Holocaust Memorial Lecture Series
15th Holocaust Memorial Lecture
Monday, October 15, 2012
Mabel Brown Room
Lloyd P. Young Student Center
Keene State College
14th Holocaust Memorial Lecture
Father Patrick Desbois
Monday, October 10, 2011
Mabel Brown Room
Lloyd P. Young Student Center
Keene State College
Father Patrick Desbois, president of Yahad-In Unum, has devoted his life to confronting anti-Semitism and furthering Catholic-Jewish understanding. Since 2001, he has led a truly historic undertaking of identifying and locating undiscovered mass graves of Jews killed during the Holocaust in Eastern Europe.
In less than three years, from June 1941 until the spring of 1944, Nazi mobile killing units, or Einsatzgruppen, massacred well over 1.5 million Jews in Eastern Europe. The Jewish populations of whole villages were slaughtered in hours; entire regions were annihilated in an afternoon.
As distinct from the concentration camps, there were few survivors to tell the world what had happened. Father Desbois and his teams visit small villages across Ukraine, Russia, Poland and Belarus and interview the residents there who witnessed the killings. Many of those he interviews have never before spoken of the massacres.
His book, The Holocaust by Bullets documents this work and is the winner of the 2008 National Jewish Book Award.
Father Desbois is a grandson of a French deportee to the Rawa Ruska Camp in the Ukraine and is motivated by a compulsion to locate the killing sites before all the witnesses have died, to "bring proof of these assassinations to the world", and to assure that history does not die with the witnesses. To fulfill this mission, Father Desbois founded Yahad-In Unum in 2004.
Fluent in Hebrew and English, Father Desbois was awarded the Medal of Valor by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Humanitarian Award of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and Honorary Doctorates from Hebrew University, Bar Ilan University in Israel, and Yeshiva University amongst other honors
Interview with Father Desbois from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's "Voices on Antisemitism – A Podcast Series.
13th Holocaust Memorial Lecture
Dr. Samson Munn
Delivered: Monday, September 27, 2010
The son of Holocaust survivors, Samson Munn, president of the medical staff and associate radiologist in chief at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, is committed to the power of dialogue to do good.
He is especially active in establishing ongoing dialogues between the children of perpetrators and victims of the Holocaust and genocide.
He founded, facilitates, and participates in The Austrian Encounter, a non-profit therapeutic group established in 1995 to counter racism and stem genocide by exploring and discussing the participants' family histories. He is also active in To Reflect and Trust, a similar group of sons and daughters of survivors from other historic conflicts.
Dr. Munn is a member of the Stephen S. Weinstein Symposium an international gathering of Holocaust and genocide scholars that meets biennially in northern Oxfordshire, England.
Dr. Munn's work has been the subject of several important documentaries shown on cable television in the United States and on BBC in the United Kingdom.
12th Holocaust Memorial Lecture
"An Evening with Holocaust Survivor Gerda Weissmann Klein"
Delivered: Monday, September 21, 2009
Gerda Weissmann's life changed forever in 1939 when, during her fifteenth year, German troops invaded her home in Beilsko, Poland. Both Gerda and her brother Arthur were separated from their parents and sent to slave-labor camps.
The horror of that day remained forever ingrained in Gerda's memory - it was the last time she would ever see her family. Never losing hope, Gerda's resilience supported her through three successive years in slave-labor camps and a 350-mile forced death-march in which 2,000 women were subjected to exposure, starvation, and arbitrary execution.
Throughout, Gerda never lost the will to survive. In 1945, she is rescued at the point of starvation by her future husband, Kurt Kelin, and American intelligence officer.
Gerda Weissmann's account of living through the Holocaust is documented in her autobiography, All But My Life and in the film, One Survivor Remembers (available from the Cohen Center).
11th Holocaust Memorial Lecture
Professor Christopher Browning
"Holocaust Denial in the Courtroom: The Historian as Expert Witness"
Delivered: Monday, September 22, 2008
Professor Browning is the Frank Porter Graham Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
He is known for his groundbreaking book, Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final solution in Poland, and for his role as an expert witness in the libel defense of professor Deborah Lipstadt of Emory University, who was sued by Holocaust denier David Irving in the late 1990s.
