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2015 - 2016 Events

Holocaust Journeys

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October 14: The Mitzvah Project – with Roger Grunwald

Co-sponsored by Marshall College and UC San Diego Hillel

"The Mitzvah" ("The Good Deed") is a one-person play that dramatically explores the experience of the many thousands of "Mischlinge" (German men with one or two Jewish Grandparents) who served in the Wehrmacht during the Second World War. A creation of Roger Grunwald and co-author Annie McGreevey, it is followed by a history lesson and a conversation with the audience in one engaging performance. Grunwald is a graduate of UC Berkeley and the London Academic of Music and Dramatic Art and has been a professional performing artist for over thirty years. The Mitzvah Project is an homage to his mother who survived Auschwitz.

November 4: The Holocaust in Comparative Perspective – with Norman Naimark

Co-sponsored by the UC San Diego Department of History

Was the Holocaust unique, or was it a catastrophe comparable to other genocides? This question has engaged historians for decades. In this talk Norman Naimark provides a comparative look at the Shoah. Naimark is an American historian and author of Jewish-Galician descent who specializes in modern Eastern European history and the history of ethnic cleansing and genocide. His publications include The Russians in Germany: The History of the Soviet Zone of Occupation; Fires of Hatred: Ethnic Cleansing in 20th Century Europe; and Stalin's Genocides. Naimark has been awarded the Officers Cross of the Order of Merit by Germany, and he is the recipient of the Alex Springer Berlin Prize from the American Academy in Berlin.

January 13: Think Only of Today: A Documentary About the Life of Holocaust Survivor Max Garcia – with Alberto Lau and Robert Schneider

Think only of today traces the life of Max Garcia from his childhood in Amsterdam through the Holocaust to his immigration and life in the United States. Born in 1924, Max was interned in Westerbork before being deported to Auschwitz and later Mauthausen. The documentary follows Max’s ordeal through war and incarceration but also explores the effect of the Holocaust on succeeding generations. Interviews with Max’s children and grandchildren reveal the different ways individuals from each generation have grappled with the burden of such a searing experience.

February 10: Exile in Ecuador – with Moselio Schaechter

Moselio Schaechter spent his childhood in Mussolini’s Italy. Thanks to a transit visa for Portugal and the United States, the Schaechters made it to Quito, the capital of Ecuador where they arrived in January 1941. Over the next nine years Moselio would struggle to accommodate his Jewish identity with a nascent South American self. In this talk he shares memories of his youth, his experience as part of the Ecuadorian Jewish refugee community, his life in the United States - and his visit to his old "home." Schaechter is distinguished professor emeritus in microbiology at Tufts University and an adjunct professor in microbiology at SDSU and UC San Diego.

Link: Exile in Ecuador

March 2: Charlotte Salomon's Interventions – with Darcy Buerkle

Sponsored by Daniel and Phyllis Epstein

Charlotte Salomon, the daughter of a highly cultivated Jewish family in Berlin and an original writer and artist, was deported to Auschwitz and murdered at the age of twenty-six. In her final work Life? or Theatre? Salomon envisioned the circumstances surrounding the eight suicides in her family, all but one of them women. Life? or Theatre? consists of 769 sequenced autobiographical gouache paintings and is the focus of Darcy C. Buerkle's remarkable recent book Nothing Happened: Charlotte Salomon and an Archive of Suicide. Buerkle is an Associate Professor of History at Smith College.

Link: Charlotte Salomon's Interventions

April 13: Don't Worry About Me: The Remnants of a Forgotten Life – with Hilda van Neck-Yoder

Four letters are all that remains of Loek Kleerekoper, a young radio-technician who spent the last fifteen months of his life in Nazi concentration camps in occupied Holland and Poland. In this talk Hilda van Neck-Yoder traces the fate of her distant cousin whose story has been virtually erased by the Shoah. Her painstaking research in archives in Amsterdam and Vught, the only official SS concentration camp in Northwestern Europe, reveals the brutality and terror that Loek had to confront but was forbidden to describe in his few letters. The result is a story that avoids the oversimplification and clichés that often mar narratives of the Holocaust.

Hilda van Neck-Yoder, Professor Emeritus, was born in the Netherlands and taught Comparative Literature in the Department of English at Howard University.

Link: Don't Worry About Me: The Remnants of a Forgotten Life

May 11: Chava Rosenfarb's The Tree of Life: An Epic About Life in the Lodz Ghetto – with Goldie Morgentaler

Sponsored by Laurayne Ratner

Co-Sponsored by "Revolutions and Their Aftermaths," a UC San Diego Humanities Center Working group

Chava Rosenfarb was one of the great Yiddish writers of the second half of the 20th century. Born in 1923 in the Polish city of Lodz, she began writing poetry in the ghetto. After barely surviving Auschwitz, she was homeless and stateless for several years before immigrating to Canada. She was married to the abortion rights activist and physician Heniek (Henry) Morgentaler. Rosenfarb's work and life will be introduced by her daughter Goldie Morgentaler, a literature professor at the University of Lethbridge and the translator of her mother's works into English. The talk is preceded by a screening of the film Chava Rosenfarb: That Bubble of Being (2015, Yiddish with English subtitles).

June 1: Living with the Holocaust – with Tom Segev

Sponsored by William and Michelle Lerach / Jeffrey and Marcy Krinsk

Tom Segev is a prominent Israeli historian, author, and journalist. A leading figure among the so-called New Historians, he has helped challenge many of the country's traditional narratives or "founding myths." Segev was born in Jerusalem to parents who had fled Nazi Germany. Segev's books include The Seventh Million: the Israelis and the Holocaust (2000); One Palestine Complete: Jews and Arabs Under the British Mandate (2000); 1967: Israel, the War, and the Year That Transformed the Middle East (2006); and Simon Wiesenthal: The Life and Legends (2010). Segev has earned wide praise for his unflinching look at Israel's history and tortured attempt to come to terms with the Holocaust. He is currently at work on a history of David Ben Gurion.

Link: Living with the Holocaust

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