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2014 - 2015 Events

Hidden Stories: Legacy of Pain

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October 22: Getting Here: An Odyssey Through WWII – with Ruth Hohberg

Born in Bielsko, Poland, Ruth Weiss Hohberg fled eastward during WW II. Her parents were forced into a Siberian labor camp and then relocated to Uzbekistan where Ruth attended school. At war's end, she returned to her hometown, only to find the population unwilling to accept returning Jews. After an interlude in Sweden, she arrived in the United States. Her long ordeal illustrates an experience that is less familiar to Holocaust studies but in urgent need of exposure. Hohberg is an artist and writer and lives in Rancho Bernardo. Ruth will be interviewed by UC San Diego undergraduate Rebecca Tran

Link: Getting Here: An Odyssey Through WWII

November 13: Hitler's Furies: Ordinary Women? – with Wendy Lower

Award-winning historian Wendy Lower discusses the lives and experience of German women in the Nazi killing fields. Her study chillingly debunks the age-old myth of the German woman as mother and breeder, removed from the big world of politics and war. The women Lower labels "furies" humiliated their victims, plundered their goods, and often killed them, and like many of their male counterparts, they got away with murder. Lower is the John K. Roth professor of history at Claremont McKenna College and has published widely on the Shoah in Eastern Europe. Wendy will be introduced by Amy L. Zroka, a doctoral candidate writing her dissertation on German nurses on the Eastern Front.

Link: Hitler's Furies: Ordinary Women?

January 21: After Auschwitz: Choosing Life – with Edith Eger

How does one deal with the wreckage of one's life in the aftermath of catastrophe? As a young girl Edith Eger of Kosice, Hungary, was deported to Auschwitz where both of her parents were murdered. At war's end, she moved to the United States and became a clinical psychologist with her own practice in La Jolla. While she could have chosen to remain a permanent victim, she realized early on that true freedom can only be found by forgiving, letting go, and moving on. A prolific motivational speaker, Dr. Eger has appeared on Oprah and on Dutch national television.

Link: After Auschwitz: Choosing Life

February 25: Remembering Survival: Inside a Nazi Slave Labor Camp – with Christopher Browning

Compared to the extermination camps, forced labor camps have received relatively little scholarly attention. Christopher Browning's study of the Polish slave labor camp at Starachowice thus fills an important gap. Based on an analysis of extensive video testimony, Remembering Survival is a historical and historiographical tour de force. By illuminating a forgotten experience, Browning makes a powerful case for the value of video testimony. Browning teaches at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His publications include Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland; Nazi Policy, Jewish Workers, German Killers; and The Origins of the Final Solution: The Evolution of Nazi Jewish Policy.

March 11: Archival Footprints: In Search of the Grishavers – with Herman Grishaver

Originally from Belgium, Herman Grishaver survived the war thanks to his family's escape to the United States. Since retiring from his neurology practice, he has researched the fates of numerous family members during and after the Holocaust. His journey through archives on several continents has yielded surprising insights that take the audience from Antwerp to Linz and from Perpignan to Jerusalem. The result is a tapestry of stories woven from memories, images, and scraps of paper.

Link: Archival Footprints: In Search of the Grishavers

April 15: Growing Up in the Shadow of the Holocaust: A Roundtable Discussion

Since the catastrophic defeat of Nazi Germany, Germans have been forced to confront their "unmasterable past." What was it like to grow up in a divided country burdened with the legacy of genocide? How does one deal with the knowledge of one's people's complicity in mass murder, and how does this knowledge affect one's identity? At this roundtable discussion, primary witnesses of both German and Jewish background explore answers to these questions. 

Link: Growing Up in the Shadow of the Holocaust

April 22: "I Had to Clean My Heart": A Survivor's Story – an original documentary by Bob Schneider and Lou Dunst

Lou Dunst grew up in Jasina, Czechoslovakia. As a teenager he was deported to Auschwitz, Mauthausen, and Ebensee. At war's end, he moved to the United States. How was he able to make peace with his traumatic past? Using exclusive interviews and historical footage, this original documentary provides answers to these questions. The film will be followed by a discussion with Lou Dunst and the filmmakers.

May 6: Whatever Happened to Klimt's Golden Lady? – with E. Randol Schoenberg

Sponsored by Phyllis and Daniel Epstein

E. Randol Schoenberg, the grandson of the composer Arnold Schoenberg and the winner of numerous awards in the field of litigation, is an expert in handling cases involving looted art and the recovery of property stolen by the Nazi authorities during the Holocaust. Among his most prominent cases is that of "Republic of Austria v. Altmann" which resulted in the successful return of six paintings by Gustav Klimt, including the "Golden Lady," to their rightful owner. Schoenberg graduated from Princeton University with a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and a certificate in European Cultural Studies and received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Southern California.

Link: Whatever Happened to Klimt's Golden Lady?

June 3: Missing: The Fate of the Nazi Concentration Camp Archives – with J.J. Surbeck

Since its founding in 1863, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC, the Swiss private organization which many have dubbed the "Guardian of the Geneva Conventions") has helped reunite POWs and uprooted civilians with their families. The Nazi conquest of most of Europe resulted in the displacement of millions of individuals. Beginning in 1943, the British Red Cross and the ICRC began the work of tracing victims of incarceration, forced labor, and relocation. This effort eventually led to the establishment of the International Tracing Service (ITS), also known as the Bad Arolsen Archive. The year 2015 will mark the sixtieth anniversary of the ITS' work under the direction of the ICRC. A Swiss-educated attorney living in San Diego, J.J. Surbeck worked for 16 years for the ICRC and knows its history and workings intimately.

Link: Missing: The Fate of the Nazi Concentration Camp Archives

HIEU 145: The Holocaust as Public History – with DAAD visiting professor Margrit Frölich

In this course students write a paper based on an in-depth engagement with select video testimonies Reflecting on the complicated relationship between history, memory, and trauma allows students to come away with a deeper understanding of the socially constructed nature of the past and the continued relevance of eyewitness testimony.

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