10th Holocaust Memorial Lecture
An Evening with Holocaust Survivor
Ernest W. Michel with reflections by Holocaust scholar Hubert Locke
Delivered: Monday, September 17, 2007
Ernest W. Michel
Born in Germany, Ernest Michel was sent to his first concentration camp in 1939 at age 16. After nearly six years in some of the most notorious Nazi camps – Auschwitz, Birkenau, Buna-Monowitz, Buchenwald, Berga – he escaped from a death march before the end of World War II. He became a special correspondent for the German News Agency DANA at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial, and his articles appeared in German newspapers carrying the byline "Auschwitz Survivor #104995."
Michel arrived in the United States as a displaced person in 1946. After working for a small town newspaper, he began a 50-year career with the United Jewish Appeal (UJA). He served as executive vice president of the UJA-Federation of New York, the largest citywide fund-raising organization in the country, from 1970 to 1989.
In 1960, as chairman of the first Auschwitz Survivors Dinner held in this country, he was invited to meet President Dwight Eisenhower at the White House. He was chairman of the World Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors in Israel in 1981, which brought together 6,000 survivors from 23 countries and four continents. His autobiography, Promises to Keep, was published in 1993.
By Ernest W. Michel
Foreword by Leon Uris
Now Available at The Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Mason Library
(please make checks payable to: CCHS)
Professor Emeritus of Public Affairs and Dean Emeritus of the Evans School of Public Policy, University of Washington, Hubert Locke is the author and editor of several books and many book chapters in publications concerning race, criminal justice, religion, public policy, and the Holocaust. He has written extensively on German society during the period of National Socialism.
In 1970 he cofounded the Annual Scholars' Conference on the Holocaust and the Churches, an interfaith, interdisciplinary, and international gathering of scholars, educators, clergy, and community leaders devoted to remembering, learning, and teaching the lessons of the Holocaust. It is the oldest continuing meeting of its kind in the world and the first to bring together Jewish and Christian scholars.
Professor Locke will offer brief reflections on the need for and significance of Holocaust and genocide studies in our contemporary world.
- Letter from Rob Hamel, Gorham High School and 2006 CCHS Fellow
- in Adobe® Portable Document Format (PDF)
9th Holocaust Memorial Lecture
Wolf Kahn –
artist and refugee from Nazi Germany
"Growing Up Privileged, and Jewish, in Nazi Germany"
Delivered: Monday, September 18, 2006
The Cohen Center is proud to host American painter Wolf Kahn as its 2006 Holocaust Memorial Lecturer.
Wolf Kahn was born in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1927, the son of musician and Stuttgart Symphony Orchestra conductor Emil Kahn and a mother who would die in a sanatorium when he was five. Sent to Frankfurt at three-years of age to live with his grandmother, he fled Nazi Germany in 1939—soon after the Kristallnacht pogrom of November 1938—to live as an eleven-year-old refugee in England.
In 1940 Kahn moved to the United States to join his father, two brothers, and a sister who had already settled in New York City. He became a student at New York’s High School of Music and Art.
After serving in the U.S. Navy, Kahn used the G.I. Bill to study with the well-known teacher and abstract expressionist Hans Hofmann, becoming Hofmann’s studio assistant. He later joined other former Hofmann students to form The Hansa, a cooperative gallery.
Kahn’s highly regarded landscapes are characterized as "pure constructions of color and light," evoking "a world of timeless beauty." Please join us for this ninth in our series of annual lectures.
Links for Wolf Kahn:
8th Holocaust Memorial Lecture
Dr. Peter F. Hayes, Northwestern University.
"German Corporate Complicity in the Holocaust."
