Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies
Breaking News on the Web
"The most important discover of Nazi-looted art since the Allies discovered the hoards in the salt mines and the castles" (Jonathan Petropoulos, Claremont McKenna College)
The Guardian. "Picasso, Matisse and Dix among works found in Munich's Nazi art stash". November 5, 2013.
NY Times. "Cornelius Gurlitt, Scrutinized Son of Nazi-Era Art Dealer, Dies at 81". May 6, 2014.
Yehudit Shendar, retired Deputy Director and Senior Art Curator, Yad Vashem Museum (Jerusalem), appointed as part of a special task force to research provenance of this cache of looted works.
"The Insatiable Pursuit of Art"
April 14, 2015
Riverview Gallery, Weisman Art Museum
IL Holocaust Museum spotlights 100th Anniversary of Armenian Genocite
Chicago Tribune. February 10, 2015.
Bearing Witness covered by MPR
MPR covered the Bearing Witness event at the Weisman
Who will tell the stories after all the survivors are gone?
What Happens to the Holocaust Museum When the Last Survivors Are Gone?
Khmer Rouge trial resumes
Cambodia`s Khmer Rouge court resumes genocide trial
Retrial of Guatemala Ex-dictator starts and then is suspended
Genocide Retrial of Guatemala Ex-dictator Rios Montt Suspended
Has German law been slow to prosecute perpetrators of the Holocaust?
Case against Oskar Gröning highlights Germany judiciary's Holocaust problem
New Memorial to honor Poles who helped Jews during World War II to be built in Warsaw
New memorial to honour Poles who saved Jews from Holocaust
Interview with the director of "The Cut" new film about the Armenian Genocide
Q&A: Fatih Akin Discusses His New Film 'The Cut'
Professor Samuel Totten discussion on genocide in regards to the killing of Yazidis and Christians
What Leads to Genocide?
OP/ED Responsibility for Mass Murder of the Yazidi Kurdish
Is Barzani Responsible for Mass Murder and Rape of Yazidi Kurdish?
Film about the Armenian Genocide raises the ire of Turkey
In Turkey, even a respected filmmaker can't discuss Armenian genocide
Three and half decades after the fall of Cambodia's Khmer Rouge, the two surviving leaders get life in prison for crimes against humanity.
Cambodia Tribunal Convicts Khmer Rouge Leaders
Tribal peoples who have been victims of genocide are highlighted on UN Indigenous Day
Survival reveals 'five faces of genocide' for UN Indigenous Day
Secretary of State John Kerry remembers Romani victims of the Nazis
Statement in Commemoration of the World War II Genocide of Roma
30 years on, Khmer Rouge tribunal seeks to bring the ruthless regime to justice
Khmer Rouge Tribunal to Tackle Genocide Charges
Holocaust survivors reflect on new realities in Israel
The Holocaust survivors with bicycle helmets.
Communities that suffered under German colonial rule receive development funds
Germany spent N$274m on genocide communities
German authorities charge 89 year old Philadelphian man who was a guard at Auschwitz
A Retiree, 89, Is Held in Deaths at Auschwitz
Organizer of the 'Kindertransports' to the UK set to receive Order of the White Lion
Britain's Schindler: Sir Nicholas Winton, who saved 669 Jewish children during Holocaust set to receive highest Czech honour at age 105
Day of the African Child honors Rwandan child victims
Rwanda: Children Honour Youngsters Killed in 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi
Searching for truthful, not symbolic, Holocaust remembrance in Hungary
Boycotting government Holocaust commemorations, Hungary's Jews forge new path
Khmer Rouge survivors prepare for final phase of trial against two former regime leaders
Khmer Rouge Tribunal Victims Unit To Hold Seminar
Secret cable captures reluctance of U.S. to respond to Rwandan genocide
Declassified U.N. Cables Reveal Turning Point in Rwanda Crisis of 1994
Alleged Nazi commander living in Minneapolis may face German prosecution
Minnesota Nazi-Suspect Case Moves Ahead
Dallaire witness and former UN officer in Rwanda talks about the genocide.
Rwanda genocide witness bemoans lack of political will to stop similar atrocities
Several genocide memorials in Rwanda in disrepair.
Rwanda: Genocide Memorial Sites in Sorry State, Says Report
Philip Gourevitch on Rwanda
Remembering in Rwanda
On the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, University of Minnesota students and faculty are exploring ways to avoid future tragedies
To prevent genocide, researchers look to the past
Restitution for Holocaust Survivors is slow, promises seem hollow
After 5 Years, Scant Progress on Restitution for Holocaust Survivors
Student genocide survivors stress education in Rwanda
Rwanda's Youth Looks Forward 20 Years After Genocide
Author Lisa Peschel resurrects plays created during the Holocaust
Insight into the Holocaust
Director of Night and Fog Alain Resnais dead at 91
Alain Resnais, Acclaimed French Filmmaker, Is Dead at 91
Three Auschwitz Guard Suspects Arrested
Germany Arrests 3 Auschwitz Guard Suspects
UN-backed court acquits former Rwanda general, major on appeal
Genocide tribunal acquits former Rwanda general, major on appeal
California man accused of committing genocide in Guatemala sentenced for immigration fraud
MORENO VALLEY: Genocide suspect sentenced to 10 years for immigration fraud
Local legislator op/ed on Holocaust analogies
Stop equating trivial things to Nazis or Hitler
UNESCO announces International Holocaust Remembrance Day events
UNESCO events for the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the victims of the Holocaust
Risk of genocide rising in the CAR
U.N. warns of genocide risk in Central African Republic
Israel to make it a crime to call someone a Nazi
Israel's Efforts to Limit Use of Holocaust Terms Raise Free-Speech Questions
Op/Ed Samantha Power and the Central African Republic
Can Samantha Power Wage a War on Atrocities in Central African Republic?
German prosecutor to recommend murder charges against 94-year-old Michael Karkoc
AP Exclusive: Soldier ties Minnesota man to Nazi civilian massacre; Germany pursuing charges
Antisemitism Summary in the European Union now online
Antisemitism: Summary overview of the situation in the European Union 2001-2012
Website created by Hebrew University has Holocaust Testimonies as early as 1959
900 of earliest Holocaust testimonials available online
Khmer Rouge defendants deny involvement in genocide
Cambodia's Khmer Rouge defendants deny charges
Case against two leaders of the Khmer Rouge hearing closing arguments
Cambodia's UN-backed trial of Khmer Rouge leaders begin hearing closing arguments
Who will bury Erich Priebke?
Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke denied Rome funeral by church and state
Fighting the politics of hate in Europe with Holocaust education
Teaching about the Holocaust as an antidote to rising hate in Europe
Editorial on political memory in Europe and Latin America
Can Europe learn from Latin America about history and justice?
Audio of Auschwitz Trial now online
Audio files of Auschwitz survivors go online
Mass Graves Confirmed in Romania
Romania Mass Grave Bolsters Communist-Era Probe
Holocaust Historian Israel Gutman Dead at 90
Holocaust survivor and renowned historian Israel Gutman dies
important artifact to be returned to Poland
Auschwitz-Birkenau barracks at Holocaust Museum to be returned to Poland
Marcel Reich-Ranicki, Literary Critic and survivor of the Warsaw ghetto, is dead at 93
Marcel Reich-Ranicki, Literary Critic, Is Dead at 93
The study of the Holocaust is expanding worldwide--for differing reasons
Bearing witness ever more
Nazi War Criminals Deported but Remain in the US
At least 10 Nazi war criminals ignored U.S. deportation orders
The Treaty of Mendota
When the Dakota moved to reservations: The Treaty of Mendota
War Crime Suspects in the UK
'Nearly 100 war crimes suspects' in UK last year
Bank of England helped Nazis sell gold plundered from Czechoslovakia
Bank of England helped the Nazis to sell plundered gold
Who is Michael Karkoc?
Michael Karkoc's World War II story stuns Minneapolis, launches global inquiries
Karadzic will once again be facing two genocide charges as Hague reverses lower court ruling
Genocide Charge Reinstated Against Wartime Leader of the Bosnian Serbs
Chad's ex-president charged in Senegal with genocide, crimes against humanity and torture.
Prosecutor says Chad's Habré could face life imprisonment
July 3, 2013
Germany to look into case of former Nazi-led unit commander living in Minnesota
Germany probes Karkoc, Nazi-led unit
June 24, 2013
Perpetrator in Rwanda Genocide convicted in US Federal Courthouse.
Feds seek decade for NH woman over Rwanda genocide
June 29, 2013
German court rules for secrets to be kept on Adolf Eichmann.
Court dismisses bid for full access to intelligence files on Nazi Eichmann
June 27, 2013
Hailed as a hero Italian official might have been a Nazi collaborator
Italian Praised for Saving Jews Is Now Seen as Nazi Collaborator
June 19, 2013
Hungary to charge Laszlo Csatary, with participation in Nazi war crimes
Hungary charges Laszlo Csatary, over Nazi war crimes
Univeristy professor on possible deportation for alleged Nazi commander
Alleged Nazi commander living in Minneapolis could face deportation
Top commander of a Nazi SS-led unit found in Minnesota
Commander in SS-led unit living in US
Cambodia genocide denial law
Cambodia's Khmer Rouge denial law passed without debate - report
New book about Hollywood's relationship to Hitler
Hollywood's Creepy Love Affair With Adolf Hitler, in Explosive New Detail
400 pages of the lost diary of Alfred Rosenberg, aid to Hitler found
U.S. Government Uncovers Long-Lost Diary of Top Nazi Leader
Guatemala's top court throws out the conviction of former military leader Efrain Rios Montt
Guatemala annuls Rios Montt's genocide conviction
Main architect of Argentina's "Dirty War" dies
Argentina ex-military leader Jorge Rafael Videla dies
Op/Ed on Guatemalan genocide conviction
Victory in Guatemala? Not Yet
By VICTORIA SANFORD
Efraín Ríos Montt convicted of genocide
Former Guatemalan dictator convicted of genocide and jailed for 80 years
World Jewish Congress calls for a ban of public Holocaust Denial
WJC approves resolution calling for ban of public Holocaust denial
Debating the depiction of a country's historic past
Bulgarian request for street name in D.C. stirs Holocaust debate
Trial of former Guatemalan dictator at a standstill
Guatemalan court begins to untangle genocide trial standstill
Former Auschwitz guard identified
Former Auschwitz Nazi guard Hans Lipschis found in Germany
Poland faces up to a complicated past in a new film
In the Polish Aftermath
Is how Arabs view the Holocaust changing?
Is the way Arabs perceive the Holocaust changing?
Yom HaShoah in Israel begins with event marking 70 years Warsaw ghetto uprising
Israel's Holocaust memorial day begins with event marking 70 years to Warsaw ghetto uprising
Defendant in Khmer Rouge Trial dies-escaping judgment for war crimes
Infamous leader during Cambodia genocide dies
Spanish artist Felix de la Concha offers new way for Twin Cities survivors to share their stories
Portraits and stories from the Shoah
More Ghettos and Camps Found
The Holocaust Just Got More Shocking
first Dutch citizen to be convicted in relation to 1994 mass murder of Tutsis by Hutu in Rwanda
Rwandan-born Dutch woman jailed for inciting genocide
Controversial new Holocaust education initiative
Tattoo-based Holocaust education tool causes stir
New book paints a damning portrait of Polish citizens who betrayed and murdered their Jewish neighbors without German orders
Betray thy neighbor: Holocaust historian claims Poles picked up where Nazis left off
Norwegian court convicts Rwandan for role in 1994 Genocide
Norway: Rwandan Convicted for His Role in 1994 Genocide
Ex-Dictator ordered to stand trial for crimes of genocide
Ex-Dictator Is Ordered to Trial in Guatemalan War Crimes Case
Documentary on the Killing Fields and Khmer Rouge Available for Viewing
Enemies of the People
Minnesotans Commemorate U.N. International Holocaust Memorial Day
Commemorating U.N. International Holocaust Remembrance Day in Minnesota
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses various topics deaing with Anti-Semitism to Syria at Holocaust memorial event.
At Holocaust memorial event, Ban highlights need for courage to do what is right
Anniversary of the Dakota 38
Little War on the Prairie
War Crimes are taking place in an obscure conflict in Sudan's southern region
George Clooney, genocide scholars try to highlight 'war crimes' in Sudan rebel war
Royal Library in Denmark agrees to let Turkey co-arrange an alternative exhibition about the Armenian Genocide
Turkey Pushes Genocide Denial
Vladka Meed, A Leader of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising dies at 90.
Vladka Meed, Warsaw Uprising Leader, Dies at 90
November 22, 2012
Op/Ed The Next Genocide: Most likely in Syria.
The World's Next Genocide
November 15, 2012
Right-wing extremist attitudes are on the rise in parts of Germany, particularly in the east, according to a study
Far-Right Attitudes Increase in Germany
November 12, 2012
German police believe that Neo-Nazis vandalized plaques that memorialized victims of the Nazis.
Memorial artwork in German town vandalized on Kristallnacht anniversary
November 11, 2012
For more on this memorial visit the CHGS web page.
Holocaust Memorial for Roma to open in Berlin
Merkel to open Berlin Holocaust memorial for Roma
October 22, 2012
Scholar Annette Insdorf reviews "The Flat" and other new Holocaust films
The Holocaust Haunts The Flat and Israeli Documentaries
October 19, 2012
France inaugurates new Holocaust Memorial
At Holocaust Center, Hollande Confronts Past
How a Nation has Wrestled with the Burden of one of History's Immense Horrors
Holocaust Museums in Israel Evolve
Calling people "Holocaust-obsessed" is the new holocaust denial
A New Slur
Calling people "Holocaust-obsessed" is the new holocaust denial.
Turkey tries to Prevent Armenian Genocide Monument in U.S.
Turkey tries to make obstacles for the settlement of Armenian Genocide monument in Pasadena
Photos Donated Anonymously to Documentation Center of Cambodia
Rare Khmer Rouge Prison Photos Donated to Archives
Holocaust Survivors case against Hungarian Banks Dismissed
Hungarian Banks Win Dismissal of Holocaust Claims
Situation in Sudan's Nuba Mountains worsens
Nuba: The Right to Life in the Face of Ethnic Cleansing
Yad Vashem vandalized by ant-Zionist graffiti
Israel's Holocaust memorial vandalized with anti-Zionist graffiti
President Obama speech at Holocaust Museum
Obama, at Holocaust Museum, said 'seeds of hate' must not be allowed to take root in people
Trouble in Sudan
Sudan bombing a "declaration of war": South
Latest from the Khmer Rouge Trial
Khmer Rouge leader denies role in torture prison
Namibia genocide-victims remains to be returned
Namibia: Genocide Remembered At Swakopmund
Armenian genocide survivor testimony archived at Shoah Foundation
Shoah Foundation to archive testimonies from Armenian Genocide survivors
Update on French genocide law
French genocide law: President Sarkozy orders new draft
Op-Ed on France and the Armenian genocide law by Rene Lemarchand
Denying the Right to Deny
Nicholas Kristof on Sudan
Dodging Bombers in Sudan
Op-Ed on the use of the word genocide by David Scheffer
Defuse the Lexicon of Slaughter
Report released on Anti-Semitism in France
Anti-Semitism in France drops 16.5% in 2011, study shows
German study says Holocaust education might fuel anti-Semitism
Does Education Fuel Anti-Semitism?
North and South Sudan
Two Sudans Edge Closer to Brink in Oil Dispute
Blog post on Holocaust, Israel and Iran
The Holocaust is a good reason, not a bad excuse, for attacking Iran
France's Armenian genocide law to be examined
France's Armenia genocide law put on hold
Protests in Turkey on anniversary of Hrant Dink's death
Turkey: Tens of thousands mark journalist's death
Ruben Zimering, age 89 January 14 2012
Helen Segal saw her relatives murdered in Romania in WWII
Taner Akcam on France's vote on the Armenian Genocide
Armenian Genocide - Associate Professor Taner Akcam BBC (YouTube)
CHGS director responds to French historian on France's Memorial Laws
Lois mémorielles : l'indignation sélective de Pierre Nora
French pass Armenian genocide bill. Turkey recalls ambassador.
Turkey 'recalls French ambassador' over Armenian genocide bill
Turkey slams France over Armenian genocide bill
Reclaiming Holocaust Property Deadline Extended
Project Heart Extended - Reclaiming Holocaust Property
German government has agreed to remove the application deadline for application to the Ghetto Work Fund
Certain Ghetto Survivors Can Now Receive Both "Ghetto Pension" and Ghetto Fund Payment; Application Deadline Abolished
Update on Khmer Rouge Leaders Trial
Opening Statements Conclude in Khmer Rouge Leaders Trial
Shoah Foundation adding testimonies from other genocides
The Shoah Foundation Widens Scope
Court Ruling in Favor of Genocide scholar Dr. Taner Akçam
European Court of Human Rights Rules In Favor of Genocide Scholar Akçam
Scholarship announced by Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute
Genocide Museum Announces Lemkin Scholarship
Ron Rosenbaum on Alvin Rosenfeld's The End of the Holocaust
The singular horror of the Holocaust is being lost in exchange for enshrining rare moments of inspiration and universal narratives of suffering
Holocaust Survivor Murray Brandys Passed Away at age 86
Obituary: Murray Brandys, whose singing saved his life
Update about potential Genocide in Nuba Mountains by Samuel Totten
Crimes Against Humanity and Potential Genocide in Nuba Mountains
NY Times Op-Ed piece by Kathryn Sikkink, Political Science U of MN
Making Tyrants Do Time
Cambodian painter and survivor Vann Nath passes away
Cambodian Painter Used Art to Show Khmer Rouge Brutality
New criticisms imply that Jews and Israel are manipulating the Holocaust for political advantage
Michigan professor to discuss 'latest thing' in anti-Semitism
American Jewish World article featuring Dr. Gabriel Noah Brahm, Jr.
Brahm's lecture, "Holocaust Envy & "Enjoyment" of the Holocaust
The "latest Thing" in anti-Semitism will take place on campus. 9-15-2011.
Two Opinions on Anti-Semitism and Academia
Can universities study anti-Semitism honestly?
Op/Ed by Walter Reich, former director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
An Academic War Zone
Op/Ed by Jonathan Judaken, professor of history at the University of Memphis. Prof. Judaken will be a featured speaker in the Twin Cities in April 2012. Watch for more details soon.
Turkish court sentences hardliner in slain Armenian journalist case.
The assassin of Armenian journalist Hrant Dink is sentenced.
Genocide expert calls on Israel to put Armenian suffering before politics
Israel Charny calls for Israel to recognize the Armenian genocide. From Haaertz.
In Sudan, Say 'Never Again,' And Mean It
A Genocide Scholar Looks at Jewish Obligation
Op/Ed by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen in the Jewish Daily Forward
News from Africa
Rwanda: Dutch Court Sentences Genocide Suspect to Life
Article about Joseph Mpambara's sentencing, All Africa.com
South Sudan, the Newest Nation, Is Full of Hope and Problems
Article about South Sudan's independence, New York Times
Mass Graves, Remembrance in Eastern Europe
Holocaust symposium in Romania raises awareness on mass graves in Eastern Europe
Romania commemorates Iasi pogrom
Will there be Justice? The complexities of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal
At Opening of Cambodia War Crimes Trial, Anger, Doubt and Suspicion Linger
Time Magazine article on the trial.
The truth about the Khmer Rouge is too big for one court case
Opinion piece written by Cambodian journalist and genocide survivor, Thet Sambath filmmaker of Enemies of the People.
Khmer Rouge Defendant Challenges Genocide Tribunal
Defendants claim they have already been convicted and pardoned.
Eva Schloss: Anne Frank's step-sister remembers the Holocaust
Short video clip featuring Eva Schloss talking about her experiences during the Holocaust.
Cambodia Teaches New Generation About Khmer Rouge Atrocities
A video report produced by University of California, Berkeley's School of Journalism students Jake Schoneker and Mark Oltmanns on PBS News Hour.
Eichmann on Trial
Exhibition on the Eichmann trial now on display at the Mémorial de la Shoah in Paris.
Review of Books
A New Approach to the Holocaust
Timothy Snyder, Professor of History at Yale and currently a fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna reviews four new books on the Holocaust in the June issue of the New York Review of Books.
Featured Gallery Walk artists present "We're In America Now"
"We're in America Now" A Visual Memoir
Wednesday, June 22, 7:30pm
St. Paul JCC
Free and open to the community
Join Fred Amram, Holocaust survivor and professor emeritus, University of Minnesota and his wife, textile artist Sandra Brick, as they delve into the ideas represented in their Gallery Walk exhibit "We're In America Now." The exhibit showcases Amram's prose relating his experiences in Nazi Germany and his coming to America alongside Brick's textile translations of Amram's writing. The couple will explore how visual and literary arts intersect, how one inspires the other, and how both are inspired by life. Together Amram's prose and Brick's textiles speak to the events and emotions of growing up as an outsider.
"We're in America Now" A Visual Memoir, is on display now through June 26. For more information please contact the St. Paul JCC at 651-698-0751.
Flyer for the event in (PDF): Flyer.2-1.pdf
Hate in the Past Tense: Understanding the Origins of Armenian Genocide Denial
You can still watch Keith David Watenpaugh's lecture "Hate in the Past Tense: Understanding the Origins of Armenian Genocide Denial as a Problem of Contemporary Reconciliation" on the CHGS YouTube channel CHGSumn.
A permanent link to the lecture is also available on our Armenian Genocide web page.
A FILM UNFINISHED now streaming on Netflix and available for loan from CHGS
A FILM UNFINISHED is a film of enormous import, documenting some of the worst horrors of our time and exposing the efforts of its perpetrators to propel their agenda and cast it in a favorable light.
Educators, a study guide is available for download in (PDF).
You may borrow the film from CHGS beginning Thursday, May 12. Please contact Laura Lechner by email email@example.com or phone at 612-624-0256 to learn how you can reserve a copy.
The Thinking Person's Guide to the Holocaust
The Jewish Daily Forward compiled a list of valuable artwork and literature about the Holocaust as suggested by readers and several scholars as a way to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day and provide an entry to the subject.
The Jewish Daily Forward
April 28, 2011
A Way To Begin
With the help of your suggestions, Lawrence L. Langer, Michael Berenbaum, Joanne Weiner Rudof and Paula Hyman have compiled this all too brief list of writers, scholars and works. The list includes paintings, novels, memoirs, films, poems and graphic works, as well as historical studies. It provides a possible first step for those who would consider themselves Holocaust literate.
The hundreds of suggestions that we received, and the hundreds more that our consultants discussed, reinforced our sense that there is an almost endless supply of valuable and high-quality works of art and scholarship about the Holocaust. Our intention is not to be populist, exclusive or exhaustive (were it even possible), but to map a way into the subject.
Reading literature without knowing history is impossible. One cannot appreciate the literature of the Holocaust without grounding in its history. But conversely, one cannot understand the Holocaust without the insight of witnesses and great artistic or literary figures. This list, with a number of your comments included, is a distillation of a body of work that you have told us about and which is expanding every year. We have organized the following titles not as a definitive list, but rather, on Yom HaShoah of 5771, as a way to begin. -- Dan Friedman
For the list and more click here.
