Simon Goldberg’s dissertation, supervised by Prof. Debórah Dwork, investigates the production of knowledge about the Kovno (Kaunas) ghetto in Lithuania. Records created by members of the Jewish council and Jewish police have long dominated scholarly and popular imagination about Kovno. Yet their influential status yielded an unbalanced portrait of Jewish life under German occupation. To shed new light on these foundational texts and reconceptualize the ghetto’s history, Mr. Goldberg foregrounds a wealth of long-forgotten victim and survivor testimonies fashioned by the amkho, the ghetto masses. In particular, Yiddish accounts that women submitted to postwar historical commissions reorient our vantage point to the Jewish street, offering data with which to write a more complex, nuanced, and multi-voiced history of everyday life. Reflecting on archival silence and transmission, this project also poses broader questions about the principles and practices by which scholars write the history of the Holocaust from the perspective of its victims.
Mr. Goldberg is a Ph.D candidate at Clark University’s Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies. He earned a B.A. in History from the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Honors Program at Yeshiva University and an M.A. in Holocaust Studies from the University of Haifa. His 2018 article in the Journal of Holocaust Research, adapted from his MA thesis, explores letters and postcards that Jews threw out of deportation trains. Mr. Goldberg has received multiple fellowships and awards, including from the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture (2020-2021); the Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the USHMM (2019-2020); and the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research (2018-2019). He is an alumnus of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship in the Jewish Studies track. Mr. Goldberg’s broader research interests lie in the history of knowledge, the philosophy of history, and literary theory.