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                                             the AfterWords Project






















A study of Holocaust resettlement narratives


Principal investigator: Dr. Roy Schwartzman


a collaboration with

The North Carolina Council on the Holocaust


Project Description: The AfterWords Project will collect, preserve, and analyze the resettlement stories of Holocaust survivors and witnesses from the time they came to the US to the present. The project focuses on survivors now living in North Carolina. The objectives are: (1) to collect the oral histories and make them available for educational purposes; (2) to determine patterns in the structures and use of language (root metaphors, etc.) among the narratives; (3) to develop educational resources regarding the Holocaust, prejudice, and persecution. The collection and analysis will illuminate how people targeted by the Nazi regime reconstructed their identities and crafted life anew following their displacement.

Text Box: sculpture by Paul Gould,
forced labor camp survivor


AfterWords takes an approach that differs from and complements the collection of testimonies assembled by organizations such as the Shoah Foundation, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, etc. Essentially the AfterWords story begins where many Holocaust narratives conclude. Furthermore, although survivor testimonies have been collected meticulously, little analysis has been conducted across individual testimonies. Generally, each story is treated as entirely unique (bypassing key patterns in experiences, story structures, or linguistic frameworks) or researchers try to discover the essence of Holocaust experiences (thereby reducing each story to an average or an example in a typology). Too often, Holocaust survival becomes categorized alongside pathologies, especially psychopathologies such as post-traumatic stress disorder. The AfterWords Project explores the themes within testimonies that help reveal how identities were re-created and lives were rebuilt. The project tracks the process of renewing life through the first-hand testimonies themselves, treating the process of self-definition as central to understanding survival as something more active and nuanced than victimage or sheer endurance.



Private donors should contact Dr. Schwartzman for proper routing and disbursement procedures. The University of North Carolina at Greensboro has established a tax-exempt fund earmarked for this project.



North Carolina Council on the Holocaust


Funding and Resource Support

· UNCG Office of Undergraduate Research student research assistantships

· Fall 2008 (2)

· Spring 2009 (1)

· UNCG Community-Based Research Grant [2008-2009]

· North Carolina Council on the Holocaust

· Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI), UNC Chapel Hill

· University of Southern California Shoah Foundation Institute Visual History Archive


Principal Investigator/Project Coordinator

Dr. Roy Schwartzman, Professor
Communication Studies Dept.
109 Ferguson Building
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Greensboro, NC 27402
(336) 334-5297

Dr. Schwartzman has a long record of award-winning scholarship on the communication aspects of the Holocaust. He served on the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education's Board of Governors for five years. He has delivered many public presentations at academic conferences, religious organizations, civic events, and teacher education programs across the nation. He developed and teaches upper-level Holocaust-related courses such as "Propaganda" and “Voices of the Holocaust.”

Student Research Team


· Frances Walton (Fall 2008)

· Bethany Barnes (Fall 2008, Spring 2009)

· Melinda Alston (Spring 2009)

· Fawn Cannon (Spring 2009)

· Lindsey Fox (Fall 2009)

Graduate Students

· Susan von Cannon (Spring 2009)


If you are interested in participating by sharing your story or referring a witness, please contact Dr.
Schwartzman. This project has been approved by the UNC Greensboro Institutional Review Board (human subjects research), proposal #089102, project protocol categories 6 & 7 of 45 CFR 46.110 (2008-2010).

AfterWords Scholarship and Presentations

Scholarly Presentations

International Digital Access, Outreach, and Research Conference (Los Angeles, CA:
25-26 March 2010)
complete coverage

“Voices of the Holocaust: More than Echoes” [Roy Schwartzman]

Carolinas Communication Association Convention (Wilmington, NC: 25-26 Sept. 2009):

“Repairing the Rifts in Holocaust Education” [Fawn Cannon]


“Survivor Testimonies and the Argumentative Roots of Holocaust Denial” [Chloe Gonzalez]


“Identity Construction in Holocaust Survivor Narratives” [Lindsey Fox]


“Navigating the Dialectical Tensions of Holocaust Survivor Resettlement Stories” [Melinda Alston & Bethany Barnes]


UNCG Undergraduate Research Exposition (Greensboro, NC: 23 April 23 2009):

“‘AfterWords’: Crafting Identity Through Holocaust Resettlement Narratives” [Melinda Alston & Bethany Barnes]

"Denying Closure, Foreclosing Denial: Life After the Holocaust" [Fawn Cannon]

Conference on Applied Learning in Higher Education (St. Joseph, MO: 20-21 Feb. 2009):

"Integrating Service-Learning with Research: The AfterWords Project Confronts Challenges to Applied Learning" [Roy Schwartzman]

Public Presentations

· Southern Guilford High School (Greensboro, NC: April 20, 2009) [Roy Schwartzman]


· Top Undergraduate Research Project in the Humanities, UNCG (2009)


· Shoah Foundation Conference (Annenberg Radio News, 25 March 2010)

· Professor, Students Take a Fresh Look at the Holocaust (UNCG, 27 Feb. 2009)