Founded in 1992 as a result of a grant from the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education, the Center for Holocaust/Genocide Study offers a variety of events. We schedule–as permanent anchors in our programming–an annual November conference in memory of Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) and an annual Yom HaShoah (Day of Remembrance) commemoration. We also offer films, lectures, performances, workshops, and commemorative events dealing with the Holocaust and with other genocides such as those in Armenia, Bosnia, Cambodia, Darfur, and Rwanda.
We enrich Drew’s undergraduate and graduate course work by bringing notable scholars and speakers to campus, by organizing visits to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and by providing additional resources that enhance the study of Holocaust and genocide. We also support faculty research, for example commissioning an English translation of a German text dealing with Nazi slave labor camps.
All events are open to the larger community.
Yom HaShoah Commemoration Programs
On April 15, 2015 we had a film screening of Escape from Auschwitz. Through historical footage and re-enactment, this documentary tells the story of Auschwitz prisoners Rudolph Vrba and Alfred Wetzler who escaped the camp to reveal the truth and tried to warn others of what was happening there. The film screening was followed by a Q & A with Eva Vogel and Hedy Brasch. Eva Vogel’s father knew both escapees and was a member of the underground group which helped orchestrate the escape. Hedy Brasch was a prisoner in Auschwitz at the time of the escape.
On April 23, 2014 we had a film screening of René and I, a 75-minute documentary film that tells the story of young twins René and Irene, who spent more than a year in Auschwitz under the notorious Dr. Josef Mengele. Of the 3,000 twins experimented on by Mengele and other Nazi doctors, only 160 survived. While this documentary is the story of the Nazi racial state and the Holocaust, it is also a story of love and courage, of the complexity of the human psyche and of the resilience of the human spirit. Irene and René’s story provides unique insight into the childhood experiences during the Third Reich. Their experiences show the impact on young people and their families.
Film screening was followed by a Q & A with special guest speakers: Irene Hizme, whose story is told in René and I,and Leora Kahn, Executive Producer (in photo above).
On April 27, 2015 we had a program to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
On April 16, 2014 we had a program to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide: “Twenty Years after the Genocide in Rwanda: A Survivor Reflects on the Journey Back from the Abyss”
Eugenie Mukeshimana was a young adult and 8 months pregnant when the genocide broke in Rwanda in 1994. Bearing her first child during the genocide, Eugenie understands the impact of the genocide on mothers and widows who did the unimaginable to save their children. Consequently, she can also relate to the challenges they faced and continue to struggle with after the genocide, and the impact of their personal experiences on family members they care for. (To see more information on Eugenie, check Past Events).
Monday, March 28, 2011
Annual Lecture on Gender & Genocide
Sponsored by the Center for Holocaust/Genocide Study and the Women’s and Gender Studies Program
Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel
“Shattering Shame and Silence:Sexual Violence against Jewish Women during the Holocaust”
November 13, 2014
“Hollywood and Nazi Germany, 1933-1945: Stories Told/Stories Untold”
Scholars and historians agree that the stories we tell shape our identities and the very way we live our lives. Hollywood may be viewed as one of the master storytellers with the power to frame and transform critical global and national issues. On November 13, 2014 the Drew University Center for Holocaust/Genocide Study explored how Hollywood responded to Nazi Germany and the Holocaust between 1933-1945.
The November 13 conference, titled Hollywood and Nazi Germany, 1933-1945 Stories Told/Stories Untold, explored how Hollywood’s interface with the socio-political context of the time fostered the creation of films that told only a limited story about the evolving repressive and genocidal Nazi regime.”
Speakers included: Dr. Joshua Kavaloski, Associate Professor of German at Drew and Assistant Director of the Center. His topic was Stories we Tell: Narrative and the Politics of Memory. Next was a session on Racism, Xenophobia, and Anti-Semitism in America: The Interwar Years by Dr. Larry Greene, Professor of History, Seton Hall University. Then Dr. Thomas Doherty, Professor of American Studies, Brandeis University spoke on the subject of his recent book, Hollywood & Hitler, 1933-1939. Finally, Dr. Susan Carruthers, Professor of History, Rutgers University-Newark, covered Hollywood & Hitler, 1939-1945. The conference ended with a panel discussion by all presenters.
November 15, 2013
“Understanding the Long Rippling Effect of Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World”
Nazi propaganda was among the most influential tools used to promote hatred during the Holocaust. Our November 15th conference explored how Nazi ideology first arrived in the Middle East and is still alive and well in this region. The goal of the conference was to foster awareness of how propaganda not only shapes the way we see the world, but also how its use can be transformed beyond its own historical circumstances, morphing into new ways of shaping public opinion.
Speakers included: Dr. Jeffrey Herf, Professor of History, University of Maryland and author of Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World. Professor Herf talked about the design and implementation of this propaganda. Dr. Christopher Taylor, Professor of Islamic Studies at Drew, Director of its Center for Religion, Culture & Conflict (CRCC), and Interim Dean of the College of Liberal Arts. Professor Taylor’s talk, “The Enemy of My Enemy: Egyptian Responses to Nazi Propaganda, 1939-1943,” described how the Germans built upon anti-British sentiment in Egypt in order to convince them that they should join with Nazi Germany in defeating one of the main colonial powers in the Middle East at the time. Dr. Jonathan Golden, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Drew, Associate Director of the CRCC, and faculty advisor for Drew’s chapter of Hillel discussed how Jews living in Arab lands between 1933 and 1945 reacted to the Nazi propaganda campaign in their countries. Dr. Menhaz Afridi, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Manhattan College and Director of their Holocaust, Genocide and Interfaith Education Center discussed “The Lingering Effects of Nazi Propaganda in the Modern Muslim World.”
