May 2014 Archives

CHGS is sad to announce the loss of friend and Holocaust survivor, Fred Baron.

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Fred Baron was born in Vienna in 1924. He was 15 when the German's annexed (Anschluss) Austria in 1938. Fred's father had died while his sister was sent to England as part of the Kindertransport in 1939. Meanwhile, he and his mother sought shelter and lived in hiding. In 1941 they managed to escape to Hungary. Fred was arrested in Hungary and imprisoned for a time while his mother was sent to an interment camp. In June 1944 he was deported to Auschwitz.

After time in various labor camps, he was liberated by the British Army at Bergen-Belsen; in terrible health he was taken to Sweden for medical care. At the hospital he met his future wife Judith, who was also a Holocaust survivor, and was reunited with his sister. He resettled in Minnesota in 1947, attracted to the large Swedish population.

With Judith he raised a family, started a successful business and was a great supporter of the community. He had a kind and gentle spirit and a very optimistic outlook on life. He spoke often about his experiences and generously supported Holocaust education.

Fred died at the age of 91 on May 23, 2014. He will be sorely missed.

By Jodi Elowitz

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I met Margot De Wilde when I was working as the director of Holocaust education at the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC). Margot had contacted me to make me aware that she was available to go out to schools to tell her story and would I be interested in helping her organize this. After meeting with her I knew that we would indeed work together, but I did not know at the time that we would become good friends.

Margot's story is one of resistance, tragedy, and resilience. Margot was an active member of the Jewish resistance under Nazi occupation of the Netherlands; she worked in the underground by delivering false passports and identification cards to Jews to aid them in leaving Holland. Margot and her husband Lo were arrested when attempting to escape using these underground papers via train to Switzerland. Both were then sent to Auschwitz.

Margot was assigned to the infamous Block 10 where she endured and survived the Nazi medical experiments that were performed in Auschwitz under the supervision of Dr. Josef Mengele. In a rare occurrence, Margot was made aware that Lo was in the camp in the sick barrack, which she could see from hers. On one occasion she was able to catch a glimpse of him. She often told me how surreal that moment was as she wondered to herself if she was actually married to the man she saw through the cracks, (a shadow of his former self) or if they would remain married after all they had been through. Lo died in Block 9 at Auschwitz in 1944.

By Jodi Elowitz

Ida
, directed by Pawel Pawlikowski, is a beautiful work of cinema, lovingly paying homage to other Polish filmmakers in his use of cinematography and black and white to convey a strong film about Poland's troubled past.

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Like Aftermath, the other recent film about polish memory and the Holocaust, the main characters in Ida are looking for an answer to their own identities lost amongst the secrets of the past. Both films deal with the idea of memory and what the characters, and to an extent the viewers, think we know about history, and yet what is uncovered is far worse than what we can imagine.

In life there are many ways of dealing with the past. We can claim ignorance and refuse knowledge out of a sense of innocence or misunderstanding or we can tell ourselves many things to help us suppress memories too painful to recall. Days, weeks, months and years might go by, but finally when confronted with the truth, we can no longer hide and must reconcile who we were in the past with who we have become now. The film does this by examining the characters against the crossroads (symbolically) of Poland and its memory of the Holocaust, Stalinism, Catholic religion, Nationalism and Judaism.

There are many confessions and truths unveiled in Ida. Pawliskowski's decision to shoot in black and white gives the film the stark contrasts, using the dark and light to highlight the past and the present, the living and the dead, as well as issues of good and evil, right and wrong. Shadows and grey tones fall over the landscape and the faces of the characters to evoke beauty, sorrow, wonder and desperation.

The film is like a photograph found in a drawer, creating a sense of nostalgia not for the good old days but more towards the notion of putting things right. The fog of the past has been lifted on Poland and now with history unearthed they can find ways to live with the truth in order to move forward.

IDA opens at Uptown Theater on May 30th and Edina Cinema on June 6th.

To watch the trailer, please click here.

For more information on the film, please visit Music Box Films.

