The diversity of topics, subjects and areas was also present, a very productive dialogue on oral history theory and practice, related to the digital era. From workshops on practical level as ‘Using Audacity for Oral History Audio Editing’ and ‘Introduction to OHMS: Enhancing Access to Online Oral History with Doug Boyd’ to panels discussing ‘Ethics & Legalities’; ‘Recovering hidden stories’; ‘Incorporating new technologies’; ‘Interviewing across the generation’; ‘The future of digital oral histories’; among others.

I presented the paper ‘Rhodes and the Holocaust: Oral History through generations’. My research aims to examine the transmission of life experiences from Holocaust survivors of Rhodes Island to following generations within the family system. In this paper, initially I offered a brief timeline showing the origins of the oral history of the Holocaust, and how this paved the way for the interviews collected in the 1990s and beyond.

Then, I illustrated how oral history can be transmitted through generations, comparing results from two interviews. The first interview was collected with a Holocaust survivor from Rhodes in 1995 and is available at the Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive. I collected the other interview with her granddaughter in 2019. The influence of the interviewer in both interviews was discussed as well as interpretation, knowledge and technics.

Milena is supervised by Professor Anthony McElligott (History) and Dr Patrick Ryan (Psychology). Contact: Milena.Cosentino@ul.ie

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