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Archive: 2006-2008

Holocaust Memorial Week Events in 2008

Taner Akçam: The Armenian Genocide and the Reasons for Turkish Denial

May 1, 7:30 pm at Construction and Engineering Auditorium, LaSells Stewart Center

Taner Akçam


A Turkish historian currently teaching at the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Minnesota, Taner Akçam has done groundbreaking research into the campaign to destroy the Armenian minority of the Ottoman Empire in 1915-16. His numerous publications include the recent, highly acclaimed study, A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility.


Akçam provides compelling evidence as regards both the scope of the genocide and the role played by the Ottoman government in planning it and carrying it through. He also deals -- and will deal during his talk on May 1st with the reasons why the Turkish government continues to minimize the episode.




Thomas Blatt: Survivor Testimony /The Escape from Sobibor

April 30, 7:30 pm at Austin Auditorium, LaSells Stewart Center

Thomas Blatt


Thomas "Toivi" Blatt will discuss his experiences during World War II. Blatt endured many hardships during these years, particularly at Sobibor, an extermination camp where perhaps 250,000 Jews were gassed. But he also participated in the uprising and escape of October 1943, an event that, aside from the Warsaw Ghetto Rising of April-May 1943, is the best-known act of defiance by the Jews during the Holocaust. Blatt was one of about 300 prisoners to escape from Sobibor; only about fifty survived the war, and only seven are known still to be alive.

Thomas Blatt c.1945


Over the past thirty years, Blatt has become established as the main source of information on the escape and he has published two noteworthy books about it, Sobibor: The Forgotten Revolt (a history of the camp) and From the Ashes of Sobibor (a memoir, but also a study of his time in Sobibor and the escape).

(right) Thomas Blatt c.1945




The Diary of Anne Frank 

April 29, 7:00 pm at Crescent Valley H.S. Theater

Photograph of Anne Frank, dated May 1942


This is the version of the famous play as revised by Wendy Kesselman. It is somewhat more stark than the original, which debuted in 1955, and like it has received acclaim and multiple awards since it was first produced on Broadway in 1997.


The CVHS performance is produced by Albany Civic Theater and is co-sponsored by the OSU Holocaust Program. There is a modest admission charge [all events at OSU are free]. ACT will also be staging several performances of the play in Albany.





Pearl Oliner: Very Religious and Irreligious Rescuers of Jews in Nazi Europe:

What Was the Difference and What Difference Does It Make?

April 28, 7:30 pm at Austin Auditorium, LaSells Stewart Center

 Pearl Oliner

Pearl Oliner will speak on the mental characteristics of the altruists who rescued Jews during the Holocaust. With her husband, Sam (a Holocaust survivor), she wrote, in 1988, The Altruistic Personality, a classic in its field.

She has also written several other major works on rescuers in Holocaust Europe, including Saving the Forsaken: Religious Culture and the Rescue of Jews in Nazi Europe. Pearl Oliner is the research director of the Altruistic Personality and Prosocial Behavior Institute at Humboldt State University.





Holocaust Memorial Week Events in 2007 

Stephanie Nyombayire: Will Darfur be Another Rwanda?

April 19, 7:30 pm at Milam Auditorium

Stephanie Nyombayire



The campaign of murder and rape that has engulfed Darfur, a region in western Sudan, since 2003, is widely regarded as the greatest human-rights crisis in the world today. The death toll is in the hundreds of thousands - 400,000 is a widely accepted estimate - and several million Darfurians have been displaced. Famine and disease are widespread.

Stephanie Nyombayire is uniquely qualified to speak of genocide. Not only has she visited Darfurian refugee camps and heard the testimony of victims, but she herself lost one hundred members of her family in the genocidal campaign in Rwanda in 1994. She often speaks on American campuses as a representative of the Genocide Intervention Network, an organization founded at Swarthmore (where Ms. Nyombayire is a student) in 2004 to combat genocide in general and the Darfurian genocide in particular.





Eva and Leslie Aigner: Surviving the Holocaust -- Two Testimonies

April 18, 7:30 pm at Milam Auditorium

Eva and Leslie Aigner


Central to any Holocaust Memorial Program must be the testimony of some representative of those few who survived the genocide and are still today able to give testimony on what they saw and experienced. This year we will be fortunate to hear two stories of survival, both of them remarkable.

Les and Eva Aigner now live in the Portland area. During the war, Les Aigner endured the horrors of Auschwitz and Dachau. Eva, who during these years was a teenager living in Budapest, narrowly escaped death at the hands of Hungarian fascists. More than forty years then passed before they chose to speak publicly of their wartime experiences.



Alexander Korb: Intertwined Genocides? Violence against Serbs, Jews, and Roma in Wartime Croatia, 1941-45

April 18, 4:00 pm at Milam Hall, Room 202

 Alexander Korb


More than three-quarters of the Jews who lived in Yugoslavia at the start of World War II perished in the Holocaust. The situation may have been worst of all in Croatia, where a pro-Nazi regime was maintained in power by German and Italian forces, as well as by its own paramilitary, the Ustasa. The Germans regarded the Croatians as such strong allies that they even allowed them to operate their own concentration camps. The Ustasa and the Germans murdered or deported to Auschwitz not only many Jews but Roma ("Gypsies") as well. Many thousands of Serbs were likewise killed.