Holocaust and Genocide Journals
We have had several inquiries about journals available in the field of Holocaust and Genocide Studies. Below is a list of the journals that the CHGS subscribes to and are available in our resource library. All the journals offer articles on-line and are available by subscription. This list is also available on the CHGS Publications web page.
Yeshiva University, Azrieli Graduate School publishes PRISM: An Interdisciplinary Journal for Holocaust Educators, with funding from the Rothman Foundation. Prism offers educators a practical, scholarly resource on teaching the Holocaust at the high school, college and graduate school levels.
Journal of Genocide Research
Journal of Genocide Research promotes an interdisciplinary and comparative approach to the study of genocide. Genocide has reared its head numerous times throughout the twentieth century. Genocidal thought and action have found many opportunities to assault targeted groups and endanger their existence. These repeated attempts at annihilation pose some of the more perplexing questions of the modern age warranting systematic, scholarly investigation. Journal of Genocide Research devotes itself exclusively to focusing on this troublesome phenomenon that promises to re-occur well into the twenty-first century.
Genocide Studies and Prevention
Genocide Studies and Prevention is an international, interdisciplinary journal dedicated to understanding the phenomenon of genocide, researching it, and sharing the findings as widely as possible so as to produce constructive results.
Holocaust and Genocide Studies
The major forum for scholarship on the Holocaust and other genocides, Holocaust and Genocide Studies is an international journal featuring research articles, interpretive essays, and book reviews in the social sciences and humanities. It is the principal publication to address the issue of how insights into the Holocaust apply to other genocides.
The Eichmann Trial 50 Years Later
On April 8, 2011 it was announced that two new YouTube Channels would be launched containing the film track of the Eichmann Trial held by the Israel State Archives to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the opening of the trial on April 11. The channels - one with the original soundtrack, enhanced for better sound, in Hebrew, German and Yiddish, and the other with simultaneous English translation - are the result of intense cooperation between Yad Vashem and the Israel State Archives, in collaboration with Google.
Read the press release Eichmann Trial Uploaded to YouTube: 4-8-2011.
To visit the YouTube channel in English click here and in Hebrew here.
USHMM Holocaust Encyclopedia: The Eichmann Trial
USHMM Holocaust Encyclopedia: Adolf Eichmann
The Eichmann Trial by Deborah E. Lipstadt
NY Times Book Review: Why the Eichmann Trial Really Mattered: 4-10-2011
2011 Twin Cities Yom HaShoah Commemoration
Sunday, May 1, 2011
Bet Shalom Congregation
13613 Orchard Rd., Minnetonka, MN 55305
The commemoration will reflect the theme, Legacy: The Writing of Survivor Stories, which will illustrate the importance of Holocaust survivors sharing their stories with future generations.
For more information about the commemoration please visit the JCRC website.
Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) is commemorated every year on the Hebrew calendar on the 27th day of Nisan. To learn more about Yom HaShoah click here.
Days of Remembrance in the United States
Every year in the United States, Days of Remembrance are observed by state and local governments, military bases, workplaces, schools, churches, synagogues, and civic centers.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has created a Days of Remembrance Map to help you find a Days of Remembrance Commemoration in your area.
To access the map click here.
Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day
Hokehankisd (Requiem Service) at 7:00 p.m.
Program begins approximately 7:15 p.m.
St. Sahag Armenian Church
203 N. Howell St., Saint Paul
Bruno Chaouat, Director, Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies
Sponsored by the Armenian Cultural Organization of Minnesota.
Indiana U. parley tackles 'post-Holocaust anti-Semitism'
Bruno Chaouat, CHGS director, presented his paper "The Demonization of Israel in France: Literary and Ideological Perversions" as part of the conference.
Indiana U. parley tackles 'post-Holocaust anti-Semitism'
By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL
The Jerusalem Post
International conference led by anti-Semitism scholar Prof. Alvin Rosenfeld will also discuss questions about anti-Jewish hostility within Israel.
Rosenfeld told The Jerusalem Post ahead of the opening that, "We're living at a time of heightened anti-Semitism, but today's anti-Semitism is not well understood. Scholars have given a great deal of attention to earlier forms of Christian religious anti-Semitism and to Nazi-style racial anti-Semitism, culminating in the Holocaust.
Read full article here.
Suit Over "Unreliable" Website Dismissed
This is an important victory for scholars and educators all over the United States. I want first to express my gratitude to General Counsel at the University of Minnesota, and in particular to Brent Benrud, for his outstanding work on this case. I applaud Judge Frank's decision, as it bears witness to the high esteem in which the judicial system in this country holds academic freedom. This outcome honors the principles of freedom of speech, and is a remarkable example of the law's protection of free inquiry into matters of public interest.
Bruno Chaouat, CHGS director
For more information on the law suit, please click here.
Court dismisses Turkish Coalition lawsuit filed against the University of Minnesota
MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (03/30/2011) --U.S. District Court Judge Donovan Frank today dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Turkish Coalition of America against the University of Minnesota. The lawsuit arose from materials posted on the university's Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies (CHGS) website, including a list of websites CHGS considered "unreliable" for purposes of conducting scholarly research. The Turkish Coalition claimed the university violated its constitutional rights, and committed defamation, by including the Turkish Coalition website on the "unreliable" websites list.
The federal court found the materials on the CHGS website reflected the opinions of the university and its faculty regarding the reliability of the various websites, including the Turkish Coalition website. As such, the court held that the University website material was protected by the principle of academic freedom, which gives the university and its faculty a broad right to express their views and engage in scholarly commentary and critique. Because the materials were protected by academic freedom, the federal court dismissed the Turkish Coalition's claims.
University General Counsel Mark Rotenberg stated, "This case has been followed closely by scholars around the world because of its important implications for principles of academic freedom. If scholars faced legal liability each time they engaged in controversial academic critiques, the concept of academic freedom would be greatly diminished. The court's decision today confirms the right of scholars to engage in academic critiques without fear of legal retribution. The university applauds today's decision."
Read in original format
Screening of No. 4 Street of Our Lady
Special screening of the award-winning documentary
No. 4 Street of Our Lady
Sabes Foundation Minneapolis Jewish Film Festival
Tuesday, April 5
Sabes Jewish Community Center
4330 Cedar Lake Road South
St. Louis Park, MN
Introduction and Question and Answer with Jodi Elowitz, Outreach Coordinator Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies
No. 4 Street of Our Lady
If your neighbors were being hunted down and came to your door begging for help, would you risk your life to save theirs?
No. 4 Street of Our Lady tells the remarkable, yet little-known, story of Francisca Halamajowa, a Polish-Catholic woman who rescued 16 of her Jewish neighbors during the Holocaust, while cleverly passing herself off as a Nazi sympathizer.
View the trailer
Ticket Information or contact the box office at 952-381-3499.
"Turkish-Armenian Relations through the Sociological Lens"
Fatma Muge Gocek
Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Michigan
The Ninth Annual Arsham and Charlotte Ohanessian Lecture
Friday, April 1, 2011
Coffman Memorial Union
Fatma Muge Gocek is Associate Professor of Sociology and Women's Studies. Her research focuses on comparative analysis of gender issues in first and third worlds. She also studies the impact on women of processes such as economic development, nationalism and religious movements. Her published works includes East Encounters West: France and the Ottoman Empire in the 18th Century (Oxford University Press 1987), Reconstructing Gender in the Middle East: Tradition, Identity, Power (Columbia University Press, 1994 co-edited with Shiva Balaghi), Rise of the Bourgeoisie, Demise of Empire: Ottoman Westernization and Social Change (Oxford University Press 1996), and Social Constructions of Nationalism in the Middle East (SUNY Press, 2002).
The Arsham and Charlotte Ohanessian Lecture results from a generous gift by Arsham Ohanessian to the College of Liberal Arts. Arsham was a successful businessman, avid musician, and dedicated community leader. He was devoted to promoting peaceful reconciliation among peoples. His gift to the University of Minnesota supports a wide range of educational, research, and public programs concerning human rights, ethnic and national conflicts, and Armenian history and culture.
A reception will follow the lecture.
This event is free and open to the public.
Sponsored by the Arsham and Charlotte Ohanessian Chair in the College of Liberal Arts, Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, History Department, and Sociology Department.
For resources on Turkish-Armenian relations please visit the CHGS Armenian Genocide page.
Video of Fatma Müge Göçek's talk on nationalism and identity in the Ottoman Empire during the 19th Century: Facing History and Ourselves.
CHGS Reading Discussion Group Rescheduled
The third meeting of the Reading Discussion Group, initially scheduled for March 22nd, has been postponed until Thursday, April 14th. The discussion will be led by Dr. Keith David Watenpaugh, historian and Associate Professor of Modern Islam, Human Rights and Peace who teaches in the Religious Studies program at UC-Davis. Dr. Watenpaugh will also present a lecture, "Hate in the Past Tense: Understanding Armenian Genocide Denial's Origins as a Problem of Contemporary Reconciliation" on campus that evening.
We will be discussing chapters 10, 11 and 12 of Remembrance and Denial: The Case of the Armenian Genocide, edited by Richard G. Hovannisian. The excerpts are available on-line on the CHGS Reading Discussion blog.
The group will meet on Thursday, April 14th at 12pm, Room 201A in Wilson Library. Space is limited, and reservations are required. If you are interested in attending, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, email address and phone number (please put RDG in the subject line), or call 612-624-0256.
The Art of Zhen Shan Ren International Exhibition
March 28, 29 and 30, 2011
Great Hall, University of Minnesota Coffman Memorial Union
The Art of Zhen, Shan, Ren (Truth, Compassion, Tolerance) International Exhibition is an extraordinarily moving, intimate and inspiring exhibition detailing both an inner spiritual life and an outer human rights tragedy. Realistic oil paintings and Chinese water-colors from mostly Chinese artists give a unique insight into the spiritual discipline Falun Gong, also called Falun
Falun Gong, a form of meditative exercise originating in China, is based on the principles of Truth, Compassion and Tolerance. Part of the exhibition is dedicated to showing how the practice of Falun Gong has changed people's lives, providing them with a return to traditional Chinese values.
On July 20th 1999 Falun Gong was banned in China, and since that date 11 years ago many thousands of practitioners have been tortured in an effort to "transform" them. Part of the exhibition deals with the terrifying ordeals people - including the artists themselves - have gone through.
Professor Zhang Kunlun, founder of the exhibition and former Director of the Institute of Sculpture at the Institute of Art in Shandong, himself a practitioner of Falun Gong, said: "Our art comes from a pure heart and our work reflects our personal experience. Art is able to greatly influence the way people think and it also directly connects with human morality. And the two interact."
Dr Zhang was detained for three months in a labor camp in China. In 2004, he started to work with other artists who practice Falun Gong to create this exhibition. United by their experiences, the artists use their art to tell their stories, speak out and call for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong in China.
Since 2004, the exhibition has toured over 200 cities in 40 countries in Europe, the Americas, Asia and Australia. In that time, the exhibition has received numerous proclamations and letters of support from various government offices and other organizations.
The artists featured are: Xiaoping Chen, Dr Xiqiang Dong, Tingyin Shi, Zhengping Chen, Kathleen Gillis, Yuan Li, Daci Shen, Ruizhen Gu and Dr Kunlun Zhang.
The exhibition was made possible by a grant from the Student Activities and Coca-Cola® Grant Initiative, and is hosted by the University of Minnesota Falun Dafa Twin Cities Club and the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies.
Full page print.pdf
Swimming in the Daylight: Inna Meiman Human Rights Award winners announced
A human rights success story of a friendship between Lisa Paul, a University of Minnesota graduate in Russian Studies, and Inna Meiman, a Russian Jew who was forbidden by her government to access medical treatment abroad. Their story is told in the form of Paul's memoir as a young American living in the Soviet Union who fearlessly advocated to realize the rights of her friend.
At the event on March 10, the Human Rights Program and the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies announced the winners of The Inna Meiman Human Rights Award recognizing students at the University of Minnesota who have made significant personal contributions in the promotion and protection of human rights. Nora Radtke and Morley Spencer became the first recipients of the award, which was presented to them by Lisa Paul.
For more on this story click here.
Swimming in the Daylight
"Light From the Yellow Star: Art Faith Humanity"
8 p.m. Monday, March 14, Ordway Center for the Performing Arts.
"Remain Humane Even in Inhumane Circumstances." The University of St. Thomas Symphonic Wind Ensemble will present "Light From the Yellow Star: Art Faith Humanity," featuring the world premiere performance of a St. Thomas-commissioned work by Boris Pigovat. Also featured will be the St. Paul City Ballet. Dr. Robert Fisch will provide art and commentary.
General admission is $6; admission is free for St. Thomas students (with ID). This event is part of interfaith art pARTners, a Twin Cities festival.
For further information click here.
The Value of One Life
Minnesota History Center
On view Jan. 15 - April 10, 2011
Tragedy, for some, can be a roadblock; but for others, it's a part of the journey. Dr. Robert O. Fisch is a Minnesotan pediatrician, visual artist and Holocaust survivor. He is a living example of overcoming catastrophic life circumstances to reach joy and success.
This is the theme of the new exhibit "The Value of One Life," conceived by Dr. Fisch and developed by the Minnesota History Center.
For more on Dr. Fisch please visit his CHGS page.
To view Light from the Yellow Star click here.
Reading Group "Alternative Narratives or Denial?" Discussion Notes from 2-15 Now available
The CHGS "Alternative Narratives or Denial?" Reading Discussion Group notes from the book "From Empathy to Denial: Arab Responses to the Holocaust" by Ester Webman and Meir Litvak are now available on the Reading Discussion Group blog.
The final meeting of the 2011 CHGS Reading Discussion Group will be on Tuesday, March 22. The group will meet at 12pm in room 710 in the Social Sciences Building. We will be discussing chapters 9, 11 and 12 from Remembrance and Denial: The Case of the Armenian Genocide, edited by Richard G. Hovannisian.
Holocaust and Genocide News Articles
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
A 21st-Century Statesman
In the age of Twitter-shortened attention spans, fame is an increasingly powerful weapon of diplomacy. How George Clooney is helping to bring change--and a hefty dose of hope--to Sudan.
Read full article
As Greece seeks closer ties to Israel, anti-Semitism rears its ugly head
International Business Times
While the Greek government seeks to establish closer diplomatic ties with Israel (in the wake of a cooling of relations between Israel and Turkey), incidents of anti-Semitism are rising in Greece, inflamed by the deepening economic crisis.
Read full article
Italy's first Holocaust museum to be built in Rome
By Lisa Palmieri-Billig
Country was partner, not victim, of Nazis, but hasn't done soul-searching like Germany, says director.
Read full article
Germany opens its first Reform synagogue since the Holocaust
The synagogue in northern city of Hameln was built on foundations of predecessor destroyed by the Nazis during Kristallnacht.
Read full article
Armenian genocide gave rise to modern humanitarian movement, UC Davis historian argues
CHGS is hosting Keith David Watenpaugh on April 14 as part of our "Alternative Narratives or Denial?" lectures, more information to be released soon.
UC Davis News
One of the 20th century's most infamous atrocities, the Armenian genocide, also should be remembered for fostering the modern humanitarian movement, a UC Davis historian argues in a paper recently published in the American Historical Review.
Establishing a defining characteristic of modern humanitarianism, people at the time "began to reject the idea that suffering was natural or normal and concluded that you could stop human suffering, that we had the intellectual tools, the social reforms, the science and medicine to do it," said Keith David Watenpaugh, an associate professor who teaches in the religious studies program. "It was just generating the international will to do so.
"This was the first time a major international body, in this case the League of Nations, intervened on behalf of a large population of refugees and genocide survivors, to try to help them. Many Americans were involved in this effort. And it was also a major failure."
Watenpaugh's paper, "The League of Nations' Rescue of Armenian Genocide Survivors and the Making of Modern Humanitarianism, 1920-1927," was published in the December edition of the American Historical Review, the official publication of the American Historical Association.
Between 1 million and 1.5 million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, much of which later became Turkey, died as a consequence of the genocide. Many were killed during forced marches into the desert or starved to death without food or water.
A specialist in modern Islam and human rights, Watenpaugh researched League of Nations intake surveys that recorded the histories of some 2,000 Armenian girls, boys and young women who, he wrote, "were rescued -- or, more often, rescued themselves -- from Arab, Kurdish and Turkish households into which they had been taken."
At the outset of the genocide, men and older boys were rounded up and executed. Many of the survivors were women and children, who often were sold or given away by their captors to become "agricultural workers or domestic servants, servile concubines, unconsenting wives, and involuntary mothers," Watenpaugh writes.
The League of Nations' belated rescue efforts recovered few of an estimated 90,000 survivors, Watenpaugh said. The mission was handicapped by efforts to portray the refugees as symbols of a much larger conflict.
"The Armenian women and children were non-Muslims being held by Muslims," he explained. "So it was portrayed as an example of a basic conflict between Islam and the West. This kind of politicization of refugee problems often does more harm than good."
Turks interpreted this portrayal as an attack on their national honor and religion and refused to help the League of Nations rescue survivors.
"The Armenians weren't victims of a religion, rather, their enslavement had less to do with religion than traditional social practices," Watenpaugh said.
Moreover, it is important to remember, he added, "that it was a modern phenomenon -- genocide -- that created the conditions under which these women and children could be victimized."
Watenpaugh said that he hopes his research will foster reconciliation by creating a better understanding of a shared past of trauma and violence in the region including Turkey, where the government still insists the genocide never happened.
Work like this can help "modern Turks come to terms with the fact that the genocide of the Armenians is part of their past as well," he said.
"No longer are the Armenians merely the hated 'other,' as they had been taught in school. Perhaps Grandma was an Armenian who had been taken. They may have absolutely loved and adored their grandmother and she's Armenian."
The article as it appears UC Davis News.
International Scholars, Historians and Others Petition in Support
In a gesture of solidarity with CHGS, noted scholars and luminaries, many associated with the Université Paris 7-Diderot, have been signing an online petition affirming the truth of the Armenian genocide. We thank our colleagues for their support. A final decision regarding the dismissal of the "Unreliable Websites" law suit is expected by early April
Holocaust and Genocide News and Articles
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Muslim dignitaries pay their respects at Auschwitz
(AP) - 2-1-2011
OSWIECIM, Poland (AP) -- In a bid to fight anti-Semitism and bridge cultural rifts, a large delegation of Muslim dignitaries visited Auschwitz on Tuesday to pay tribute to the millions of Jews and others who were systematically killed in the Holocaust.
Read full article
Austrian Jews press charges over 'anti-Semitic' Turkish film on Gaza flotilla
Politicians and Jewish groups in Austria and Germany criticized action film 'Valley of the Wolves - Palestine' ahead of its release on Holocaust Memorial Day.
Read full article
Khmer Rouge suspects seek release ahead of trial
By Suy Se (AFP) - 1-31-2011
PHNOM PENH -- Three top Khmer Rouge leaders made a rare joint appearance before Cambodia's UN-backed war crimes court on Monday to seek release from custody while they await trial for genocide.
Read full article
Holocaust survivor shared message of tolerance with thousands:Minneapolis Star Tribune 1-30-2011
Ella Weiss, 'strong-willed' Auschwitz survivor: Minneapolis Star Tribune 1-30-2011
Preserving a symbol of evil: Boston Globe 1-30-2011
A Vanished World: Panorama by H.G. Adler: New York Times Review of Books 1-28-2011
Holocaust Survivor Henry Oertelt, 90
Holocaust Survivor Henry Oertelt passed away yesterday, January 27 at the age of 90. He will be greatly missed.
"My message is what can happen if hate goes uncontrolled, you have to do everything in your power . . . to see that hatred will not exist anymore. If you absolutely have to hate - hate Hate!"
To learn more about Henry please visit his web page.
Holocaust and Genocide News
Monday, January 24, 2011
Killing Hrant Dink Twice
By ZAFER YÖRÜK
Rudaw in English
January 22, 2011
"I don't know why the Turks can't admit it, express sorrow and go on. That's the worst. You do all these things to the victim and then you say it never happened. That is killing them twice."
Read editorial in full
Yad Vashem wishes to educate Iran about Holocaust with Farsi YouTube channel
By Associated press
January 23, 2011
YouTube channel aims to educate Iranians about the Holocaust, as Iranian President Ahmadinejad reiterates his belief that the Holocaust is a myth.
Read full article
Foreign Policy: In Ivory Coast, A 'Genocide' Problem
By ELIZABETH DICKINSON
January 24, 2011
Across the board, the rhetoric on the Ivory Coast is escalating. The West African economic community, ECOWAS, says it is set to intervene militarily to unseat should-be-outgoing President Laurent Gbagbo.
Read full editorial
Opinions expressed in articles posted do not necessarily reflect the view of CHGS but are essential to the ongoing conversation in regards to the study of the Holocaust and other genocides.
"Alternative Narratives or Denial?" Reading Discussion Group Talking Points now Available
The first meeting of the CHGS "Alternative narratives or Denial?" Reading Discussion Group was held on January 11th, 2011. The book discussed was Deborah Lipstadt's Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth.
Talking points and questions that were generated through the discussion are now available on the Reading Discussion Group blog.
Holocaust and Genocide News
Friday, January 21, 2011
Jewish groups push to find Holocaust mass graves
The Washington Post
By Kirsten Grieshaber
The Associated Press
Friday, January 21, 2011; 10:00 AM
BERLIN -- Jewish organizations launched a joint effort Friday to identify, protect and memorialize thousands of forgotten Holocaust mass graves across eastern Europe.
Read full article
High court declines case on genocide lessons
Armenian groups applaud decision
The Boston Globe
By David Abel
Globe Staff / January 21, 2011
The US Supreme Court declined yesterday to hear an appeal of a ruling that state public school guidelines can exclude materials disputing that the mass killing of Armenians in the early 20th century constituted genocide.
Read full article
Middle East Studies Group Urges End to Suit Against U. of Minnesota
Inside Higher Ed
January 19, 2011
The Middle East Studies Association is urging the Turkish Coalition of America to withdraw a lawsuit against the University of Minnesota over materials, since removed from the university's genocide studies website, calling a website of the Turkish group an "unreliable" source for information about the Armenian genocide, which most scholars say happened, and which the Turkish group questions.
In a letter to the coalition, the Middle East studies group said: "Your organization, and those who hold perspectives different from those expressed by scholars associated with the Center, certainly have the right to participate in open scholarly exchange on the history of the Armenians in the late Ottoman Empire or any other issue, by presenting their views at academic conferences, in the pages of peer-reviewed scholarly journals or by other means, thereby opening them up to debate and challenge. We are distressed that you instead chose to take legal action against the University of Minnesota and its Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, apparently for having at one point characterized views expressed on your website in a certain way. We fear that legal action of this kind may have a chilling effect on the ability of scholars and academic institutions to carry out their work freely and to have their work assessed on its merits, in conformity with standards and procedures long established in the world of scholarship. Your lawsuit may thus serve to stifle the free expression of ideas among scholars and academic institutions regarding the history of Armenians in the later Ottoman Empire, and thereby undermine the principles of academic freedom."
