January 2011 Archives

Saturday, February 5
7:00 p.m. at the Lagoon Cinema
1320 Lagoon Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55408

Thumbnail image for Nuremberg.jpg

NUREMBERG: Its Lesson for Today (The Schulberg/Waletzky Restoration) features one of the greatest courtroom dramas in history. NUREMBERG shows how the international prosecutors built their case against the top Nazi war criminals using the Nazis' own films and records.

Following the documentary screening, a panel discussion will take place featuring Sandra Schulberg, Restoration Producer of the Documentary; Steve Hunegs, JCRC Executive Director; and Bruno Chaouat, Director of the Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies, University of Minnesota.

The Nuremberg trial established the "Nuremberg principles" -- the foundation for all subsequent trials for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Though shown in Germany as part of the Allies' de-Nazification campaign, U.S. officials decided not to release NUREMBERG in America for political reasons, nor was it shown in any other country.

Holocaust Survivor Henry Oertelt passed away yesterday, January 27 at the age of 90. He will be greatly missed.

"My message is what can happen if hate goes uncontrolled, you have to do everything in your power . . . to see that hatred will not exist anymore. If you absolutely have to hate - hate Hate!"

To learn more about Henry please visit his web page.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Killing Hrant Dink Twice
Rudaw in English
January 22, 2011

"I don't know why the Turks can't admit it, express sorrow and go on. That's the worst. You do all these things to the victim and then you say it never happened. That is killing them twice."

Read editorial in full

Yad Vashem wishes to educate Iran about Holocaust with Farsi YouTube channel
By Associated press
January 23, 2011

YouTube channel aims to educate Iranians about the Holocaust, as Iranian President Ahmadinejad reiterates his belief that the Holocaust is a myth.

Read full article

Foreign Policy: In Ivory Coast, A 'Genocide' Problem
January 24, 2011

Across the board, the rhetoric on the Ivory Coast is escalating. The West African economic community, ECOWAS, says it is set to intervene militarily to unseat should-be-outgoing President Laurent Gbagbo.

Read full editorial

Opinions expressed in articles posted do not necessarily reflect the view of CHGS but are essential to the ongoing conversation in regards to the study of the Holocaust and other genocides.

The first meeting of the CHGS "Alternative narratives or Denial?" Reading Discussion Group was held on January 11th, 2011. The book discussed was Deborah Lipstadt's Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth.

Talking points and questions that were generated through the discussion are now available on the Reading Discussion Group blog.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Jewish groups push to find Holocaust mass graves
The Washington Post
By Kirsten Grieshaber
The Associated Press
Friday, January 21, 2011; 10:00 AM

BERLIN -- Jewish organizations launched a joint effort Friday to identify, protect and memorialize thousands of forgotten Holocaust mass graves across eastern Europe.

Read full article

High court declines case on genocide lessons
Armenian groups applaud decision
The Boston Globe
By David Abel
Globe Staff / January 21, 2011

The US Supreme Court declined yesterday to hear an appeal of a ruling that state public school guidelines can exclude materials disputing that the mass killing of Armenians in the early 20th century constituted genocide.

Read full article

Inside Higher Ed
Quick Takes
January 19, 2011

The Middle East Studies Association is urging the Turkish Coalition of America to withdraw a lawsuit against the University of Minnesota over materials, since removed from the university's genocide studies website, calling a website of the Turkish group an "unreliable" source for information about the Armenian genocide, which most scholars say happened, and which the Turkish group questions.

On November 30, 2010 The Turkish Coalition of America filed a lawsuit against the U of M, its President, and the director of CHGS Bruno Chaouat. The University of Minnesota filed a dismissal of the suit on December 17, 2010 and a hearing is scheduled for February 4, 2011. Below is a letter of support received from the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) in support of CHGS and the University.

The Middle East Studies Association (MESA) is a private, non-profit, non-political learned society that brings together scholars, educators and those interested in the study of the region from all over the world. From its inception in 1966 with 50 founding members, MESA has increased its membership to more than 3,000 and now serves as an umbrella organization for more than sixty institutional members and thirty-nine affiliated organizations.

The Middle East Studies Association (MESA) fosters the study of the Middle East, promotes high standards of scholarship and teaching, and encourages public understanding of the region and its peoples through programs, publications and services that enhance education, further intellectual exchange, recognize professional distinction, and defend academic freedom.

January 18, 2011

G. Lincoln McCurdy
President, Turkish Coalition of America
1025 Connecticut Avenue, NW Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20036

Dear Mr. McCurdy:

I write to you on behalf of the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA) and its Committee on Academic Freedom to express our grave concern about your decision to file a lawsuit in November 2010 against the University of Minnesota and its Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies. According to press reports, your lawsuit was prompted by the Center's listing of your organization's website as an "unreliable" source with respect to the history of Armenians in the final years of the Ottoman Empire.

MESA was founded in 1966 to promote scholarship and teaching on the Middle East and North Africa. The preeminent organization in the field, the Association publishes the International Journal of Middle East Studies and has nearly 3000 members worldwide. MESA is committed to ensuring academic freedom and freedom of expression, both within the region and in connection with the study of the region in North America and elsewhere.

