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Holocaust speaker refutes Israeli prime minister’s remarks

“That’s complete, 100 percent nonsense.”

The pre-eminent World War II scholar of his era, Dr. Gerhard Weinberg, offered that reaction to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s assertion that a Palestinian leader convinced Adolf Hitler to kill Jews.

Holocaust scholar Dr. Gerhard Weinberg, professor emeritus of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, addresses the 12th biennial Holocaust Studies Conference at MTSU Oct. 22. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Holocaust scholar Dr. Gerhard Weinberg, professor emeritus of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, addresses the 12th biennial Holocaust Studies Conference at MTSU Oct. 22. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

In an interview before his address at the 12th biennial MTSU Holocaust Studies Conference Thursday, Oct. 22, in Murfreesboro, Weinberg rebutted Netanyahu’s claim that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, talked Hitler into implementing the so-called “Final Solution” of killing Jews, the systematic genocide known as the Holocaust, at a 1941 meeting in Berlin.

“Hitler was calling for extermination, and he used the German word for this, in April 1920,” said Weinberg, a professor emeritus of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Weinberg further refuted Netanyahu’s remarks, which the prime minister made to a group of Jewish leaders in Jerusalem Oct. 20, by stating that between 300,000 and 800,000 Jews had already been killed by the time Hitler met with al-Husseini, a Nazi sympathizer.

“So this is a 100 percent fabrication which turns the conversation upside down,” explained Weinberg. “It was Hitler who told al-Husseini that the function of the German army in the Middle East was to kill all Jews.”

Netanyahu’s comments ignited a firestorm of outrage not only among Palestinians and opposition Israeli leaders but among Holocaust scholars worldwide.

In his featured address to Holocaust and genocide scholars in MTSU’s James Union Building, Weinberg praised scholars involved in Holocaust studies for continuing to ensure that future generations become aware of this significant historical period.

“For the current generation of youngsters in school, both the fighting of World War II and the Holocaust are essentially as remote as the events of the American Revolution, but appear to be nowhere near as important for their lives and their society,” he said.

2015 holocaust studies conf graphic

Click on the graphic to see the full 2015 Holocaust Studies Conference schedule.

Weinberg observed that the passage of 70 years since the end of World War II and the ongoing deaths of survivors and liberators place a special burden on scholars to put the facts into context and explain their relevance in the 21st century.

“We’re the ones who know something about this, and, especially, we know in some detail how a society can go horrendously wrong in spite of prior fine traditions and a high level of education,” said Weinberg.

“The reality that the events of the Holocaust recede into an ever more distant past does not eliminate the possibility that other societies on any continent could move in a similar direction.”

The MTSU Holocaust Studies Conference, which began Oct. 21 and runs through Friday, Oct. 23, brings together scholars from around the world to share knowledge about the Holocaust and other genocides, past and present.

For more information about the conference, contact Dr. Nancy Rupprecht, an MTSU professor of history, at 615-898-2645 or nancy.rupprecht@mtsu.edu or Dr. Elyce Helford, an MTSU professor of English, at 615-898-5961 or elyce.helford@mtsu.edu.

You also can visit the conference website, which includes the full schedule, at www.mtsu.edu/holocaust_studies/conference.php.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

MTSU on WGNS: Autumn music, work dynamics, Holocaust conference

MTSU faculty and staff shared information on a variety of upcoming campus happenings during the Oct. 19 “Action Line” program with veteran host Bart Walker.

The live program was broadcast on FM 100.5, 101.9 and AM 1450 from the WGNS studio in downtown Murfreesboro. If you missed it, you can listen to a podcast of the show here.

Guests included:

• David Urban, dean of the Jones College of Business, discussed the 21st Century Generations&Work Conference. Registration is open for the half-day conference aimed at helping business leaders understand and navigate generational differences within their workforces.

The conference will be held from 8:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30, at Embassy Suites Conference Center on Medical Center Parkway in Murfreesboro. Registration deadline is Oct. 23. Cost is $30 per person.

Logue, Gina

Gina Logue

Dr. David Urban

Dr. David Urban

Read more about the conference here.

• Gina Logue, a specialist in the MTSU Office of News and Media Relations and committee member for the MTSU Holocaust Studies Conference, discussed the 12th biennial Holocaust Studies Conference set for Oct. 21-23.

The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and the 100th anniversary of the start of the Armenian genocide will lend an especially poignant significance to the 2015 edition of the conference.

