University of Minnesota
Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies

Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies

Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies

The Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies (CHGS) promotes academic research, education and public awareness on the Shoah, other genocides and current forms of mass violence. Your generous support is key to maintaining the important work of the Center, advancing the hightest quality of scholarship, programs, and educational resources.

Center News

  • Student Opportunities

    CHGS guides and mentors undergraduate and graduate students by organizing courses and workshops, offering grants and fellowships and providing unique opportunities for interaction with leading experts in the field. To find out more click here.

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  • Professional and Educational Resources

    CHGS supports educators through interactive workshops and institutes, facilitated by leading experts of Holocaust and genocide education. CHGS's website offers a myriad of resources for teaching age appropriate lessons about the Holocaust and genocide. To learn more click here.

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  • Courses of interest for the Fall 2015 semester

      GER 1905 -- Freshman Seminar: Remediating the Holocaust (Leslie Morris, Th 4:40-7:10pm, Kolthoff Hall 139)

      HIST 3727 -- History of the Holocaust (Melissa Kelley, M/W 9:45-11:00am, Nicholson 110)

      GCC 3002 -- Grand Challenges: Beyond Atrocity - Political Reconciliation, Collective Memories and Justice (Alejandro Baer, Catherine Cuisan, Tu/Th 11:15-12:30pm, Anderson Hall 330)

      SOC 4104 -- Crime and Human Rights (Joachim Savelsberg, Tu/Th 2:30-3:45pm, Blegen 225)

      AMIN 1001 -- American Indian Peoples in the United States (Tu/Th 1:00-2:15, Elliott N647)

      AMIN 1003 -- American Indians in Minnesota (multiple listings)

      HIST 3872 -- American Indian History since 1830 (W 6:20-8:30, Blegen 110)

      HIST 5940 -- Topics in Asian History: Cultures of Modernity and Memories of the Past in East Asia (Liping Wang, W 3:35-5:30, Carlson 1-122)

      POL 8260 -- Topics in Political Theory: Colonialism (Th 3:35-5:20pm, Soc Sci 1383)

      POL 8860 -- Topics in Comparative Politics: Authoritarian Regimes (David Samuels, Tu 1:25-3:20pm, Blegen 330)

      SPAN 3221 -- Interpreting Colonial Latin America: Empire and Early Modernity (Raul Marrero-Fente, Tu/Thu 1:00-2:15pm, Nicholson 120)
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      • Daniel Levy "The Past: Between History and Memory" | Keynote as part of International Symposium on the 70th Anniversary of the Conclusion of WWII in Europe

        Friday, May 8, 2015
        International Symposium:
        War, what is it good for? Uses and Abuses of Second World War History
        University of Minnesota

        In 1969 Edwin Starr famously asked "war, what is it good for?" and answered "absolutely nothing." Regardless of whether organized violence is ever a good way to achieve various political goals, war history is often usable past in the present. Second World War as the "good war" or the "great patriotic war" can be put to many uses by contemporary political actors. This event discusses the actual and potential uses of second world war history 70 years after war's end in Europe. The one-day symposium will address the usage of war history in both, international and domestic politics. For the international sphere our main focus is on the use of the war in contemporary European politics, especially in Russia, Central and Eastern Europe, the West, and in relations between them. Is history politics just continuation of war by other means or can war history be used to build peaceful relations between former enemies? In domestic sphere WWII history is mostly used to construct unified nations, but in the symposium we analyze how war history has been or could be used in emancipatory ways to empower marginalized groups within societies.


        Keynote by Professor Daniel Levy (Sociology, Stony Brook University, and author of Memory Unbound: The Holocaust and the Formation of Cosmopolitan Memory): "The Past: Between History and Memory".

        Morning session

        Social Sciences 710

        Welcome words: Matti Jutila, Alejandro Baer
        Keynote: Daniel Levy (Sociology, Stony Brook University)
        "The Past: Between History and Memory"

        The connection between history and memory has a long and contentious relationship. Recent scholarship associated with the so-called third wave of memory studies is challenging some of the historiographical presuppositions of what a past consists of. This talk will address some of these trajectories and advance a number of conceptual suggestions.
        Comments and discussion: Thomas Wolfe, Matti Jutila, Erma Nezirevic

        Afternoon session 1: International History Politics in Europe

        Heller Hall 1210

        Thomas Wolfe (History, University of Minnesota): "Putin's History"
        How do authoritarian regimes both need and ignore the writing of history? Putin's Russia offers on the one hand a striking example of a regime building an image of its deep historical roots in Russia's past, including aspects of the Soviet past, and particularly the Great Patriotic War. But at the same time the regime has no interest in acknowledging the past as something "unknown," or as something for which people might mobilize themselves for change. Our discussion will try to unpack this paradox.

        Juhana Aunesluoma (Political History, University of Helsinki): "All Quiet on the Western Front? European Identity, Wold War II and Politics of Remembrance in Western Europe"
        In the 1990s the memory of the Holocaust was introduced under the concept of European cultural heritage. Auschwitz and similar sites were added on EU-managed lists of monuments of European cultural heritage. However, there have also been calls to include places like Dresden as appropriate places of mourning and remembrance, highlighting the suffering of ordinary Germans during the war. While the forms and boundaries of the politics of remembrance in contemporary Europe have been extended to include diverse groups and also victims of Stalinist terror, it has not been easy to integrate the dark shadows of Europe's past in all their complexity into notions of European identity and a common European cultural heritage.

