Research in the Holy Land


I have been back one week from a quick research trip to Jerusalem. As part of my work on Peasants & Jews, I needed to track down the records of East Fresian Jews who survived the Holocaust. As part of this, I was able to see documents at Yad Vashem, the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People and the Central Zionist Archives. Everywhere I was greeted by accommodating and helpful archivists.

I took advantage of Shabbat closures to visit the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre. Pictured above, the Orthodox alter atop Calvary. What an amazing spiritual experience. In preparation for my visit, I reread the literature on the site: its origins as a holy place for early Christians, the pilgrimage of Constantine’s mother Helen and the creation of the basilica and the many destructions and reconstructions since. Later in the week, I returned to hear vespers chanted in Latin in the Franciscan chapel and participate in a candle-light Way-of-the-Cross procession.

I am of course hooked and look forward to my next visit. Might as well be optimistic, right?


About George Vascik, Historian

A 1988 graduate of the University of Michigan, I have taught history at Miami University since 1992. I maintain blogs on teaching Western Civilization and on Great War. My research focuses on anti-Semitism and rural politics in northwest Germany. I am completing a monograph for Bloomsbury Press, Anti-Semitism and Rural Politics. You can follow my project at Along with Mark Sadler, I have published a book of primary documents on the Stab-in-the-Back Myth (Dolchstoßlegende). I also invite you to visit my profession web page at
This entry was posted in HST 121, Reflection, Research, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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