Featured speaker is Gerhard Weinberg, professor emeritus in history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His topic will be “The Holocaust After 70 Years.” He will speak on “The Holocaust after 70 Years” at 1 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22, in the Tennessee Room of the James Union Building. Read more here.

• Adam Clark, associate professor of piano in the MTSU School of Music and co-director of the Stones River Chamber Players; and Arunesh Nadgir, coordinator of keyboard studies in the School of Music and co-director of the Stones River Chamber Players, discussed an Oct. 19 free public concert.

The Chamber Players, MTSU’s ensemble-in-residence, will introduce their 2015-16 performance season with the concert at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 19, in Hinton Music Hall inside MTSU’s Wright Music Building. Read more here.

Students, faculty and staff who are interested in guesting on WGNS to promote their MTSU-related activities should contact Jimmy Hart, director of news and media relations, at 615-898-5131 or via email at jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu.

From left, Arunesh Nadgir, coordinator of keyboard studies in the School of Music and co-director of the Stones River Chamber Players, and Adam Clark, associate professor of piano in the MTSU School of Music and co-director of the Stones River Chamber Players, were among the guests on the Oct. 19 "Action Line" program on WGNS Radio. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

From left, Arunesh Nadgir, coordinator of keyboard studies in the School of Music and co-director of the Stones River Chamber Players, and Adam Clark, associate professor of piano in the MTSU School of Music and co-director of the Stones River Chamber Players, were among the guests on the Oct. 19 “Action Line” program on WGNS Radio. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

Holocaust scholar explains anti-Semitism links March 31 at MTSU

As the world marks the 70th year since the liberation of the Third Reich’s victims from Nazi death camps, Middle Tennessee State University will pause to examine a part of that tragic history on Tuesday, March 31.

Dr. Dagmar Herzog will discuss “Nazi Anti-Semitism and the Christian Churches” in the 2015 MTSU Holocaust Commemoration Presentation at 4 p.m. March 31 in Room 100 of the James Union Building.

Her talk is free and open to the public.

Dr. Dagmar Herzog

Dr. Dagmar Herzog

Herzog is a distinguished professor of history and Daniel Rose Faculty Scholar at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her books include “Sexuality and German Fascism” and “Sex after Fascism: Memory and Morality in Twentieth-Century Germany.”

In 2012, Herzog won a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship for her work in intellectual and cultural history.

Dr. David A. Meola, visiting assistant professor of history at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, will introduce Herzog.

“Her works are must-reads, not only for their content but for the intellectual vigor with which she pursues each topic,” said Meola.

“Her present work on post-Holocaust anti-Semitism and the psychiatry of trauma is a novel way to see the struggles of Holocaust survivors within the postwar political environment and the rise of a new anti-Semitism in Europe.”

This event is sponsored by the Holocaust Studies Program, the Jewish and Holocaust Studies Minor and the College of Liberal Arts.

For more information, contact Dr. Elyce Helford, a professor of English and director of Jewish and Holocaust Studies, at 615-898-5961 or elyce.helford@mtsu.edu.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

Holocaust survivor and Watergate journalist Rosenfeld visits MTSU

From the war-torn streets of Berlin to the monument-lined streets of Washington, D.C., Harry Rosenfeld has been an eyewitness to history.

The survivor of Nazi Germany and former managing editor of The Washington Post’s metro desk during the Watergate scandal will recall anecdotes from his fascinating life in “From Kristallnacht to Watergate,” a free public event, at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 8, in the State Farm Lecture Hall of MTSU’s Business and Aerospace Building.

Harry Rosenfeld

Rosenfeld will discuss his memoirs with Gina Logue, producer for the university’s Office of News and Media Relations and host of WMOT-FM’s “MTSU On the Record.”

The son of a furrier, Rosenfeld was only 9 years old when his father was rousted out of bed in the middle of the night by Nazi officials and taken away on Oct. 28, 1938.

For three days, the family did not know whether Solomon Rosenfeld was dead or alive. Finally, the elder Rosenfeld called from Warsaw to say he and other Jews had been expelled to Poland, their country of origin.

Harry Rosenfeld also saw his family’s synagogue in Berlin destroyed on Nov. 9, 1938. This time of rampant coordinated destruction of Jewish stores, temples and homes became known as Kristallnacht, “The Night of Broken Glass.”

“We can read a thousand factual books about the Holocaust, but we can viscerally understand the horror of the Holocaust only by understanding the people who experienced it,” said Dr. Nancy Rupprecht, chair of the MTSU Holocaust Studies Committee and a history professor at the university.

