Recently in Community Events Category

On January 29 CHGS, the Center for Jewish Studies and the Department of French & Italian as well as several other centers and departments at the University of Minnesota hosted a discussion "Can One Laugh at Everything? Satire and Free Speech After Charlie." Speakers included Anthony Winer (William Mitchell College of Law); William Beeman (Anthropology); Jane Kirtley (Journalism); Bruno Chaouat (French & Italian); and Steven Sack (Editorial Cartoonist, Minneapolis Star Tribune).


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This year marks the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Litzmannstadt (i.e. Łódź) Ghetto, the second-largest ghetto (after the Warsaw Ghetto) established for Jews and Romani in German-occupied Poland. The Marek Edelman Dialogue Center will be hosting a commemoration of the ghetto's liquidation from August 28 - 31, 2014 in and near Łódź, Poland.

A total of 204,000 Jews passed through the Litzmannstadt Ghetto. Despite reverses in the war, the Germans persisted in liquidating the ghetto and were able to transport the remaining population to Auschwitz and Chełmno extermination camps, where most died. It was the last ghetto in Poland to be liquidated. It is believed that the last transport took place on August 29, 1944.

A full program of the commemorations can be found by clicking here. Registration is needed to take part in selected events and is available here.

The USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research (CAGR) has invited senior scholars to apply for its 2014-2015 Center Research Fellow. Applications will be accepted from now until July 14, 2014.

The fellowship provides $30,000 support and will be awarded to an outstanding candidate from any discipline who will advance genocide research through the use of the Visual History Archive (VHA) of the USC Shoah Foundation and other USC resources. The incumbent will spend one semester in residence at the CAGR during the 2014-2015 academic year and will be expected to provide the Center with fresh research perspectives, play a role in Center activities, and to give a public talk during his or her stay.

For more information, please see the USC Shoah Foundation Call for Applications.pdf

The CAGR was launched in April 2014 and builds on the diverse and interdisciplinary genocide research programs established over the last several years at the University of Southern California to offer a unique research opportunity to students and scholars around the world.

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

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


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

, 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.

Sunday, April 27, 2014
7:00 PM

Temple of Aaron
616 S. Mississippi River Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55116

Featuring voices of Twin Cities Holocaust Survivors, the annual Yom HaShoah Commemoration honors the memory of the six million Jews and other victims murdered in the Holocaust. As is tradition at Yom HaShoah, Holocaust survivors are invited to light candles in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.

The event is free of charge and open to the public. For more information, please e-mail

Sponsors: the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, Children of Holocaust Survivors Association in Minnesota (CHAIM), Temple of Aaron, the Minneapolis Jewish Federation, and the Jewish Federation of Greater St. Paul

Walker Cinema
Friday, April 25, 7:30 pm
Saturday, April 26, 4 and 7:30 pm
Sunday, April 27, 2 pm

$9 ($7 Walker members and seniors; $5 students)


Mixing animated clay figures, archival footage, and his own narration, Phnom Penh-born director Rithy Panh forms a deeply haunting and personal account of his experience with the Khmer Rouge, uncovering untold stories of the many who suffered and those who survived under Pol Pot's faltering cultural revolution.

This "powerful testament to incredible human resilience" (Time Out) won the Un Certain Regard Award at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for an Academy Award.

The Walker Cinema is proud to present this exclusive engagement--this will be your only chance to see the film projected in a movie theater in the Twin Cities.

» Tickets and more information

April 24th, 7:20PM

St. Sahag Armenian Church
203 N. Howell St. in St Paul, MN
(In the Summit Ave. neighborhood midway between Macalester College and St Thomas University)

Through prayer, poetry, speeches and music, we will reflect on the renewal of the Armenian spirit and the indomitable strength of the Armenian people.

Sponsors: Armenian Cultural Organization of Minnesota

A Series of Events to Commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda
April 16, 17, 19, 2014
University of Minnesota
Sponsorship made possible in part by the Arsham and Charlotte Ohanessian Fund at the Minneapolis Foundation.

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The Institute for Global Studies, The Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies and the Human Rights Program are hosting three days of events to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the genocide that took place in Rwanda in 1994. The events will include a public conference, a student conference, and a K-16 teacher workshop. The objectives of the commemorative events are: 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.

For a complete listing of events please click here.


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