Join us online with Dr. Jonathan Kaplan, who will look at stories of survival through clothing during the Holocaust.
The combination of the words ‘Holocaust’ and ‘clothing’ tend to conjure up images of malnourished prisoners of Nazi concentration camps with shaved heads and dressed in the well-known blue and grey striped uniform. Although many prisoners of the Nazi camps did indeed wear the striped uniform, the majority did not.
In testimonies, survivors often describe in great detail the traumatic experience of being stripped of their own possessions and being given new clothing upon arrival at camps such as Auschwitz-Birkenau. Clothing as an element in a person’s overall appearance played a central role in the Nazi ‘Vernichting’ of Europe’s Jews – but so too as a form of personal resistance and maintaining a sense of dignity and control over one’s own body.
Dr. Jonathan Kaplan is a Sydney-based dress historian with a focus on Austria-Hungary at the fin de siècle. This lecture presents the research Jonathan conducted as part of the Sydney Jewish Museum Holocaust and Museum Studies Fellowship 2021 and examines the role of clothing and other aspects of material culture in memories of survival.