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2011 - 2012 Events

Witnessing History

Recorded events are available via:

October 5: Under the Shadow of the Holocaust

Agathe Ehrenfried grew up in Rakosliget, Hungary. She was twenty-one yearsold when the Germans occupied her country and began to round up the Jews. Over the course of the next twelve months she passed through severalconcentration camps including Auschwitz-Birkenau and Plaszow (Krakow). Ehrenfried will be introduced by local philanthropist and community leader Phyllis Epstein, an active supporter of the Shoah Foundation Institute.

November 9: Memories of Crystal Night and Beyond

When the Nazis unleashed the pogrom euphemistically called Kristallnacht (Crystal Night), Gerhard Maschkowski was barely fourteen years old. Kristallnacht initiated a five-year long ordeal of forced labor in various camps such as Jessenmühle, Neuendorf, and Auschwitz-Monowitz. In commemoration of the horrifying event that started it all (Nov. 9, 1938), Maschkowski will share the impact these events have had on his life. Sociology professor Richard Biernacki provides the introductory remarks to this talk.

November 22: Musical Journeys: Shtetl, Ghetto, Israel

Our late fall event features San Diego singer and educator Elisheva Edelson. Edelson learned her first Yiddish songs from her father, a Holocaust survivor. Later on, she studied at "Der Yiddisher Shule" in Mexico where she became involved in Holocaust memorialization. Besides teaching and performing songs in Yiddish, Ladino, and Hebrew, Edelson will provide some background information on the significance of music to the modern Jewish experience. Local Holocaust survivors are invited to attend the event and to share memories of their life before the war.

January 25: Fleeing Fascism: Andrew Viterbi Remembers

Andrew J. Viterbi was born in the Italian town of Bergamo in 1935. When life became more and more difficult for Jews in Mussolini's Italy, his family decided to emigrate to the United States. Starting out as a virtually penniless refugee who could hardly speak English, Viterbi later rose to prominence as an electrical engineer, the inventor of the Viterbi algorithm, and the co-founder of Qualcomm. By way of providing a contrast to his own stunning life-story, Viterbi will also talk about the wartime experience of his cousin by marriage, the world-famous writer and survivor of Auschwitz Primo Levi. UC San Diego professor Deborah Hertz provides a brief historical introduction to these remarkably varied stories.

Link: Fleeing Fascism: Andrew Viterbi Remembers

February 15: German Tragedies: Robert Nichols Remembers

At this event, Robert Nichols, M.D., MPH, will talk about his childhood as a refugee from Nazi Germany. Born in Berlin to the daughter of the anarchist Gustav Landauer (murdered by Bavarian counter-revolutionaries in 1919) and the poet Hedwig Lachmann, Robert was forced to leave Germany as a child. His father, the Russian-born physician Pavel Nikolaevich Peschkowsky who had fled the Russian revolution, died a few years after the family's arrival in the New World, leaving his ailing wife to raise Robert and his brother Mike on her own. Robert never returned to Germany. At this special event, he talks about the difficulties and possibilities of starting a new life on another continent and shares stories and pictures of his famous family members.

Link: German Tragedies: Robert Nichols Remembers

March 7: Judge Norbert Ehrenfreund and Ghosts of Nuremberg

This event features Judge Norbert Ehrenfreund, a witness to history in two senses. After graduating from the Missouri School of Journalism, Ehrenfreund joined the US army and took part in the Allied reconquest of Western Europe under General Patton. After the war, he covered the Nuremberg war crimes trials as a reporter for the army newspaper  Stars and Stripes. His experience in Nuremberg later resulted in the successful book The Nuremberg Legacy, written from the perspective of the eyewitness to history and of the Superior Court judge. Ehrenfreund will be introduced by history professor Patrick Patterson who teaches a course on international law, war crimes, and genocide at UC San Diego.

Link: Judge Norbert Ehrenfreund and Ghosts of Nuremberg

March 12: Bloodlands – with Timothy Snyder

This talk by Timothy Snyder, a historian from Yale University, explores his book Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin. Since its appearance in 2010, the work has created a sensation in intellectual circles both in the U.S. and abroad. Timothy discusses the implications of his unified approach to twentieth-century European history for our understanding of Nazism and Stalinism. The talk and following discussion will be moderated by Amelia Glaser, director of the Russian and Soviet studies program at UC San Diego.

April 18: The Partisans of Vilna – with Michael Bart

To honor this year's Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom Ha-Shoah), Michael Bart shares the incredible story of his parents Zenia Lewinson and Leizer Bart who were both members of the Lithuanian partisan group "The Avengers." Under the leadership of the Zionist Abba Kovner, they vowed to resist the Nazis "until our last breath" - the title of Bart's award-winning history of the Vilna partisans. At this special event Bart relates the struggle of his parents and talks about his own ten-year-long journey to recover their history.

Link: The Partisans of Vilna

May 23: The Politics of Memory – with Tal Golan

Yu?ek Goldberg (later Joseph Golan) grew up in the Polish town of Nere-Miasto and spent time in the Warsaw ghetto before going into hiding. At war's end, he immigrated to Palestine. Goldberg was one of many Holocaust survivors who kept silent about their ordeal until late in life when he decided to commit his memories to paper. In this talk Tal Golan, a professor of history and son of a Holocaust survivor from Poland, reflects on the politics of memory and the struggle for Israeli identity.

Link: The Politics of Memory

June 6: Hiding from the Nazis – with Samuel Horowitz

Samuel Horowitz, born in Lopatyn, Poland, shares an account of his wartime experience in Poland. When the Nazis came in, his family was among the many Jews herded into ghettoes. Threatened with deportation to a camp, the family decided to escape. In the dead of night, they trekked back to their village. A Ukrainian farmer took them in, and they remained in hiding until the end of the war. After several years in Vienna and Munich, Horowitz immigrated to the US. Today, he and his wife Reena are involved in various philanthropic causes.

Courses using the Visual History Archives (Fall 2011)

Courses using the Visual History Archives (Fall 2011)

HIEU 144, "Confronting Genocide: How Germans Remember Their Past" taught by Susanne Hillman

In this course students are provided with an overview of the ways Germans in East and West have dealt with their "unmasterable" past. Alongside the historical instruction, students will be introduced to the Visual History Archive. They will learn to evaluate select interviews for the purpose of research and to critically "read" audiovisual sources as a type of text. As part of the course requirements, students will write a research paper based primarily on video testimony.

Other UCSD courses using the VHA:

CAT II, "Animation, Stimulation, Performance" taught by Emily Roxworthy

HIEU 154, "Modern Germany: From Bismarck to Hitler" taught by Susanne Hillman

Courses using the Visual History Archives (Spring 2012)

Courses using the Visual History Archives (Spring 2012)

EU 158, "Why Hitler, How Auschwitz?" taught by Professor Deborah Hertz

Students in this class will write an essay based on testimony from the Visual History Archive. They will compare two selected testimonies in their entirety, analyze the interviewees' grappling with traumatic memory, and reflect on the value of audiovisual primary sources.

ITO 107, "Holocaust Video Production" taught by Professor Isaac Artenstein

 In this course students learn to produce creative video projects by conducting interviews and drawing from relevant texts, lectures, the Visual History Archive, and other materials. This will allow them to expand and deepen their understanding of the Holocaust and help contribute to the body of work documenting this period in history.


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