Background

The Claims Conference Saul Kagan Fellowship in Advanced Shoah Studies is an international program that supports Ph.D. and Post-doctoral students focusing on Holocaust research. The Kagan Fellowship program funds research and writing, allowing scholars to travel to Holocaust-related archives, many of which have not been closely examined by other researchers.

Originally named The Shoah Teacher Fellowship Program, the fellowship was funded by the Claims Conference Board of Trustees in June 2003. The Fellowship Program began funding Ph.D. students in 2008 and was named after Saul Kagan, Claims Conference Executive Vice President Emeritus, in July of 2010.  The program was expanded in 2013 to include the funding of  Post-doc candidates.

In 2010, a component was initiated that has rapidly become a hallmark of the Kagan Fellowship program: an academic workshop conference held annually in the summer, alternating venues between the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. and Yad Vashem, in Jerusalem. At the summer workshop, each fellow presents current research and work in progress, and responds to questions from peers and veteran scholars. This opportunity allows Kagan Fellows to join the ranks of international presenters in prestigious, academically competitive settings and affords them substantial interaction with senior scholars in the field.  The Claims Conference covers all of the expenses related to travel and lodging for the summer workshop.  (Some exceptions may apply.)

The program receives many inquiries every year, resulting in an average of 30 completed applications for up to nine Kagan Fellowship awards. The Fellowship Admissions Committee, which is comprised of recognized Holocaust scholars, meets annually in the spring to review all applications and chooses the new cohort of Kagan Fellows. The maximum award amount is $20,000 per year and the award term is, initially, one year. An awardee may be eligible to apply for renewal for the following year.  Other than attending the summer week-long conference, there is no residency requirement.

Current fellows are exploring topics including: a comparison of Jewish involvement in the Partisan Movements in Lithuania, Belorussia and Ukraine (1941-1944); an examination of new literary works published through the Yiddish press in German Displaced Persons camps; understanding the elderly in the context of family life in the Lodz and Vilna Ghettos. The in-depth research being conducted by Kagan Fellows is expected to shed light on previously unexamined aspects of the Holocaust.