New EHRI Document Blog | Talking about Sexualised Violence

EHRI Document Blog
Wednesday, 28 April, 2021

The Presentation of Rape and Male Power in an Oral-History Interview

This new EHRI Blog post, written by former EHRI fellow Florian Zabransky, analyses two seemingly unrelated incidents in an oral-history interview, dealing with topics of intimacy and sexualised violence. The interview with Michael Begum, the case study of this blog entry, was conducted on 19 October 1996 in Los Angeles in English. He was born on the 22nd of June 1922 in a small shtetl called Parafjanava around 150km north of Minsk (then the Soviet Union, today Belarus). The interview is part of the Visual History Archive of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute, the biggest archive of oral-history interviews of Jews and other survivors of the Holocaust and other genocides.

The blog post contribution puts forward some suggestions on how researchers of the Holocaust can approach the topic of sexualised violence in oral-history interviews, in particular when we lack information and the perpetrator-victim divide is blurred. The post argues that critically examining sexualised violence during the Holocaust and the excavation of ambiguous content can lead to a better understanding of male power, power relations and hierarchies and make hidden power relations visible.

Read the Document Blog

Image: Michael Begum in the interview, from the collection of the USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education. For more information, please visit