November 2010 Archives

This statement is in response to articles published in the Pioneer Press on 11-19-2010 and in the Minnesota Daily on 11-23-10 regarding the removal of "unreliable websites" from the website of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies (CHGS) at the University of Minnesota.

I assumed directorship of CHGS in July 2010. Since then, I have focused on promoting the Center's mission of research, education and outreach. I have been speaking with the community and with colleagues on campus to communicate the new initiatives and intellectual orientation of the Center.

My staff and I have invested much effort in trying to update the Center's website. Part of this updating process bears on the educational section, and its listing of websites that CHGS perceives as unreliable sources of information for students and researchers. I decided to remove the section providing links to "unreliable websites." My rationale was quite simple: never promote, even negatively, sources of illegitimate information.

During almost twenty years working in higher education, I have never put a dubious source on a syllabus for my students, not even for the purpose of delegitimizing the source. The decision to remove the links to "unreliable websites" was made before the Turkish Coalition of America began its efforts to intimidate CHGS into removing the links. The links were replaced with legitimate information devoted to the history, ideology and psychology of Holocaust and genocide denial.

On behalf of the CHGS, I want to reiterate that in accordance with the vast majority of serious and rigorous historians, the CHGS considers the massacre of the Armenians during World War I as a case of genocide. To insinuate, as the articles published in the newspapers mentioned above, that the mission of CHGS is somehow influenced and biased by donors' money is incorrect.

Genocide and Holocaust denial is an important issue for CHGS. When I took over the direction of the Center, I put together a lecture series on this very question. This series will begin in 2011 and will continue in the academic year of 2011-12. I invite all persons interested in the issue of genocide and Holocaust denial to attend the lectures and participate in our discussions.

Bruno Chaouat
Director

Minnesota Film Arts and the Sabes Foundation Minneapolis Jewish Film Festival proudly present the premiere of the documentary, Ahead of Time, the directorial debut from award-winning cinematographer Bob Richman (An Inconvenient Truth, Waiting for Superman) highlighting the exceptional life of Ruth Gruber.

Does Academic Freedom Protect Holocaust Deniers?

Replies from Cary Nelson and Naomi Schaefer Riley
The Chronicle of Higher Education

Please see the full article at The Chronicle for Higher Education for the complete article and other comments.

Cary Nelson Replies

It is not actually tenure that may shield Kaukab Siddique from sanctions for his public statements about the Holocaust; it is academic freedom, a value that survives only if it protects remarks we despise as well as those we endorse. If Siddique were to be punished, he would no doubt immediately claim that his academic freedom had been violated. That would trigger due process and a hearing before a committee of his peers, whether he was a tenured faculty member, a first-year assistant professor, or an adjunct faculty member teaching a single course.

This continues the coverage over the debate of Holocaust Denial in an academic setting in the case of Kaukab Siddique, who teaches literature and mass communications at Lincoln University, in Pennsylvania.

Reprinted from the The Chronicle of Higher Education

November 7, 2010
Does Academic Freedom Protect Holocaust Deniers?
Two views on the question

Michael Morgenstern for The Chronicle
Response by Cary Nelson
Response by Naomi Schaefer Riley

It Depends on the Context
By Cary Nelson

Imagine the following classroom conversations:

Student in a world-literature class: "I'd like to write my final paper on Holocaust poetry. I'm trying to decide whether Yevgeny Yevtushenko's 'Babi Yar,' Paul Celan's 'Todesfuge,' or Jorie Graham's 'Annunciation With a Bullet in It' is the best poem."

Faculty member's answer: "You cannot take up that question unless you recognize that the poems are all flawed fantasies. None are based on fact. The Holocaust never happened."

Student in a political-science or philosophy class: "Which man-made disaster is worse: Bhopal or the Holocaust?"

Faculty member's answer: "There's no excuse for Bhopal. It didn't have to happen. But the Holocaust didn't actually happen at all. Give me a better comparison."

I could generate numerous similar scenarios. A student in a medieval-history course, for example, might contrast a natural catastrophe, the Black Death, with the Holocaust. A student in an art-history class might write about Holocaust painting or sculpture; a student in a music-history course study the role of music in the concentration camps; a student in an ethics class consider the burden the Holocaust has placed on future generations. Nothing in those syllabi might suggest beforehand that the Holocaust will arise, but it can--and does.

Find out how this is possible- Come to the final screening of Einsatzgruppen: The Death Brigades. Sunday, November 7, 6:30 p.m. St. Anthony Main Theater. For ticket info Minnesota Film Arts.