Bruce Fein, one of the lawyers for those suing the University of Minnesota (a group that includes a student there), rejected the criticisms from the Middle East scholars. Via e-mail, Fein said that "it is obvious that the letter writers never bothered to read the complaint.... The complaint explicitly renounces what the misinformed letter authors assert: that we are challenging the right of professors to voice their opinions about the reliability of web or other information sources. The complaint questions the authority of a state school to de facto prohibit students from visiting websites solely because of the viewpoint expressed and not for any bona fide educational purpose. If I were a teacher, I would give an F grade to the letter for failure of the writers to do their homework and egregiously misrepresenting the facts without even contacting the opposing side."
For more on "Unreliable Websites"
Conspiracy Theories, Anti-Semitism, and the Delegitimization of Israel
Abraham H. Foxman
National Director of the Anti-Defamation League
January 10, 2011 11:56 AM
The Huffington Post
We are living at a time when conspiracy theories are flourishing. Partly this is a product of the anxieties that suffuse civilization, about the economy, about terrorism, about global warming. Partly it is a product of the Internet, where conspiracies and rumors spread like wildfire and take on an aura of authenticity.
It is likewise not surprising that in this environment, conspiracy theories about Jews are surfacing and spreading in a way that we haven't witnessed for decades. Since at the very core of anti-Semitism as a phenomenon is a conspiracy theory writ large -- Jews are not what they seem to be but are a hidden, poisonous, powerful cabal -- when conspiracy theories are broadly popular they almost inevitably end up focusing on Jews.
We have seen this process at work regarding the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the war in Iraq and, more recently, the WikiLeaks phenomenon.
Some of the conspiracy accusations are so ludicrous -- for example, the charge coming out of Egypt that a shark attack was a Mossad plant -- that it raises the question as to when such things need to be taken seriously and when they should either be ignored or parodied.
The temptation to play down some of the more outrageous accusations is undermined by the experience with two of the most dangerous and enduring ones: the denial of the Holocaust and the charge that the Mossad was behind the 9/11 attacks.
When the first efforts appeared in the 1970s to argue that the Holocaust was a fantasy concocted by Jews for a variety of nefarious purposes, the initial reaction was: who will pay attention to such nonsense? After all, even by then there were scores of books writing in detail about the horror, not to mention the Nuremberg and Eichmann trials and a variety of other documentations. And yet today,Holocaust denial has developed a life of its own, particularly in the Arab and Muslim world, but not limited to it. As absurd as the arguments by the deniers are, there is a market for such absurdities, whether to prove that Jews control all information in the world and can therefore get everyone to believe whatever they want; or to rehabilitate extreme right-wing parties who have been delegitimized by the Holocaust; or to show that the Jewish state has no moral justification. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is hardly alone in spouting these lies. Recently, a leading Hamas official, Mahmoud al-Zahar, shamelessly said that it is a "lie" that the Jews were victims of the Holocaust.
Similarly with regard to the 9/11 theory: When six days after the terrorist attack, Hizbullah television put out a short "news" item that 4,000 Israelis were working at the World Trade Center and none showed up for work that day, no one could have imagined how such a bold-faced fabrication would take off. After all, Israelis and Jews were among the nearly 3,000 who died that day, and Osama Bin Laden had taken credit for the attack, so who could believe that Israel was behind it all, as Hizbullah implied.
And yet, according to a Gallup poll more than a year after the event, millions of people in nine Muslim countries believed that it was Israel, not Al Qaeda, that was behind it all. This notion also continues to surface in Europe and elsewhere.
In the final analysis, while we don't have the luxury to dismiss any of these phony accusations, we need to distinguish those that are most dangerous from the others. None, in my view, is more threatening than the charge that Jews control American policy, particularly regarding the Middle East.
This notion, most prominently expressed by Professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, is in today's world the one that resonates the most, appears both in extremist and mainstream venues all over the world, and has the greatest impact on attitudes and policies toward the state of Israel and the Jewish people.
Here too, like other such theories, it is far more fantasy than a description of reality. As Edward S. Walker, a longtime State Department hand and former U.S. Ambassador to Egypt and Israel, put it, from the vantage point of decades of work in government on Middle East issues, he could not recognize how policy was actually made from the description of it by Mearsheimer and Walt.
The repeated pounding away of this message -- by the professors, by former President Jimmy Carter, by many left-wing and Muslim anti-Israel advocates in Europe, by Middle Eastern government officials, editorialists and cartoonists -- poses a threat to Jewish communities, to Israel's relations around the world, and to a rational approach to foreign policy decision-making. Much like the mother of all anti-Jewish conspiracy theories, The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, if Jews have so much evil power, then anything one does to defend oneself against it is legitimate.
What to do about this proliferation of anti-Semitic theories? We must expose them for what they are. We must get good people, particularly non-Jews, to stand up. And we must deal rationally and responsibly with those global issues which create the anxiety that acts as a tail wind moving these dangerous fantasies swiftly through society.
Abraham H. Foxman,National Director of the Anti-Defamation League
Opinions expressed in articles posted do not necessarily reflect the view of CHGS but are pertinent to the debate that we at the Center are fostering.
Holocaust survivor Reidar Dittmann, 88
The St. Olaf professor, a well-traveled Norwegian, helped to develop study programs across the globe.
By AIMÉE BLANCHETTE, Star Tribune
January 4, 2011
Every day, Reidar Dittmann would whip through a crossword puzzle to unwind. Then he'd complete Isaac Asimov's Super Quiz in the newspaper with his wife of nearly 60 years, Chrisma. The daily puzzles were about the only time Dittmann spared to sit still, but he had to keep his mind sharp just to keep pace with his legs.
"He was a larger-than-life dad in some ways -- always so busy, working on campus or traveling," Lisa Dittmann said of her father, a longtime professor at St. Olaf College in Northfield. "He had a steel-trap mind and could recite historical dates, royal empires ... even in the hospital and on morphine, he'd be lecturing us about the Danish kings."
Dittmann died Dec. 29 in hospice care after a brief struggle with renal failure. He was 88.
Perhaps Dittmann's restlessness grew out of his incarceration at Buchenwald concentration camp during World War II. In 1944, after being arrested on a few occasions for being a part of the Nazi resistance movement in Norway, Dittmann, a Norwegian, was taken to the camp and subjected to Nazi propaganda, interrogation and brainwashing.
None of it worked.
"He just knew it was all wrong," his daughter said. "He didn't believe in the marginalizing of any group of people for any reason."
Dittmann would later use his experience to become a prolific speaker on the dangers of fascism. His story is documented in a short film by Gayle Knutson, "Prisoner 32,232," for the Minnesota Historical Society's Minnesota's Greatest Generation project.
After the war, Dittmann came to Northfield to study on a scholarship offered by St. Olaf College for Norwegian students whose education had been interrupted by the war. While studying music, Dittmann met and married Chrisma Skoien of Chippewa Falls, Wis. The couple spent two years teaching high school in Ethiopia, where their oldest son, Reidar Jr., was born.
The couple returned to Northfield, where they raised four additional children. Throughout the years, Dittmann taught Norwegian, German and Scandinavian civilization classes at St. Olaf College. He was passionate about travel and eager to bring international learning experiences to his students. He was instrumental in developing study programs in Europe, the Far East and across the globe in the 1950s and 1960s.
Dittmann retired in 1993, but continued traveling, often as an alumni tour guide, to Norway, Italy and other parts of Europe. His wife died three years ago.
In addition to his daughter Lisa, he is survived by two sons, Reidar Jr. of Vashon Island, Wash., and Rolf of Stillwater; two other daughters, Kristin Dittmann of Maple Grove and Solveig Dittmann of Oakdale; two brothers, Sigurd Dittmann of Oslo, Norway, and Erling Dittmann of Tonsberg, Norway, and six grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at St. John's Lutheran Church in Northfield.
Aimée Blanchette • 612-673-1715
For more about Reidar Dittman's work and life visit his CHGS web page.
Holocaust and Genocide Articles
The Peto thesis is, at best, an extended opinion piece
By Karen Mock, James Morton and Howard Tenenbaum
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
The Canadian Jewish News
We have carefully read Jennifer Peto's controversial master's thesis, The Victimhood of the Powerful: White Jews, Zionism and the Racism of Hegemonic Holocaust Education.
After considerable thought and discussion, we have concluded the thesis is a profoundly problematic and flawed document.
Read full commentary
Film Critics David Denby and Roger Ebert take another look at
Claude Lanzmann's "Shoah"
"Shoah" and a new view of history.
by David Denby
January 10, 2011
The New Yorker
"There is no proper response to this film."
By Roger Ebert
Why should we care?
The Jerusalem Post
By Yehuda Bauer
December 28, 2010
This country has right to deny entry, insist on departure of economic migrants but it cannot turn its back on those escaping genocide.
Read full editorial
Holocaust and Genocide Articles
The Holocaust's Uneasy Relationship With Literature
By Menachem Kaiser
Literature and the Holocaust have a complicated relationship. This isn't to say, of course, that the pairing isn't a fruitful one--the Holocaust has influenced, if not defined, nearly every Jewish writer since, from Saul Bellow to Jonathan Safran Foer, and many non-Jews besides, like W.G. Sebald and Jorge Semprun. Still, literature qua art--innately concerned with representation and appropriation--seemingly stands opposed to the immutability of the Holocaust and our oversized obligations to its memory.
Read full article
The Beleaguered Cambodians
The New York Review of Books
By Margo Picken
More than thirty years after an estimated two million people died at the hands of Pol Pot's regime of Democratic Kampuchea, trials of senior Khmer Rouge leaders and those most responsible for the deaths are at last taking place in Cambodia. On July 26, the first to be tried, Kaing Guek Eav, commonly known as Duch, was sentenced to thirty-five years in prison for war crimes and crimes against humanity--a sentence that he and the prosecution have since appealed. Duch directed Security Prison 21, also known as Tuol Sleng, where at least 14,000 prisoners, mostly Khmer Rouge cadres and officials, were tortured and killed.
Read full article
Holocaust and Genocide News
Monday, December 27, 2010
Holocaust art endures at Israel's Yad Vashem museum
With a 10,000-piece Holocaust-era collection and growing, Yad Vashem in Jerusalem leads the effort to conserve and display works by persecuted artists.
Read full article
Maintaining the memories of genocide
The late J. Michael Hagopian escaped the mass murder that claimed the lives of as many as 1.5 million Armenians. Through his 12 films, the atrocity will remain visible to all who are willing to see.
Read full article
Time runs out on US Armenian genocide resolution
By DESMOND BUTLER
The Associated Press
Wednesday, December 22, 2010; 7:46 PM
WASHINGTON -- U.S. lawmakers have avoided a diplomatic clash with important ally Turkey by deciding not to take up a resolution declaring the mass killings of Armenians early last century a genocide.
Supporters of the resolution made a push for approval in the final days of Congress, despite opposition from the Obama administration.
The measure was strongly opposed by Turkey and the administration feared it would have damaged relations with the NATO ally.
The House of Representatives ended its two-year term Wednesday without taking up the matter. It is unlikely to be passed when Republicans take control of the chamber in January because the new House speaker, John Boehner, opposes it.
Learn more about the Armenian Genocide by visiting the CHGS Armenian Genocide web page.
Watch the award-winning and Emmy-nominated television production "The Armenian Genocide: 90Years Later," produced by CHGS and Twin Cities Public Television on the TPT Video Vault. You may also access the link by visiting the CHGS Armenian Genocide or Web Links pages.
WWII resistance fighter Rochelle Sutin, 86
By HERÓN MÁRQUEZ ESTRADA, Star Tribune
December 20, 2010
Rochelle Sutin, a Holocaust survivor whose fight against the Nazis during World War II became the stuff of legend, died in a St. Louis Park nursing home Sunday.
Sutin, 86, had recently had a stroke, said her daughter, Cecilia Dobrin.
"She was a hero," Dobrin said of her mother, whose life was captured in a book and a play and told numerous times through speeches and articles about her and her husband, Jack Sutin. "She lived her entire life with great courage. She will be greatly missed by everyone who knew her and loved her. But her spirit will live forever in our hearts and minds. "
Rochelle Sutin was born and raised in the town of Stolpce in pre-war Poland, in a part of Eastern Europe that is now part of Belarus.
At the age of 16, after being captured by the invading Nazi forces and seeing dozens of relatives killed, she escaped into the woods to join the resistance movement in the area. In the Polish woods she met Jack Sutin.
The two spent years fighting the Nazis and caring for one another despite the deprivation, terror and constant threat of death.
"We were in love for 68 years," Jack Sutin said Sunday night. "She was a wonderful woman. When I was in the underground I was very sick and she took care of me. I am alive today because of her."
The couple married on Dec. 31, 1942, in an underground bunker in the middle of the war.
After the war, the couple were taken to a displaced persons camp in Germany, living there before migrating to the United States, where they joined an uncle of Rochelle Sutin's in St. Paul in 1949.
The couple started an import business a few years later, Rochelle, Inc. They ran it for a number of years, into the 1970s with Rochelle Sutin serving as vice president.
Cecilia Sutin said the company was very successful, having as clients a number of Fortune 500 companies.
Cecilia Dobrin said the difficulties her mother endured growing up gave her a greater appreciation for family and the successes of her life.
"She knew how easily it could be taken away," Dobrin said. "But she was not bitter. She [and my father] knew that the best revenge was to be happy and have a family."
The Sutins were forthright in sharing their life stories with their two children. In fact, Cecilia, now 63, was born in the displaced persons camp.
"It was a natural thing," Dobrin said. "Like any parent would tell their child about their history."
In 1995, the Sutin story went public. The couple's son, Larry, published a book about their exploits. "Jack and Rochelle: A Holocaust Story of Love and Resistance" gained international acclaim.
Rochelle Sutin is survived by her husband, Jack, of St. Louis Park; two children, Cecilia of Minnetonka and Larry of Edina; three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Services will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday in Adath Jeshurun Congregation in Minnetonka. Burial will follow at Adath Yeshurun cemetery in Edina.
Heron Marquez • 952-707-9994
For more on Rochelle visit her and Jack's web page on the CHGS site.
Holocaust and Genocide News
Monday, December 20, 2010
US lawmakers may vote on Armenian genocide measure
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The House may vote next week on a measure that could damage U.S. relations with critical ally Turkey: a resolution declaring the World War I-era killings of Armenians a genocide.
Read full article
Will Focusing On Southern Sudan Prevent Genocide?
After the Holocaust, the world pledged "never again," but mass killings continued in Cambodia, Rwanda, the Balkans and -- most recently -- Sudan's Darfur region.
U.S. officials see a new risk of blood-shed in next month's independence vote in Southern Sudan. This time, everyone from celebrities to U.S. diplomats is trying a new approach: Drawing attention to the risk of mass violence in hopes of preventing it.
Read full article
Holocaust and Genocide News
News for Monday, December 13, 2010
Rwandan Genocide Finds Release In Photos
Ethnic strife can touch off unimaginable horrors. Rwanda is proof of that. A wave of genocidal murder there in 1994 left more than a million dead. Eight hundred thousand people were slaughtered in just 100 days.
Read full article
Appeals court reverses itself over Armenian suit
A federal appeals court on Friday reversed itself and now says the heirs of Armenians killed in the Turkish Ottoman Empire can seek payment from companies that sold their relatives life insurance.
Read full article
The past is present
A Boston University researcher stumbles upon a remarkable Holocaust artifact - and discovers that one of its creators lives just a few blocks away from him in Brookline.
Read full article
An American Scandal
By Meïr Waintrater
December 8, 2010
At this very moment, a university is having to defend itself against a lawsuit. The charge? Declaring that writings denying a genocide are not a basis for students' work. In other words, the university has come up against those who defend the perpetrators of genocide, who want to have their denialist discourse legitimized.
The university is American, headquartered in Minneapolis, the largest city in the State of Minnesota. The genocide in question is the genocide of the Armenians, which was perpetrated by the Ottoman government beginning in 1915. And the complaint was filed by the Turkish Coalition of America, an organization which claims that the genocide did not take place.
The complaint targets the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, which is part of the University of Minnesota. This Center has a website for students and researchers which suggests, among other things, recommended readings. It also indicates that other texts on these subjects are "unreliable," beginning with the texts of the Turkish Coalition.
This has angered Turkish lobbyists, who are filing suit against the university, its president, and educator Bruno Chaouat, who directs the Center. They have been defamed, they say, they are being denied the right to speak. They pose as victims because academics have passed scientific judgment on denialist discourse--which is their right, indeed their duty. The university is defending itself, of course, and has every chance of winning this unjust lawsuit. But doubt has been sown in people's minds.
All this may seem far, very far, from us. In reality, we are directly concerned. Not only because the academic in question, Bruno Chaouat, is a French citizen. What happens today in Minneapolis could occur tomorrow in Paris, if we are not careful.
Among us also, the denial of the Armenian Genocide has its advocates. And the deniers of all genocides are alike. Not satisfied with preaching hatred, they want to impose their presence in a discussion where they have no place.
Imagine Pierre Péan giving a course on the Tutsi genocide in Rwanda, imagine Faurisson and Garaudy teaching the history of the Shoah. Ridiculous, hateful, intolerable? Yes, but not much more than what some people claim to be dictating to the University of Minnesota. The battle of this university and its teachers for the simple right to tell the truth about genocide is our struggle as well.
© Meïr Waintrater
Posted December 8, 2010, by Menahem Macina at france-israel.org
Original text in French:
"Alternative Narratives or Denial" Reading Discussion Group
Denial of the Holocaust is woven into the very fabric of mass murder. Heinrich Himmler, in his infamous speech to his henchmen at Poznan on October 4, 1943, extolled their extermination of the Jews in these terms: "This is a page of glory in our history never mentioned and never to be mentioned." Secrecy and obfuscation were necessary components of the process, and latter-day denial may be seen as symbolically repeating the crime. The French Historian Pierre Vidal-Naquet has thus aptly called Holocaust deniers the assassins of memory.
In conjunction with our 2011 lecture series "Alternative Narratives or Denial," CHGS is facilitating a reading discussion group focused on seminal works on the topic of Holocaust and genocide denial.
The group will be reading and discussing excerpts from Denying the Holocaust by Deborah Lipstadt (Tuesday, January 11), From Empathy and Denial: Arab Responses to the Holocaust by Meir Litvak and Esther Webman (Tuesday, February 15) and Remembrance and Denial: The Case of the Armenian Genocide edited by Richard G. Hovannisian, as well as articles from the Armenian Reporter (Tuesday, March 22).
The first excerpts are Chapters 3, 7 and 10 from Denying the Holocaust and are posted on the CHGS Reading Discussion Group Blog. Entire copies of the book are available at Wilson Library, most metro-area libraries, and bookstores.
The first discussion group will meet on Tuesday, January 11 at 12:00 p.m. in room 710 Social Sciences Building on the University of Minnesota's west bank. Reservations are required and can be made via email at CHGS@umn.edu (please put RDG in the subject line and include your name, phone and email address in the body of the message) or by phone at 612-624-0256.
If are unable to attend in person, you can follow the discussion on the CHGS website or on their Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Preventing Genocide and Mass Atrocities, Samantha Power
Watch Opening Keynote by Samantha Power at the International Symposium, Preventing Genocide and Mass Atrocities Shoah Memorial, Paris, Nov.15, 2010.
Samantha Power Daily Motion
Samantha Power is Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights at the United States National Security Council. Before joining the U.S. administration, she was the Founding Executive Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She won a Pulitzer Prize for A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide. Her most recent book is Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira de Mello and the Fight to Save the World. As a journalist, Power reported from Bosnia, East Timor, Kosovo, Rwanda, Sudan, and Zimbabwe for the New Yorker, New York Review of Books, New Republic, Time, The Economist and US News and World Report, among others.
Abba Kovner in letter after Adolf Eichmann trial: A dam has burst of Holocaust survivors' emotions
In the letter, famed Partisan leader explains how the trial suddenly made it possible for survivors to open up about their experiences in the Holocaust.
December 2, 2010
By Eli Ashkenazi
A short while after testifying in the trial of Adolf Eichmann, Abba Kovner had already realized the enormous impact of the trial and its implications on the way the Holocaust would be remembered in Israel.
In a letter sent to his close friend Yitzhak Avidav, in May 1961, a short while after offering his testimony at the trial, he told Avidav, who at the time was in Poland on a mission for Israel, that "something has happened that is one of the great mysteries of life and of history - which did not happen when the ashes were hot, happened now at a time when the souls are remembered."
The letter was recently given by Kovner's daughter Shlomit for deposit in his file at the Hashomer Hatzayir archive at Yad Ya'ari, in Givat Haviva.
It details how the trial suddenly made it possible for survivors to open up about their experiences in the Holocaust.
"One must see the children, in their last years of school, the young people and the older ones listening to the report of the trial on the radio," the letter continues. "One must see every day the faces of the people filling the court hall, tzabarim [native born], from the Mizrahi communities, ultra-Orthodox and secular, each day different faces from all parts of the nation, coming to sense the enormity of the shock, a sort of spiritual earthquake whose echoes and imprints will remain in the soul of the individual and the nation for days and perhaps even many generations."
In the letter, Kovner, a poet and partisan leader during the Holocaust, describes the enormity of the moment and its impact on survivors, "like a dam that has been burst - thus the sealed hearts of many people among the Holocaust survivors has been opened, and there is no home where someone did not speak out his most hidden memories."
Kovner's 'very sharp senses'
Yonat Rotbein from the Holocaust Studies and Research Center, Moreshet, says that "the words of Kovner describe what many households in Israel experienced at the time, both among Holocaust survivors and among native-born Israelis. People wanted to tell their story and hear."
"The survivors sensed that this was the first opportunity to express themselves. Abba Kovner's letter highlights this [sense] accurately. Perhaps because he had very sharp senses he encapsulated this with greater force," he continues.
The outburst of emotions and the impact of the trial on the individual was an experience that Kovner felt himself, and which he relates in his letter to Avidav, his deputy in Nakam, a group created to avenge the blood of Jews murdered in the Holocaust.
"Take for example my brother. We were in the ghetto together and then in the forest. Except that he came to us to the forest four months later and only now he dared tell me what he experienced those months, and I felt that he felt a need to tell his story."
The conversations between the brothers also revealed the fate of their mother 18 years earlier.
Shlomit, named after her grandmother, says that her father never forgave himself for leaving his mother behind in the ghetto.
At some point Kovner said that his mother came to him as he stood on the barricades of the Vilnius Ghetto, commanding the United Partisan Organization.
"She came and asked me what to do, and I did not think that our position was a place where people would survive. I had no answer. So she went ... and then was caught by the Germans."
His mother was murdered in Ponar, after helping her small granddaughter escape.
Kovner wrote to Avidav that when he took the witness stand, he had "the feeling of Judgment Day."
