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IAS Course: Mapping the Sephardic World (for IAS/JNE 357)

This course guide is aimed at helping you map your projects in this class using GIS.


Mapping the Holocaust in the Sephardic World

Erika Kounio Amariglio

From Thessaloniki to Auschwitz and Back.  Memories of a Survivor from Thessaloniki


Questions of for Session I

• Important Dates  (see timeline)?

• Places (Thessaloniki, somewhere in Yugoslavia etc)

• Internal Movement (within Thessaloniki, within Auschwitz)

• Type of transportation (by train, on foot)

• Family members: who was with Erika?

• Types of prisoners (political prisoners, Roma, etc.)

• Relationships with other prisoners?

• Languages?

•Levels of Fear and Hope?


  1. Kounio repeatedly emphasizes that chance made her survival possible.  Is it possible to incorporate chance (especially when considering the date of her family’s deportation from Thessaloniki) into a map of Kounio’s route?


  1. On the transport in the cattle trains from Thessaloniki to Auschwitz the Kounios (as all other victims) do not know their location. Where can you find information about the transport from Greece to Auschwitz?  How can you reconstruct their itinerary?


  1. Is it possible to include the fate of the non-Jewish (Roma, Jehova’s Witness, political prisoners)  in your map?


  1. While Kounio’s immediate family survived, 23 members of her family perished.  How can the itineraries of those who did not survive be a part of this map?  In addition to Kounio’s family members, also consider the other individuals she encounters while at Auschwitz and whose fate she ignores. 


  1. In Chapter 6 Kounio describes the march from Auschwitz to Ravensbrück.   Considerning Gigliotti, Masurovsky, and Steiner’s article  “From the Camp to the Road: Representing the Evacuations from Auschwitz, January 1945,” which would be the most effective way to visualize Kounio’s evacuation from Auschwitz? 


  1. In addition to people, objects are also transported, smuggled, transported.   Can you think of ways in which the movement of objects can be incorporated in a map?


  1. Kounio returns to Auschwitz in 1965, in the context of a survivor’s conference.   What does she find at her return, and why are those objects important? 

Three basic elements:

  • concepts of space
  • tools of representation
  • processes of reasoning

Spatial thinking uses representation to help us remember, understand, reason, and communicate about the properties of and relationships between objects represented in space. 

Objects can be concrete things or abstract concepts.

Functions of Spatial Thinking

  • Descriptive: noting and visualizing relationships among objects
  • Analytical: understanding the structure of objects
  • Inferential: generating answers about evolution, predicting patterns, etc.
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