Internship program

Posted on August 17, 2012

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Below is our basic internship proposal. This will apply only to colleges and universities that serve as one of our archive “branches” – as it assumes that level of cooperative project with Center for White Rose Studies.

If your college or university is interested in this sort of cooperative project – archives plus internship – please contact us. We’d love to hear from you!

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 Objectives: To join forces with area universities to expand scope of the Center’s work, turning control of research, administration, marketing, and speaker’s bureau functions over to students. To support work of related (but not affiliated) nonprofits in Munich, Germany and Orenburg, Russia by means of additional internships on location. To provide your region with a hands-on Holocaust education experience, including access to primary source documents and scholars.

 (Cycle One) – Spring semester

Personnel: 1 – 3 part-time interns. Concentration: Finance, marketing, accounting, and library science (for the archives) majors. [See (1) below.]

Primary goals: Fundraising, marketing [see (2) below), surveys, and accounting [see (3) below] (including tax filings, A/P, A/R, donations, and financial reporting). Organization and cataloging of primary source materials. [See (4) below.] Establishment of physical location within university.

Principal benefit for students and universities: Access to materials that are not available anywhere else. We have documents that are officially “blocked” in Germany.

Main hurdle: Funding.

(Cycle Two) – Summer

Personnel: 5 – 8 “full-time” interns. Concentration: History, political science, psychology, sociology, with preference given to fluent German, Russian, or Hebrew language speakers.

Primary goals: Identification of ‘gaps’ in White Rose or German resistance scholarship and initial attempts at acquisition of documents necessary for a deeper understanding. This includes but is not limited to Gestapo interrogation transcripts for the three students from the University of Freiburg; League of Nations lawsuit against Willi Graf’s father; records for the “T-4” institution in Zwiebrücken [see (5) below]; and the military service records for all the young men who were beheaded in July 1943 for resisting Hitler. Just to name a few.

Principal benefit for students and universities: Great starting point for a graduate degree! As well as for application for a Fulbright-Hayes fellowship. Note: Not to be limited to graduate students. My experience with undergraduates teaches me that they are capable of excellence in anything. Undergraduates who intend to pursue a Ph.D. would probably make the best candidates for this internship.

Main hurdle: Funding, and getting it right the first time. This means adequate support in terms of physical location and IT.

 (Cycle Three) – Fall semester

Part One: Your college or university

Personnel: 5 – 8 interns. Continue as above, but on part-time basis. Could either be extension for the summer interns, or a different set of students.

Primary goals: Same as above, building on earlier foundation.

Principal benefit for students and universities: Same as above, except with class in session, these students would be sharing their knowledge with classmates. What we are doing should have a ripple effect at each university.

Main hurdle: Managing the shift from full-time to part-time.

 Part Two: Munich and Orenburg

Personnel: 2 – 5 interns. Split between Munich, Berlin, and Orenburg/Russia. Must have excellent language skills!

Primary goals: Assist as needed with work carried out in Europe.

Principal benefit for students and universities: Firsthand glimpse at how difficult this work is in Russia and Germany, and why. Although primary source materials are more abundant overseas, we have it “easier” here – less resistance to publishing the truth, fewer political battles.

Main hurdles: Distance. Expectations. Funding.

 General notes

Each successive year, the cycles remain essentially the same, with planned increase in personnel of 25 – 50%.

We want these to be true internships, with course credit for the students, active “teaching” participation on our part and on the part of university advisors, and valuable to the students long-term. We are not looking for cheap labor!

This will be a truly “interdisciplinary” internship program. I can envision active roles for the following majors: German-Russian-Hebrew language, journalism, political science, literature, art, music, Jewish studies, history, sociology, philosophy, theology, psychology, theater, film, finance, accounting, computer science, marketing, history, and library science.

We would especially welcome students who have strengths in more than one field, such as accounting majors who are musicians, or history students who dabble in theater.

To be determined: How to handle converting unusually interested students from interns to part-time employees. If this becomes a passion for a student, we’d like to keep him or her on board, yet without jeopardizing the nature of the internship.

To be determined: As the project grows, I’d like to see some of the interns move into permanent, full-time positions when they graduate.

Funding: This has been our greatest obstacle to date. We’re applying for grants, but if you’re interested, it should be easier to raise money for this project with a joint effort.

Finally – a college or university in either Pennsylvania or California would likely be the only location where accounting, finance, and administrative internships would be practical. So if you’re in either of those states, your internship program would be the most comprehensive. And, first come first served. The first school where F&A internships are offered will likely be the only place those majors are needed!


(1) Subsequent “personnel” numbers are in addition to the 3 – 5 who will always be needed for F&A. Primary goals for these interns will remain fairly static, except with responsibility increasing according to ability demonstrated.

(2) Current marketing is basically “guerilla” only. We have a pretty decent Web site. And we send out about 4,300 e-Newsletters to professors of German, history, and Holocaust education in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and Australia. Would like to expand to include political science and sociology professors, as those seem to be better “targets” for our work. Just harder to identify. Plenty of room for creative marketing ideas!

(3) Books are in good shape. This would be a matter of handing off to a student to continue.

(4) The most critical primary source documents such as Gestapo interrogation transcripts are decently archived. But we have boxes in our basement that need work. Additionally, we anticipate that each CWRS “branch” will have its own unique flavor, i.e., we don’t expect every location to archive exactly the same.

(5) The T-4 institutions were predecessor to the gas chambers of Auschwitz. The Nazis gassed “useless eaters” – e.g. mentally handicapped persons – in these places. One of the individuals who has claimed to be part of German resistance is closely linked to the T-4 institution in Zwiebrücken, and I’ve not been able to find their records.