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Publications, Lectures and Work in Progress

Article by Laurike in 't Veld, Christine Gundermann,

Kees Ribbens, Ewa Stańczyk:

World War II and Holocaust Comics, Perpetrators, and Education

in Journal of Perpetrator Research


In this roundtable conversation, historians Christine Gundermann, Ewa Stańczyk, and Kees Ribbens discuss various aspects of World War II and Holocaust comics, including the (historical) depiction of perpetrators, the use of victim sources, and narrative structures. Different national contexts of graphic narratives are considered, and the contributors discuss how national frames and politics of memory affect the content and reception of World War II and Holocaust comics. Furthermore, attention is given to the educational frameworks in which these comics can be distributed and taught. Graphic narratives that are discussed include, among others, Art Spiegelman’s Maus, Nora Krug’s Belonging, and Episodes from Auschwitz by the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum. Other sources are also considered, including the drawings by Holocaust survivor Kalman Landau.

Zip Comics #33, 1943, ‘Zip’s Hall of Shame: “The Nazi Cobra” Reinhard Heydrich’.

Special Issue on Photography and Resistance

This special issue of the journal MAI: Feminism and Visual Culture focuses on photography as a form of resistance to repressive regimes, as a way to oppose war and violence, and as a means to challenge heteronormative patriarchy. Edited by Kylie Thomas, it includes articles, interviews, video-works and photo-essays and can be viewed on Catalogue of abstracts can be accessed through the link below.

Melaw Nakehk'o tools.jpg
Melaw Nakehk’o is Dehcho Dene and Denesulene from Liidlii Kue, Denendeh Northwest Territories. She is a Mother, Artist, Moose hide tanner, Actress and and co-founder of the Indigenous organization Dene Nahjo. From the series, “Resilience and Resistance”, by Kali Spitzer, 2015.

Image courtesy of Kali Spitzer

Talk by Kylie Thomas:

An Orphaned Digital Photographic Archive? The WWII Image Bank and ‘Fostering’ History

Presented as part of the conference "Photo Archives VIII: The Digital Photo Archive. Theories, Practices and Rhetoric" (May 5-7, 2022 at the University of Basel) organized by Estelle Blaschke and Costanza Caraffa, with support from Marian Cramm and Jaël Steiner. Recorded and produced by David Bucheli.

Book Chapter: 

Atomized Solidarity and New Shapes of Resistance: Visual Activism in South Africa after Apartheid


This essay by Kylie Thomas provides a concise history of visual activism in South Africa and focuses on how contemporary artists and activists make use of visual forms to intervene in public space, to document injustice, and to express dissent. The chapter argues that visual activism is best understood as a call to those who look to move from seeing and knowing to acting. Through analyses of works by visual activists Zanele Muholi, Haroon Gunn-Salie, and the Tokolos Stencils Collective, and through engaging with a campaign created by the social justice movement Section27, the essay shows how such work draws attention to homophobia and sexual violence; impunity for crimes against humanity; and ongoing inequality in the aftermath of apartheid. The essay also considers what occurs when visual activist works are detached from collective mobilizing and circulate within the neo-liberal art economy, producing forms of atomized solidarity. 


Forthcoming, 2022, in The Routledge Companion to Art and Activism in the Twenty-First Century edited by Lesley E. Shipley and Mey-Yen Moriuchi.

Poster created by Section27 as part of the #Justice4Michael Campaign, 2017

Recent selected publications

Kees Ribbens

2022. in 't Veld, L., Gundermann, C., Ribbens, K. and Stańczyk, E. 'World War II and Holocaust Comics, Perpetrators, and Education'. Journal of Perpetrator Research, 4(2), p.None. DOI:


2022. Kees Ribbens, 'Defying a potential disaster. How cartoonists fought Dutch National Socialism on the eve of the Second World War'. NIOD Instituut voor Oorlogs-, Holocaust- en Genocidestudies. (NIOD blog)

2022. Kees Ribbens, 'De lange schaduw van visuele propaganda', the Nederlandse Boekengids (dNBg), Blog.

2021. Kees Ribbens, ‘Is DeepFake the Future of Holocaust Memory? Representing Anne Frank in Times of Artificial Intelligence’, British Association for Holocaust Studies, Blog, April.

2021. Kees Ribbens, ‘The Invisible Jews in August Froehlich’s “Nazi Death Parade” (1944): An Early American Sequential Narrative Attempt to Visualize the Final Stages of the Holocaust’, in: Frahm, O., Hahn, H-J. & Streb, M. (eds.), Beyond MAUS: The Legacy of Holocaust Comics. Vienna: Böhlau Verlag,  p. 133-165 (Schriften des Centrums für Jüdische Studien; vol. 34).

2020. Kees Ribbens, Belonging: Unreflected Limitations of Engaging with History? N. Krug, Belonging. A German Reckons with History and Home (New York, London). Closure: Kieler e-Journal für Comicforschung #7 (11/2020)

2019. Kees Ribbens, ‘Anti-nostalgie in nostalgische tijden? Het dorp Nederland als historisch sentiment in TV-reclame’, Blog Royal Netherlands Historical Society, January.

