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) provides a collaborative intellectual space for sharing expertise and academic resources to study the Holocaust, other genocides and current forms of mass violence in the hopes of preventing future atrocities. CHGS relies on your generous support to help us maintain and fulfill our mission.

Center News

  • Our Mothers, Our Heimat, Our Holocaust: "Ordinary" Nazis on German Television, 1984-2014

    A Lecture by Offer Ashkenazi
    Monday, September 22
    4:00 p.m.
    1210 Heller Hall


    Edgar Reitz's groundbreaking TV drama "Heimat" aired 30 years ago in an attempt to 'take back" German history from the American entertainment industry. Going back to this drama -- and to the sequel and prequel Reitz directed during the past decades -- I will suggest that "Heimat" subtly provided a revolutionary portrayal of World War II as a framework in which "German" and "Jewish" categories have been melded together to create a new nation (or a genuine alternative to "American" imperialism). In emphasizing this process, I will look at more recent productions, such as "Generation War," to argue that Reitz's implicit notion of German-Jewish symbiosis has been replicated in later mainstream TV dramas. The transformation of this image, however, replaced the self-criticism (or self-mockery) of "Heimat" with a melodramatic affirmation of Germany's "cure" from its violent past.

    (Continue Reading)
  • First Meeting of the HGMV 2014-2015 Workshop Announced

    Holocaust, Genocide and Mass Violence
    Studies (HGMV) Interdisciplinary Graduate Group
    2014-2015 workshops

    First Meeting
    Thursday, September 18
    12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
    Room 710 Social Sciences Building
    Lunch will be provided

    The group was founded to foster interdisciplinary conversations on the subject areas of Holocaust studies, genocide and memory, peace and conflict studies, human rights, nationalism and ethnic violence, representations of violence and trauma, conflict resolution, transitional justice, historical consciousness and collective memory.

    The HGMV Graduate Group also provides funds for graduate students whose work has been accepted for conference presentations.

    To RSVP to the September 18 meeting or for more information on how to become involved please contact Erma Nezirevic at

    (Continue Reading)
  • Seats still available for new course, Never Again! Memory and Politics after Genocide

    SOC 4090 and GLOS 4910
    Tue/Th 1.00 to 2.30 (FALL 2014) /Room 15 Humphrey Center
    Instructor: Alejandro Baer, Associate Professor Sociology, Feinstein Chair and Director of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies


    Course overview: This course focuses on the social repercussions and political consequences of large-scale political violence, such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. How do individuals, communities and societies come to terms with these atrocities? How do successor regimes balance the demands for justice with the need for peace and reconciliation? How is public memory of the atrocities constructed?

    Section I provides an overview of the basic concepts and themes of this class: defining mass violence, collective memory and forgetting in post-atrocity contexts, and transitional justice. In Section II we will look at memory of the Holocaust among descendants of victims and descendants of perpetrators and its impact on the way other communities shape and represent their memories of mass violence and victimhood, i.e. their specific demands, symbolic politics and judicial strategies. In Section III we will address cases from around the globe and different historical settings, including the legacies of State terror in Latin America, the aftermath of Stalinist mass violence in Eastern Europe and American Indian struggles for memory and justice.

    We will also examine public remembrance projects such as monuments and museums, film and television series, visual art and other initiatives which operate in conjunction or in tension with legal and political procedures (tribunals, truth commissions, reparations, etc.) and are often initiated by human rights NGOs, victim organizations, intellectuals and artists.

    Course Format: This course will be conducted as a combined lecture and discussion course. This basic format will be supplemented by occasional in-class exercises.

    Course Requirements: In addition to regular attendance and active participation in discussions, students are required to complete short in-class writing based on the readings, write two 4-5 page, double spaced, critical essays, complete one mid-term exam and a end of semester essay.

    (Continue Reading)
  • Convert or Die Christian Persecution and the Rise of the Islamic State

    A round table discussion with French author Richard Millet

    Thursday, September 18
    Room 710 Social Sciences Building

    The lecture will be in French & English with a translation by Bruno Chaouat, Chair of the Department of French & Italian, and Monica Kelley, JD, PhD.

    This is the first and long-awaited visit of Richard Millet to the United States. Millet is the author of over twenty books of fiction, a prolific essayist, and a beacon of the contemporary French novel. His essays have provoked robust debate in Europe. His eclectic writings include autobiographical novels that explore questions of origin, mourning and dereliction. His most recent work is on Charlotte Salomon, a German Jewish artist murdered at Auschwitz.

    Sponsored by: Human Rights Program, Department of French & Italian and Program in Human Rights & Health

    (Continue Reading)
  • Call for Applications: Introduction to the Holocaust in the Soviet Union

    The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum invites applications for the seminar "A Research Introduction to the Holocaust in the Soviet Union." This seminar will be held January 5-9, 2015, at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.


    The objective of the seminar is to acquaint advanced undergraduate, MA, and early PhD students with the central topics, issues, and sources related to the study of the Holocaust in the Soviet Union, including mass shootings, evacuation and rescue, forced labor, and issues of commemoration and memory. Mandel Center scholars will lead discussions, and the seminar will include group analysis of many of the types of primary source material available in the Museum's collections. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to explore the Museum's extensive library, archival, and other collections.

    All application materials must be received by Tuesday, September 30, 2014. Selected participants will be notified by November 1, 2014.

    Please click here for full details and application requirements.

    (Continue Reading)
  • CHGS partners with international Holocaust institutions for a major conference in Madrid

    On November 24-26, 2014, a conference entitled, Bystanders, Rescuers or Perpetrators? The Neutrals and the Shoah - Facts, Myths and Countermyths, will be held at Centro Sefarad-Israel in Madrid, Spain.

    This conference is supported by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) and sponsored by Centro Sefarad Israel - Madrid; Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies- University of Minnesota; Mémorial de la Shoah - Paris; History Unit of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland - Berne; Topography of Terror Foundation - Berlin; Living History Forum - Stockholm; Memoshoá/Association for the Education and Remembrance of the Holocaust - Lisbon and Tarih Vakfı/History Foundation - Istanbul.

    The conference will aim at addressing the following issues:

    The neutral countries' reactions to Nazi anti-Jewish policies and their own policies on Jewish refugees;

    Their response to the German ultimatum of 1943 to either repatriate Jews with citizenship from their respective countries who lived in Nazi-occupied Europe or to allow their deportation;

    The genesis and long-lasting effects of "rescue myths", the current state of the discussion regarding the neutral countries' positions during the Holocaust;
    The dealing with the history of the Jewish persecution in state fact-finding commissions and committees of historians;

    Approaches to Holocaust education in neutral countries.
    Holocaust public memory (ceremonies, memorials, museums) and memory politics in neutral countries.

    Schedule of presentations coming soon.

    (Continue Reading)

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