At the start of the letter, Kovner admits that he had many objections to the trial: He feared the sensationalism of the press, "how and what they will judge?"
"If at the time the Holocaust and the testimonies of survivors which followed did not shock the nation and did not result in soul searching in the Diaspora and it was forgotten and it was also forgotten in Israel," he wrote, "what will this trial contribute?"
Holocaust and Genocide News Monday, November 22, 2010
Here are some articles of interest from this past weekend and today.
Lost Boys of Sudan Fill in the Blanks of Their Past
Former Khmer Rouge fighter haunted by his past
Holocaust-denying bishop hires neo-Nazi lawyer ahead of Germany trial
Pope Benedict: Nazi-era pope saved more Jews than anyone else
Free Screening of Ahead of Time: The Story of Ruth Gruber at St. Anthony Main Theater
Minnesota Film Arts and the Sabes Foundation Minneapolis Jewish Film Festival proudly present the premiere of the documentary, Ahead of Time, the directorial debut from award-winning cinematographer Bob Richman (An Inconvenient Truth, Waiting for Superman) highlighting the exceptional life of Ruth Gruber.
Ms. Gruber is a reporter, photographer, civil servant, memoirist and humanitarian. Gruber, who was in Germany during Hitler's rise to power, became concerned early on about the fate of the European Jews. In 1944 Gruber escorted Holocaust refugees to America and wrote about the experience in the book Haven: The Dramatic Story of 1,000 World War II Refugees and How They Came to America.
As a thank you for your support, Minnesota Film Arts and the Minneapolis Jewish Film Festival invites you to a special FREE screening of the film on Thursday, Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. at the St. Anthony Main Theater, located at:
115 SE Main St
Minneapolis, MN 55414
The screening will be followed by a talk with producer/photographer Zeva Oelbaum.
Seats are limited. Please RSVP for this screening by Wednesday, Nov. 17th at 12:00 p.m. Tickets will given on a first-come-first served basis.
To reserve your seats please email: email@example.com or call: 612-331-7563.
If you are unable to attend the free screening, the film will run from Nov. 19th through Sunday Nov. 21st.
Please visit the Minnesota Film Arts website for exact times.
For more information about Ahead of Time visit Ruthgruberthemovie.com.
Click here for the New York Times review.
Holocaust and Genocide News
Here are articles of interest from this weekend and today, Monday, November 15, 2010.
The Plot to Cheat Germany's Holocaust Survivors' Fund
French rail co. apologizes for collaborating with Nazis
Nazis Were Given 'Safe Haven' in U.S., Report Says
Bosnian police arrests suspect of genocide in Srebrenica
Hayk Demoyan calls Genocide negation pathology
Film Premiere Event: Enemies of the People
On Thursday, November 11, at 7:00p.m., Enemies of the People, an award winning documentary, will premiere at St. Anthony Main Theater, 115 SE Main Street, Minneapolis, MN 55414. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with Director/Producer Rob Lemkin.
Enemies of the People turns the camera onto Nuon Chea aka Brother Number Two, the highest ranking Khmer Rouge leader still alive today. The Khmer Rouge was one of the twentieth century's most brutal regimes. While in power, the Khmer Rouge was responsible for the deaths of approximately 1.7 million people by execution, starvation and forced labor in camps that were later described as the Killing Fields.
In the film, one of Cambodia's best investigative journalists, Thet Sambath, persuades Nuon Chea to admit, for the first time, how he and Pol Pot (the two supreme powers in the Khmer Rouge state) decided to kill party members whom they considered 'Enemies of the People'. The mystery of the Killing Fields is unveiled as the men and women who perpetrated the massacres break a 30-year silence to give testimony never before seen or heard.
Enemies of the People is being screened as part of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Asian Film Festival sponsored by the Minnesota Film Arts Event sponsored by the Human Rights Program at the University of Minnesota and the Program in Human Rights and Humanitarianism at Macalester College.
General Admission is $10.00 and $8.00 for students and seniors.
For more information please contact Nora Radtke at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cambodia events (1).pdf
Clinton says K.Rouge court vital for peace in Cambodia
by Lachlan CarmichaelMon Nov 1, 8:39 am ET
PHNOM PENH (AFP) - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday hailed the work of a Khmer Rouge war crimes tribunal as "painful but necessary", despite Cambodian opposition to pursuing more regime leaders.
Clinton praised the nation for confronting its dark past after an emotional visit to Phnom Penh's genocide museum, where she saw photos of gaunt-faced prisoners, dozens of skulls of victims and paintings of people being tortured.
The court "is bringing some of the people who caused so much suffering to justice... The work of the tribunal is painful but it is necessary to ensure a lasting peace," Clinton told young Cambodians at a town hall-style meeting.
In a landmark verdict in July, former Khmer Rouge prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Duch, was sentenced to 30 years in jail for overseeing the deaths of 15,000 men, women and children in the late 1970s.
Last month the court indicted four top regime leaders for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in connection with the deaths of up to two million people from starvation, overwork and execution between 1975 and 1979.
But Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen told visiting United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon last week that a third case was "not allowed" because it could plunge the country back into civil war.
Hun Sen was himself once a mid-level Khmer Rouge member before turning against the movement.
The tribunal is currently investigating whether to open further cases against lower level cadres.
Clinton, on a two-week tour of Asia, stopped short of expressing support for new trials, saying there was a need for the international community to "consult closely" with the Cambodian government about its concerns.
She said her "highest priority" was to ensure the cash-strapped court had enough funds to proceed with the second trial, due to begin in early 2011.
After a tour of the genocide museum, the main Khmer Rouge torture centre run by Duch in the late 1970s, Clinton appeared to suggest a harder line towards future prosecutions.
"In memory of the tragic suffering of the people of Cambodia and in hope that there will be a future of peace, prosperity and greater awareness of all that needs to be done to move the country forward, including trials, accountability and reconciliation," she wrote in the museum guest book.
She later described the tour of the prison as a "very disturbing experience".
"Countries that are held prisoner to their past never break those chains and build the kind of future your children deserve," she told the town hall-style meeting.
"I was very proud to see firsthand the willingness of your country to face that past bravely and honestly."
Thousands of inmates were taken from the jail for execution in a nearby orchard that served as a "killing field".
Led by "Brother Number One" Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge was responsible for one of the worst horrors of the 20th century, wiping out nearly a quarter of Cambodia's population.
Clinton, on the first visit to Cambodia by a US secretary of state since 2003, also used her trip to urge Cambodians not to rely too heavily on China.
"You look for balance. You don't want to get too dependent on any one country," Clinton told young Cambodians when asked about China's growing influence in the impoverished southeast Asian nation.
China -- a former patron of the Khmer Rouge regime -- is the country's top donor, with billions of dollars of investment.
Clinton also met with Hun Sen and some of his political opponents, with the notable exception of fugitive opposition leader Sam Rainsy, who faces 12 years in prison if he returns to Cambodia after being convicted in absentia of uprooting border markings and publishing a false border map.
Rwanda: Former Businessman Sentenced to 30 Years By UN Genocide Tribunal
A former businessman accused of supervising the massacre of some 2,000 Rwandan Tutsi civilians taking shelter in a church was today convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison by the United Nations tribunal set up to deal with the 1994 genocide.
Gaspard Kanyarukiga, who was arrested in South Africa in July 2004, was found guilty of genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity, according to a press release by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).
Handing down the sentence, the court's Trial Chamber II announced it was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Mr. Kanyarukiga was criminally responsible for planning thAt least 800,000 people, mostly Tutsis and moderate Hutus, were murdered in the 1994 violencee killing of the Tutsis who took refuge in the Nyange Church.
According to the indictment presented to the Arusha-based court, which in 2008 decided not to turn over Mr. Kanyarukiga's case to Rwanda, in 1994 he transported police and members of the notorious Interahamwe militia to the church, in western Rwanda.
The police and militia poured fuel through the church's roof, set it on fire and then used guns and grenades to kill those seeking shelter inside. The defendant was accused of having supervised these events and then ordered the corpses to be removed and the church destroyed.
The indictment further alleged that the businessman held several meetings with local political and religious leaders where they discussed how to kill Tutsis.
Having found Mr. Kanyarukiga guilty of genocide, the Chamber dismissed the alternative charge of complicity in genocide.
At least 800,000 people, mostly Tutsis and moderate Hutus, were murdered in the 1994 violence in the tiny east African country.
A genocide survivor's last wish
The Armenian Reporter
by Tom Vartabedian
Published: Tuesday November 02, 2010
Haverhill, Mass. - Like many Armenian Genocide survivors, my mother would stand erect at April 24th commemorations with a red carnation in hand, recite her prayers and sing her songs with conviction.
The fact she was into her mid-90s paid little consequence.
As the years rolled by, she watched her coterie dwindle from 70 to a precious few. In her home town of Haverhill, she remained the sole survivor. Her Armenian name was Ojen --- an unusual one at that --- and her very last observance in 2008 had fate written all over it.
Only one other survivor from Merrimack Valley showed up that year and her name was Ojen. They could have rehashed the tragedy that befell their people during the genocidal years of 1915-1923 when 1.5 million Armenians perished at the hands of the Ottoman Turk.
But how many times must you hear the same diatribe, shed the same tears, before growing weary? Instead, they spoke of being the last of a vanishing breed. One Ojen said to the other, "You'll outlive me. I'm in a nursing home. You're living independently."
The other replied, "Yes, but you seem to be stronger than an ox. You'll go on living forever."
My mother passed away Oct. 19 in a blaze of glory with her family by her side. Even the nurses at Hannah Duston Nursing Home marveled at how she was able to defy death so persistently, unaware that she was able to evade the Turkish gendarmes as a child by hiding in a well for days.
The last sensible thing she said to me occurred about four days prior to her demise. She grabbed my attention out of the clear blue and this is what she offered in a voice that crackled with sentiment.
"Continue being true to your faith and your heritage. But that is not enough. Make sure your children and grandchildren practice their culture and worship God. If we don't have our church and our heritage, we have nothing. The responsibility is in your hands now."
Although it may have been premature, I do believe it was a sense of closue on her part, knowing that her wishes were revealed and how the ethnic baton was being passed from one generation to another.
This past Sunday, I gathered my Armenian School students together and told them her wish. Those who knew expressed their condolences. We used her life as an example of resiliency.
For what it was worth amidst a class of adolescences, I told them, "We owe it to these remaining survivors and those who died for their cause to lobby for recognition and get a genocide bill passed in Congress. We need an admission of guilt from Turkey and the restoration of our land and churches."
Jennie was laid to rest with a funeral fit for a queen. She may have been humbled by all the attention and probably never realized the true legacy she had left behind. Inside the casket with rosary beads in hand was a miniature Tricolor flag that rested on her heart.
A hand-carved wooden cross stood erect, prepared by a Russian immigrant who arrived here in the 1940s as a 21-year cousin she and her sister sponsored. On the day of her burial, a dear friend who had just returned from a pilgrimage to Syria handed me a plastic bag containing some sand. It was from the desert of Der Zor where thousands perished during a death march.
The sand was sprinkled in the form of a cross during the burial service, sending Jennie back to her roots.
I look back upon it all with no remorse. You tend to dwell upon the good times, even while being institutionalized the last four years. You see the smile, not the tears. You remember happy thoughts, not the tragic moments. Every new day was a gift.
She used to grin at the thought of how she ever wound up inside a nursing home. It was just for a visit, I told her. She had broken a hip and needed rehabilitation.
"Four years. Oh my! This was the longest visit I ever had anywhere," she often reminded me.
The woman was feisty. At the ripe age of 90, I took her car keys away after some erratic driving. She balked at such insolence. How would she transport herself to the gym anymore?
A few days later, I got a call from a neighbor. "Come quickly," she urged. "Jennie's in the garage and she's got the hood up in her car with wires in her hands." I sped the whole way and there she was, trying to jump start the vehicle.
But that was Jennie -- always in the driver's seat!
(c) 2010 Armenian Reporter
Probe Details Culpability Of Nazi-Era Diplomats
by ERIC WESTERVELT
During the Third Reich, Germany's foreign ministry staff across Europe cooperated in the mass murder of Jews and others, according to a government-sponsored study released Thursday in Berlin.
The report says German diplomats during the Nazi era were far more deeply involved in the Holocaust than previously acknowledged. It also shows how West German diplomats after the war worked to whitewash history and create a myth of resistance and opposition to Nazi rule.
Fully Aware And Actively Involved
The report is a devastating indictment of Germany's war-era diplomatic corps, that long cast itself as relatively "clean" of Nazi war crimes and tried to portray any wrongdoing as the result of a few bad actors.
Peter Hayes, a professor at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., is one of four historians who co-wrote the nearly 900-page report. He hopes it helps destroy one of the last myths of the Third Reich.
Historians over the last two decades have chronicled the deep complicity of the major institutions of German society -- including big business and universities -- in the crimes of the Nazi regime.
"This is really the last bastion of the notion that high-ranking people in the society could somehow keep themselves separate from what the Third Reich set out to do," Hayes says.
Historians looked in 32 different archives worldwide and interviewed eyewitnesses. The study, commissioned by the government five years ago, shows that German diplomats were not only fully aware of the genocidal policy throughout the war, but they were also actively involved in all aspects of deportation, persecution and genocide of Jews.
After the report's release Thursday, Germany's current foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, said that the ministry took part "with bureaucratic coolness in the systematic annihilation of European Jews."
An Effort To Rewrite History
One of many pieces of damning evidence included a meeting in late 1944 -- when the war was almost certainly lost for Germany -- of the heads of sections of the foreign ministry. At that gathering, the diplomats talked openly about the extent of the mass murder to date and efforts they were going to make to increase the carnage, even in the fading months of the regime.
Other evidence included a travel reimbursement report from German diplomat Franz Rademacher, the head of the ministry's Jewish affairs section, after a trip to Nazi-occupied Serbia.
"He wrote that the purpose of his visit was the liquidation of the Jews in Belgrade -- right there on the form he submitted to the finance office within the ministry," Hayes says.
Historians have previously uncovered evidence of the foreign ministry's Holocaust complicity. Nazi foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop was hanged for war crimes after the Nuremberg trials.
The study also shows how throughout the 1950s and '60s, the ministry worked hard to try to whitewash its role in mass murder and rewrite history.
Americans, too, at times glossed over Nazi crimes -- especially to gain access to intelligence assets or skilled administrators -- as Cold War realpolitik won out over justice, the report notes.
After the Allies let Germans take the lead in de-Nazification and then relaxed control of West German institutions after 1951, the foreign ministry allowed former Nazis to enter the foreign service in droves. Some of those stained diplomats then helped other Nazis gloss over their reputations.
"Once we turned de-Nazification over to the Germans at end of 1946, then very largely this process became one of mutual exculpation," Hayes says. "People wanted to believe their own arguments about how they'd been seduced by the Nazis into following this regime and so on. Thus they believed their own alibis."
The process accelerated when the Allied occupation ended in 1955, Hayes says. Then even members of the SS -- some with extremely dark pasts -- slipped back into the foreign service.
At the release of the report at the foreign ministry, Westerwelle said the extent of ministry collusion during the Nazi era "shames us" and vowed to make the report's findings part of the training for future diplomats.
He also praised the few staffers who actively opposed the Nazis, including a dozen who were killed for their resistance.
Pennsylvania Board of Education chairman urges Lincoln to reconsider Siddique tenure
Yesterday we posted an article about Academic Freedom and the Holocaust in regards to the statements made by Kaukab Siddique, associate professor of English and journalism at Lincoln University of Pennsylvania. Today's article deals with the community's reaction to the professor and his statements.
By Jeremy Roebuck
Inquirer Staff Writer
October 28, 2010
The head of the Pennsylvania Board of Education this week joined a growing list of protesters urging Lincoln University to reconsider the tenure of a professor who has questioned the Holocaust and urged the overthrow of Israel's government.
Calling professor Kaukab Siddique's recent statements "disgraceful," board Chairman Joseph M. Torsella called on the Chester County school to repudiate the instructor's views and investigate whether campus resources have been used to support his cause.
"They really ought to take pains to determine to what extent the university - and by extension, public resources - have been used to support this," Torsella said Wednesday. "I'm confident that at the end of the investigation, they will appropriately denounce the substance of the views."
Siddique, 67, found himself in the middle of a media maelstrom last week when video of a speech he gave at an anti-Israel rally went viral on the Internet.
Backed by crowds of chanting demonstrators, the associate professor of English urged people to "unite and rise up against this hydra-headed monster which calls itself Zionism."
His statements at the Washington rally, and nonacademic writings that have surfaced in which he questions the significance of the Holocaust, have drawn scrutiny from the likes of Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly - both of whom recently featured the professor on their Fox News programs.
Lincoln officials quickly responded that they were not aware of any instance in which the professor had shared those views in the classroom or at a university-sponsored public forum.
Torsella said that response did not go far enough. In a letter sent to Lincoln President Ivory V. Nelson late Tuesday, he urged the university to investigate whether Siddique had used campus resources to support the Baltimore-based version of the group Jamaat al-Muslimeen, which he leads in support of Muslim communities around the world, or its online newsletter, New Trends Magazine. The magazine's website proclaims that the publication is against racism, Zionism, and imperialism, but also declares that it does not endorse violence of any kind.
Recent writings in the magazine that have been attributed to Siddique refer to the Holocaust as a "myth" and a "story," and articles by other authors express support for the regimes of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, the Taliban in Afghanistan, and Hezbollah in Lebanon. That should raise questions in the minds of university administrators, Torsella said.
"A professor expressing personal opinions (even extraordinarily objectionable ones) on current events is one matter," Torsella wrote. "Denying the Holocaust - a tragic historical fact - is another matter entirely."
Siddique has maintained that his critics have taken his views out of context.
"I am against Israel, not against Jews," he said in an interview with The Inquirer last week. He did not respond to calls or e-mails seeking comment Wednesday.
Academic Freedom and Holocaust Denial
Inside Higher Ed
By Dan Berrett
October 26, 2010
A Pennsylvania English professor whose anti-Israel rhetoric and denial of the Holocaust as a historic certainty have ignited controversy is citing academic freedom as his defense.
Kaukab Siddique, associate professor of English and journalism at Lincoln University of Pennsylvania, appeared last month at a pro-Palestinian rally in Washington, where he called the state of Israel illegitimate. "I say to the Muslims, 'Dear brothers and sisters, unite and rise up against this hydra-headed monster which calls itself Zionism,' " he said at a rally on Sept. 3. "Each one of us is their target and we must stand united to defeat, to destroy, to dismantle Israel -- if possible by peaceful means," he added.
While many professors engage in anti-Israel rhetoric, Siddique is getting more scrutiny because his September comments prompted critics to unearth past statements that the Holocaust was a "hoax" intended to buttress support for Israel -- a position that the professor didn't dispute in an interview Monday with Inside Higher Ed.
Siddique maintained that his comments should be placed in the framework of academic freedom, as an example of a questing mind asking tough questions. He also warned of dire consequences if universities can be intimidated by politicians and outside commentators. "That's freedom of expression going up the smokestack here," he said.
"I'm not an expert on the Holocaust. If I deny or support it, it doesn't mean anything," he said before invoking the firebombing of German cities during World War II and the U.S. bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as examples of the moral ambiguity of the war. "We can't just sit back in judgment and say those guys were bad and we were the good guys," he said. "I always try to look at both sides.... That's part of being a professor."
Siddique cited as scholarly evidence the work of notorious Holocaust denier David Irving, whom a British judge described as an anti-Semitic neo-Nazi sympathizer. "Irving has for his own ideological reasons persistently and deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence," High Court Judge Charles Gray wrote in a ruling shooting down Irving's claim of libel against the historian Deborah Lipstadt of Emory University.
The Siddique case isn't the first one in which a tenured academic has been criticized for questioning whether the Holocaust happened. Northwestern University periodically faces debate over Arthur R. Butz, an associate professor of electrical engineering who is a Holocaust denier, but who has avoided the topic in his classes.
Siddique's embrace of Holocaust denial could be treated differently because of what he teaches. Cary Nelson, president of the American Association of University Professors and a staunch defender of the right of professors to take highly unpopular positions, said that academic freedom protects the professor's right to criticize both Israeli policy and the moral legitimacy of the Israeli state. Holocaust denial is another matter entirely, said Nelson.
"Were he an engineering professor speaking off campus, it wouldn't matter," said Nelson in an e-mail. "The issue is whether his views call into question his professional competence. If he teaches modern literature, which includes Holocaust literature from a great many countries, then Holocaust denial could warrant a competency hearing."
Siddique's anti-Israel comments were first seized upon by conservative Christian commentators; links to video of his remarks at the rally appeared on Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network. Siddique said the firestorm that has erupted has been stoked by allies of Israel, and he says his criticisms of the nation are no more harsh than those espoused by President Carter.
"This is actually a concerted act by the extreme right wing aligned with Israel to destroy someone who spoke out against them," said Siddique.
He said he had received hateful e-mails and phone calls every day since the controversy broke. Some simply bore four-letter words. Others threatened death. "I see this as a tremendous dumbing down of the discourse," he said.
Siddique's statements also prompted a letter from two Pennsylvania state Senators last week who questioned whether the professor had expressed these views in class and what steps were being taken to prevent him from doing so. Both Siddique and the university said he had never broached the subject in class.
Lincoln University sought to distance itself from the professor's comments, calling them "offensive" in a prepared statement, and adding that his "personal views and expressed comments do not represent Lincoln University."
Lincoln is a historically black college that is about 45 miles southwest of Philadelphia. It is one of Pennsylvania's state-affiliated institutions. In the current budget year, Lincoln is receiving more than $13 million in operating money from Pennsylvania, according to the state budget.
The letter from the senators follows a resolution introduced in the state Senate in April that condemns what it calls the resurgence of anti-Semitism on college and university campuses. The resolution calls upon the state's education agencies to "remain vigilant and guarded against acts of anti-Semitism against college and university students," though it recommends no sanctions for those who fail to do so.
State Senator Anthony Williams, who is one of the two who wrote to Lincoln, and who sponsored the resolution, took to the floor of the senate in April to speak on its behalf.
"I come from a community that has felt the sting of oppression and discrimination," said Williams, who is black. "To see that anti-Semitic feelings have evolved in this country on college campuses is not only paradoxical, but it is an oxymoron. It is absolutely polar to the example that universities should be establishing and setting across this great country."
"Armenian Golgotha: A Memoir of the Armenian Genocide, 1915-18" by Grigoris Balakian
Review of new important work about the Armenian Genocide
Copies available for loan at CHGS
Chigago Tribune Book Review
Special to the Tribune
"Armenian Golgotha: A Memoir of the Armenian Genocide, 1915-18"
By Grigoris Balakian
Translated by Peter Balakian with Aris Sevag
Alfred A. Knopf. 509 pp. $35
Armenian Golgotha is the astonishing memoir of Father Grigoris Balakian (1876-1934), a work from the 1920s shepherded into English by his great nephew Peter Balakian, the leading American expert on the ARMENIAN genocide. Grigoris Balakian witnessed the genocide from many angles and swore to document it if he survived. According to his great-nephew, Grigoris Balakian at times "lived like an animal" in order to do so.