Alexander Korb, a Ph.D. candidate at Humboldt University of Berlin, is currently a Charles H. Revson Fellow at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Although a young scholar, he has published extensively on German concentration camps and other Holocaust-related topics. His talk at OSU grows out of research at the USHMM. This research is ground-breaking - as will be his dissertation and the book to follow - for as matters stand the Holocaust in Croatia has not been the subject of a detailed study in English. As the title of his OSU talk suggests, Mr. Korb will deal not only with the fate of the Jews in Croatia but with that of the Roma and Serbs as well, and he will suggest a dynamic that linked the three genocidal campaigns.



Jon Lewis: Fateless (film)

April 17, 7:30 pm at Construction and Engineering Auditorium, LaSells Stewart Center



Released in 2005, Fateless is based on the similarly titled novel by Imre Kertész, a Hungarian writer who (with particular reference to this work) was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2002. This film, which follows a Hungarian Jewish boy on his journey through Auschwitz and Buchenwald in 1944-45, draws on the wartime experiences of Kertész, who himself adapted his novel for the screen and made it more autobiographical. Fateless, which is subtitled and includes dialogue in Hungarian, German, and English, has been praised by film critics for both its unrelenting realism and its distinctive cinematography, which one reviewer described as "mystically translucent."

Jon Lewis is a professor of English at OSU, with an area of concentration in Film Studies. Among his many published works on cinema are The New American Cinema (1998) and The End of Cinema as We Know It (2002).



Lawrence Baron: Recent Trends in Holocaust Cinema

April 16, 7:30 pm at Construction and Engineering Auditorium, LaSells Stewart Center

Lawrence Baron


In this talk, which will be illustrated by film clips, Professor Baron will trace the major changes in the genre and themes of recent Holocaust cinema, as reflected in such films as Europa, Europa, Schindler's List, Aimee and Jaguar, Life Is Beautiful, and The Pianist.

Lawrence Baron is the Nasatir Professor of Modern Jewish History at San Diego State University. A noted speaker and author, Professor Baron has made significant contributions to several areas of study that relate to the Holocaust, including altruism. His talk at OSU will draw on his latest book, Projecting the Holocaust into the Present: The Changing Focus of Contemporary Holocaust Cinema (Rowman & Littlefield, 2005).





Lawrence Baron: Not in Kansas Anymore: Holocaust Movies for Children

April 16, 4:00 pm at Milam Hall, room 206

Lawrence Baron



As the Holocaust increasingly has been incorporated into public education, feature films, often based on fiction that is intended for young readers, are being made. Professor Baron will review this trend, starting with Disney's The Devil in Vienna and proceeding through Dustin Hoffman's production of The Devil's Arithmetic. While of interest to a broad audience, this event should have a particular appeal to those who teach, or may one day teach, Holocaust-related topics in the schools.

Lawrence Baron is the Nasatir Professor of Modern Jewish History at San Diego State University. A noted speaker and author, Professor Baron has made significant contributions to several areas of study that relate to the Holocaust, including altruism. His talk at OSU will draw on his latest book, Projecting the Holocaust into the Present: The Changing Focus of Contemporary Holocaust Cinema (Rowman & Littlefield, 2005).



Holocaust Memorial Week Events in 2006 


Daniel Asa Rose: Humility and Chutzpah - The Making of a Holocaust Memoir

April 27, 7:30 pm at Construction and Engineering Auditorium, LaSells Stewart Center

Daniel Asa Rose


In 2000, Daniel Asa Rose published Hiding Places: A Father and His Sons Retrace Their Family's Escape from the Holocaust. In this highly innovative contribution to Holocaust literature, Rose recounted a trip that he had taken with two young sons, to retrace the route thaDaniel Asa Roset a cousin had taken during World War II to escape Nazi-occupied Europe (the cousin did in fact escape, but his twin daughters were killed). As recounted in Hiding Places, Rose's journey addressed not only a harsh episode of family history but also his relationship with his sons the issue of his own identity. In his appearance at OSU, Rose will discuss the making of Hiding Places.

Daniel Asa Rose has had a varied career in the arts, as well as a successful one. An award-winning actor in his 20's, he left the stage and turned to writing fiction. His first book, a collection of short stories entitled Small Family with Rooster, was highly acclaimed , as was a subsequent novel, Flipping For It. A National Endowment for the Arts Literary Fellow for 2006, he is also well known as a book reviewer. He is the editor of The Reading Room, an international literary magazine, and his reviews regularly appear in The New York Observer and New York Magazine. He often contributes columns to Esquire, GQ, and the New York Times Magazine.



