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Holocaust Memorial Day - Tales from Northwest African Vichy Camps: Educating Through Graphic Memoir

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  • UserProfessor Aomar Boum (E&D Event)
  • ClockThursday 27 January 2022, 16:00-17:00
  • HouseZoom.

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Until recently little work has been published about the establishment, administration and daily life in Vichy camps where thousands of native and foreign prisoners were held captive and forced into labor in colonial Vichy projects in north and west Africa.

In this talk, I revisit daily life in these camps through the archives and oral histories of North African Muslims, Black Africans, Jewish refugees and Spanish Republicans transferred between Camps in mainland France, Algeria, Morocco, Mali and Senegal.

I rely on the medium of comics as tool to inform and educate. I argue for the use of graphic memoirs to re-construct the history of Saharan Vichy camps and contend that in the larger context of an anthropology of genocide and the Holocaust, graphic memoirs could be seen as retroactive ethnographic accounts where witnessing takes place through seeing, guided by the archive. I note that the use of images as a form of Holocaust writing, following the steps of Maus, is a call to seeing and therefore remembering through witnessing the trauma of detainees of labor and internment Vichy camps in the Sahara between 1940 and 1945.

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