Delivered: Monday, 26 September,2005
"We either remember or forget events depending on how important the event was," Peter Hayes told a reporter for The Daily Northwestern in a 2001 interview. "We haven't heard anyone speak in person who attended the Gettysburg Address, but we still pay attention to it." Thus does Professor Hayes explain the continued interest in the Holocaust, 60 years after the defeat of Nazi Germany. We study history, Hayes believes, in an "attempt to learn from the past's experience."
Hayes (PhD, Yale, 1982), the Theodore Z. Weiss Professor of Holocaust Studies at Northwestern University, is the author of over forty articles and of several books, including Industry and Ideology: IG Farben in the Nazi Era (Cambridge University Press, 1987; New Edition, 2001), a study that was awarded the 1988 Biennial Book Prize of the Conference Group for Central European History (a section of the American Historical Association), and From Cooperation to Complicity: Degussa in the Third Reich (Cambridge University Press, 2004). He is currently working on two other books: Profits and Persecution: German Big Business and the Holocaust and The Failure of a Generation: German Elites and National Socialism. Teaching at Northwestern University since 1980, Hayes is also the consummate educator. In 1988 he received Northwestern's Distinguished Teaching Award and in 2003 the Alumni Association's Excellence in Teaching Award. Hayes directs the Summer Institute on the Holocaust and Jewish Civilization at Northwestern (funded by the Holocaust Educational Foundation), he serves on the Academic Committee of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, and he is a member of the Academic Advisory Board of the German Society for Business History (Gesellschaft für Unternehmensgeschichte).
Why study the Holocaust through the lens of Germany's business community? Hayes believes that it is far too easy to identify the Nazi villains and thereby focus the blame for the Third Reich's unmatched atrocities on the likes of Himmler, Heydrich, Göring, Goebbels, and, of course, Hitler. What of the thousands who adjusted their principles for these men? By focusing his research on the mindset of a powerful corporate elite, Hayes fixes our attention on the moral dimension of human conduct, showing how otherwise respectable men compromised their ethics by placing either their own interests or those of their firms above those of the regime's victims. The result is troubling in that these are men who we, too, would have respected. What should that tell us?
Sidore Lecture Series
Jerry Fowler, Staff Director for USHMM Committee on Conscience, The Crisis in Darfur, October 18, 2005.
"We have to believe that we can reduce it, that we can fight it when it happens, and we can strive for the day when it is eliminated." – Jerry Fowler
Jerry Fowler is Staff Director of the Committee on Conscience at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The Committee's mandate is "to alert the national conscience, influence policymakers, and stimulate worldwide action to confront and work to halt acts of genocide or related crimes against humanity."
Through conferences, public programs, special exhibitions, teacher training, public speaking and other vehicles, the Committee works to carry out its mandate. Special attention is currently being paid to the urgent crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan. In January 2004, the Committee issued a "Genocide Warning" for Darfur, and in May, Mr. Fowler visited Sudanese refugee camps in Chad to obtain first-hand accounts of the situation. In July, the Committee declared a "Genocide Emergency" for Darfur, the first time in its history that it used this highest level of alert.
Other programs have focused on the threats of genocide in Bosnia, East Timor, and Chechnya. The Committee recently produced and distributed a film about the Rwandan genocide, featuring Canadian General Romeo Dallaire, to educators, activists, and policymakers in more than 30 countries, including the entire U.S. Congress and more than 1,000 U.S. high school teachers.
Mr. Fowler previously was legislative counsel for the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, where he worked on a broad array of human rights issues, including international justice and refugee and asylum policy. His publications include the essay, "Out of that Darkness: Preventing Genocide in the 21st Century," in the 2nd edition of Century of Genocide: Eyewitness Accounts and Critical Views (Routledge, 2004).
Mr. Fowler has taught at George Mason University Law School and George Washington University Law School, and has been a Scholar-in-Residence at American University's summer Human Rights Institute. He is a graduate of Stanford Law School and Princeton University. From 1983 to 1987, he was stationed in Germany as an officer in the United States Army. From 1993 to 1995, he served as Special Litigation Counsel for the U.S. Department of Justice.