Jonathan Lanz is a doctoral candidate at Indiana University Bloomington in the United States. His dissertation is entitled “The Ghetto Next to the Gas Chamber: Social Networks and Daily Life in the Theresienstadt Family Camp.” Given the relative lack of archival documentation surrounding Jewish society in Birkenau, Jonathan’s research seeks to probe how analyzing the postwar testimony of Family Camp child survivors provides a pathway to write social histories of the Holocaust which lack contemporaneous documentation. Drawing on recent work in Holocaust memory, Jonathan’s dissertation project returns the historians’ gaze to victim-based approaches to life in the Nazi camp system. Historians of the Holocaust have yet to write social histories of the Birkenau death camp, a perplexing fact given the large emphasis on the camp in American and European Holocaust memory. His project remedies this absence by explicitly centering Jewish victim testimony of the Family Camp in a history of prisoner society. This methodological approach will allow Holocaust historians to gain a clearer picture of everyday live within the Nazis’ largest death camp.
Outside of his dissertation research, Jonathan holds broad research interests in Jewish history, the history of childhood, and museum studies. He has published in numerous public-facing outlets, notably on the relationship between the Holocaust and colonialism in Open Democracy. Jonathan received a B.A. in World History with distinction at Georgetown University in 2019 and an M.A. in European History at Indiana University in 2021. You can find him on Twitter @jonathanlanz3.
During his Kagan Fellowship, Jonathan will begin full-time archival research at the Institute for Contemporary History in Munich and the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oświęcim. His supervisor at IU Bloomington is Mark Roseman.