Fall 2021

Tuesday, October 19, 2021 • 3:00 pm EST • Meeting online via Zoom
Lucy Adlington: The Dressmakers of Auschwitz
Based on her recently published book The Dressmakers of Auschwitz, Lucy Adlington will retell the powerful chronicle of the women who used their sewing skills to survive the Holocaust, stitching beautiful clothes at an extraordinary fashion workshop created within one of the most notorious WWII death camps. At the height of the Holocaust twenty-five young inmates of the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp – mainly Jewish women and girls – were selected to design, cut, and sew beautiful fashions for elite Nazi women in a dedicated salon. It was work that they hoped would spare them from the gas chambers. This fashion workshop – called the Upper Tailoring Studio – was established by Hedwig Höss, the camp commandant’s wife, and patronized by the wives of SS guards and officers. Here, the dressmakers produced high-quality garments for SS social functions in Auschwitz, and for ladies from Nazi Berlin’s upper crust. Drawing on diverse sources – including interviews with the last surviving seamstress – The Dressmakers of Auschwitz follows the fates of these brave women. Their bonds of family and friendship not only helped them endure persecution, but also to play their part in camp resistance. Weaving the dressmakers’ remarkable experiences within the context of Nazi policies for plunder and exploitation, historian Lucy Adlington exposes the greed, cruelty, and hypocrisy of the Third Reich and offers a fresh look at a little-known chapter of World War II and the Holocaust. Registration is required.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021 • 4:00 pm EST • Meeting online via Zoom
Dr. Nancy Gerber: What the Living Remember
In this presentation commemorating Kristallnacht, centered on her novella by the same name, Dr. Gerber will discuss her relationship to her father, who fled Nazi Germany ten days before Kristallnacht. Her talk will address the ways in which the rupture of her father’s life and the shadow of the Holocaust shaped her as a member of the Second Generation. Dr. Gerber will also read selections from the novella, which was inspired by her father’s experience. Dr. Gerber received a Ph.D. in English from Rutgers University and completed psychoanalytic training at the Academy of Clinical and Applied Psychoanalysis in Livingston, New Jersey. She is the author of five books, including fiction, memoir, and a scholarly monograph. Her chapbook of poems about her family’s history, We Are All Refugees, was published by New Feral Press. Registration is required.