One of the less known dimensions of the history of World War II was how Jews living under French colonial rule in North Africa were devastated by the fall of France and the establishment of the French collaborationist government of Vichy in 1940. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in Washington, DC has in recent years amassed a considerable archive related to the Jews of North Africa during the war and has encouraged scholars to research this subject.

In June 2010, Daniel Schroeter, the Amos S. Deinard Memorial Chair in Jewish History at the University of Minnesota, co-taught a research workshop at the USHMM, and began studying their voluminous collection of documents. He will be returning to Washington, DC, having been awarded the Ina Levine Invitational Scholar Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies of the USHMM for the 2014-2015 academic year.

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During Schroeter's residency at the USHMM, he will be conducting research for a book on the subject of Vichy and the Jews in the protectorate of Morocco. Jews under French colonial rule were legally classified as indigenous Moroccan subjects of the sultan, a ruler whose power was limited and controlled by the French administration. The anti-Jewish laws, instigated by the central Vichy government in France, and promulgated in Morocco by the French protectorate authorities as royal decrees signed by the sultan Mohammed Ben Youssef, revealed the racism and discrimination inherent in the colonial system and the ambivalent position of the Moroccan monarchy and the Muslim population towards the Jews.

Research conducted at the Center will focus on the legal, social, and economic impact of the Vichy regime on the Moroccan Jewish communities, the response of the Muslim leaders and population to the anti-Jewish measures implemented in different parts of the country, and the contested politics of remembrance of World War II in Morocco.

For more information on Daniel Schroeter, please click here.

Registration for University of Minnesota's fall 2014 semester is now open with a number of courses that fall within the Center's interdisciplinary approach to the study of the Holocaust and genocide.

The following courses are designed to provide direct and comprehensive instruction on the topic of the Holocaust, as well as the social, memorial and political impact of genocides:

History 3729, Nazi Germany and Hitler's Europe
Professor Gary Cohen
Comprehensive exploration of Third Reich. Students will examine How the Nazis came to power, transformations of 1930s, imposition of racial politics against Jews/others, nature of total war. Students read historical accounts, memoirs, state documents, view films.

Global Studies 4910, "Never Again!" Memory and Politics After Genocide
Professor Alejandro Baer
This course focuses on the aftermath of large-scale political violence. How do individuals, communities and societies come to terms with these atrocities? How do successor regimes balance the demands for justice with the need for peace and reconciliation? How is public memory of the atrocities constructed?

For an extended list of multi-disciplinary courses that present contextual studies of conflicts, human rights violations, power dynamics, social memory and transformation that are mirrored in the Holocaust and other genocides, please see the Fall 2014 Courses List.pdf

To register please visit the University of Minnesota's One Stop Home.

On May 8th, the Reframing Mass Violence Collaborative hosted Associate Researcher of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Francisco Ferrándiz, to present a lecture entitled Exhumations, Memory and the Return of Civil War Ghosts in Spain.

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In his talk, Ferrándiz examined the social process of the exhumation of mass graves from the Spanish Civil War and the Post-War years, including from political and legal initiatives of great social and media impact to local actions on the ground, at times failed, ephemeral or almost imperceptible, but no less crucial.

To view the lecture please click here.

This event was co-sponsored by the Human Rights Program and the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies.


On April 16, 17 & 19, the Institute for Global Studies, the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies and the Human Rights Program held a series of events to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 1994 genocide that took the lives of an estimated 500,000-1,000,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus. The events included a public conference, a student conference, and a K-16 teacher workshop. The objectives of the commemorative events were: promoting public understanding of what happened in Rwanda, discussing the immediate responses of the international community to the violence, and analyzing the long-term consequences that the cataclysmic failure to prevent the genocide had on international policy and action.

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The public conference, Genocide and its Aftermath: Lessons from Rwanda, was designed to bring together research and praxis. Academics, activists and diplomats led a public exploration of what we have learned from the genocide in Rwanda and how we have been affected by, and should use, that knowledge to create more effective methods of intervention. Themes of the panels included: representations of atrocity, immediate aftermaths, transitional justice and its impacts, and preventing genocide and mass atrocity.