        Afternoon session 2: Politics of New Forms of Commemoration

        Heller Hall 1210

        Rick McCormick (German, Scandinavian and Dutch, University of Minnesota): "From the 'Rubble Film' to the 'Heritage Film' and Beyond: Representations of WWII and the Holocaust in German Cinema"
        The very first post-WWII German film, made in the Soviet zone of Berlin, attempted to deal with Nazi war crimes, but it also focused on a traumatized German soldier as a victim of the Nazis rather than telling the story of the woman in the film who helps to heal him, who is herself a former concentration camp inmate. German attempts to deal with the Nazi past in film on both sides of the Cold War served different political agendas but were mostly silent about the plight of the Jews. In the aftermath of the surprising impact in West Germany of the American miniseries Holocaust in the late 1970s, and later, after German unification, the huge success of Spielberg's film Schindler's List in the early 1990s, things changed. Since the late 1990s the plight of the Jews is almost always thematized in big-budget historical films about WWII made in Germany, but these so-called "heritage" films seem to be marketing a past that is safely sealed off from the present. One recent example is the TV miniseries Generation War (Unsere Muetter, unsere Vaeter), which includes a Jewish character, albeit a not very plausible one, among its protagonists. But this kind of "heritage" narrative is also critiqued by some younger filmmakers.

        Jodi Elowitz: "Creating an Archive for a New Generation: The Holocaust Memory as Illustrated in Animated Short Films"
        Have we reached our limit on the use of the traditional images of the archive in representing the Holocaust in documentary film? How will filmmakers engage the next generation of viewers to invite them to watch narratives of the Holocaust? I believe the answer lies in the use of artistic representation in the form of animated short films. In this presentation I will explore how animation is replacing the use of traditional archival footage in order to create new imagery based on the representation and memory that has been shaped by the limited photographic and film record of the Holocaust.

        Coffee Break

        Afternoon session 3: Empowering the Marginalized

        Heller Hall 1210

        Elaine May (American Studies, University of Minnesota): "Women on the Home Front"
        World War II opened up many new opportunities for women to pursue work and other social, sexual, and public activities that had not been available to them prior to the war. This presentation will open up discussion on the ways in which women's lives changed during the war, and the extent to which those changes carried forward into the postwar era.

        Matti Jutila (Political Science, University of Minnesota): "Diverse Country, Diverse Soldiers, Homogenic War Narrative: Diversifying Finnish WWII History Politics"
        The hegemonic Finnish WWII narrative presents Finnish soldiers as white, Finnish speaking, Christian (Evangelical Lutheran), heterosexual men. Relying on this image, Finnish populist right uses war history in its nationalist, anti-immigration politics. In my presentation I will address the war experiences of Muslim, Jewish, Roma, Russian and gay soldiers in the Finnish armed forces and discuss the potential uses of this history in supporting an inclusive, multicultural society today.

        Concluding remarks

        Heller Hall 1210

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      • A review of "Can One Laugh at Everything? Satire and Free Speech After Charlie"

        On January 29 the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, the Center for Jewish Studies and the Department of French & Italian as well as several other centers and departments at the University of Minnesota hosted a discussion "Can One Laugh at Everything? Satire and Free Speech After Charlie." Speakers included Anthony Winer (William Mitchell College of Law); William Beeman (Anthropology); Jane Kirtley (Journalism); Bruno Chaouat (French & Italian); and Steven Sack (Editorial Cartoonist, Minneapolis Star Tribune).


        Charlie event pic.jpg

        The conversation addressed the topic of free speech after the attacks on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo in early January from a variety of perspectives: comparing U.S. and European legislative contexts, addressing figurative representation in the Islamic tradition, and the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe. Free speech, issues of power, inequality, racism, and hate speech were also brought up. Steven Sack made a case for the simultaneous potency and vulnerability of cartoons as a medium. The organizers noted that this event was intended as a starting point to a larger conversation and hoped that the discussion continues both in classrooms and beyond.
        Initially covered by MPR, press coverage after the event has continued to be strong, particularly regarding controversy over the image used in the flyer to promote the talk in the days and weeks leading up to it. Read about the controversy in Inside Higher Ed, the Washington Post, and the local Star and Tribune.
        Click here for an audio recording of the talks.
        Here for the visuals accompanying Bill Beeman's talk.
        Here for the visuals accompanying Bruno Chaouat's talk.

        photos below courtesy of Steve Foldes (left to right, top to bottom): Anthony Winer, William Beeman, Jane Kirtley, Bruno Chaouat, and Steven Sack.
        Thumbnail image for Anthony Winer.jpg

        William Beeman.jpg

        Jane Kirtley.jpg

        Thumbnail image for Charlie Hebdo-2028.jpg

        Thumbnail image for Charlie Hebdo-2014.jpg

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      • Final HGMV Workshop of the Year | Ore Koren (Political Science) on Reparations of Mass Killings

        Thursday, May 7, 3:00 pm
        710 Social Sciences
        Ore Koren (Department of Political Science)
        "Exploring the Alternatives: The Role of Customary Justice Mechanisms in Post-Conflict Contexts"

        This paper argues that reparations for mass killing are a rare, diffusive event, and that in order to understand it one must first identify where diffusion can actually occur and then account for factors that might govern the diffusive process. I begin by applying extant theories of international policy diffusion and international law to the study of reparations for mass killing. The viability of this approach is then tested on newly available data on reparations for the years 1971-2011 by incorporating a Bayesian/MCMC hierarchical and spatial split-population framework that accounts for the aforementioned issues.


        Ore Koren is a PhD candidate at the Department of Political Science and a MSc candidate at the Department of Applied Economics. His fields of research are international relations and research methodology, focusing on political violence, civil conflict, and mass killing.

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