Holocaust Memorial Week Brings Survivors and Scholars to Campus


CORVALLIS, Ore. – Holocaust Memorial Week will bring Holocaust survivors and scholars to Oregon State University and the Corvallis community beginning Monday, April 16.

It is the 21st consecutive year the university has hosted a Holocaust memorial program in association with the City of Corvallis and the Corvallis 509-J School District.

Many of the key events during Holocaust Memorial Week take place on campus, but the observances regularly include events in local middle and high schools that relate to Holocaust themes and are age appropriate.

“While the Holocaust is the main focus of the annual program, Memorial Week regularly includes an event that is devoted to a different episode of genocide or mass murder,” said Paul Kopperman, a professor of history at OSU and chairman of the Holocaust Memorial Committee.

“In the upcoming observances, that event will focus on the current crisis in Darfur.”

All the main events on campus are free and open to the public.

• 4 p.m. Monday, April 16, Milam Hall Room 206

Public talk – Lawrence Baron, Nasatir Professor of Modern Jewish History, San Diego State University, “Not in Kansas Anymore: Holocaust Movies for Children.”

As the Holocaust increasingly has been incorporated into public education, feature films, often based on fiction and intended for young readers, are being made. Baron will review this trend, discussing movies such as Disney’s “The Devil in Vienna” and Dustin Hoffman’s production of “The Devil’s Arithmetic.”

• 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 16, C & E Auditorium, LaSells Stewart Center

Public talk – Lawrence Baron: “Recent Trends in Holocaust Cinema”

In this talk, which will be illustrated by film clips, 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.”

Baron’s 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).

• 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 17, C & E Auditorium, LaSells Stewart Center

Film showing – “Fateless,” introduced by Jon Lewis, professor of English at OSU.

Released in 2005, “Fateless” is based on the similarly titled novel by Imre Kertész, a Hungarian writer who 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.

• Wednesday, April 18, 4:00 p.m., Milam Hall Room 202

Public talk – Alexander Korb: “Intertwined Genocides? Violence against Serbs, Jews, and Roma in Wartime Croatia, 1941-45”

More than three-quarters of the Jews who lived in Yugoslavia at the start of World War II died 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.

Alexander Korb, a Ph.D. candidate at Humboldt University of Berlin, is a Charles H. Revson Fellow at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. He has published extensively on German concentration camps and other Holocaust-related topics. His talk at OSU grows out of research at the museum.

• Wednesday, April 18, 7:30 p.m., Milam Auditorium

Public talk – Eva and Leslie Aigner: “Surviving the Holocaust – Two Testimonies”

Central to any Holocaust Memorial Program must be the testimony of some representative of those who survived the genocide and are still today able to give testimony on what they saw and experienced. Les and Eva Aigner now live in the Portland area. During the war, Les Aigner endured the horrors of Auschwitz and Dachau. Eva narrowly escaped death at the hands of Hungarian fascists.

• Thursday, April 19, 7:30 p.m., Milam Auditorium

Public talk Stephanie Nyombayire: “Will Darfur Be Another Rwanda?”

Since 2003, the campaign of murder and rape that has engulfed Darfur, a region in western Sudan, and 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 Darfur residents have been displaced.

Stephanie Nyombayire has visited Darfurian refugee camps and heard the testimony of victims. In addition, she lost 100 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 in 2004 to combat genocide.

Additional information on OSU's Holocaust Memorial Week program is available online at: http://oregonstate.edu/dept/holocaust/index.php