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Digital History Final Project Proposal

“So let us not weep, let us not moan, and to spite all enemies, let us smile, only smile, that they may be amazed at what the Jews are capable of.”—Lodz Ghetto: Inside a Community Under Siege, 230.


The proposal for my final project centers on a research paper which I produced for an independent study during my undergraduate career. I am relying on this previous research material in order to create an accessible website and academic resource. My target audience is fellow history students either of the undergraduate or graduate level. Additionally, this resource could appeal to those interested in Holocaust or genocide studies as well as women studies. Throughout the website, as I did in the paper version of this project, I will refer to an extensive amount of secondary and primary sources including oral histories from the USHMM and online transcripts of survivors.

The following is the introduction of my paper which I plan to use as an introduction to the website and purpose for its existence and the following pages which construct my argument:

Many historians are dedicated to researching the various survival skills which the victims of the Holocaust utilized.  Such commonly recognized survival skills are those that are enacted through a choice or conscious decision of the victim. Smuggling, rebellion, and using personal connections as an advantage, are all such examples.  Undoubtedly, these choices were survival skills, however, historians sometimes apply them to a wide range of victims without proper attention to their location, gender, age, or previous experiences.

After particular examination of the women of Lodz ghetto, one can conclude that there are survival skills specific to this selection of victims and the conditions to which they were exposed.  Among those survival skills, and perhaps the most effective for the women of Lodz, are those which were based on their pre-war experiences. Therefore, the skills which aided survival the most were those which were not made through conscious decisions but as a result of multiple conditions outside of their control.  These conditions include the woman’s geographical location and home origin prior to the war as well as their social background and experiences.  Gender roles, class standing, family make-up, and labor all must be examined in order to further understand their background and experiences.  These factors shaped the survival skills which proved to be most advantageous to the women of Lodz Ghetto.

I plan to set up the website using the wordpress program because it seems the most accessible and what I am most comfortable with for a large project. After an introduction page I plan on having related pages or tabs to construct my argument. These pages will be broken down as follows:

1) There will be a page/tab briefly describing the city of Lodz prior to the war and leading into the German invasion of Poland and this city (enough to provide context to the study and site)

2) There will be a page/tab on ineffective survival skills for women of Lodz ( i.e. smuggling and using relationships/connections as an advantage)

3) There will be a page/tab (probably the largest part of the argument) which will compare the Eastern and Western women who were brought to Lodz. This will examine pre-war gender roles, class, education which were all effected by or different based on their geographic location

4) There will be a page/tab on labor prior to Lodz as well as inside the ghetto

5) There will be a page/tab examining family relations and dynamics within the ghetto (as well as mother to daughter relationships with additional connection because of gender)

6) There will be a page/tab to conclude the argument and refer to the sources, possibly providing links to transcripts, other sites, or used sources.

Also, I want to note that within these pages there will be personal profiles and primary source examples through oral histories and transcripts. This will add a personal connection to the site and argument as well as provide additional resources and materials for the audience. Additionally, I plan to use photos of Lodz Ghetto and archival resources to enhance the site. The web page will be designed appropriately for the content and intended audience.

{ 2 } Comments

  1. Jordan | March 24, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    I like the nuance within your thesis; excited to see the site.

  2. Jeremy Boggs | March 30, 2010 at 12:33 am | Permalink

    Nice write-up, Samantha. You seem to have thought-out the structure of your site very well, and its great that you’re going to make a digital version of your research project.

    Near the end, you say you “plan to use photos of Lodz Ghetto and archival resources to enhance the site.” Could you explain this a bit more? How do you plan to enhance the site with them?

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