(UKPA) - 6 hours ago
A Holocaust-era mass grave containing the bodies of an estimated 100 Jews killed by Romanian troops has been discovered in a forest, researchers have said, offering further evidence of the country's involvement in wartime crimes.

The discovery, in a forest near the Romanian town of Popricani, contained the bodies of men, women and children who were shot dead in 1941, the Elie Wiesel National Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania said in a statement on Friday.

On Thursday, November 11, at 7:00p.m., Enemies of the People, an award winning documentary, will premiere at St. Anthony Main Theater, 115 SE Main Street, Minneapolis, MN 55414. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with Director/Producer Rob Lemkin.


Sunday, November 7- Michael Prazan's documentary, Einsatzgruppen: The Death Brigades will be shown in its entirety with a brief intermission. After the screening please join us for a question and answer session with the filmmaker and gain further insights into the making of this important film.

St. Anthony Main Theater
115 Main St SE
Minneapolis
Tickets: $6.00 students /senior $8.50 general admission

To purchase advanced tickets please visit the Minnesota Film Arts site.

This question is often asked when studying the Holocaust and other genocides. This week French filmmaker Michael Prazan will touch on this question with his groundbreaking documentary Einsatzgruppen: The Death Brigades, being shown exclusively in the Twin Cities on Thursday, November 4 and Sunday November 7 at the St. Anthony Main Theater. Prazan and the film are being sponsored by the University of Minnesota's Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies (CHGS) with Minnesota Film Arts.
Thumbnail image for einsatzgruppen.jpg

"Einsatzgruppen: The Death Brigades is an essential film for those eager to understand the mechanics of evil and prevent its recurrence," said, Bruno Chaouat, director for CHGS.

"I think we all have a concept of what we individually believe evil to look like, but as we have found it isn't quite as clear cut as it would seem. Hannah Arendt in her controversial report Eichmann in Jerusalem identified the men who perpetrated the crimes representing what she called the banality of evil. Christopher Browning, in his landmark work Ordinary Men took Arendt's argument one step further focusing on the many so called "normal" Germans who turned into mass murders. Prazan's film, blending Claude Lanzmann's (the director of the acclaimed Holocaust documentary Shoah) method of interviewing witnesses, survivors and perpetrators with archive footage, adds his own, original voice to this descent into the night of human soul."

Yahoo News
by Lachlan CarmichaelMon Nov 1, 8:39 am ET

PHNOM PENH (AFP) - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday hailed the work of a Khmer Rouge war crimes tribunal as "painful but necessary", despite Cambodian opposition to pursuing more regime leaders.

Clinton praised the nation for confronting its dark past after an emotional visit to Phnom Penh's genocide museum, where she saw photos of gaunt-faced prisoners, dozens of skulls of victims and paintings of people being tortured.

The court "is bringing some of the people who caused so much suffering to justice... The work of the tribunal is painful but it is necessary to ensure a lasting peace," Clinton told young Cambodians at a town hall-style meeting.

A former businessman accused of supervising the massacre of some 2,000 Rwandan Tutsi civilians taking shelter in a church was today convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison by the United Nations tribunal set up to deal with the 1994 genocide.

Gaspard Kanyarukiga, who was arrested in South Africa in July 2004, was found guilty of genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity, according to a press release by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

The Armenian Reporter
by Tom Vartabedian
Published: Tuesday November 02, 2010

Haverhill, Mass. - Like many Armenian Genocide survivors, my mother would stand erect at April 24th commemorations with a red carnation in hand, recite her prayers and sing her songs with conviction.

The fact she was into her mid-90s paid little consequence.

As the years rolled by, she watched her coterie dwindle from 70 to a precious few. In her home town of Haverhill, she remained the sole survivor. Her Armenian name was Ojen --- an unusual one at that --- and her very last observance in 2008 had fate written all over it.

The Armenian Reporterby Tom Vartabedian
Published: Tuesday November 02, 2010

Haverhill, Mass. - Like many Armenian Genocide survivors, my mother would stand erect at April 24th commemorations with a red carnation in hand, recite her prayers and sing her songs with conviction.

The fact she was into her mid-90s paid little consequence.

As the years rolled by, she watched her coterie dwindle from 70 to a precious few. In her home town of Haverhill, she remained the sole survivor. Her Armenian name was Ojen --- an unusual one at that --- and her very last observance in 2008 had fate written all over it.

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