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Keene State College Mourns Death of Dr. Charles Hildebrandt

KEENE, N.H. 10/23/08 - Dr. Charles Hildebrandt, emeritus faculty and professor of Sociology at Keene State College for nearly 30 years, and founder of the Cohen Center for Holocaust Studies at Keene State College, died on October 21.

“It is with great sadness that I confirm the death of Dr. Charles (Chuck) Hildebrandt, who, according to his family, battled Alzheimer’s disease and dementia for the past ten years,” President Helen Giles-Gee wrote in a message to the campus. “We are grateful for his inspiration, vision, passion, and commitment to this important work. Dr. Hildebrandt’s legacy extends from our campus to students, scholars, and colleagues across the country and the world.”

Henry F. Knight, director of the Cohen Center, said he never met Hildebrandt, but feels the founder’s presence remains at the center. “From my very first days at Keene State College and the Cohen Center, I’ve felt the gentle shadow of Chuck Hildebrandt,” Knight said. “Everything about it has been rich and powerful. Like many others in our community, I am proudly in his debt.”

On sabbatical in 1982, Hildebrandt traveled to Jerusalem to study at the Yad Vashem to develop a course on the Sociology of the Holocaust and to prepare to establish a Holocaust Resource Center at Keene State. That year he traveled around the United States collecting books and materials for the center. Today, as one of the nation’s oldest Holocaust resource centers, the Cohen Center for Holocaust Studies is recognized as a “center of excellence” by the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous. It has a strong collection of print and media resources, holds a biennial residential summer institute for educators, and supports a minor in Holocaust studies at Keene State College.

Paul Vincent, a former director of the center and professor of Holocaust studies and history at Keene State, was a long-time friend of Hildebrandt’s. “The center so much reflects the vision that he had,” Vincent said. “His goal was to remember, and to teach. That was very important to him and it’s something I’ve carried with me…”

You can add a personal remembrance or tribute of Chuck Hildebrandt on the Cohen Center site here.

Arrangements for a memorial will be announced at a later time. For more information on the Cohen Center for Holocaust Studies, call 603-358-2940 or visit [

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