In 1939, when Harry was 10 years old, the Rosenfeld family made it to America. His journalism career began in 1948 as a shipping clerk in the syndicate department of the New York Herald Tribune.

With the exception of U.S. Army service during the Korean War and a brief stint writing for CBS News, Rosenfeld worked for the Herald Tribune until the newsroom’s demise in 1966.

Initially hired for the night foreign desk at The Washington Post in 1966, Rosenfeld was transferred to the metro section in 1970.

R As head of the metro desk, Rosenfeld’s instincts told him that little-known reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were up to the challenge of unearthing the facts about the Watergate scandal. It was Rosenfeld’s job to keep them on course and make sure they were accurate.

Only in their 20s when burglars broke into the Democratic Party’s national headquarters in 1972, Woodward and Bernstein’s reportage connected the crime to other illegal activities and a cover-up that extended into the highest levels of the federal government.

Ultimately, their revelations and those of other journalists sparked congressional investigations and prompted President Richard Nixon to announce his resignation on Aug. 8, 1974.

“America was fortunate that a journalist as vigilant and committed as Rosenfeld was at the helm of local news reporting when the Watergate break-in occurred, initiating an investigation that truly fulfilled the First Amendment mission of a free press,” said Ken Paulson, dean of MTSU’s College of Mass Communication.

Following the Oct. 8 conversation with Rosenfeld, the audience can participate in a question-and-answer session.

Now editor-at-large for the Albany Times-Union, Rosenfeld also will autograph copies of his book, “From Kristallnacht to Watergate: Memoirs of a Newspaperman.” MTSU’s Phillips Bookstore will have available for purchase.

Rosenfeld’s appearance at MTSU is sponsored by the University Provost, the Holocaust Studies Committee, the College of Mass Communication, the College of Liberal Arts and the University Honors College.

For more information, contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or gina.logue@mtsu.edu.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

Inclement weather cancels Holocaust Remembrance Day talk

Potential inclement weather has forced the cancellation of today’s planned lecture from Frances Cutler Hahn, a survivor of the horrors of the Third Reich, in observance of Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Frances Cutler Hahn

Hahn, a 78-year-old Nashville resident, had been scheduled to speak at 12:45 p.m. today, April 28, in MTSU’s Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building.

Dr. Nancy Rupprecht, chair of MTSU’s Holocaust Studies Program, said Hahn’s lecture will be rescheduled.

“We regret the inconvenience, but the potential safety of our speaker and audience are of primary importance,” Rupprecht said, referring to weather forecasts that included a flash-flood watch for Rutherford and adjoining counties and the potential for severe thunderstorms.

Hahn was born to Polish parents in 1936 in France just before the Nazi occupation of Paris. They put her in a children’s home at the age of 3 to save her life.

Hahn’s mother was initially taken to Camp Drancy, a detention camp, and later to Auschwitz, where she was murdered at the age of 28.

Fearing losing his daughter the same way, Hahn’s father placed her with a Catholic farming family for the duration of the war. He succumbed to his war injuries in 1946 at age 35.

Following the war, Hahn lived in orphanages until the Hebrew Immigration Aid Society arranged for her to travel to Philadelphia in 1948 at age 10.

Hahn donated her personal collection of documents to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2013.

The collection includes copies of photographs of her parents, letters to their family in Poland, photographs of Hahn in wartime children’s homes and postwar orphanages and documents relating to her emigration to the United States.

For more information, contact Dr. Elyce Helford at elyce.helford@mtsu.edu. You also can listen to part of a Nashville Public Radio interview with Hahn and read excerpts from it here.

Gina K. Logue (Gina.Logue@mtsu.edu)

Survivors tell of horror, hope at MTSU Holocaust Studies event (+VIDEO)

Guest lecturer John Koenigsberg speaks Oct. 15 on the children of the Holocaust inside MTSU’s Learning Resource Center. (MTSU photos by J. Intintoli)

Holocaust survivors who were forced to spend their childhood years in hiding shared some of their wisdom with middle school and high school students Tuesday, Oct. 15, at MTSU.

Dr. Nelly Toll and John Koenigsberg told how they were spirited away from their birth families and placed with other families as Nazi Germany sought to exterminate Jews throughout occupied Europe.

The Tennessee Holocaust Commission conducted the gathering as part of the university’s Biennial International Holocaust Studies Conference, which continues through Friday, Oct. 18.

Before an audience of youngsters and teachers interested in learning how to teach the Holocaust, Toll displayed some of the 64 watercolor paintings she created as a little girl hiding with a sympathetic family in Poland.

