Lizzy Robinson-Self

Thesis title: Why Poetry? The Aesthetic Significance of the Concentration Camp Poem


My PhD thesis considers German-language poetry written between 1933 and 1945 in National Socialist concentration camps. When not overlooked entirely, this body of poems has frequently been dismissed as failed art. My thesis seeks to correct this with close-readings of these neglected texts which ultimately demonstrate that their value is not only testimonial and historic but also aesthetic.

I have a BA(Hons) in German and French and an MRes in European Languages and Cultures from Exeter University.

Undergraduate teaching

German 1B literature and language tutorials

Research summary

My broad research interests lie within the field of Holocaust writing, with a particular focus on poetry and literature produced during, as opposed to after, the Holocaust. I am interested in questions of genre, testimony, and creativity, and the role these play in Holocaust writing.

Current project grants

AHRC studentship

  • Review of Literature of the Holocaust, by Alan Rosen, ed., Wiener Library Blog <> (June 2015).
  • Review of Germanistik in Ireland, Interrogating Normalcy, by Ann Murray, ed., FORUM: University of Edinburgh Postgraduate Journal of Culture and the Arts, 19 (Autumn 2014).
  • July 2015: ‘Reading Concentration Camp Poetry as Poetry: Why (not)?’, Joint Research Workshop for PhD Candidates from the United Kingdom and Israel (The Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide, London)
  • April 2015: ‘Reading the Concentration Camp Poem Today’, Edge of Words Study Day: ‘Performing Memory: The Holocaust in Music and Poetry’ (Co-organiser; University of Edinburgh)
  • February 2015: Paper on my current research, LLC Work in Progress Seminar (University of Edinburgh)

  • January 2015: ‘The Concentration Camp Poem: Sacred Object, Cultural Artefact, or Testimony?’, BAJS ‘Tracing Topographies’ Conference (Jewish Museum, London)
  • November 2014: ‘Finding the aesthetic in the concentration camp poem: an impossible task?’, German Department Research Seminar (University of Edinburgh)
  • September 2014: ’The Concentration Camp Poem, and its Controversial Status’, BAHS ‘Britain and the Holocaust’ Conference (University of Edinburgh)
  • July 2014: ‘Poetic Acts of Resistance: Uncovering the Significance of Concentration Camp Poetry’, DAAD ‘Radical Traditions’ Summer School (University of Manchester)