2018. Kees Ribbens, ‘Picturing anti-Semitism in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands : Anti-Jewish Stereotyping in a racist Second World War Comic Strip’, Journal of Modern Jewish Studies. 17 (1) 8-23

2018. Kees Ribbens, Interpreting panels and contexts: New approaches to war and comics. (Review article), Media, War and Conflict 11 (2) 282-286

2018. Kees Ribbens, De beeldroman bezien met een Amerikaans accent. J. Baetens, H. Frey, S.E. Tabachnik, The Cambridge History of the Graphic Novel (Cambridge). Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis 132 (4) 693-695

2017. Kees Ribbens, Popular Understandings of the Past: Interpreting History through Graphic Novels. In: J.B. Gardner & P. Hamilton (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Public History (Oxford) 105-119

2017. Kees Ribbens, ‘Anne Frank relaunched in the world of comics and graphic novels’. NIOD Instituut voor Oorlogs-, Holocaust- en Genocidestudies. (NIOD blog)

2017. Kees Ribbens, Simon Schepers, ‘Oorlog en genocide in het stripverhaal : Mogelijkheden en begrenzingen van een visueel medium’. In: M. Verplancke, A. Dejaeghere, S. Schepers, M. Van Alstein (eds.), Vroeger gaat niet over: Herinneringseducatie als pedagogische praktijk (Tielt) 139-152

Kylie Thomas

2022. “Undoing Gendered Expressions of Grief: Dora Kallmus’ Post-war ‘Slaughterhouse’ Photographs (1949-1958)”, L’Homme Europäische Zeitschrift für Feministische Geschichts-wissenschaft/European Journal of Feminist History, 33, 2, 57-79. 

2021. Kylie Thomas. “Digital Visual Activism: Photography and the Re-Opening of the Unresolved Truth and Reconciliation Commission Cases in Post-Apartheid South Africa”,  Photography and Culture, Vol. 14, No 3, 297-318.

2021. Kylie Thomas. “History of Photography in Apartheid South Africa.” Oxford Research Encyclopedia of African History. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

2021. Kylie Thomas. “A Crisis of Time, a Time of Crisis”, in (Un)timely Crises: Chronotopes and Critique, edited by Maria Boletsi, Ksenia Robbe, Kasia Mika and Natashe Lemos Dekker, Palgrave, (60-66).

2020. Kylie Thomas. Women and Photography in Africa: Creative Practices and Feminist Challenges. London: Routledge. Co-edited with Darren Newbury and Lorena Rizzo

2020. Kylie Thomas. “‘Bitter Emotion’: photography and transnational solidarity in Ireland and South Africa”, Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, (1-19).

2018. Kylie Thomas. “Remember Marikana: Violence and Visual Activism in South Africa post-apartheid”, special issue of ASAP/Journal, “Rules of Engagement: Art, Process, Protest”, 3:2, (401-422).

2018. Kylie Thomas.  “Exhuming apartheid: Photography, Disappearance and Return”, special issue of Cahiers d'étudesAfricaines on "Images contestées/images contestataires", LVIII (2), 230, (429-454).

2018. Kylie Thomas. “Returning History: Figuring Worlds: Helen Levitt, Jansje Wissema, the Burning Museum Collective and photographs of children in the streets of New York and Cape Town”, Critical Arts, special issue on vernacular photography, 32:1, (122-136).

2018. Kylie Thomas. “‘Decolonization is Now’: Photography and Student-Social Movements in South Africa”, special issue “Photography and African Futures”, Visual Studies, 33:1, (98-110).

Article by Kylie Thomas:

Undoing Gendered Expressions of Grief: Dora Kallmus’ Post-War ‘Slaughterhouse’ Photographs (1949−1958)

in L’Homme Europäische Zeitschrift für Feministische Geschichts-wissenschaft/European Journal of Feminist History


1907, the Jewish Austrian photographer Dora Kallmus, also known as Madame d’Ora, established what was to become one of the most important photography studios in Vienna. In the 1920s, Kallmus opened a studio in Paris, where she excelled as an innovative fashion photographer, creating portraits of the leading cultural figures of her time. This article centres on the dramatic shift in the images Kallmus created in the aftermath of the Second World War, when she photographed people in refugee camps in Austria and dying and dead animals in the abattoirs of Paris where she spent the final decade of her life. In order to understand these photographs and their powerful affective charge, it is necessary to consider them not only in relation to her pre-war works, but to read them in the context of the Holocaust, an event that effectively destroyed both her life and her social world. I read these images as an expression of Kallmus’ views on society and the practice and meaning of photography in the aftermath of the death camps, and compare them to Hannah Arendt’s post-war thought. Kallmus’ ‘slaughterhouse’ series not only reveals the photographer’s own psychic pain but also insists on a confrontation with the painful truth of the Shoah. Society’s desire to avoid this painful reckoning, I argue, provides a reason for why this series has been largely ignored for the last six decades.

“3 Philosophes” [Three Philosophers]. Photograph by Dora Kallmus, c. 1955.
© Nachlass (estate) Madame d’Ora, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

NIOD Rewind Podcast on War & Violence

“Visual Narratives of Catastrophe”:

Thinking Photography and the Holocaust

Anne van Mourik speaks with visual historian Kylie Thomas about the meaning of the medium of photography for thinking about the Holocaust. How can photographs intersect with how we perceive this history? What happens when images relating to the Holocaust, for example of Anne Frank, become ubiquitous? In this conversation, Kylie and Anne focus on the work of the Austrian-born Jewish photographer Dora Kallmus (1891-1963). How do her photographs of slaughtered animals function in the aftermath of the Holocaust?

"Visual Narratives of Catastrophe" is a quote from Lisa Silverman,

Art of Loss: Madame d’Ora, Photography and the Restitution of Haus Doranna,

in Leo Baeck Institute Year Book, 60, 1 (2015).

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