Jack Terry: To Live Again -- Memories of Destruction and Renewal
April 26, 7:30 pm at Austin Auditorium, LaSells Stewart Center

Jack Terry


As a child, Jack Terry, then known as Jakub Szabmacher, experienced the Holocaust in its full fury. He lost his parents, siblings, relatives, and friends. In the camps of Budzyn and Wieliczka, in his native Poland, and Flossenbürg, in Bavaria, he regularly witnessed officers kill prisoners on a whim, and he himself narrowly escaped death on several occasions. But he also saw the other side of humanity, and the support and protection of fellow prisoners was a major reason why he was able to survive. After the war, he came to America. He now lives in New York City, where he is a practicing psychoanalyst, and many of his patients are, like himself, Holocaust survivors.

In 2005, Dr. Terry's memoir was published as Jakub's World: A Boy's Story of Loss and Survival in the Holocaust. Co-authored by Alicia Nitecki, whose grandfather was also interned at Flossenbürg, Jakub's World stands as one of the outstanding works of Holocaust survivor literature to have appeared in recent years. The noted Holocaust scholar Lawrence Langer has written of it, "This volume has considerable historical as well as literary merit. By resisting the temptation to turn their story into a struggle between heroes and villains, the coauthors of Jakub's World create a much more honest report of one boy's painful fight to survive, leaving to the reader the challenging task of grasping how he managed to do so."



Laurel Leff:
Buried by The Times -- The Holocaust and America's Most Important Newspaper

April 25, 7:30 pm at Construction and Engineering Auditorium, LaSells Stewart CenterLaurel Leff


Almost as soon as mass killing of the Jews began in mid-1941, reports of massacres began to spread in the west. Within a year, various sources were providing allied governments and the media with strong evidence and eyewitness testimony detailing the killing campaign and the death camps. But while the genocide continued and even after the defeat of Germany brought this campaign to a close, the Holocaust was consistently under-reported in the western media. The tendency to ignore or minimize the evidence that a campaign of genocide was underway extended even to the New York Times, the most prominent and influential newspaper in the United States.

In her talk, Laurel Leff will discuss why the Times devoted so little coverage to reports that the Jews of Europe were being systematically annihilated. Professor Leff teaches journalism at Northeastern University. She is the author of Buried by The Times -- The Holocaust and America's Most Important Newspaper (Cambridge, 2005). Of this work, David S. Wyman, the preeminent historian of American policy regarding European Jewry during World War II, has written, "This is the best book yet about American media coverage of the Holocaust, as well as an extremely important contribution to our understanding of America's response to the mass murder of the Jews."




James E. Waller: Never Again? Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding in a Genocidal World

April 24, 7:30 pm at Construction and Engineering Auditorium, LaSells Stewart Center

James E Waller


As in past years, the program for Holocaust Memorial Week at OSU will deal not only with the Holocaust itself but with the general issue of genocide and mass murder. The twentieth century, far more than any that preceded it, was studded with genocidal campaigns, and the new century has already witnessed extensive violence prompted by ethnic, national, and religious hatred. In his talk at OSU, James E. Waller will analyze the causes of genocide and suggest measures that help to reduce the bloodshed, as well as lead to the reconstruction of post-genocidal societies.

Professor Waller chairs the Psychology Department at Whitworth College in Spokane and also holds the Lindaman Chair in psychology at Whitworth. He is the author of the highly acclaimed Becoming Evil: How Ordinary People Commit Genocide and Mass Killing (Oxford, 2002) and has also published two books on race relations and racism in America. He is currently involved in preparing a new edition of Becoming Evil and is working on a second book on genocide.

The appearance by Professor Waller is sponsored in part by OSU Convocations and Lectures.



Just One More Dance (Play directed by Scott Palmer)

April 18-21, 7:30 pm at Corvallis High School Theater

Just One More Dance


Just One More Dance, a one-act play, is adapted from a memoir of the same name written by Ernst Levy, a Czech Jew who survived Auschwitz and has lived in Scotland since 1962. Just One More Dance was first produced in Glasgow in 2002 and it has been staged elsewhere in Britain since, being very highly acclaimed there. The production at Corvallis High School will mark its debut in the U.S. Just One More Dance is an ideal play to stage for the benefit of a high school audience or for young people whose knowledge of the Holocaust may be limited. It is simple and straightforward, following the story of Ernst Levy from 1938 through his liberation from the camps. At the close of each performance at CHS, cast members will field questions and observations from the audience regarding the Holocaust.

Scott Palmer, who is directing the play, is a member of the theater program at OSU. Until recently, Scott directed a Scottish theater company, and it was in Scotland that he saw a production of Just One More Dance.

Note: There is a $10.00 admission charge for all adults who attend Just One More Dance; admission for children under 12 and for seniors is $5.00. Tickets can be reserved by calling the OSU Theatre Box Office (541-737-2784) or by e-mailing Specials rates are available for block orders. Most middle- and high-school students in School District 509J will have an opportunity to attend the play admission free, in daytime performances that are not open to the general public. No admission is charged for any of the other events noted in this news release.

For more information, please phone 541-737-2784 or e-mail