Toll painted vivid pictures of happy family moments while reserving her documentation of the horrors of World War II for verbal entries in a journal.

Dr. Nelly Toll speaks Oct. 15 during the Biennial International Holocaust Studies Conference at MTSU.

“My pictures were really not reflecting the reality that I lived with, but a fantasy and a better world,” she said.

After she went to live with another family, Toll and her mother had a hiding place with a trap door. Since the door to the room stayed locked, the signal for them to enter the hiding place was for the lady of the house to say, “I can’t find my keys. Where did my husband put my keys?”

Koenigsberg praised his parents, both of whom worked at a Jewish hospital in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, for giving up their only child when he was 5  1/2 years old.

He said his parents “saw brothers and sisters systematically receive their orders to report” to a local theater from which they were transported to concentration camps.

His parents ensured his safety by telling the Gestapo he was ill. Koenigsberg was rushed to the hospital, where he underwent a fake appendectomy. Later, he was placed with a Catholic family miles away in the province of Limberg, where he pretended to be the family’s sickly cousin.

Koenigsberg worked to ensure that the family who concealed his true identity received the honor of “Righteous Among Nations,” the highest honor Israel bestows on non-Jews.

“It was eye-opening,” said Melissa Dixon, a sophomore from Soddy-Daisy High School in Soddy-Daisy, Tenn. “Not a lot of people who went through this are around now. It’s really amazing.”

“I think it’s a fabulous experience for the students,” said Bonnie Moses, who teaches world and American history at Harpeth Hall High School in Nashville. “It’s furthering their understanding of the Holocaust. The focus on childhood is especially meaningful to high school students.”

Toll’s artwork will be on display Wednesday through Friday at MTSU’s James Union Building, where the rest of the International Holocaust Studies Conference will take place.

For conference information, contact Dr. Nancy Rupprecht at 615-898-2645 or holocaust.studies@mtsu.edu, or Dr. Elyce Helford at 615-898-5961 or elyce.helford@mtsu.edu. You also can visit www.mtsu.edu/holocaust_studies.

For parking information, go to http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap13-14.

— Gina Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

Visiting high school students from the region applaud Oct. 15 during a lecture inside the Learning Resource Center at Middle Tennessee State University. The lecture was part of the Tennessee Holocaust Commission’s Biennial International Holocaust Studies Conference.

This is one of the watercolor paintings Dr. Nelly Toll displayed Tuesday, Oct. 15, during her lecture at the Biennial International Holocaust Studies Conference at MTSU. Toll created some 64 watercolor paintings as a little girl hiding with a sympathetic family in Poland during the Holocaust era.

Holocaust survivor Dr. Nelly Toll discusses her childhood painting Tuesday during the Tennessee Holocaust Commission’s Biennial International Holocaust Studies Conference at Middle Tennessee State University.

Hidden Children and the Holocaust at MTSU (VIDEOS)

Holocaust survivors who were forced to spend their childhood years in hiding shared some of their wisdom with middle school and high school students Tuesday, Oct. 15, at MTSU.

The Tennessee Holocaust Commission conducted the gathering as part of the university’s Biennial International Holocaust Studies Conference, which continues through Friday, Oct. 18.

John Koenigsberg told how they were spirited away from their birth families and placed with other families as Nazi Germany sought to exterminate Jews throughout occupied Europe.

Dr. Nelly Toll told how the children were spirited away from their birth families and placed with other families as Nazi Germany sought to exterminate Jews throughout occupied Europe.

You can learn more about the 2013 conference at http://mtsunews.com/survivors-holocaust-studies-conference.

Holocaust scholar talks about teaching genocide on ‘MTSU On the Record’

Teaching students about genocide was the topic of a recent edition of the “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Dr. Steven Jacobs

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. Steven Jacobs, associate professor of religious studies at the University of Alabama, aired earlier this month on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org ). You can listen to their conversation here.

Jacobs will participate in a panel discussion on teaching about genocide at MTSU’s Biennial International Holocaust Studies Conference, slated for Oct. 15-18 on campus.

Jacobs book cover webIn describing his students’ lack of knowledge of the Holocaust prior to entering college, Jacobs said, “There’s … a lack of historical context of anti-Semitism as a generations-old phenomenon, which helps lay a foundation for what the Nazis were able to accomplish.”

Jacobs, who holds the Aaron Aronov Chair of Judaic Studies in Alabama’s Department of Religious Studies, engages in research in biblical studies, translation and interpretation, including the Dead Sea Scrolls, as well as Holocaust and genocide studies.

