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Finding Religion in the USHMM Collections

New Methods for Archival Research

U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Employee Working in the Archives of the Museum's Off-Site Storage Facility, January 2013. – United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Finding Religion in the USHMM Collections:  New Methods for Archival Research

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC Monday, July 29 – Friday, August 2, 2024

The Programs on Ethics, Religion, and the Holocaust at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is pleased to announce the call for applications for a research workshop, “Finding Religion in the USHMM’s Collections: New Methods for Archival Research.” 

In 2022, the Programs on Ethics, Religion, and the Holocaust (PERH) began developing a guide to highlight the diversity and scope of the USHMM’s archival collections that relate to religion, broadly defined (including all religious traditions and all geographic areas affected by the Holocaust). The resulting user-friendly database is now available to researchers by request. 

With over 600 entries to date of various archival collections, the guide identifies 64 distinct religious groups, 70 countries, and 33 languages. Key individuals, locations, and themes (such as conversion, churches and refugees, antisemitism, Jewish religious life, Muslim-Jewish relations, convents and religious orders, plunder of religious property, etc.) are tagged and fully searchable. The tool’s powerful filters also allow researchers to narrow a search by particular criteria, including whether or not material is digitized. Of particular significance is the newly-acquired digitized material from the Vatican archives from the pontificate of Pope Pius XII (1939-1958), which can be consulted alongside other archival materials, testimonies, and published material in the collections. 

Workshop Overview

This workshop will allow participants to explore the guide, conduct independent research, and discuss methodologies and findings with other participants and USHMM staff. The workshop will have two components. First, participants will attend two virtual meetings, one in mid-May and another in mid-June (one hour each) to learn more about the research tool and participate in a tutorial with the USHMM’s reference librarians to learn how to search for and request materials in advance of the workshop.

Second, the group will meet for five days on-site at the USHMM where workshop leaders will present the collection guide in more detail, highlight important collections related to religion, engage with USHMM staff and scholars, and learn more about USHMM opportunities.

Participants will also have independent research time to consult the USHMM archive for material found in the collection guide for their own projects. On the workshop's final day, participants will share their experiences using the collection guide and their research findings.

Workshop Leader

Ion Popa is an Honorary Research Fellow of the Centre for Jewish Studies, University of Manchester, UK. He is the author of The Romanian Orthodox Church and the Holocaust (Indiana University Press, 2017), which was awarded the Yad Vashem 2018 Book Prize for Holocaust Research. He is a specialist on Modern/Contemporary European History, with a focus on the Holocaust, religion and politics, and inter-ethnic/inter-religious relations, with particular attention to Jewish-Christian relations. Since 2022, Dr. Popa has consulted for the Programs on Ethics, Religion, and the Holocaust.


Applications are welcome from scholars at all levels of career, starting with PhD candidates (ABD), who wish to conduct research in the USHMM collections and have an interest in the intersection of religion and the Holocaust. We welcome applications from scholars across academic disciplines who can demonstrate an interest in using archival material for their proposed project.

Applications from all qualified individuals will be considered without regard to race, color, religion, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), national origin, age, disability, genetic information, or any other protected status.

The Museum is committed to cultivating and maintaining a culture of diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion (DEAI). Please click here to view the Museum's Statement on Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion.

Application Materials

Applications must include:

  • A curriculum vitae.

  • A research abstract describing the following (no more than 750 words):

    • Your methodological approach to studying religion and the Holocaust;

    • The gaps in your research you are hoping to address through participation in this workshop and what you hope to find in the USHMM’s collections;

    • The current stage of your research (conceptualizing, researching, writing, or revising) – we are particularly interested in projects that are in the development stage.

  • A list of bibliographic materials or collections at the USHMM that might be relevant to your work (one page maximum). Learn more about the Museum’s collections and search our collections catalog.

Travel and Lodging

For non-local participants, the Mandel Center will cover the cost of (1) direct travel to and from the participant’s home institution and Washington, DC, and (2) lodging for the duration of the workshop. Participants will also receive a $250 stipend for meals and incidentals (eg. ground transportation).

Applications must be received in electronic form by March 31, 2024. The application form is available on the Museum’s website. For more information or inquiries, please contact Dr. Ion Popa, Historical Consultant, at and Julia Liden, Program Coordinator, at

The Programs on Ethics, Religion, and the Holocaust is supported by Lilly Endowment Inc; the Hoffberger Family Foundation; and by Joseph A. and Janeal Cannon and Family.