Until recently, as part of its educational mission, the website of the University of Minnesota's Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies apparently included a section listing websites and web-based resources that scholars associated with the Center deemed to be "unreliable." Presumably, those scholars felt that assertions made on these websites and in these resources were not in keeping with accepted scholarly standards or the consensus among scholars and should therefore be treated with skepticism.

We believe that the principles of academic freedom protect the right of the Center, and of scholars associated with it, to share their assessment of various perspectives with the public in this way. In any event, that section of the website was removed several days before your organization filed suit.

Your organization, and those who hold perspectives different from those expressed by scholars associated with the Center, certainly have the right to participate in open scholarly exchange on the history of the Armenians in the late Ottoman Empire or any other issue, by presenting their views at academic conferences, in the pages of peer-reviewed scholarly journals or by other means, thereby opening them up to debate and challenge. We are distressed that you instead chose to take legal action against the University of Minnesota and its Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, apparently for having at one point characterized views expressed on your website in a certain way.

We fear that legal action of this kind may have a chilling effect on the ability of scholars and academic institutions to carry out their work freely and to have their work assessed on its merits, in conformity with standards and procedures long established in the world of scholarship. Your lawsuit may thus serve to stifle the free expression of ideas among scholars and academic institutions regarding the history of Armenians in the later Ottoman Empire, and thereby undermine the principles of academic freedom.

We do not believe that disagreements about historical issues should be addressed by lawsuits. We therefore call on you to reconsider and withdraw the legal action you have initiated against the University of Minnesota and its Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, and we urge you to instead devote your organization's energies to fostering scholarly debate and exchange on this as on all other issues, in a manner that conforms to the standards and procedures adhered to by scholars and academic institutions and that respects their academic freedom.


Suad Joseph
MESA President
Professor of Anthropology & Women's Studies, University of California, Davis

cc: Bruno Chaouat, Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, University of Minnesota

Original letter in (PDF)
Bruno Chaouat Response to "Unreliable Websites" November 30, 2010
For news and links about the lawsuit

CHGS director Bruno Chaouat interviewed on Palin's use of the term "blood libel" on
Fox 9 News.
Updated: Wednesday, 12 Jan 2011, 9:46 PM CST
Published : Wednesday, 12 Jan 2011, 9:45 PM CST
by Maury Glover / FOX 9 News

MINNEAPOLIS - Since the Tucson shooting, pundits and politicians have been pointing fingers at everything from lax guns laws to political rhetoric . But the national war of words escalated Wednesday when Sarah Palin entered the fray with the term "blood libel."

The term blood libel isn't common in the United States - it was used mostly in Eastern Europe as a way of blaming Jews for the death of Jesus Christ. And Sarah Palin calling herself the victim of blood libel has upset some Jewish leaders.

In a nearly 8-minute video on her Facebook page, Palin said she is being persecuted by political commentators and the media in the wake of the Tucson shooting .
"Journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that severs only to incite the very violence it claims to condemn," Palin said.

Bruno Chouat, director of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Minnesota, says the term blood libel refers to the false belief that Jews use the blood of Christian children for religious rituals, and has been used as an excuse for anti-Semitism since the Middle Ages.

Watch video and read the full article

Abraham H. Foxman
National Director of the Anti-Defamation League
January 10, 2011 11:56 AM
The Huffington Post

We are living at a time when conspiracy theories are flourishing. Partly this is a product of the anxieties that suffuse civilization, about the economy, about terrorism, about global warming. Partly it is a product of the Internet, where conspiracies and rumors spread like wildfire and take on an aura of authenticity.

It is likewise not surprising that in this environment, conspiracy theories about Jews are surfacing and spreading in a way that we haven't witnessed for decades. Since at the very core of anti-Semitism as a phenomenon is a conspiracy theory writ large -- Jews are not what they seem to be but are a hidden, poisonous, powerful cabal -- when conspiracy theories are broadly popular they almost inevitably end up focusing on Jews.

The St. Olaf professor, a well-traveled Norwegian, helped to develop study programs across the globe.

January 4, 2011

Every day, Reidar Dittmann would whip through a crossword puzzle to unwind. Then he'd complete Isaac Asimov's Super Quiz in the newspaper with his wife of nearly 60 years, Chrisma. The daily puzzles were about the only time Dittmann spared to sit still, but he had to keep his mind sharp just to keep pace with his legs.

"He was a larger-than-life dad in some ways -- always so busy, working on campus or traveling," Lisa Dittmann said of her father, a longtime professor at St. Olaf College in Northfield. "He had a steel-trap mind and could recite historical dates, royal empires ... even in the hospital and on morphine, he'd be lecturing us about the Danish kings."

The Peto thesis is, at best, an extended opinion piece
By Karen Mock, James Morton and Howard Tenenbaum
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
The Canadian Jewish News

We have carefully read Jennifer Peto's controversial master's thesis, The Victimhood of the Powerful: White Jews, Zionism and the Racism of Hegemonic Holocaust Education.

After considerable thought and discussion, we have concluded the thesis is a profoundly problematic and flawed document.

Read full commentary

Film Critics David Denby and Roger Ebert take another look at
Claude Lanzmann's "Shoah"

"Shoah" and a new view of history.
by David Denby
January 10, 2011
The New Yorker

Full article

"There is no proper response to this film."
By Roger Ebert
Full article

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