Annual 3-part Study Seminars
After Liberation: The First Five Years, 1945-1950
The three-part study seminar is inspired by the liberation of the Nazi death and concentration camp at Auschwitz on January 27, 1945 by Soviet forces and the subsequent liberation of other camps by the Allies in the following months.
February 26, 2015 Liberation, 1945 Faculty: Jacqueline Sutton
March 5, 2015 The Displaced Person Camp Experience Faculty: Lindsay Warren
March 19, 2015 Life after Liberation in Countries behind the Iron Curtain Faculty: Prof. Nathaniel Knight
The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade
March 6, 2014 Origins and Dynamics of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade
Guest Lecturer: Lillie Edwards, Ph.D., Professor of History and African-American Studies, Director of Pan-African Studies and Director of American Studies, Drew University
March 20, 2014 The Slave Trade and the Development of the Americas
Guest lecturer: Lillie Edwards, Ph.D., Professor of History and African-American Studies, Director of Pan-African Studies and Director of American Studies, Drew University
March 27, 2014 The Legacies of Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade: Memory, Culture & Reparations
Guest Lecturer: Michael Gialanella, D.Litt., Adjunct Professor of History, Seton Hall University
Director Ann Saltzman is congratulated on receiving the Sister Rose Thering Award from NJ Commission on Holocaust Education from the organization’s executive director, Dr. Paul Winkler, center, and chair, Phil Kirschner.
Holocaust Commission honors Drew educator
Ann Saltzman receives Sister Rose award for her interfaith outreach
by Elaine Durbach
NJJN Staff Writer
July 18, 2012
Ann Saltzman, director of the Drew University Center for Holocaust/Genocide Study, has received the Sister Rose Thering Award from the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education.
The honor recognizes individuals contributing to the field of higher education, specifically in teacher training related to bias, prejudice, and discrimination. Saltzman has worked at the Drew center since its inception 20 years ago. She started as associate director, then became codirector, and took over as director five years ago.
“We chose Ann because of her achievements and her commitment to teaching the Shoa and bringing together Christians and Jews to foster understanding of each other’s thoughts and practice,” said Paul Winkler, executive director of the commission. “That was also the key to Sister Rose’s work. It’s what helps make the world a safer place for everyone.”
He mentioned, by way of example, a trip to Israel Saltzman led a few years ago that included stops at concentration camps in Europe. Participants included people from different religious backgrounds. “She has been instrumental in making clear the value for all people to learn about the Holocaust,” Winkler said.
Saltzman, professor emerita of psychology at Drew and a member of Temple Sholom in Fanwood, where she has lived for the past 35 years, was presented with the award on June 20 in Trenton.
“I am honored to have received such a prestigious award,” she said. “It is a testament to the important work that we do at Drew. In addition, I try to infuse the lesson of tolerance into my everyday life and carry on the work started by Sister Rose Thering.”
The award has been presented annually since 2007 by the commission in memory of Thering, the Roman Catholic nun and former professor at Seton Hall University in South Orange. Thering advocated for Holocaust education and battled anti-Semitism within the Catholic church; she was perhaps best known for work that inspired the Second Vatican Council to reform the church’s relations with the Jews.
The award was established the year after she died in 2006.
Saltzman, who is Jewish, grew up in New York City and lost no members of her immediate family in the Holocaust. However, she felt its impact, as she explained to NJJN in an e-mail.
“I know that most likely my mother’s extended family from Pinsk perished, shot by members of the einsatzgruppen (mobile killing units that slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Jews in Eastern Europe, Jews who were never sent to the death camps),” she wrote. “My father was an infant survivor of the pogroms in what is now Ukraine, and the family dynamics in my family-of-origin were very similar to those in families of Holocaust survivors; I think this is something that pulled me toward Holocaust/genocide studies.”
As a professor of psychology, the field fascinated her. “I believe the study of Holocaust and genocide is one of the most existential studies possible — it demonstrates both the most horrible, terrible behaviors humans are capable of but also demonstrates the most altruistic that is possible (rescue of those under assault). As such, it describes the capability of all humans to engage in extreme evil but also to engage in extreme good,” she wrote.
Saltzman met Thering a number of times, when the nun visited the Drew center and when Saltzman attended programs sponsored by Seton Hall’s program in Christian-Jewish relations.
“Sister Rose is a model for all of us; she persisted in pushing the Vatican to look into its own history with regard to anti-Semitism,” Saltzman said. “We all need to push the institutions to which we belong to stand on the side of justice.”
Saltzman is chair of Temple Sholom’s Yom Hashoa committee.
“The Temple Sholom community is honored to have Ann Saltzman in our midst,” congregation president Sandra Nussenfeld said in a statement. “We pride ourselves on tikun olam, repairing the world. Ann’s work to create religious and cultural tolerance is a shining example of what we try to do as a congregation.
“Sister Rose Thering was a pioneer in modern-day interfaith understanding. We know that Ann will carry on in her spirit, as we should all strive to do.”