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Watch the conference's opening address by Taylor Krauss, founder of Voices of Rwanda, and the keynote address by Adama Dieng, United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, as well as the three panel discussions, by clicking here or visiting CHGS' youtube channel.


On April 16, 17 & 19, the Institute for Global Studies, the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies and the Human Rights Program held a series of events to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 1994 genocide that took the lives of an estimated 500,000-1,000,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus. The events included a public conference, a student conference, and a K-16 teacher workshop. The objectives of the commemorative events were: promoting public understanding of what happened in Rwanda, discussing the immediate responses of the international community to the violence, and analyzing the long-term consequences that the cataclysmic failure to prevent the genocide had on international policy and action.

109.jpg

The public conference, Genocide and its Aftermath: Lessons from Rwanda, was designed to bring together research and praxis. Academics, activists and diplomats led a public exploration of what we have learned from the genocide in Rwanda and how we have been affected by, and should use, that knowledge to create more effective methods of intervention. Themes of the panels included: representations of atrocity, immediate aftermaths, transitional justice and its impacts, and preventing genocide and mass atrocity.

Watch the conference's opening address by Taylor Krauss, founder of Voices of Rwanda, and the keynote address by Adama Dieng, United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, as well as the three panel discussions, please click here or visit CHGS' youtube channel.


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Dr. Hollie Nyseth Brehm will represent the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies this summer at the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) Conference, "Time, Movement, and Space: Genocide Studies and Indigenous Peoples." Held at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada from July 16-19, 2014, this eleventh annual conference presents an opportunity for genocide scholars to engage in discussion about colonial control over, expansion into, appropriation and settlement of Indigenous territories.

At the Saturday session of the conference, Dr. Nyseth Brehm will join Christoper Uggen and Jean-Damascene Gasanabo to present a panel on "Genocide, Justice and Rwanda's Gacaca Courts" under the conference's heading of "Genocide's Spaces of Law and Justice."

On June 9, 2014 Dr. Nyseth Brehm successfully defended her dissertation, "Conditions and Courses of Genocides." Her advisors are professors Elizabeth Boyle and Joachim Savelsberg. In fall 2014, Dr. Nyseth Brehm will begin her career as an Assistant Professor of Sociology with the Department of Sociology at Ohio State University-Columbus.


Each spring, the Human Rights Program and the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies celebrate the tremendous work of students in human rights with the Inna Meiman Award and the Sullivan Ballou Award. This year three University of Minnesota undergraduate students have been recognized for their accomplishments in promoting and protecting human rights. Melanie Paurus has been awarded the 4th Annual Inna Meiman Human Rights Award, while Joe Fifield and Anna Meteyer have been honored with the Sullivan Ballou Award.

The Inna Meiman Award is given in recognition of the friendship between Inna Meiman, a Soviet era Jewish refusenik who was repeatedly denied a visa to seek medical treatment, and Lisa Paul, a graduate of the University of Minnesota who fought tirelessly on her behalf, including a 25-day hunger strike that galvanized a movement for Inna's freedom. The award is intended to recognize a University of Minnesota student who embodies a commitment to human rights. As this year's recipient, Melanie Paurus will receive a $1,000 scholarship.

The Sullivan Ballou Award is supported by the Sullivan Ballou Fund and is named after Major Sullivan Ballou, an Army soldier killed at the First Battle of Bull Run in the U.S. Civil War. The award honors Major Ballou's memory by recognizing a student who devotes heartfelt energy to promote human rights. The Sullivan Ballou Fund gives $1000 awards to celebrate and affirm people acting from the heart. They provide compassion, services, or advocacy to their local communities, the poor, homeless, children, victims of violence and mistreatment or the disabled.

Melanie, Joe and Anna embody the spirit with which these awards were created - recognizing a significant personal contribution to protecting human rights and the heartfelt energy that compels an advocate to take meaningful action.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from May 2014 listed from newest to oldest.

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