With the approach of Armenian Remembrance Day, a commemoration held worldwide on April 24, Americans would be well-advised to read this memoir, which recognizes the Ottoman Empire's targeted killing of its Armenian citizens from 1915 to 1918 as genocide. Turkish soldiers, government-organized death squads and ordinary Turks, acting under orders and incitements from Ottoman Minister of the Interior Mehmet Talaat, massacred -- indeed, sometimes literally hacked to pieces -- up to 1.5 million Armenians.
Over nine decades, many wriers have tried to bring attention to what happened in Ottoman Anatolia between 1915 and 1918. Studies of the topic have included Peter Balakian's The Burning Tigris and Black Dog of Fate, Vakahn Dadrian's The History of the Armenian Genocide, the great historian Merrill Peterson's Starving Armenians, and Michael Bobelian's Children of Armenia. Most important of all is Turkish historian Taner Akcam's courageous A Shameful Act, a book that no less than Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk, defying legal threats, called "the definitive account of the organized destruction of the Ottoman Armenians."
From the moment Turkish forces arrested Father Balakian, a vartabed or celibate priest, along with approximately 250 other Armenian intellectuals in Constantinople on April 24, 1915, he disciplined himself over four years of forced marches, occasional starvation, infestation by lice and multiple last-minute escapes, to record what he was seeing and hearing, to articulate it to himself even when he lacked pen or paper, so that he could report the atrocities later.
This book thus honors the commitment made by Father Balakian to a number of fellow deportees who eventually died. They implored him: Write about this if you live. Tell people what happened. Over hundreds of pages we witness, through Balakian's eyes, Turkish police and soldiers deport and later, with the help of ordinary villagers and chetes (killing squads of prisoners released precisely to kill Armenians), ferociously behead, disembowl and mutilate countless Armenians with hatchets, axes, cleavers, knives, shovels and pitchforks as the prisoners trudge eastward on forced marches, at times accompanying the mayhem with shouts of "Allah! Allah!"
That savagery came on top of the rape of many young Armenian women, and at times their forced conversion to Islam, as well as expropriation of almost all Armenian property and wealth. Some scenes in Armenian Golgotha are unbearable. A small group that includes an American teacher and two Germans comes across a field WITH "pools of blood." It contains hundreds of naked Armenian corpses, most "with their heads and limbs cut off," and their entrails spilled out.
One of the Germans, a nurse, "jumped from her horse and ran to hug the decapitated body of a six-month-old girl. She kissed the baby and wailed, saying she wanted to take her, that she was her daughter."
Unable to stop the nurse, "who had gone mad," as she lept from one dismembered child's body to another, hugging and kissing them, the others had to forcibly restrain her. She was "tied to her horse" and eventually placed in a German hospital.
What she'd seen, Grigoris Balakian explains, wasn't unusual. After a massacre, Turkish village women would slit open Armenian corpses, especially the intestines, seeking swallowed jewelry. (They found a fair amount of it.) Sometimes, he writes, Armenian women abandoned their emaciated infants on death piles, still alive, deeming it a better death than being hacked to pieces. One witness reported that she saw starving Armenian "mothers gone mad who had thrown their newly deceased little children into the fire" and then eaten them, "half cooked or half raw."
Alongside such grisly tales, Grigor Balakian provides background, woven into his personal narrative, on Ottoman history. He analyzes with great subtlety not only the geopolitical assumptions and strategies of all groups involved, but also the psychology of individual players, including Talaat and his "goal of annihilating the Armenian race."
With its long overdue publication in English, Armenian Golgotha joins Primo Levi's Survival in Auschwitz and other stellar works on the Holocaust as a classic of genocide literature. Just as Levi's classic guarantees that any reader who finishes it will shudder at questioning of the Holocaust, those who make it through Armenian Golgotha should feel moral fury at Turkey for how it has, over almost nine decades, denied and falsified its predecessor's massive crimes against its own citizens, never apologized for them, and never paid a lira of reparations.
Read Grigoris Balakian and weep.
Carlin Romano, Critic-at-Large of The Chronicle of Higher Education, teaches media theory and philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania.
Copyright © 2010, Chicago Tribune
For more on the Armanian Genocide visit our web page
New Online Resource Debuts For Nazi-Era Looted Art
National Public Radio
by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
NEW YORK October 18, 2010, 08:41 am ET
The Nazis stripped hundreds of thousands of artworks from Jews during World War II in one of the biggest cultural raids in history, often photographing their spoils and meticulously cataloguing them on typewritten index cards.
Holocaust survivors and their relatives, as well as art collectors and museums, can go online beginning Monday to search a free historical database of more than 20,000 art objects stolen in Germany-occupied France and Belgium from 1940 to 1944, including paintings by Claude Monet and Marc Chagall.
The database is a joint project of the New York-based Conference of Jewish Material Claims Against Germany and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
The database is unusual because it has been built around Nazi-era records that were digitized and rendered searchable, showing what was seized and from whom, along with data on restitution or repatriation and photographs taken of the seized objects, the groups told The Associated Press.
The Claims Conference, which helps Holocaust survivors and their relatives to reclaim property, said it had used the database to estimate that nearly half of the objects may never have been returned to their rightful owners or their descendants or their country of origin.
"Most people think or thought that most of these items were repatriated or restituted," said Wesley A. Fisher, director of research at the Claims Conference. "It isn't true. Over half of them were never repatriated. That in itself is rather interesting historically."
Marc Masurovsky, the project's director at the museum, said the database was designed to evolve as new information is gathered. "I hope that the families do consult it and tell us what is right and what is wrong with it," he added.
The database combines records from the U.S. National Archives in College Park, Md.; the German Bundesarchiv, the federal archive in Koblenz; and repatriation and restitution records held by the French government.
By giving a new view of looted art, the database could raise questions about the possibly tainted history of works of art in some of the world's most important museum collections, experts said.
"I always tell people we have no idea how much is out there because nobody has ever bothered to take a complete inventory," said Willi Korte, one of the most prominent independent provenance researchers of looted Nazi art. "I think all of those that say there's not much left to do certainly should think twice."
Korte has been at the forefront of the worldwide search for art looted by the Nazis, an undertaking that has accelerated over the past two decades, spurring court battles and pitting the descendants of Jewish families who were forced to give up their possession against museums and private collectors.
Among the works listed in the database is a painting by the Danish artist Philips Wouwerman, which had belonged to the Rothschilds family and was discovered in the secret Zurich vault of Reich art dealer Bruno Lohse in 2007.
Korte, who was asked to develop an inventory of the works in the Lohse vault, said the Wouwerman painting "was clearly plundered."
No one knows exactly how many objects the Nazis looted and how many may still be missing.
The Claims Conference says about 650,000 art objects were taken, and thousands of items are still lost.
But the true number may never be known because of lack of documentation, the passage of time and the absence of a central arbitration body.
Some museum organizations have argued in recent years that most looted art has been identified as researchers focus on the provenance of art objects.
The database includes only a slice of the records generated by the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg, an undertaking of Third Reich ideologue Alfred Rosenberg to seize archives, books, art, Judaica, home furnishings and other objects from Jewish families, bookstores and collections. Records of the looting were disbursed to nearly a dozen countries after the war.
The database is focused on ERR spoils shipped to a prewar museum near the Louvre, where they were often catalogued and sold back to the market, destroyed or integrated into the lavish private collections of top Nazi officials -- including the military chief Hermann Goering.
Julius Berman, the chairman of the Claims Conference, said organizing Nazi art-looting records was a key step to righting an injustice.
"It is now the responsibility of museums, art dealers and auction houses to check their holdings against these records to determine whether they might be in possession of art stolen from Holocaust victims," he said.
To view the database visit the ERR Project website.
The link will also be available on CHGS website on our web links page.
Educators we have copies of the book and DVD Rape of Europa
Study guide is also available for download or view in PDF. The_Rape_of_Europa_study_guide.pdf
German Jewish leader welcomes Hitler exhibition
(AP) - 5 hours ago
BERLIN (AP) -- A German Jewish leader welcomed a new exhibition in Berlin exploring the Adolf Hitler personality cult that helped the Nazis win and hold power, saying Friday that it takes a good approach to a difficult issue.
"Hitler and the Germans -- Nation and Crime," which runs through Feb. 6 at the German Historical Museum, is the first exhibition in the capital to focus so firmly on Hitler's role -- another step in the erosion of taboos concerning depictions of the Nazi era.
"I think it's a good exhibition -- it is a serious approach to the theme, which is without doubt difficult to deal with," Stephan Kramer, the general secretary of the Central Council of Jews, told AP Television News as the show opened to the public.
The exhibition portrays the Nazis' dual approach of making the German masses feel included in their movement while excluding those who they had identified as enemies, such as Jews, Gypsies, gays and the disabled. It illustrates the German masses' willingness to support those policies.
It juxtaposes items such as busts of Hitler and Nazi-era toys with artifacts from concentration camps and footage of events such as the book-burning that followed Hitler's rise to power.
The exhibition "is happening at the right time," Kramer said.
He pointed to a recent debate over a book claiming German society was being made "dumber" by Muslim immigrants as evidence of how, even now, "the lower middle class can be seduced ... (and) its fears pandered to."
The book, written by a former board member of Germany's central bank, has become a best-seller and reignited a debate about the difficulties of integrating immigrants.
Kramer said he worried that the people who might have most to learn from the Hitler exhibition wouldn't go to see it, "but that remains to be seen."
Jetin Habstaat, a tourist from Oslo, Norway, said that the show offers "a brilliant exhibition of contrasts."
"One can see the propaganda but also the opposition," he said.
Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Rwanda: The Country Welcomes War Crimes Suspect's Arrest
by Alexandra Brangeon
13 October 2010
Rwanda has welcomed France's arrest of rebel leader Callixte Mbarushimana who is charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Rwanda's Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama told RFI on Wednesday that it was a "step in the right direction". Survivors of the genocide said that this should not mean that his role in Rwandan genocide should be forgotten.
"We would have wished that he had been arrested under the warrant of arrest issued by the Rwandan government to face charges of genocide committed in Rwanda in 1994. This has not happened," says Karugarama.
"The French judicial authorities have arrested Callixte Mbarushimana under the basis of a warrant of arrest issued by the ICC [International Criminal Court]," which refer to alleged crimes committed in the Kivus, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Karugarama says this was not Rwanda's preferred option although he ruled out requesting an extradition order following his arrest.
Q&A - Rwanda's Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama
As long as there is some form of justice going on, I think we have to live with that
"I think once one process is going on it is important to give that process time to take its course and make appropriate decisions."
Survivors of the 1994 genocide have welcomed Mbarushimana's arrest, but said his part in the massacre should not be forgotten.
"His arrest in itself is good news, but it shouldn't mask his role in the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda in 1994," Theodore Simburudali, the head of Ibuka, the genocide survivors' association, told the AFP news agency.
The United States also hailed Mbarushimana's arrest. State Department spokesperson Philip Crowley said it "sends an important signal".
"The international community will not tolerate the FDLR's [Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda] continuing efforts to destabilize the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo," Crowley said in a statement.
Mbarushimana, who is a former United Nations employee, was arrested in Paris on Monday and faces five charges of crimes against humanity and six war crime charges for murders, rapes, torture and destruction of property in eastern DRC in 2009.
He is not on the list of genocide suspects sought by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
The Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Minnesota presents the groundbreaking documentary Einsatzgruppen: The Death Brigades
Thursday, November 4 at 7:00p.m.
Sunday, November 7 at 6:30p.m.
Followed by a question and answer session with filmmaker Michael Prazan
Moderated by Rembert Hueser
Department of German, Scandinavian & Dutch Studies
and Moving Image Studies
St. Anthony Main Theater
115 Main St SE
Tickets: $6.00 students /senior $8.50 general admission
Michael Prazan's documentary details the SS killing squads charged with destroying entire Jewish populations in occupied Eastern Europe during World War II. Referred to as the "Holocaust by Bullets," the mobile death units moved through Eastern Europe into Soviet territories in 1941, recruiting assistants in the Baltics and the Ukraine to help them carry out the extermination of the Jews in towns, cities and villages. The brigades were only a prelude to the mass exterminations that followed at the death camps in Poland.
The film contains previously unseen archival footage, much of it in color, some shot as home movies by the Germans themselves. Prazan interviews historians, Holocaust survivors, witnesses, and perpetrators to give a complete view of the horror and scale of this operation which was responsible for the deaths of millions of innocent Jewish families.
French filmmaker Michael Prazan lived in Japan for several years while making his first two films The Nanking Massacre: Memory and Oblivion (2006) and Japan, the Red Years (2002), about the terrorist tendencies of some of Japan's May '68 children. He has written a book on the making of the Einsatzgruppen film, which will be published in France later this year.
Co-sponsors: Minnesota Film Arts, University of Minnesota Department of History, Department of French and Italian, Department of German, Scandinavian & Dutch Studies, Moving Image Studies, Center for Jewish Studies and the Human Rights Center at the School of Law.
To read a review of the film click here.
For information on Einsatzgruppen click here
Is Jean-Luc Godard an anti-Semite?
CHGS will explore this question more in depth during our lecture series "Alternative Narratives or Denial?" in March and April of 2011. check our web site for updates and information coming soon.
October 6, 2010
Is Jean-Luc Godard an anti-Semite?
Jean-Luc Godard to get honorary Oscar, questions of anti-Semitism remain
By Tom Tugend
Hollywood's Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced that it will bestow an honorary Oscar on iconic Swiss-French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard on Nov. 13.The announcement has raised a new question and revived an old one. First, will Godard show up to accept the award? Second, is he an anti-Semite?
Both questions can be answered with a categorical "maybe yes or maybe no." Godard, who will mark his 80th birthday in December, is one of the originators, and among the last survivors, of the French New Wave cinema, which he helped kick-start in 1960 with "Breathless," still his best-known work.
He and his cohorts, among them Francois Truffaut and Eric Rohmer, rebelled against the traditional French movie, and later against all things Hollywood.
The New Wave elevated the role of the director as the sole auteur of a movie and viewed film as a fluid audiovisual language, freed of the constraints of formal story lines, plot, narration and sequence.
As Godard put it, "I believe a film should have a beginning, a middle and an end, but not necessarily in that order."
To a small coterie of cinephiles and most professional film critics, especially in Europe, Godard is considered the ultimate cinematic genius. To others, his films often seem insufferably opaque and incomprehensible.
In the 50 years since his film debut, Godard has proven his vigor and inventiveness in 70 features and is credited with strongly influencing such American directors as Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino and Steven Soderbergh.
Godard's long career has been marked by constant artistic disputes and charges of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, as noted in three biographies: "Godard: A Portrait of the Artist at 70" (2003) by American professor Colin MacCabe; "Everything Is Cinema: The Working Life of Jean-Luc Godard" (2008) by Richard Brody, an editor and writer for the New Yorker; and "Godard" by film historian Antoine de Baecque.
The last was published in March in French and is not easily available. Material used in this article was drawn from reviews and analyses of the book.
The early seeds of Godard's alleged anti-Semitism and acknowledged anti-Zionism may have been planted in the home of his affluent Swiss-French Protestant family.
In a 1978 lecture in Montreal, he spoke of his family's own political history as World War II "collaborators" who rooted for a German victory, and of his grandfather as "ferociously not even anti-Zionist, but he was anti-Jew; whereas I am anti-Zionist, he was anti-Semitic."
Godard validated his anti-Israel credentials in 1970 by filming "Until Victory," depicting the "Palestinian struggle for independence," partially bankrolled by the Arab League.
The project was eventually aborted, but Godard used some of the footage in his 1976 documentary, "Ici et ailleurs" ("Here and Elsewhere"), contrasting the lives of two families -- one French and one Palestinian.
In it, Godard inserted alternating blinking images of Golda Meir and Adolf Hitler, and suggested, in reference to the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre, that "before every Olympic finale, an image of a Palestinian [refugee] camp should be broadcast."
Biographer Brody, like the other authors, is an ardent admirer of Godard the artist, but he notes that in the filmmaker's later work, "Godard's obsession with living history ... has brought with it a troubling set of idées fixes, notably regarding Jews and the United States."
Godard has been able to combine both targets in his attacks on Hollywood, and, of course, the Jews who run it.
He has always been obsessed by the Holocaust, and after the 1993 release of "Schindler's List," the film and its director, Steven Spielberg, became Godard's favorite whipping boys. As in many of his attacks on Hollywood, it is at times difficult to discern whether Godard's hostility is based on artistic differences or anti-Semitism, or a bit of each.
The leitmotif running through Godard's own work is the superiority of "images" as against "texts" or narratives, or, as he puts it, "the great conflict between the seen and the said."
He faults, for instance, Claude Lanzmann's monumental nine-hour film, "Shoah," for its use of personal narratives by survivors and others, and proposes that the Holocaust can only be truly represented by showing the home life of one of the concentration camp guards.
Who is to blame for the Jewish preference of text over image? It is Moses, Godard's "greatest enemy," who "saw the bush in flames and who came down from the mountain and didn't say, 'This is what I saw,' but, 'Here are the tablets of the law.' "
For the untutored layman, unfamiliar with the methods and passions of movie making, this and other Godard pronouncements can take on an Alice-in-Wonderland quality.
A key may be found in a recent London Sunday Times story, in which a reporter interviewed one of Godard's oldest friends, a retired geology professor.
"He [Godard] is on a different level from the rest of us, somewhere between genius and completely round the bend," the professor explained.
Artistic differences aside, there are disturbing instances of Godard's anti-Semitism, particularly directed against some of his closest collaborators. According to the three biographers, at one point Godard called producer Pierre Braunberger, an early supporter of the New Wave filmmakers, a "sale Juif " (filthy Jew).
In another case, when longtime collaborator Jean-Pierre Gorin requested some back pay, Godard noted, "Ah, it's always the same, Jews call you when they hear a cash register opening."
When this reporter submitted some of Godard's anti-Semitic utterances to the Motion Picture Academy and requested comments, the request prompted the following written response:
"The Academy is aware that Jean-Luc Godard has made statements in the past that some have construed as anti-Semitic. We are also aware of detailed rebuttals to that charge. Anti-Semitism is of course deplorable, but the Academy has not found the accusations against M. Godard persuasive.
"The Academy's Honorary Awards are presented in recognition of an individual's extraordinary contributions to the art of the motion picture. The organization intends to bestow an honorary Oscar on M. Godard at its second annual Governors Awards on November 13th."
After a follow-up request as to the source of the "detailed rebuttals," an Academy spokeswoman cited a 2009 article in the Canadian magazine Cinema Scope by Bill Krohn, Hollywood correspondent for the influential French film magazine Cahiers du Cinema, to which Godard and many of the early New Wave directors contributed as film critics.
Krohn took on Brody's biography and accused its author of ideological simplification, biographical reductivism, guilt by association, misinterpretations, hurt self-esteem following a snub by Godard and, all in all, of perpetrating "a hatchet job disguised as a celebration of Godard's genius."
Krohn's critique is quite diffuse and short on specifics, but in one concrete instance he illustrates that the same words can be interpreted in different ways.
Although Godard's exclamation of "filthy Jew" was taken by Braunberger as a deadly insult, Krohn interprets it as affectionate banter between old friends and an allusion to the film "La grande illusion."
Perhaps a better defense of Godard may be found in some of the filmmaker's own projects and views, however erratic they may appear.
Given his family background and pro-Palestinian activism, it would not be surprising if Godard were also a Holocaust denier.
But, on the contrary, he is fixated on the murder of6 million, including some 77,000 Jews living in France, and one of his main charges against Hollywood is that Jewish studio heads could have prevented the Shoah by producing a number of anti-Nazi films in the 1930s.
He has labeled repeated accusations that some of his films equate the Palestinian Nakba (defeat in the 1948-49 war) with the Holocaust as "completely idiotic."
In some of Godard's enigmatic films, the same movie may contain both negative and positive themes. For instance, in his 2001 picture "Éloge de l'amour" (In Praise of Love), Godard attacks Spielberg in particular, and America in general, for its perceived lack of history and culture.
He also inserts the last testament of a notorious French fascist and anti-Semite, but on the other hand, the movie also deals with the quest to restore Nazi-looted art to the rightful Jewish and other owners.
Earlier this year, it was reported that Godard was preparing an adaptation of Daniel Mendelsohn's "The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million," with Israeli filmmaker Oren Moverman.
In an attempt to get additional input on Godard's character and reputation, this reporter contacted several entertainment industry personalities in Hollywood and abroad.
One was Arthur Cohn, the Swiss film producer and winner of six Oscars, including one for the classic "The Garden of the Finzi-Continis," and an ardent Zionist and Jewish activist. Others were Rabbi Marvin Hier, head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and multiple Academy Award winner; noted UCLA film historian Howard Suber; and writer-producer Lionel Chetwynd.
In one form or another, each said that he had no personal knowledge of Godard's reputed anti-Semitism.
Spielberg is shooting a film in Europe and was not available for comment. However, Marvin Levy, Spielberg's personal spokesman, responded to a query on how Spielberg had dealt with Godard's personal attacks on him and his films, particularly "Schindler's List."
"I don't recall anything from Steven at that time or through the years," Levy responded. "He may have known about Godard's thoughts on 'Schindler's List,' but I never heard him talk about it. All the acclaim overwhelmed any negatives from anybody. It would have been uncharacteristic of him to get into a confrontation with another filmmaker who didn't like his film."
Attempts to reach Godard through the head of his Swiss production company were unsuccessful. This failure will not surprise anyone who has followed the comedic drama of trying to pin down whether Godard will actually attend the Academy's Governors Awards dinner in November at the Hollywood & Highland Center.
At the same event, producer-director Francis Ford Coppola will receive the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, and, in addition to Godard, actor Eli Wallach and historian-preservationist Kevin Brownlow have been chosen for honorary Oscars.
Despite a flurry of faxes, e-mails and couriered letters, Godard did not respond to the invitation for weeks, until some enterprising British reporters tracked him at his home in the Swiss town of Rolle.
Godard escaped the reporters, but Anne-Marie Mieville, his wife and work partner, said Godard was apparently disappointed that the honor would not be conferred at the main Oscars ceremony next February.
In any case, she said, Godard "is getting too old for this kind of thing. Would you go all that way just for a bit of metal?"
The French newspaper Liberation commented that it might be just as well if Godard stayed home, as his speeches "have become mysterious adventures in the country of language."
Nevertheless, the Academy remains officially upbeat, though hedging its bets by stating carefully that it "intends to bestow an honorary Oscar on M. Godard."
Though he may not like to travel, Godard continues to make new films with considerable vigor. His latest, "Socialism," screened at the New York Film Festival on Sept. 29 and will be shown again on Oct. 8.
Benjamin Ivry, a frequent contributor to the Forward, contributed to this article.
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Holocaust Studies / The final chapter
In a major new study, Daniel Blatman argues that on the Nazi death marches constituted a completely new stage in the history of the German genocide - in which murderous chaos had the upper hand.
