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A Nazi in our midst? Pursuit of justice must persistArticle by Alejandro Baer June 17, 2013
If he is connected with war crimes, he must be held accountable.
Until Friday, 94-year-old Michael Karkoc was only an immigrant living the quiet and peaceful life of a retiree in northeast Minneapolis. He was known as a loving father and grandfather, a longtime member of the Ukrainian immigrant community, a citizen who attended church regularly, always friendly and considerate toward his neighbors.
But soon Karkoc will be subject to the full force of the law, suspected of the worst imaginable of crimes. Karkoc is alleged to have been a top commander of a Nazi SS-led unit accused of burning villages filled with women and children. It seems that the evidence is strong enough for him to face deportation and to be prosecuted for war crimes in Germany or Poland.
How could this man immigrate to the United States after the war and live a normal life in Minnesota for six decades? According to an extensive investigation by the Associated Press, Karkoc fooled the American authorities in 1949, concealing his role as an officer and founding member of the infamous Ukrainian Self Defense Legion.
To read the entire article click here.(Continue Reading)
On April 5th and 6th, the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, hosted the symposium, Representing Genocide: Media, Law and Scholarship, to explore the intersections between journalistic, judicial and social scientific depictions of atrocities, with a focus on cases of the Holocaust, Darfur and Rwanda. The symposium was was recorded and is now available to be viewed on the Center's YouTube channel by clicking here.
The symposium was organized by the Center's Director, Alejandro Baer, and Professor of Sociology, Joachim Savelsberg, and made possible by the Wexler Special Events fund for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, the Center for Austrian Studies, The Center for German and European Studies and several other centers and departments across the university(for a complete list click here).(Continue Reading)
In this workshop we will examine questions such as how the Nazi murder of European Jews became "The Holocaust"? How is this story conveyed through public memorials, school curricula, art, literature and film? How has the Holocaust been contextualized and rendered meaningful within the diversity of European nations and in the distant US? And what are its implications for teaching the Holocaust in the classroom?
We will approach the topic from an interdisciplinary perspective, with internationally recognized scholars in the fields of history, sociology, literature and German/European studies from the University of Minnesota and Gustavus Adolphus College. Speakers will focus on historiography, testimony, media and visual arts and will assist educators in creating curriculum and lessons they can incorporate into their classrooms.
Director and Stephen C. Feinstein Chair, Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, University of Minnesota
Leslie Morris, Associate Professor, Department of German, Scandinavian and Dutch, University of Minnesota
Joachim J. Savelsberg, Professor Department of Sociology, University of Minnesota
Elizabeth Baer, Professor English, African Studies, Gustavus
Jodi Elowitz, Outreach Coordinator, Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, University of Minnesota
The critically acclaimed films The Flat (2011) and Hitler's Children (2011) are now streaming on Netflix. The Flat is a documentary film about director Arnon Goldfinger's 98-year-old grandmother who lived in Israel after emigrating from Berlin in the 1930's. After his grandmother passes away the family is tasked with cleaning her flat. While going through her belongings they discover a secret that causes renewed reflection on the family's relationship to the past and the memory of the Holocaust.
Hitler's Children (2011) is a standard documentary that examines the lives of some of the descendants of the Third Reich's more notorious Nazi leaders. One of the most fascinating of these is the segments dealing with Rainer Hoess the grandson of Rudolf Hoess the commandant of Auschwitz and Eldad Beck an Israeli journalist and grandson of Holocaust survivors. They travel to Auschwitz together to help Hoess put context to his troubled connection to his father and grandfather.
Both films explore Holocaust memory and seek to show how the generations handle these memories in order to be able to live in the present.
Sky Tinged Red is the chronicle of Isaia Eiger's two years as a prisoner in Auschwitz- Birkenau. Eiger immediately wrote of his experiences in the camp shortly after the war. The book focuses on his experiences and his role in the resistance movement that took place at the camp.
Isaia Eiger passed away in 1960, leaving the manuscript unpublished for his family. Discovered by his daughter Dora Eiger Zaidenweber, it was put aside until the mid 80's when she set out to translate her father's story. After translating the nearly 100 pages of the typed manuscript she was surprised to find that it abruptly ended prior to his liberation. It would be another 20 years before she would find the remainder of the memoir, which was handwritten in Yiddish. The pages were small and the writing detailed and cramped, which made the process of translating the remaining pages incredibly challenging considering Zaidenweber was now legally blind. Determined, she invented a process to translate the pages. Even so, it took a great deal of patience and persistence on her part to finish the memoir that has now been published. The process she underwent to translate her father's words is a true testament to her strength of character.
The book is now available for purchase and more information can be found by clicking here.
For more information about Dora's story please visit her CHGS web page.
Taylor is the recipient of the Sullivan Ballou award, and Menke received the Inna Meiman Award. These two exemplary students have demonstrated incredible aptitude, commitment, and passion in their service of others throughout their time at the University of Minnesota.
An awards luncheon will take place on Friday, May 3 at 12:00 p.m. 280 Ferguson Hall.
Whitney Taylor is a dedicated and emerging human rights activist and scholar, who exhibits incredible energy and intellect inspiring and mobilizing all of those around her.
Taylor has contributed expertise in editing and assisting various human rights research projects and publications and has conducted some of her own human rights research.
Whitney has also contributed to the promotion of human rights through her travels to South Africa during the summer of 2011, where she worked to empower individuals as a research intern for the Southern African Media and Gender Institute. While in Cape Town, Whitney worked to bring meaningful change and to give a voice to those who might otherwise not have been heard through facilitating empowerment workshops in women's prisons.
As an employee at the Human Rights Program, Whitney has assisted in successfully carrying out countless human rights events, which have served to raise awareness on many different critical human rights issues.
Katie Menke, is a devoted human rights activist and scholar whose summa thesis examines the work of the Salvadorian organization, Pro-Busqueda, which reunites families with children who were kidnapped during the country's civil war. In addition to her academic attention to issues of human rights and social justice, Katie has given freely and extensively of herself to advocating on behalf of human rights, particularly in relation to youth, homelessness and inequality. This past winter, Katie took the initiative to spread information about resources for the homeless in Minneapolis, including a program established by St. Stephen's Outreach. During the fall/winter of 2010-11, Katie volunteered with the Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha (CTUL), working throughout the Twin Cities specifically on their retail cleaning campaign, which focused on bringing attention the poor working conditions of retail cleaners.(Continue Reading)