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22 January 2023

The Project

Subproject 3: Intercommunal intersections in Jewish trajectories of evasion and escape

        Source: Rijkswaterstaat






While Subprojects 1 and 2 focus on the persecution in local communities, Subproject 3 turns to evasion and escape from these local persecutions and connections between local communities. According to Granovetter, most behavior is embedded in networks of interpersonal ties, distinguishing nearby ‘strong ties’ and longer distance ‘weak ties’ (Granovetter 1973). In Subproject 3 we focus on these weak ties. They conditioned the permeability of local communities, but to what extent did they also determine the fate of Jews targeted in the Dutch provinces?


Connection to historiography

For a long time, academic literature on rescue and escape has been about the person of the non-Jewish rescuer – his/her personality traits and ethical values (Flim 1995, Tec 2003; Midlarsky 2005; Oliner 1992). Only more recently, the scholarship examines non-Jewish rescue and Jewish survival in a more integrative way, bringing about a clear reappreciation of Jewish agency (Kosmala 2002; Grabowski 2012; Aleksiun 2016; Cobel-Tokarska 2018). Subproject 3 builds upon this new development and follows Jews and their endeavors to escape and evade persecution. A key-question in Subproject 3 is to what extent their escape-routes were paved by their pre-existing personal ties and networks. This question places Subproject 3 in the middle of the ongoing scholarly debate on the importance of connections for survival (Moore 2010, Finkel 2017, Sémelin 2019).




Subproject 3 engages primarily with DH-methods of data-processing. Relevant datasets will have been collected in Subprojects 1 and (mostly) 2; additional research concerns (online) collections of survivor testimonies, memoirs, diaries, etcetera, to gather substantial datasets of individual accounts, and archives of national or regional civil society organizations that remained out of the local scope of Subprojects 1 and 2.


The Postdoc of Subproject 3 will seek the assistance of a DH-expert in network analysis and (GIS)cartography to identify the best tools and software. The research is divided in two parts (resulting in articles 1 and 2), with the first part focusing on pre-existing intra- and intercommunal ties of Jews. The second part adds to this analysis paths and patterns of escape at the various key-moments of the Holocaust outside the larger cities of Holland.