By By Boaz Neumann
The Death Marches
The Final Phase of Nazi Genocide, by Daniel Blatman Yad Vashem Publications (in Hebrew ), 666 pages, NIS 98. Forthcoming in English in January 2011 (translation by Chaya Galai ) from the Belknap Press of Harvard University, 524 pages, $35
It's hard to come up with a new historical thesis about the Holocaust or Nazism, fields of study that are already jam-packed with researchers. But groundbreaking studies do appear every now and then, studies that offer a different interpretation of familiar historical events and can change the way we understand history. Daniel Blatman's "The Death Marches" is such a work.
The book examines the death marches, the chilling final throes of the Nazi genocide. Blatman, a professor of history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, describes the hell imposed on those who appeared to have already experienced the worst of all fates, but were forced - exhausted, starving, broken, sick, dying - to move west on unpaved roads toward a ruined Germany, threatened from the west by the Allies and from the east by the avenging Red Army.
Blatman argues, justifiably so, that it is impossible to document all the death marches, which began in the summer of 1944 and went on until the collapse of the Third Reich. Nonetheless, in all the cases he examines, he succeeds in supplying very thorough descriptions of their twisting paths, the identities of the murderers and victims, and the circumstances of each.
Blatman is not satisfied, however, with simple descriptions of the marches, but also explains the dynamics behind them. Auschwitz, for example, was evacuated; at Gross-Rosen, in Lower Silesia, the march was a kind of murderous escape; at Stutthof, near Gdansk, Poland, the order was only partially carried out. None of these campaigns was methodical, as chaos reigned. When the prisoners arrived on German soil, they were considered even more dispensable than they were before. There was nowhere to house them and their economic value was nil. And so in February 1945, gas chambers were erected in Dachau, until then a concentration camp, but now turned into a death camp for all intents and purposes. At other camps, inmates were killed directly and indirectly, by means of starvation and epidemics. In this way, near the end of the Third Reich, Bergen-Belsen, in Lower Saxony, evolved from being the second most important transfer point into a major death camp. These facts furnish further proof of the modular capability of the Nazi camps, which could easily change their purpose from detention to punishment and, finally, to extermination.
More than genocide by more primitive means
Daniel Blatman's book is monumental, not only because of its breadth but also because of the enormous variety of sources it relies on, collected by the author from more than 20 archives in six European countries and the United States. It is a masterpiece of historical work, its power stemming not only from its scope but also from the radical insights it offers on its subject.
Blatman is not the first to have studied the death marches, but his predecessors viewed them as only marginally important to the Nazi genocide. They were examined as the final chapter in the history of the death camps, or understood as an anarchic or wild stage in the murder of camp inmates, in the context of the collapse of the Third Reich and its inability to continue to methodically carry out murder in the camps. In other words, the death marches were grasped as nothing but a continuation of the Nazi-German genocide against the Jews by more primitive means, giving rise to partial and anecdotal descriptions of them.
From the point of view of numbers, too, it is impossible to compare camp victims to march victims. About 250,000 people all told died in the death marches (about 35 percent of participants ). It is worth noting that the death marches did not only entail walking: Trains, trucks and horse-drawn wagons were also used.
Blatman argues that the death marches had greater significance than merely marking the downfall or the final chapter in the history of the extermination process, and that they deserve more than anecdotal attention.
From this point of view, it becomes clear that the marches were not in fact the last stage of the Final Solution to the so-called Jewish Problem, first and foremost because the victims were not only Jews, who were in some cases the minority. The death marches widened the circle of victims, which now included those of different nationalities, non-Jewish forced laborers and other people with a variety of world outlooks and political opinions. Marchers included not only inmates, but also people who had not been incarcerated but whom the Germans intended to eliminate.
Blatman argues that the death marches opened a new chapter of the Nazi genocide. This is an undeniably radical claim. In light of Blatman's findings, it is impossible to define or characterize the death marches according to previously accepted parameters. The varied identities of the victims show that the marches did not constitute ethnic cleansing, racial extermination or political revenge. The marches were also not part of the history of the orderly "banality" of the camps; rather, their chaotic essence stood in contradiction to the systematic functionality of the camps.
As soon as the inmates left the camps, it became unclear who was in charge and what their orders were. Even the murderers themselves were unclear whether the aim of the death marches was the extermination of all the marchers or some of them, or whether it wasn't intended to kill them off at all.
'Possible scenario A'
In this chaotic situation, decisions were made in light of the local interests and conditions of each march. On June 17, 1944, Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS, gave a general order entitled "Security in concentration camps in possible scenario A," instructions that were to determine actions in the camps and the treatment of inmates in the fateful months to follow. But this order too was vague, because of the vagueness of "scenario A," in which the letter "A" was understood to be the first initial of a word. Did it refer to an attack (Angriff ), an uprising (Aufstand ) by inmates, an alarm (Alarm ) or a more general state of emergency (Ausnahmezustand )?
At the end of 1944, according to Blatman, a new victim appeared in the latest phase of the Nazi-German genocide - not the mentally or physically handicapped, and not homosexuals, Poles, Soviet prisoners, gypsies or Jews, but a figure who belonged to the imagined collective of the demonic threat. The prisoners who marched were marked as such because the Germans had become used to seeing (that is, not seeing) them behind barbed-wire fences, and suddenly it was no longer possible to keep them inside. Murder at this stage was not committed out of ethnic, racial, political or other motivations but was nihilistic, localized and aimless, according to Baltman.
Holocaust / No job for innocents
Both Tom Segev and Guy Walters see Simon Wiesenthal as all-too-human - that is, as flawed - but whereas the latter judges the Nazi hunter with unusual harshness, Segev's biography is insightful and nuanced, as well as extremely thorough.
By Michael Berenbaum
The Life and Legends, by Tom Segev Doubleday, 457 pages, $35
The Nazi War Criminals Who Escaped and the Quest to Bring Them to Justice, by Guy Walters Broadway Books, 518 pages, $27
Anyone dealing with the Holocaust is acutely aware of the passage of time. Soon, all too soon, the last survivor will be no longer. Soon too, though not soon enough, the last of the perpetrators will also be gone. The Angel of Death has outpaced the machinery of justice. The U.S. Justice Department has changed the mission of its Office of Special Investigations to include perpetrators of other genocides; it is not for naught that the last Israeli Nazi hunter, Efraim Zuroff, has termed his most recent efforts to bring Nazi war criminals to justice "Operation Last Chance." It is now or never.
Within the past few years, perpetrators of genocide in Rwanda and Cambodia have been brought to trial - seemingly good news, even if the light sentences that have been handed out are thoroughly disproportionate to the crimes, and, in the case of the latter, it took 30 years to bring a single perpetrator to justice.
It seems as if there are only two viable models for restoring the raw scaffolding of justice - though not justice itself, which cannot be restored - in the aftermath of massive crimes against humanity, murder and genocide: the South African quasi-religious model of "truth and reconciliation," and the "Nuremberg model," the judicial tribunal.
Ironically many Israelis now fear the latter model, as human rights activists and European leftists threaten Israeli leaders with arrest for alleged war crimes during the Second Lebanon War and last year's Gaza campaign. (At the same time, a petition by supporters of Israel is calling for the indictment of Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for incitement to genocide. )
It is in this context that most readers will view two recent books, Tom Segev's "Simon Wiesenthal: The Life and Legends" and Guy Walters' "Hunting Evil." Wiesenthal's career and the quest for justice, however, must also be evaluated against a context that dates back 60 years.
The international press has focused its attention on one of the most peripheral pieces of information revealed in Segev's meticulously researched book: that Wiesenthal was in the employ of the Mossad for some time. It shouldn't be so surprising. It only made sense for him to work closely with the Mossad and to draw a retainer from them, especially in the early years after the war, when his funding was scarce, his pursuit of Nazi war criminals isolating and alienating, and Israel's own sources of information somewhat limited. Wiesenthal, who worked closely with several friendly, and even unfriendly, intelligence agencies around the world (though he was presumably not in their employ ), made no secret of his own deep ties to Israel, and his allegiance to the Jewish people was unquestioned even by his enemies.
English journalist Guy Walters sets out to slay a giant, to puncture the great balloon of Simon Wiesenthal's exalted reputation by pointing out inconsistencies, exaggerations, misrepresentations and outright falsifications by Wiesenthal himself of his record as a Nazi hunter, as he explores the killers who got away.
A word of warning to all who would write multiple autobiographies: Remember to stick to your story. Wiesenthal (1908-2005) composed several autobiographical works, and provided differing, sometimes even conflicting accounts of the same event. Words can come back to haunt you, and, in today's Internet world, one runs the risk of having discrepancies thrown back in one's face. For Walters, this virtually disqualifies Wiesenthal's accounts.
Walters tips his hand too early in the book. In the second paragraph he writes: "It was ... disturbing to discover that Simon Wiesenthal, for so long held as some sort of secular saint, fabricated not only his role in the Eichmann hunt but also countless other episodes of his life." And that may be the nicest thing he says about his subject for the first 400 pages of the book.
Walters' work has a methodological problem: He seems to accept the comments of Wiesenthal's critics at face value, as if their motives were unquestionably pure, their observations unfailingly accurate, while he debunks virtually all of Wiesenthal's accounts of his work and life, as if his agenda were nothing but self-aggrandizing. As a result, the reader is left unprepared for his conclusion: Five pages from the end of "Hunting Evil" (its notes and index constitute an additional 100 pages ), Walters writes:
"It is partly thanks to Wiesenthal that the Holocaust has been remembered and properly recorded, and this is perhaps his greatest legacy. In addition, and nothing should detract from the fact that Wiesenthal did bring some Nazis to justice, although in nothing like the quantity that is claimed and Adolf Eichmann was certainly not among them .... Whatever his failings, Wiesenthal was on the side of the angels, and no matter what he really did during the war, he did more than atone for any transgression than those he was trying to hunt."
Walters' judgment is sound, his conclusions proper. Yet nowhere in the first 406 pages of his book does he back up such a conclusion.
Before, during, after
Anyone who has read Tom Segev's earlier works knows he is a fine writer who can weave a story, and an assiduous researcher skilled at interviewing sources as well as combing through archives. He was granted complete access to Wiesenthal's personal archives and he probes them for insights into the man and his time.
Segev has read widely and wisely. When the Wiesenthal archives yielded little on his early life, Segev turned to S.Y. Agnon, the other world-famous native of Buczacz, in Galicia, for insights into the town and its environs. Unlike Walters, Segev goes to the trouble of accounting for the discrepancies in Wiesenthal's accounts, including understanding his use of the media to advance his agenda and his selective leaks of information, and misinformation, to pursue or confuse his targets.
Where Walters seems to challenge Wiesenthal's account of his wartime experience, Segev examines the evidence available from court records and the accounts of those who suffered with him. Naturally, he records discrepancies, but a general picture emerges that is not unfavorable to Wiesenthal. Unlike Walters, Segev gives readers enough information to judge the evidence on their own.
Holocaust survivors often divide their lives into three epochs: Before, During and After. In Wiesenthal's case, it is the After that is of primary concern. In the immediate aftermath of the war, Wiesenthal tried to make himself useful to U.S. intelligence agencies in the pursuit of Nazi war criminals. He continued this work long after others had tired of the effort, despaired of its effectiveness or turned their mind to other issues, such as building their own careers, making money, even creating the new state of Israel. By the mid-50s, Wiesenthal was broke. He had long ceased his work as either an architect or an engineer (the details of his professional training are mired in controversy ) and had burned bridges and feuded with leaders of the Austrian Jewish community. His Nazi-hunting career seemed at an end.
Although Wiesenthal indeed had nothing to do with Eichmann's capture, that event was nonetheless his lucky break. Fritz Bauer, a Jewish prosecutor in Germany who feared government leaks about where Eichmann was living, received the information about the hunted man's whereabouts from Lothar Herman, a blind German Jew who had immigrated to Argentina. Bauer informed Israel of Eichmann's whereabouts, but the Israelis were very slow to follow up on the information. Wiesenthal's most significant contribution to Eichmann's capture had been made more than a decade earlier, when he was instrumental in opposing Vera Eichmann's efforts to have her husband declared legally dead, something that would have brought the search for him to an end.
Segev understands that, at the time, Israel sought to deflect attention from the role the Mossad had played in Eichmann's capture and abduction, and from the scant attention that the capture of Eichmann had previously received from the Israel officials. Israel succeeded almost despite its limited efforts. The credit Wiesenthal mistakenly received came from a vacuum of information that was available from those actually responsible for his capture. It also solidified some important rivalries for Wiesenthal, such as that with Isser Harel, the head of the Mossad, whose position prevented him from speaking about the operation - or his impressive role in it - until many decades later. The aftermath of the Eichmann capture also sparked the resentment of Wiesenthal's fellow Nazi hunter, Israeli Tuvia Friedman, who felt that the attention given to Wiesenthal came at his expense. Rivalry for attention and false or exaggerated claims of success were not Wiesenthal's alone; success has many fathers.
Wiesenthal's reputation solidified in the 1960s; his sources of income became more reliable and he enjoyed the privileges and opportunities of prominence, if not quite fame. Segev offers the reader a glimpse into the conspiratorial life that is the lot of all Nazi hunters. It is no job for innocents, certainly not for the timid. Straight talk is not an asset in these pursuits. Segev understands that the media was a tool in the fight and that Wiesenthal's misinformation was goal-directed, not - or not necessarily - fabrication for its own sake.
The last quarter-century of Wiesenthal's life was a satisfying period but also a trying one. On the one hand, he was a celebrity, a prominent figure in the realm of Holocaust remembrance precisely at a time when the Holocaust itself was in vogue. The TV mini-series "Holocaust" aired in the late 1970s. Museums were being built, Holocaust institutions being established, including one that bore Wiesenthal's name; Holocaust books were being read, some of them by written by Wiesenthal who, though not the most gifted author, enjoyed some success in this field. Wiesenthal himself was even the subject of a full-length TV movie, "The Murderers among Us," based upon his memoir of the same name, in which he was portrayed by Ben Kingsley. With such prominence come opportunities and some degree of satisfaction, even for the modest - and Wiesenthal was by no means modest.
Yet it was also a time of controversies, something Segev seems to revel in probing. In Austria, his post-war home, Wiesenthal was at odds with the leadership of the tiny remaining Jewish community and virtually at war with the most prominent Jew in Austria, Bruno Kreisky, who served as chancellor from 1970 to 1983. During that period, it was said of Kreisky that he was the only man in Austria "who did not know" that the chancellor of Austria was a Jew.
Segev's portrayal of Kreisky's difficulties obsession with Wiesenthal and with his own Jewish origins are some of the most amusing parts of the work. Put simply, Kreisky took leave of his senses when dealing with either subject. Readers who lived through the trial of the Chicago 7 four decades ago will recall how defendant Abbie Hoffman could get under the skin of Judge Julius Hoffman throughout the proceedings. Ethnic Jews can do that to those who are trying to pass.
In a chapter entitled "Sleazenthal," Segev details a second controversy, one that derived from Wiesenthal's relationship with the single most prominent Austrian of his generation, Kurt Waldheim. A former UN secretary-general who in 1986 was running for the Austrian presidency, Waldheim suffered from what what has facetiously been dubbed "Waldheimer's disease," an inability to recall - actually merely to recount - where he had been between 1941 and 1945.
In contrast to the World Jewish Congress and its general counsel, Eli Rosenbaum, and even to the U.S. Department of Justice, which placed Waldheim on the "watch list" for Nazi war criminals who might try to enter the country, Wiesenthal contended that while Waldheim was a liar - he had misrepresented his wartime record of service - he was not a war criminal. Many Wehrmacht soldiers had served in the vicinity of areas where crimes had been committed and many had known of these crimes, but whether Waldheim committed such crimes was unproven. Wiesenthal had earlier "kashered" Waldheim for the Israeli government. And in fact, Waldheim became president of Austria and served a single term, until 1992.
Suddenly, Wiesenthal found himself on the outs with the younger leaders of the American Jewish community, with the tough guys - Rabbis Israel Singer, Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper, as well as Rosenbaum, who had penned a powerful indictment of Waldheim. Had he gone soft in his 80s? He was portrayed by some as a weak European Jew who did not possess the self-confidence or assertiveness of the American or Israeli Jew. It was an odd and insulting position for Wiesenthal, who most certainly viewed himself as tough.
Segev does a good job of looking at Wiesenthal's critics. Rather than accepting at face value the account of the Waldheim controversy he received from Eli Rosenbaum, who is today the director of the Office of Special Investigations., Segev examines Rosenbaum's agenda and the interests of the World Jewish Congress in hyping the Waldheim record to score political points and heighten their own influence. That does not lead him to disparage Rosenbaum, but rather to evaluate his condescending treatment of Wiesenthal in context.
Another controversy related to Wiesenthal's relationship with the most prominent survivor of his generation, Elie Wiesel.
The point of contention was a seemingly semantic point: the definition of the Holocaust. Wiesel defined the Holocaust as the murder of the 6 million Jews - Jews and Jews alone - by the Nazis and their collaborators. For Wiesenthal, the definition of the Holocaust was the systematic state-sponsored murder of 6 million Jews and 5 million non-Jews. The figure of 5 million was not based on any serious research.
I was an eyewitness to the fallout of this controversy while working in 1979-1980 as deputy director of the U.S. President's Commission on the Holocaust, which Wiesel chaired. The issue threatened to torpedo the work of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, as President Jimmy Carter decided to adopt Wiesenthal's definition of the Holocaust in the executive order establishing the body, which was to be responsible for building the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. Wiesel refused to accept the chairmanship under Carter's definition but the presidential order would not be changed. A standoff ensued, making it impossible to hold the annual national commemorative ceremony for the Holocaust in the Capitol Rotunda in 1980.
In part, the issue of definition cost me my job, as I was perceived as being on the side of the "assimilationists," who, though not adopting Wiesenthal's numbers, favored the inclusion of non-Jewish victims of Nazism within the museum, after I noted that a museum built on government land, in Washington, D.C., must be inclusive.
Yehuda Bauer, the distinguished Israeli historian, pounced on Carter and, indirectly, on Wiesenthal. He wrote: "The Memorial as seen by the President [not by the Commission] should commemorate all victims of Nazism, Jews and non-Jews alike, and should submerge the specific Jewish tragedy in the general sea of atrocities committed." This, Bauer contended, falsified the history and dejudaized the Shoah.
Wiesel warned: "First they will speak of 6 million Jews and 5 million non-Jews. Soon they will speak of 11 million victims, some of whom were Jews. And then they will speak of 11 million victims without even mentioning the Jews."
In the end, Wiesel settled for a linguistic solution - "While all Jews were victims, not all victims were Jews" - and a metaphysical, ahistorical formulation, which was used in the report to the president of the President's Commission on the Holocaust: "The Holocaust was the systematic state-sponsored murder of the Jews by the Nazis and their collaborators during World War II; as night descended million of others were killed as well."
Historically, the institutions and methods first developed for incarcerating and ultimately killing non-Jews, such as the concentration camps and gassing installations, were later used to kill Jews. And in the end non-Jewish victims of the Nazis were included in the Washington museum and in other Holocaust museums built afterward, including the revamped Yad Vashem.
One simply could not describe the uniqueness of the Jewish tragedy without including non-Jewish victims of Nazism. Bauer was wrong: Inclusion was not submergence. Only by considering all victims could one understand how the Jewish experience was unlike that of non-Jews.
Nonetheless, as Segev well understands, the 5 million figure was invented by Wiesenthal for a political purpose: to gain support from European governments for the prosecution of Nazi war criminals. Wiesenthal wanted to make the Holocaust not only about Jews, but also about non-Jewish European nationals, citizens of the very countries whose support he wanted. Moreover, Wiesenthal's definition reflected his own experience during the Holocaust. While Elie Wiesel was incarcerated in Birkenau and Buna-Monowitz during the great spring 1944 Hungarian transports, which were limited to Jews, Wiesenthal was in camps whose inmates included both Jews and non-Jews.
Were there tensions between them, and some jealousy? Wiesenthal expressed admiration for Wiesel, but they were rivals. It appeared for some time that they might have to awkwardly share the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985, but the Waldheim controversy may have cost Wiesenthal his chance at the prize. Also, Wiesenthal naively refused to campaign for the prize, while Wiesel's supporters, superbly organized by the late Sigmund Strochlitz, made every effort to secure him the prize. Wiesel remained above the fray, seemingly surprised by the award. In contrast, Wiesenthal did not, for example, turn loose Rabbi Marvin Hier, universally acknowledged as a master of public relations.
And finally, Segev traces in great detail the difficult relationship between Simon Wiesenthal and the same Rabbi Hier, the "dean" of the institution that bears Wiesenthal's name. Hier took the brand name Simon Wiesenthal and ran with it, allowing subordinates, mainly Efraim Zuroff in Jerusalem, to carry on Wiesenthal's mission as a Nazi hunter while Hier created the Wiesenthal Center in his own image as an educational organization and political lobby, a museum and a Zionist, activist human rights NGO. Few institutions so reflect the vision of their founders, and no executive in the Jewish community are as empowered as Hier to fulfill their missions unencumbered by lay leaders, a board or rivals. Wiesenthal often complained: "They treat me as if I am already dead."
Hier brilliantly understood the iconic nature of Wiesenthal's charisma and effectively leased the name from him while doing his own thing. Having had complete access to Wiesenthal's archive and correspondence, it is a shame that Segev was not granted the same access to the archives of the Wiesenthal Center so that Wiesenthal's complaints could be understood from Hier's perspective as well. Having left no instructions for succession, no transition to a new generation of leadership, Wiesenthal's historical legacy will be shaped by the Simon Wiesenthal Center and not by the man himself.
The verdict of history is mixed: Nazi war criminals feared Wiesenthal, living in dread of capture to their dying day. They, and the media, exaggerated his reach and the scope of his activities. Yet that was all to the good. Wiesenthal accomplished much, but not as much as he said he did and not as much as he was credited with accomplishing. He and those around him paid a heavy price for his work: One chapter is called, "It Is Not Easy Being My Wife." The rewards were personally great; peace and tranquility were not among them.
Segev makes Wiesenthal come alive again. He is bound to be criticized by Wiesenthal's admirers, of whom there are many, for bringing his failings to public scrutiny. But he will also disappoint Wiesenthal's detractors, because he has demonstrated his significant achievements. Wiesenthal may not have lived a satisfying life - he paid a high personal price for bringing so few of the killers to justice and had many more failures than successes, though not for want of effort and determination - but most readers will find Segev's portrait, unlike Walters' one-sided account, rich and satisfying, in addition to being well-researched, well-informed and well-written.
Michael Berenbaum is director of the Sigi Ziering Institute for Holocaust and Ethics, and professor of Jewish studies, at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles.
CHGS to hold Open House October 26
The Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies invites you to an Open House
Tuesday, October 26, 2010 4:00pm-7:00pm Room 760 Social Science Building, 267 19th Ave. S. University of Minnesota.
