OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

OSU Holocaust Memorial Week: learning from the past to change the future

03/30/2010

CORVALLIS, Ore. – In an effort to learn from history, this year’s Holocaust Memorial Week at Oregon State University not only will bring renowned scholars and speakers to the area, but will tackle the issue of “Remember the Past, Change the Future.”

The observance, which runs April 12-16 at OSU, grows from the belief that educational institutions can do much to combat prejudice of all kinds, and to foster respect for the diversity that is America, by promoting an awareness of the Holocaust, perhaps the most horrific historical indicator of the high cost of prejudice. This is the 24th-annual recurrence of OSU Holocaust Memorial Week.

“It is particularly important to teach young people about the Holocaust, so that coming generations will not forget the lessons that a preceding one learned at such cost,” said Paul Kopperman, chair of the Holocaust Memorial Week committee, and professor of history at OSU.

Kopperman said that while many of events during Holocaust Memorial Week take place on campus, observances regularly include events in local middle and high schools that relate to Holocaust themes and are age appropriate.

For more information on the event, go to http://oregonstate.edu/dept/holocaust/index.php

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

  • “Between Ancient Prejudice and Modern Propaganda: Reconsidering Anti-Semitism in Imperial Germany,” a public talk by Barnet Hartston. Monday, April 12, 4 p.m., OSU Memorial Union, room 109.

Despite substantial new research on Germany before World War One, historians have failed to reach a consensus about the level of continuities between anti-Semitism in the Second Reich and the Third, or even about the depth and breadth of prejudice in Imperial Germany itself. Using a variety of primary sources, including prominent newspapers, political debates and scholarly disputes, Hartston will give a nuanced assessment of anti-Jewish prejudice in this period and highlight the difficulties of “measuring” anti-Semitism in any era.

Hartston, who teaches modern German history at Eckerd College in Florida, is the author of “Sensationalizing the Jewish Question: Anti-Semitic Trials and the Press in the Early German Empire.”

  • “German Television and the Limits of Holocaust Memory,” a presentation by Wulf Kansteiner, a member of faculty at SUNY-Binghamton. Monday, April 12, 7:30 p.m., LaSells Stewart Center, Construction and Engineering Auditorium.

Kansteiner, a member of faculty at SUNY-Binghamton, has published extensively on Holocaust themes, including a book, “In Pursuit of German Memory: History, Politics, and Memory after Auschwitz.”

In his presentation, Kansteiner will assess how far German popular culture, particularly as reflected in television, has come in providing its audience with a thorough and accurate depiction of the Holocaust while also encouraging reflection on the central role that Germany played in this genocidal campaign.

  • “Why was the 20th Century the Century of Genocide?”, a public talk by Eric D. Weitz, professor of history and director of the Center for German and Central European Studies at the University of Minnesota. Tuesday, April 13, 7:30 p.m. LaSells Stewart Center, Construction and Engineering Auditorium.

Weitz will compare several episodes of genocide during the past century, particularly the Holocaust and the Armenian genocide of 1915-23. He will focus on why genocide arises and why it became particularly prevalent in the 20th century. Weitz’ books include the highly acclaimed “A Century of Genocide: Utopias of Race and Nation.”

  • “A Bright Room Called Day,” play by Tony Kushner. Wednesday, April 14-17, 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 18 at 2 p.m. OSU Withycombe Hall Lab Theatre.

In this drama, Kushner, a playwright well known for the Tony Award-winning “Angels in America,” depicts a group of Germans observing the Nazi takeover during the early 1930s. A panel discussion on the Nazi ascent to power will take place at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 14. Admission is free but donations are encouraged.  More information on the play is available at http://osutheatreplays.blogspot.com/

  • Holocaust Survivor Testimony: Eline Hoekstra Dresden. Thursday, April 15, 7:30 p.m. LaSells Stewart Center’s Austin Auditorium.

Eline Hoekstra Dresden will speak of her experiences growing up Jewish in the Netherlands before and during World War II and will focus on her three year internment at Westerbork, the transit camp that for thousands of Dutch Jews was the last stop before Auschwitz. Appearing with Dresden will be her daughter, Deborah Mrowka, who will discuss what it is like to grow up as the child of a Holocaust survivor. Dresden is the author of “Wishing Upon a Star,” a memoir that focuses on her wartime experiences.

  • “Cultural Memory and the Representation of Genocide as a Concern for Social Justice,” a student symposium. Friday, April 16, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. OSU Memorial Union, Joyce Powell Leadership Room.

This symposium, sponsored by the OSU Intercultural Social Services, will provide an opportunity for all OSU students to offer papers and lead discussions about how genocide, persecution or exclusion has colored the shared cultural memory of their own group, as defined by ethnic, racial, religious, gender/sexual, or other associations. The deadline for proposals is April 12. Interested students can contact Allison Davis White-Eyes at Allison.davis-whiteeyes@oregonstate.edu.