Meet the Historians
Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. was developed by a world-renowned team of experts on the history of the Holocaust and Holocaust education. Their multidisciplinary approach helped develop the most comprehensive Holocaust exhibition ever presented in the United States.
Dr. Robert Jan van Pelt is one of the main authorities on the history of Auschwitz. From 1997-98, he presided over the team that developed the master plan to preserve the Auschwitz camp and participated as an expert witness in the famous case against the British historian and author David Irving (London, 1998-2001), a Holocaust denier.
Dr. Van Pelt, born in Harleem (Netherlands), has published widely on the camp, including the award-winning Auschwitz, 1270 to the Present (1996) and The Case for Auschwitz (2002). Throughout his career, he has served as a historical advisor on films such as Auschwitz: The Nazis and ‘The Final Solution’ (2005) by Laurence Rees, and co-curated The Evidence Room, exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 2016.
Dr. Michael Berenbaum is an author, professor, rabbi, and advisor on historical films and museum design. At the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, he is a professor of Jewish Studies and director of the Sigi Ziering Institute.
He was Project Director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum from 1988-1993 and was the first Director of its Research Institute. Later, he served as President and CEO of the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation (today the USC Shoah Foundation), which took the testimony of 52,000 Holocaust survivor in 32 languages and 57 countries.
Paul Salmons is an independent curator and educator specializing in difficult histories. He is consultant to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Chief Curator of ‘Seeing Auschwitz’, an exhibition for the United Nations and UNESCO.
Salmons helped create the United Kingdom’s national Holocaust Exhibition at the Imperial War Museum; co-founded the Centre for Holocaust Education at University College London; and played a leading role in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, an inter-governmental body of more than 30 states. He is currently developing new exhibitions, pedagogies, and educational resources for clients in the UK, Europe, and North America.
Djamel Zeniti is an architect working for the Luxembourgish Goverment since 2009 and a regular lecturer at the Technical University in Vienna since 1998 on Architecture and Film. Between 2000 and 2008 he was also part of Austrian excavation teams working in Ephesus, Turkey.
In 1997 he participated in a month-long workshop on Holocaust history and Holocaust Memorial design hosted by Yad Vashem and Bezalel Academy in Jerusalem, which triggered his interest in Auschwitz.
He helped organize in 2000 a seminar on the Architecture of Genocide at the Technical University in Vienna. Two years later he created a small exhibition on the forensic interpretation of the architecture and ruins of the Auschwitz crematoria at the University of Waterloo in Canada.
Historians and Researchers at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum
Led by director Dr. Piotr Setkiewicz, the Centre for Research at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum carries out academic studies on the history of the concentration and extermination camp, publishing its findings in books, monographs, and articles. Among the Centre’s many publications, a highlight is the comprehensive volume on the history of Auschwitz.