Join us for a tour of our new offices and resource library, learn about upcoming programs, and meet new director Bruno Chaouat and the CHGS staff.
Wine and light refreshments will be served. We look forward to meeting you.
To RSVP or for more information please contact us at 612-624-0256 or e-mail email@example.com
Parking is available in the 19th Ave. Ramp (300 19th Ave. S.) and the 21st Ave. Ramp (400 21st Ave. S.)
Newly unveiled document: WWII French gov't toughened anti-Jewish laws
Leading Nazi hunter: Phillippe Petain, head of French government during Nazi era, personally penciled harsher measures onto already discriminatory legislation.
The head of the French government which collaborated with the Nazis during World War II personally made harsh anti-Jewish legislation even tougher, a leading Nazi hunter said on Sunday, citing a newly unveiled document.
Serge Klarsfeld, decorated for his work to bring Nazis to trial, said Philippe Petain penciled harsher measures into a Statute on Jews issued by his Vichy regime exactly 70 years ago.
First World War hero Petain signed an armistice with the Nazis in 1940 which divided the country, leaving the north in German hands. Petain created a government to the south in unoccupied France with its capital in Vichy.
According to the Statute, which Klarsfeld said had been handed over anonymously to the Holocaust Memorial in Paris and authenticated by its experts, Petain penciled in his own notes drastically worsening conditions for Jews in France.
"We didn't know until now that Petain had made changes to the text of Oct. 3 1940 and that he had made it more strict," Nazi hunter and founder of the Association of the Sons and Daughters of Jews deported from France Serge Klarsfeld told reporters on Sunday.
The Vichy government helped in deporting about 80,000 Jews to concentration camps from France between 1942 and 1944.
The amendments "completely redrafted" the nature of an already extremely anti-Semitic text, Klarsfeld added.
"It shows this was the desire of Petain himself," he said of the document, which went on display a few days earlier. The original text had excluded the descendants of French Jews born or naturalized before 1860, but the notes showed Petain had crossed this out, making all Jews targets for discrimination.
Petain also widened the exclusion for Jews in society, barring them completely from jobs in education and the justice system and preventing them from standing for elected posts.
Until now, there has been little documentation on Petain's Vichy government and his stance towards the Jews.
His defenders have always said his policies aimed to protect French Jews by assimilating them into the local culture and converting them into Catholics.
"That argument collapses with this document," said Klarsfeld, awarded the Legion of Honor by then-President Miterrand for his work seeking prosecutions for Nazi war crimes.
Petain was tried after the war and sentenced to death for treason, but his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment on an island off the Atlantic coast. He died in 1951.
The Roots of the Arab-Nazi Alliance in the Holocaust
Edwin Black, New York Times best-selling and international investigative author, will discuss his new book The Farhud: The Roots of the Arab-Nazi Alliance in the Holocaust.
Thursday, October 7
Nolte Center for Continuing Education 140
(Pizza at noon; introduction at 12:10)
Monumental and Exhaustively Documented. Monumental in scope, Edwin Black's new book The Farhud sheds light on the under-researched, 14-century-long confrontation between the Caliphate and the Jewish communities, and offers new exhaustively documented details of exactly how the Pan Arabist and Jihadist movement of the Levant, led by the Mufti of Jerusalem, al-Husseini, partnered with the Nazis during the darkest days of the Holocaust.
-- Walid Phares, author of Future Jihad and Fox TV Terrorism Analyst
With a million books in print, Black's work focuses on genocide and hate, corporate criminality and corruption, governmental misconduct, academic fraud, philanthropic abuse, oil addiction, alternative energy and historical investigation. Editors have submitted Black's work ten times for Pulitzer Prize nomination, and in recent years he has been the recipient of a series of top editorial awards. He has also contributed to a number of anthologies worldwide.
For more information on Edwin Black visit http://www.edwinblack.com/.
Co-Sponsored by the University of Minnesota Program in Human Rights and Health and the Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies
Edwin Black Live Lecture and Film Screening
War Against the Weak, Eugenics and America's Campaign to Create a Master Race
Edwin Black, New York Times best-selling and international investigative author, will introduce his latest film, War Against the Weak, Eugenics and America's Campaign to Create a Master Race, based on his book of the same name.
In the first three decades of the 20th Century, American corporate philanthropy combined with prestigious academic fraud to create the pseudoscience eugenics that institutionalized race politics as national policy. The goal: create a superior, white, Nordic race and obliterate the viability of everyone else.
American corporate philanthropies launched a national campaign of ethnic cleansing in the United States, helped found and fund the Nazi eugenics of Hitler and Mengele--and then created the modern movement of "human genetics."
Discussion and book signing will follow film screening. Mr. Black will be introduced by Bruno Chaouat, director, Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies.
Thursday, October 7 at 6:30 p.m.
Sabes JCC 4330 S. Cedar Lake Road, Minneapolis, MN, 55416.
For information, contact Peggy Mandel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 952.381.3466. For online tickets, visit www.sabesjcc.org.
This is event is presented by The Sabes Jewish Community Center and The Minneapolis Jewish Federation. Co-sponsored by the University of Minnesota Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies and the Center for Jewish Studies.
Holocaust Victim Is Remembered With His Music
Holocaust Victim Is Remembered With His Music
By VIVIEN SCHWEITZER
September 12, 2010
New York Times
A day before its memorial concert on Saturday for victims and survivors of the Sept. 11 attacks, Bargemusic paid tribute to the victims of another atrocity -- Jewish composers killed during the Holocaust.
The pianist Rita Sloan spoke briefly about Gideon Klein, a composer from Czechoslovakia who died in 1945 at 26 under unknown circumstances -- probably in a labor camp or during a forced march. Klein wrote several scores during his internment in the Theresienstadt concentration camp, where many prominent artists, scientists and scholars were held before being sent to Auschwitz. He encouraged musicians like Viktor Ullmann and Pavel Haas, who were interned with him, to continue composing.
The works that Klein wrote in Theresienstadt (which the Nazis used as a propaganda tool, showcasing its supposedly ideal living conditions) show the influence of Janacek, Berg and Schoenberg. Klein intended his Sonata for Piano to have four movements, but he completed only three.
Ms. Sloan offered an inelegant and unconvincing interpretation of the expressionistic sonata, whose declamatory first movement ("Allegro con Fuoco") is interspersed with more introspective interludes. A simmering tension underpins the ruminative Adagio. The concluding Allegro Vivace is driven by a bristling urgency, whose drama is intertwined with moments of wistful humor.
Klein's sonata was part of an all-Czech program that opened with a beautifully nuanced interpretation of Martinu's Madrigals for Violin and Viola. Martinu, who immigrated in 1941 to the United States, was inspired to write the work after listening to a performance of the Mozart violin-viola duos by Joseph and Lillian Fuchs, to whom he dedicated the Madrigals.
The violinist Renata Arado and the violist Espen Lilleslatten offered a lovely reading of this charming piece, vividly illuminating the counterpoint and homophonic textures of the rhythmically driven first movement and playing the elegiac trills in the second movement with finesse.
Ms. Arado and Mr. Lilleslatten were joined by the violinist Adele Anthony for a sweet-toned rendition of Dvorak's Terzetto in C, offering a deeply expressive interpretation of the soulful Larghetto. Dvorak's love of folk idioms is apparent in the rhythmically complex Scherzo. The work concludes with a sometimes dark-hued Theme and Variations.
The concert ended on a high-spirited note when Ms. Anthony, Ms. Arado, Ms. Sloan
and Mr. Lilleslatten were joined by the cellist Darrett Adkins for an energetic and insightful reading of Dvorak's popular Piano Quintet in A.
CHGS website has information about Theresienstadt as well as original documents from the ghetto. Be sure to look at the Ghetto Café document- if you look at the bottom you can see Klein is listed as a performer.
Holocaust survivors reunited after 65 years
Holocaust survivors reunited after 65 years
Thursday, September 2, 2010
LAST UPDATED: THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 2, 2010, 1:25 AM
BY HOWARD PROSNITZ
STAFF WRITER NorthJersey.com
TEANECK - In 1944 Jack Rosenfeld, then 15, entered the Mauthausen Concentration camp. At the time the Russian army was pressing from the East and the Germans were moving concentration camp inmates.
Before reaching Mauthausen, Rosenfeld was interred along the way in a smaller camp near the Austria Hungary border, having been marched there by the Nazis with hundreds of other Jews. With him were his brother and his boyhood friend from the Hungarian village where he grew up, Imri Meir.
By chance, Meir's father, a physician, was also an inmate at the camp. The day after their arrival, the father came and carried his son away.
That was the last time Rosenfeld saw Meir.
Until Monday, when the two boyhood friends, who attended school and played soccer together, and who last saw each other 65 years ago in a concentration camp, were reunited at Rosenfeld's South Forest Drive home.
The paths to the reunion were convoluted. Rosenfeld had often spoken to his family about his friend and had wondered what became of him. Rosenfeld's 15-year-old grandnephew, hearing the story, decided to do some computer research. Using records from Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum in Israel, Michael Rosenfeld discovered that Mier, who had changed his first name from Imri and Amram, was alive and living in Toronto. The two old friends spoke on the phone and Meir realized that his son, who lives in Montclair, was a half hour from Rosenfeld's home. Meir promised that the next time he visited his son, he would stop in Teaneck.
About a dozen members of the Rosenfeld family gathered for the reunion.
Rosenfeld, who lived in the Bronx before moving to Teaneck 19 years ago, recalls the forced march, during which he and his brother saved Meir's life. "If you sat down or attempted to drink water from a puddle, they killed you. Most did not reach the concentration camp," Rosenfeld said. Meir could go no farther and attempted to rest. Together, Rosenfeld and his brother carried and pushed Meir for the rest of the march.
The interim camp was so crowded that Rosenfeld spent his first night in a 20- to 50-foot yard that was used as a communal latrine."It didn't matter to me. I was so tired that as soon as I closed my eyes, I fell asleep," he said.
The following day he found out that his family was in the camp.
"A woman from our village recognized me and told me that my mother was there. My mother took us into her tent and washed us. We had not taken a bath in weeks and the lice on us were almost an inch thick. She gave us some water with sugar cubes she had stored away and that revived me a little."
Rosenfeld's family survived the camps. After the war, they returned to Hungary. Then he and his brother made their way to the American zone in Germany. They had initially planned to go to Israel but were denied admission by the British. In 1947, they immigrated to the US. Rosenfeld became an American citizen in 1952 and married an American woman.
Memories of the war and the concentration camps do not bother him, he said.
"I don't think about it anymore. It is water under the bridge."
He even has some understanding of the feelings of people who deny that the Holocaust took place.
"For the ordinary person who lives his day to day life it is impossible to imagine that something like this really happened."
For Meir, the Holocaust remains a bitter memory. He has refused to visit Germany and resists buying German-made products.
After parting with Rosenfeld, his father carried him on another forced march from the small camp.
"We stayed together. When we were liberated, we were all sick, with typhus, with every possible disease. The US Army took us to a hospital in Linz."
Meir's mother and sisters returned to Hungary, but eventually the entire family immigrated, one by one, to Israel, where his father became a successful physician. Meir served in the Israeli army and earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from Hebrew University.
Michael Rosenfeld, the grandnephew who did the research that united the two old friends, noted that the entire family is listed as dead on Holocaust records.
"People doing the research had figured that all Jews in that Hungarian village had been killed, but that isn't true," he said. "It is a one in a million chance that we all came together and survived," Rosenfeld said.
Wiesenthal Worked for Israeli Spy Agency, Book Alleges
New York Times
September 2, 2010
Wiesenthal Worked for Israeli Spy Agency, Book Alleges
By ETHAN BRONNER
JERUSALEM -- Simon Wiesenthal, a Holocaust survivor who gained worldwide fame for decades as a one-man Nazi-hunting operation, was in fact frequently on the payroll of the Mossad, Israel's spy agency, a new biography asserts.
The assertion, based on numerous documents and interviews with three people said to be Mr. Wiesenthal's Mossad handlers, punctures not only a widely held belief about how he operated; it also suggests a need to re-evaluate the standard view that the Israeli government took no interest in tracking down Nazis until the 1960 capture in Argentina of Adolf Eichmann, and little thereafter.
Mr. Wiesenthal died in 2005 at the age of 96 in his Vienna home.
"This requires us to adjust in some small way our view of history," said Tom Segev, the author of the new book "Simon Wiesenthal: The Life and Legends," which is being published by Doubleday this week in the United States and simultaneously in six other countries.
Mr. Segev, who is Israeli and a columnist for the newspaper Haaretz here, is the author of half a dozen other books, mostly about Israeli history. In a telephone interview, he said he had been given unfettered access to Mr. Wiesenthal's papers -- some 300,000 of them, previously closed to the public -- by Mr. Wiesenthal's daughter, Paulinka Kreisberg.
While reading through Mr. Wiesenthal's correspondence, Mr. Segev came across names he did not recognize and discovered they were Mossad agents and handlers. He interviewed three of them and named two in the book.
Mr. Segev said that Mr. Wiesenthal was first employed by the political department of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, a forerunner to the Mossad, and then by the agency itself. It financed his first office in Vienna in 1960, paid him a monthly salary and provided him with an Israeli passport, the biography says. Mr. Wiesenthal's codename was "Theocrat."
His main task was to help locate Nazi criminals, including Eichmann, one of the architects of the Final Solution, and especially to watch out for neo-Nazis and provide information on the activities of former Nazis in Arab countries, the book says.
It also says that Mr. Wiesenthal was part of a largely unknown earlier attempt to trap Eichmann in Austria in the last days of 1949. According to the book, an Israeli agent who was helping Mr. Wiesenthal probably caused the operation to fail when he regaled fellow New Year's drinkers in local bars with stories of Israel's recently concluded war of independence. Word spread that an Israeli was present and Eichmann's planned visit to his wife and child was abruptly called off, the book says.
The operation was initiated by Asher Ben Natan, later Israel's first ambassador to Germany, who spoke about it with Mr. Segev. The operational report, newly declassified, is also cited. Mr. Segev said he passed his manuscript through the Israeli military censor, which is required of any work published here on security-related issues.
Mr. Wiesenthal's role in the 1960 capture of Eichmann has been a matter of dispute. Isser Harel, the former Mossad head, now dead, claimed that the Nazi hunter deserved no credit.
But the book says that Mr. Wiesenthal, financed by the Israeli Embassy in Vienna, told the Mossad in 1953 that Eichmann was hiding in Argentina, leading ultimately to his capture by agency operatives. Eichmann's televised trial in Israel was a milestone in modern Holocaust awareness. He was found guilty and hanged by Israel in 1962.
Mr. Wiesenthal, a complex and often controversial figure, opposed the execution, Mr. Segev shows by examining previously unknown correspondence. It was not moral objection to the death penalty but the belief that Eichmann had not yet told everything he knew and that his future testimony could be useful.
The biography provides new details on Mr. Wiesenthal's often strained relations -- ultimately mended -- with Rabbi Marvin Hier, the founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which is based in Los Angeles. The disputes, recorded in numerous letters from Mr. Wiesenthal, were mostly petty ones, regarding the center's alleged failure to inform or consult properly with him.
The book also shows that Mr. Wiesenthal came to the quiet and consistent aid of Kurt Waldheim, the former secretary general of the United Nations and president of Austria, when he was being accused by Jewish groups of having lied about his service in the German Army. The harshest suspicions of war crimes against Mr. Waldheim were never proved and Mr. Wiesenthal's role was largely as a behind-the-scene consultant to his fellow Austrian.
Volunteers Needed to Assist Holocaust Survivors with Oral History
A group of local Holocaust survivors meet every month at the Jewish Community Center in St. Paul. The meetings are recorded to preserve the stories, experiences and the conversations that take place at the gathering. The group is looking for volunteers to type up transcripts of the recordings for historical posterity.
To volunteer, send an email to email@example.com. Please type "holocaust" in the subject line.
For more information about the group please click here to be linked to their page on the CHGS website.
Jewish teacher suspended in France for teaching 'too much' about Holocaust
A high school history teacher is accused of 'brainwashing' her students, says French news agency AFP.
By Haaretz Service
A French history teacher in Nancy, France, has been suspended for breaching the principle of secularism and neutrality after the French education ministry concluded that she was teaching "too much" about the Holocaust and spending too much time organizing trips for her students to Nazi death camps in Poland and the Czech Republic.
Catherine Pederzoli, 58, was investigated by officials at the education ministry, who released a report about the matter in July. The report accused the teacher of "lacking distance, neutrality and secularism" in teaching the Holocaust, and of manipulating her charges through a process of "brain-washing," according to the French news agency AFP.
In December, when the French Minister of Education Luc Chatel was visiting Pederzoli's high school, several of her students staged a protest over the decision to cut in half the number of students traveling to Poland on an upcoming trip, meant to acquaint the students with Nazi camps in the region. Pederzoli was accused of inciting the protest.
The principle of secularism and neutrality in France is meant to protect the separation of church and state. The ministry's report cites that in meeting with investigators, the teacher used the word "Holocaust" 14 times while using the more neutral term "massacre" only twice.
Pederzoli's lawyer, Christine Tadic, said Tuesday that Pederzoli had been organizing trips to concentration camps for the past 15 years, but that a change in the school's administration in 2007 had led to a witch hunt against her.
Tadic claimed that "had the teacher been Christian, no one would have accused her of brainwashing." Furthermore, she asked whether Pederzoli is in fact being blamed for being Jewish.
Also on Tuesday, Tadic filed for an injunction over the teacher's suspension. According to AFP, the court has 15 days to rule on the matter.
Wiesel calls on France to stop Roma deportations
By Jennifer Lipman, August 31, 2010
Elie Wiesel has condemned the French government's decision to expel Roma immigrants but cautioned that a comparison with the Nazi round-ups was not appropriate.
The Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor described the repatriation of Roma people from France to Romania and Bulgaria as unacceptable.
As a former refugee, Mr Wiesel expressed his solidarity with the Roma and called on French president Nicolas Sarkozy to stop the crackdown. But he also said: "It is necessary to be careful with the language."These Roma are sent to Romania, to Hungary, not to Auschwitz. He added: "One doesn't have the right to trivialise events, memories and souvenirs."
Robert Le Gall, Archbishop of Toulouse, had likened the situation to the expulsion of Jews from occupied France during the Holocaust.
Around 700 Roma, also known as gypsies or Romany, are expected to be deported from France. Mr Sarkozy has defended the plan as necessary to decrease crime levels, but it has been met by criticism in France and around the world.
France's Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, the founder of humanitarian aid organisation Médecins Sans Frontières, is one of a number of senior French politicians who have publicly questioned the decision.
Mr Kouchner, whose father was Jewish, said he had considered resigning. He said: "I am not happy with what has happened. I have been working with the Roma for 25 years."
More than 220,000 Roma are believed to have been murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust.
For more on this see: Sarkozy's crackdown on Roma camps adds fuel to criticism at home and abroad
Rwanda warns of Darfur troops pullout if UN publishes report
Posted Tuesday, August 31 2010 at 19:47
Rwanda will withdraw more than 3,000 peacekeepers from Sudan if the United Nations publishes a report on war crimes allegedly committed by Kigali in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), an army spokesman said today.
"The Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) has finalised a contingency withdraw plan for its peacekeepers deployed in Sudan in response to a government directive in case the UN publishes its outrageous and damaging report," a statement from spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jill Rutaremara said.
The UN draft report alleges that Rwandan Tutsi troops and their rebel allies targeted, chased, hacked, shot and burned Hutus in the DR Congo, from 1996 to 1997, after the outbreak of a cross-border Central African war.
"All logistical and personnel resources are in place. The pullout will take the shortest time possible. The withdrawal will apply to the RDF peacekeepers serving under the United Nations African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) and the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS)," he said.
UNAMID is a joint UN and African Union peacekeeping mission in Sudan's troubled western region of Darfur which consists of 21,800 uniformed personnel.
UNMIS is a force with 10,000 troops from dozens of countries deployed in 2005 to support the implementation of the 2005 peace deal that ended the two-decade-long north-south civil war in Sudan.
Rwanda has 3,300 troops in UNAMID and a further 256 serving with UNMIS.
Rwanda last week accused the United Nations of trying to deflect attention from its own failures by leaking a draft report accusing Kigali of war crimes in neighbouring DRC.
Rwanda's Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo wrote to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon earlier this month that Kigali would curtail cooperation with UN peacekeeping missions if the report was released.
"We reiterate here what we have already told the high commissioner; namely that attempts to take action on this report -- will force us to withdraw from Rwanda's various commitments to the United Nations, especially in the area of peacekeeping," Ms Mushikiwabo wrote.
The UN report, a copy of which was seen by AFP, says Rwandan Tutsi commanders and their rebel allies carried out systematic attacks on Hutus in the DR Congo from 1996 to 1997 that resembled the 1994 Rwandan genocide. "The systematic and widespread attacks described in this report... reveal a number of damning elements that, if they were proven before a competent court, could be classified as crimes of genocide," stated the probe.
The report is expected to be released in the coming days. Meanwhile, UN chief Ban Ki-moon never asked for claims of "genocide" by Rwandan forces to be removed from the report on violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a UN human rights spokesman said today.
Rejecting media reports of interference by Mr Ban on the final wording of a report on the atrocities committed from 1993 to 2003 in the country, Rupert Colville, spokesman for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, said: "I want to make this crystal clear, this is absolutely untrue.
"Up to this point the Secretary General has never put pressure on the High Commissioner (for Human Rights) to alter the text," he added.
The 600-page UN report was leaked to French newspaper Le Monde, which in an article last Friday quoted unnamed UN sources claiming that Ban had warned Navi Pillay, the UN human rights chief, against using the word "genocide" in reference to Rwandan forces. The newspaper's sources said that Rwanda, one of the biggest contributors of peacekeeping forces in the region, had threatened to withdraw its support to the United Nations if the damning report were to be published or leaked. (AFP)
Obama and the Mess in Sudan
Obama and the Mess in Sudan
August 28, 2010, 6:13 PM
By NICHOLAS KRISTOF
My Sunday column is about President Obama's failure to follow his own campaign rhetoric about paying attention to genocide and Sudan. As a senator, Obama was one of the leaders in calling on the Bush administration to do more about Darfur -- and yet he has been disengaged in Sudan issues and his administration hasn't been as successful as the Bush administration in getting Sudan to behave a bit better.
There are, of course, a thousand caveats. Genocide in southern Sudan, if it happens, won't be Obama's fault but that of Bashir and a thousand other local players. And while I focus on Bashir's shortcomings, it's also worth pointing out that southern Sudanese officials have shown poor leadership and often more penchant for corruption than building a state. The Darfur rebels enjoy nice hotel rooms but for the most part haven't tried hard to negotiate a serious peace. There's plenty of blame to go around. But it's also a false moral equivalence to say that because all of the actors are flawed, they are all equally bad. There is a big difference between an official in the south with a secret bank account and an official in the north who orders villagers massacred.