He earned his rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, the oldest institute of Jewish higher education in the nation with campuses in Cincinnati, Los Angeles, New York and Jerusalem.

To listen to previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, go to the “Audio Clips” archives here and here.

For more information about “MTSU On the Record,” contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.

The Holocaust in the Classroom

Producer/Host: Gina Logue
Guest: Dr. Steven Jacobs

Synopsis: Jacobs, an ordained rabbi and associate professor of religious studies at the University of Alabama, is one of the scholars attending MTSU’s Biennial International Holocaust Studies Conference Oct. 15-18. He discusses how to teach about the Holocaust at both the K-12 and college level.

Listen to: The Holocaust in the Classroom

Three anniversaries mark MTSU Holocaust Studies Conference

Music, film and compelling first-person accounts from survivors and liberators are on the agenda for the 2013 MTSU Biennial International Holocaust Studies Conference, which is scheduled Oct. 15-18 on campus.

This MTSU conference marks the 11th gathering of scholars who aim to document all aspects of one of the world’s most devastating tragedies.

It also marks the 80th anniversary of Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in Germany and the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, or “the night of broken glass,” a wave of coordinated anti-Jewish violence that took place Nov. 9-10, 1938, throughout Germany and occupied parts of Austria and Czechoslovakia.

“I think that when a topic is as important as the Holocaust, academic conferences should make provisions for programs that will appeal to the general public and open them without cost to anyone who would like to attend,” said Dr. Nancy Rupprecht, co-chair of the Holocaust Studies Conference Committee.

Ursula Mahlendorf

Gerhard Weinberg

Several sessions are free and open to the public. All public sessions will take place in MTSU’s James Union Building, including “80 Years On: The Implications of Hitler’s Seizure of Power for the Holocaust,” a presentation by Dr. Gerhard Weinberg.

Weinberg, one of the world’s foremost Holocaust historians and the winner of almost every major award in his field, will speak at 11:20 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 17.

Ursula Mahlendorf, who rose above her childhood experiences as a member of the Young Girls’ division of the Hitler Youth, will speak at 1:40 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18. Mahlendorf will discuss the intense indoctrination she experienced as a child in her presentation, “You Have Got to be Taught, You Have Got to Be Bought: Gender and Political Socialization in the Third Reich.”

The MTSU Women’s Chorus will sing “Songs for Silenced Voices” at 1:10 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 16. This concert will pay tribute to children who have perished in the genocides in Bosnia and Rwanda as well as in the Holocaust.

“We hope that our singing pays homage to lives cut short and inspires young women to help the children we come in contact with every day,” said Angela Tipps, who is director of the chorus and an assistant professor in MTSU’s School of Music.

Students will explain the music before performances of “Prayer of the Children,” “Schlof Main Kind” (“Go to Sleep, My Child”), “AniMa’amin” (“I Believe”), “Beneath the African Sky” and “It Takes a Village,” accompanied by student musicians.

At 1:50 p.m. Oct. 16, Dr. Adam Jones, political science professor at the University of British Columbia, will address the topic of “Gendercide: The Gender Dimension of Mass Violence.”

Adam Jones

Color footage of the notorious Dachau concentration camp shot in 1945 by George Stevens, Oscar-winning director of such acclaimed Hollywood films as “Giant,” “A Place in the Sun” and “The Diary of Anne Frank,” is scheduled to be shown at 2:50 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18.

Following the film, Dachau survivor Ben Lesser of Las Vegas, Nev., and Dachau liberator Jimmy Gentry of Franklin, Tenn., will relate their experiences.

Children who were hidden from the Nazis to ensure their survival will tell their stories at 4 p.m. Oct. 18, in the “Hidden Children of the Holocaust” panel discussion.

The participants will be Sonja DuBois of Knoxville, Tenn., Frances Cutler-Hahn of Nashville and Nellie Toll, adjunct professor of Holocaust studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

A feature of the conference designed exclusively for K-12 educators is “Life in the Shadows: Hidden Children and the Holocaust,” set for 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15, in Room 221 of the Learning Resources Center.

For more information, contact Rupprecht at 615-898-2645 or holocaust.studies@mtsu.edu or Dr. Elyce Helford, committee co-chair, at 615-898-5961 or elyce.helford@mtsu.edu. You also can visit www.mtsu.edu/holocaust_studies.

For parking information, go to http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap13-14.

—Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

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