In my judgment, the Obama administration's first mistake was to take forever reviewing its policy to Sudan. When it took office in January 2009, it had some momentum on its side, and Sudan was truly nervous -- especially of Susan Rice, who had famously flown into the Nuba Mountains as assistant secretary for African affairs even after Sudan threatened to shoot her plane down. The Bush administration envoy for Sudan, Rich Williamson, had proposed a series of tough measures, including taking out electricity and radio in Khartoum for a couple of days as a warning, and that too had Sudan on edge. All that momentum was lost by an endless Obama review, and then the policy in practice ended up all carrots and no sticks. Critics also say that the policy hasn't been implemented and that quarterly reviews have not occurred as mandated; I hear different versions about that and am not sure where the truth lies.
In fairness, sticks haven't worked terribly well against Sudan, and I happen to agree with the special envoy, Scott Gration, on the need for both engagement and carrots. The Bush administration managed to win the CPA treaty in 2005, ending the north-south war, in part because it seriously engaged with Khartoum and listened to Bashir -- so engagement isn't a bad thing. But sticks are necessary as well as carrots, and sticks are what has been absent from the administration policy. In addition, there was a sense that George W. Bush was personally pushing Sudan policy when he was in the White House, and he would periodically talk about it publicly. Obama has barely mentioned the word Sudan, and this lack of leadership is one reason for the incoherence in his administration's policy.
What leverage do we have? For starters, Bashir cares a great deal about his image. That's why Sudan has hired public relations agencies and bought an advertising special section in my newspaper. Bashir fulminates about the Save Darfur meeting. He wants to get off the terror list. He wanted to be chair of the A.U. And he knows that the U.S. can very much help determine what that global image is. In addition, Bashir wants debt relief, which the U.S. can help with in the I.M.F., and he wants to be able to interfere in the south without American objection.
One of the things that worries me most is the signs that Bashir is funneling arms to disgruntled factions in the south, to foment civil war there. Indeed, I'm told that the south just captured a helicopter crew of Western mercenaries carrying arms and is interrogating them. Bashir has done something similar vis-a-vis both Uganda and Chad (supporting rebels in each case, who in turn committed frightful atrocities), and he may well do the same in the south. It's a worrying sign that the architect of the Janjaweed strategy in Darfur, Ahmed Haroun, has been reposted as governor of South Kordofan, on the southern Sudan border. The fear (for which there's no evidence so far) is that he'll oversee a similar strategy there and recruit a militia to attack the border areas so that the north can control the oil.
Pulling off a referendum in a place like southern Sudan will be enormously difficult in any case, but it'll be 1,000 times harder with the north dragging its feet. Among the issues that have to be decided are the division of oil revenues, the division of debt, the division of water rights, the demarcation of the border -- and the nettlesome question of Abyei, the oil-producing area on the border that both claim. There has been negligible progress on these issues, and all that makes conflict more likely. And of course mutual trust is nonexistent.
It's a good sign that the U.S. has sent Princeton Lyman, a veteran diplomat, to take charge of a team on the ground in Sudan. In the CPA negotiations, the Bush administration had senior people intimately involved in negotiations and on the ground, and until now the Obama administration hasn't done the same. This is a big step forward, albeit a belated one. I'd also like to see the U.S. make clear to Kenya that it has no objection to the onpassing of the Ukrainian tanks that southern Sudan ordered but that have been frozen because of the publicity after they were seized by Somali pirates.
The U.S. could also signal that it has no objection if a third party provides the south with anti-aircraft systems. The north can't depend on its ground forces to destroy the south (partly because much of its infantry was traditionally from Darfur), and so it will depend on its air superiority. If it is denied control over the skies, because of the south's anti-aircraft ability, it may be less likely to launch a new civil war. The U.S. also needs to work much more with Egypt, China and other countries to get them all engaged in spotlighting the Sudan negotiations and the referendum process. Egypt and China are both against southern Sudanese independence but are waking up to the fact that it may happen any way and in that case their interests may be harmed. The UN General Assembly is a crucial opportunity to internationalize the issue, and it's less than a month away.
Look, Sudan is diplomacy at its toughest. I don't mean to be glib about the challenges that the world faces there. But Obama declared that this was a priority for him, and he blasted Bush for Sudan mishandling -- even though Bush overall did a better job on Sudan than Obama has, particularly when the CPA is figured in.
One of the lessons we should have learned from the last few decades is that when wars start, they are very difficult and expensive to end. The World Bank estimates that the average African civil war imposes costs of about $100 billion on the country and its neighbors. Everybody agrees in theory that it is better to try to avert wars ahead of time than try to extinguish them once they have started. Yet the Obama administration, the U.N. and world leaders are manifestly not doing all they can to avoid another war in Sudan. I'd welcome your comments.
It's not your father's Holocaust denial
An upcoming lecture series at the U of M will examine how demented Holocaust denial arguments have been rebranded as 'alternative narratives'
By BRUNO CHAOUAT
The Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Minnesota -- of which I am honored to serve as the new director -- is launching a lecture series titled "Alternative Narratives -- or Denial" for the 2011 spring semester.
Denial is not always easy to recognize. Calling the Holocaust a "fable" or a "myth" is not the only mode of denial. Denial can sometimes be called "alternative narratives" or "revision of history," and be disguised as scholarly inquiry. Scholars in the United States and in Israel have demonstrated a continuum between drawing questionable analogies to the Holocaust and denying it. Through historical, literary and philosophical inquiry, this lecture series will explore the moral and intellectual issues raised in revising the history of the Holocaust and of genocides.
This lecture series is especially timely in light of film director Oliver Stone's recent attempt to diminish the importance of the Holocaust in the name of placing it in "historical context," and his corollary accusation that Jews control the media and U.S. foreign policy. Jews, Stone infamously declared, are "the most powerful lobby in Washington," and "Israel has f---d up United States foreign policy."
We are accustomed to viewing Holocaust denial as a right-wing, neo-Nazi, marginal position, and thus many discount it as innocuous hysteria. However, Holocaust denial is not the monopoly of neo-Nazis, Aryan supremacists or shameless anti-Semites. It comes in multiple guises, and lately has often been recast in the service of anticolonialism, anti-imperialism and even antiracism. More and more, the fantasy that Israel and the Jews control the memory of the Holocaust to serve selfish and even criminal ends leads to minimizing, or outright denying the Holocaust. Professor Elhanan Yakira, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who spoke at the College of Liberal Arts last April (4-19-10 AJW), demonstrates this phenomenon in a book titled Post-Zionism, Post-Holocaust: Three Essays on Denial, Forgetting and the Delegitimation of Israel (Cambridge University Press).
Stone's rant illustrates this brand of Holocaust denial, conspiracy theory and anti-Semitism disguised as a denunciation of imperialistic global exploitation. It is pernicious because it is hard to recognize -- unless a proponent, such as Stone, loses his temper and launches into an attention-getting tirade. Regrettably, this brand of Holocaust denial is entering the mainstream; Stone was invited on National Public Radio a few weeks ago, and appears to have been taken seriously by an educated, thoughtful and compassionate audience.
Faithful to the legacy of our greatly missed colleague and friend Stephen Feinstein, the first director of the center, I consider that one of our organization's missions is to debunk Holocaust denial and anti-Semitic bigotry in all of its guises, including when it comes as compassion for the oppressed and in the name of social justice. The French historian Pierre Vidal-Naquet aptly called Holocaust deniers "murderers of memory." I believe the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies is a sentinel of memory. It is my hope that our first lecture series will reflect this conception.
Bruno Chaouat is the director of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at University of Minnesota.
Anne Frank's Tree Falls As Holocaust Denial Rises
By Bonnie Erbe
Posted: August 23, 2010
How sad and odd, that the so-called Anne Frank tree in Amsterdam should fall at a time when Holocaust denial is growing, especially in the Arab world, according to one White House official.
Hannah Rosenthal, U.S. special envoy to combat anti-Semitism, told the Jerusalem Post that the Obama administration is working hard to combat anti-Semitism but despite that, Holocaust denial is on the rise, especially in the Arab world.
Rosenthal recently led a trip of eight influential imams. After visiting the Auschwitz concentration camp with Ms. Rosenthal, the imams signed on to a declaration regarding the Holocaust. According to the Post,
"We bear witness to the absolute horror and tragedy of the Holocaust where over 12 million human souls perished, including 6 million Jews." It continues, "We condemn any attempts to deny this historical reality and declare such denials or any justification of this tragedy as against the Islamic code of ethics. We condemn anti-Semitism in any form. No creation of Almighty God should face discrimination based on his or her faith or religious conviction."
I applaud the Obama administration and the imams for doing this, even at a time when many American Jews are sorely disappointed with the president's stand on Israel. Many are hopeful that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's bid to reopen peace talks will produce something of value. But they do not believe the Obama administration to be as Israel-friendly as prior administrations have been.
All of this comes as I return home from a reunion of some 35 descendants of Russian-Polish Jews from the tiny town of Dokshitzy (which is located in what is now Belarus). My grandmother was born in that town and my grandfather in another town or "shtetl" some eight miles away. My grandmother was one of 11 children. She emigrated to the United States but the large family she left behind did not and they perished.
There was a poor but thriving Jewish community in Dokshitzy prior to World War II. Jews comprised half the town's population of 6,000 people before the war. Most of them never made it to the Nazi concentration camps. The Nazis came through Dokshitzy in the early 1940s, forced most of the men into hard labor and cordoned off a Jewish ghetto for the families. After the Nazis had ransacked the town, they lined up residents in front of pits, shot them down, and filled in the pits with dirt. They burned all the houses and desecrated the graveyards, as if to erase the memory of what they had done. At least in the latter part, they did not succeed.
Which brings me back to Anne Frank's tree. The world-famous diarist created the most widely-read account of the Holocaust while she and her family hid from Nazis in Amsterdam for more than two years. The teenager and her family were discovered by the Nazis and arrested in 1944. Anne Frank died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in March 1945.
Dutch officials have gone out of their way to preserve the 150-year-old Chestnut tree outside of the house in which she was hiding. The tree gave her hope during her two year residence in an attic as it was just about the only thing she could see from the attic's window. Now it is gone, as Holocaust denial increases, just when we need it most.
US envoy slams central bank over 'antisemitic' Romanian coin
(AFP) - 5 hours ago
BUCHAREST -- The US ambassador in Romania on Friday slammed a central bank decision to go on selling a coin depicting an inter-war leader with anti-Semitic views despite criticism from the Holocaust Museum in Washington. "I am very disappointed by the decision on the part of the National Bank of Romania to issue the coin commemorating Patriarch Miron Cristea", Mark Gitenstein said in a statement.
"Cristea's actions as Prime Minister - specifically his role in the revocation of citizenship for over 225,000 Romanian Jews - cannot be ignored," he added.
Cristea headed the Romanian government in 1938-39.
As prime minister he amended the citizenship law, thereby stripping 37 percent of the country's total Jewish population of their Romanian citizenship.
To mark 125 years since the setting up of the Romanian Orthodox Church, the central bank had minted five silver coins carrying the effigies of its patriarchs since 1925.
The first of the five was Miron Cristea, who led the Church between 1925 and 1939.
At the start of August the central bank received letters of protest from the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington and the Elie Wiesel National Institute for the Study of Holocaust in Romania.
The bank set up an internal commission to look into the issue.
On Thursday, after the panel released its conclusions, the bank said it would not suspend issuing of the coin, which can be bought since July.
In a statement it said its selection was "in no way and by no means intended to hurt the feelings of any community, to prejudice the interests of specific groups or to convey xenophobic, racist or anti-Semitic messages".
Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.
Volunteers Needed to Assist Holocaust Survivors with Oral History
A group of local Holocaust survivors meet every month at the Jewish Community Center in St. Paul. The meetings are recorded to preserve the stories, experiences and the conversations that take place at the gathering. The group is looking for volunteers to type up transcripts of the recordings for historical posterity.
To volunteer,send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please type "holocaust" in the subject line.
For more information about the group please click here to be linked to their page on the CHGS website.
Bruno Chaouat to speak on Anti-Semitism, Israel, and Ideological Change in France
HAVE FRENCH JEWS TURNED RIGHT?
Anti-Semitism, Israel, and Ideological Change in France
Since 9/11 and the second intifada, the Left has often charged Jews with becoming increasingly right-wing. This charge is based on the support of Jews for Israel and the United States, both deemed reactionary countries by many on the Left in France and Europe. Bruno Chaouat will analyze whether French Jews have turned to the Right by examining debates among those on the Left and by exploring the reactions of the French Jewish community to recent waves of anti-Semitic violence in relation to the Middle East conflict.
Bruno Chaouat is associate professor of French and Jewish studies and director of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Minnesota. His publications include a book on Chateaubriand and autobiography, many articles on 19th-century French literature, edited volumes on shame and terror, and essays on anti-Semitism and Holocaust testimony in France. He is now completing a book project titled "Jewish Envy: France After Anti-Semitism."
February 10, 2011 7:30 p.m., Temple of Aaron Synagogue, 616 S. Mississippi River Boulevard. St. Paul 651-698-8874
For more information please contact Center for Jewish Studies, e-mail: email@example.com
or phone: 612-624-4914.
Co-sponsors: U of M Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies, Department of French & Italian; U of M Hillel; Temple of Aaron; St. Paul Jewish Community Center; United Jewish Fund and Council
American Muslim leaders visit concentration camps
August 17, 2010
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Eight Muslim American leaders who visited concentration camps and met with Holocaust survivors signed a statement condemning Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism.
The trip earlier this month, intended to teach the participants about the Holocaust, featured visits to Dachau and Auschwitz.
"We stand united as Muslim American faith and community leaders and recognize that we have a shared responsibility to continue to work together with leaders of all faiths and their communities to fight the dehumanization of all peoples based on their religion, race or ethnicity," the statement read. "With the disturbing rise of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and other forms of hatred, rhetoric and bigotry, now more than ever, people of faith must stand together for truth."
Marshall Breger, an Orthodox Jew who served in the Reagan and first Bush administrations, and Rabbi Jack Bemporad, a Reform clergyman, launched the trip to educate those who may not have had the opportunity to learn the history of the Holocaust. Breger said this would help combat Holocaust denial among Muslims.
The leaders on the trip were imams Muzammil Siddiqi of Orange County, Calif.; Muhamad Maged of Virginia; Suhaib Webb of Santa Clara, Calif.; Abdullah Antepli of Duke University in North Carolina; and Syed Naqvi of Washington, D.C., along with Dr. Sayyid Syeed of Washington; Sheik Yasir Qadhi of New Haven, Conn.; and Laila Muhammad of Chicago. Muhammad is the daughter of American Muslim leader W.D. Muhammad and granddaughter of Elijah Muhammad, leader of the Nation of Islam. U.S. government officials, the State Department's special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism, and the U.S. ambassador to the Organization of the Islamic Conference also participated.
In 2001, Yasir Qadhi, one of the imams on the trip, called the Holocaust a hoax, but he later said his comment had been a mistake. After the trip earlier this month, Qadhi told the N.J. Star-Ledger, "It was a very moving experience for all of us imams, in particular myself. I had never seen anything like this. I was just overwhelmed throughout the entire trip. I was just overwhelmed at the sheer inhumanity of it. I could not comprehend how such evil could be unleashed."
The Aug. 7-11 trip was co-sponsored by a German think tank, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, and a New Jersey-based interfaith group called the Center for Interreligious Understanding.
Germany charges ex-Rwandan mayor with genocide
(AP) - 4 hours ago
BERLIN -- German prosecutors say they have filed charges against a former Rwandan mayor for his alleged involvement in the African country's 1994 genocide.
Federal prosecutors said Wednesday that they charged the 53-year-old ethnic Hutu -- identified only as Onesphore R. -- with genocide and murder as well as incitement to those crimes. They said he was a mayor of an unspecified district in northern Rwanda at the time of the killings.
They say the man called for a pogrom against the Tutsi ethnic minority on three occasions in early April 1994 and forced a local official to throw out Tutsis who had taken refuge in his house.
Prosecutors say the man ordered and coordinated three massacres between April 11 and 15, 1994, in which at least 3,730 Tutsis were killed.
Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Schools can exclude materials disputing Armenian genocide Court ruled on 1999 case
Schools can exclude materials disputing Armenian genocide Court ruled on 1999 case
By Peter Schworm
Globe Staff / August 12, 2010
In a closely watched case, a federal appeals court yesterday ruled that statewide public school guidelines on teaching human rights history can exclude materials disputing that the mass slaying of Armenians in the First World War era constituted genocide.
The decision, written by retired Supreme Court justice David Souter, who occasionally hears cases with the First Circuit Court of Appeals, found that state education officials did not violate public school students' free speech rights in 1999, when they excluded all "contra-genocide'' sources calling the Armenian genocide into question.
Van Z. Krikorian, a professor at Pace University Law School who filed a brief defending the state's move, said he was thrilled by the ruling, equating those who dispute the genocide designation to Holocaust deniers.
"It would have put human rights education in reverse,'' he said. "It's a major defeat for genocide denial.''
Upholding a lower-court decision, the court ruled that although state guidelines were advisory, and "not meant to declare other positions out of bounds in study and discussion,'' they were part of the official curriculum and therefore under the discretion of state authorities.
Requiring that officials include references to dissenting viewpoints, Souter wrote, "might actually have the effect of foreclosing future opportunities for open enquiry in the classroom.''
Harvey Silverglate, a Boston civil rights lawyer representing the Assembly of Turkish American Associations, had argued that removing the references amounted to government censorship and prevented students from hearing both sides.
"It always is a sad day when a court constricts First Amendment rights rather than expand them,'' he said. "I think they made a mistake.'' Silverglate said his clients will consider whether to appeal.
The Turkish-American group disputes that the Muslim Turkish Ottoman Empire committed genocide against its Christian Armenian minority population. Over 1.5 million Armenians died at the hands of Turkish forces, but Turkish activists maintain it was not the result of a policy.
In 1998, the Legislature ordered the state Board of Education to prepare an advisory curriculum guide for teaching about genocide and human rights, and a draft of the guide initially included a section on the "Armenian Genocide.'' Under pressure from Turkish advocacy groups, the commissioner of education, David P. Driscoll, revised the draft to include references to opposing views, said the ruling.
When officials filed the guide with legislators in March 1999, the state's Armenian community protested the inclusion of "contra-genocide'' viewpoints, and the education commissioner removed the references.
Peter Schworm can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Copyright 2010 Globe Newspaper Company.
"It's a Woman's World" airs
Dr. Ellen Kennedy and Sabina Zimering, Holocaust survivor, appear in the episode "It's a Woman's World". The episode is scheduled to air on February 8th at 9:30 am and 4:30 pm on Metro Cable Network, Channel 6. It will also air on SPNN Channel 15 on February 5th and 12th at 6:30 pm.
The Ritchie Boys
Thank you for all that attended our Ritchie Boys event on November 12th at the MN History Center.
To listen to the MPR interview with Dr. Guy Stern and Walter Schwarz click here.
The Film "The Ritchie Boys" can be purchased here from Amazon.com or here from Barnes and Noble.
Dr. Guy Stern referenced additional information that we would be posting to our website. This information can be found here.
You can see photos from the Nov. 12th event and Dr. Stern's visit here.
World Without Genocide Student Action Award
World Without Genocide Student Action Award
Knowledge + Action = Power
This annual award, to be given by World without Genocide (formerly Genocide Intervention Network-Minnesota), recognizes community outreach projects by college and high school classes to raise awareness about any aspect of genocide: protection, prevention, prosecution, and remembrance.
Click for more information.
World Without Genocide Student Action Award
Knowledge + Action = Power
This annual award, to be given by World without Genocide (formerly Genocide Intervention Network-Minnesota), recognizes community outreach projects by college and high school classes to raise awareness about any aspect of genocide: protection, prevention, prosecution, and remembrance.
These projects can include educational outreach to other schools, faith-based organizations, civic groups, businesses, and human rights organizations in the form of art exhibits; theater or dance performances; rallies; film events; legislative outreach; fund-raising; media awareness and support; and similar activities.
1) number of community people reached
2) impact of project as measured by students' reflections
3) project characteristics: actionable, sustainable, and replicable, emotionally-engaging, innovative
4) level of professionalism and excellence
Who can apply:
Applications can be submitted by students or educators at public or private high schools, colleges and universities, and faith-based organizations.
A ceremony will be held at the Minnesota State Capitol in May 2010. Awards will be presented by Senator Sandy Pappas, board member of World without Genocide, to the winning students and educators.
Deadline: April 30, 2010
Students or educators are asked to submit an application as follows:
1) Class information
Name of instructor and contact information (mailing address; email address; phone)
School name and location
Course title or student group and date
Name of person submitting application and contact information (mailing address; email address; phone)
2) Project description - a narrative limited to two pages that addresses the four evaluation criteria:
• number of community people reached
• impact of project as measured by students' and/or community members' reflections
• project characteristics:
actionable, sustainable, and replicable
• level of professionalism and excellence
3) Evaluation of project impact
4) Any relevant supporting information (photographs, newspaper articles, website promotion, etc.)
Applications should be submitted electronically to
Subject: Student Action Award submission
For additional information, contact Heather at 952-994-2729 or visit
Dr. Ellen Kennedy received the "Outstanding Citizen" award from the Anne Frank foundation
CHGS in the News
Dr. Ellen Kennedy in the MN Daily.
"Holocaust Survivors Share Stories About Their Experiences" - Fox News
Minnesota Takes a Stand Against Genocide - Dec. 3, 2008
Exhibit Held in Memory of Late 'U' Holocaust Expert - Sept. 15, 2008
Visiting sites of tragedy to touch history, ease grief - Feb. 25, 2008
Science Museum exhibit explores how Nazi eugenics effort lead to the Holocaust - Feb. 23, 2008
Exhibit tracks history of Hitler's purification philosophy - Feb. 22, 2008
Auschwitz Jewelry Exhibit Shows Secret Treasures With a Grisly Past - Jan. 23, 2008
Two camps tug at issue of Armenian genocide - Nov. 14, 2007
From TPT/Channel 17 Twin Cities
The Minnesota Channel has a new distribution option available to its partners, that could be especially useful for those, like the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, that have been making DVD copies of our collaborative television programs to mail out to schools around the nation for classroom use.
We now have a conduit into the enormously popular iTunes Music Store. We are posting selected Minnesota Channel videos on that site, where anyone in the world can download them, for free, and watch our partner's programs on either on a video iPod or simply on any computer.
Because our programming is free, and so many iTunes videos are not, we are seeing an increasing number of downloads.
We have already posted two programs that were produced in partnership with CHGS: "Holocaust: Aftermath" and "Voice to Vision."
To share these with students and educators anywhere, simply send out these directions:
1. Open iTunes Music Store
2. Using the Search box, type in "Twin Cities Public Television"
3. Choose and open the "Minnesota Channel" line
4. Select any of the programs for free downloading
The programs are presented in the full original version, including sponsor credits and website contact information to connect the viewers with the producing partners, like CHGS. TPT will be monitoring the download frequency, and can let CHGS know how many times a viewer has requested either of your videos.