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Survivor to tell her story at MTSU on Holocaust Remembrance Day

Her mother died in a concentration camp, and her father died from injuries fighting with the French Resistance.

Frances Cutler Hahn, a survivor of the horrors of the Third Reich, will tell her story at 12:45 p.m. Monday, April 28, which is Holocaust Remembrance Day, in Room 106 of MTSU’s Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building.

Frances Cutler Hahn

The 78-year-old Nashville resident 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.

This event, which is free and open to the public, is co-sponsored by MTSU’s Holocaust Studies Program and Jewish and Holocaust Studies Minor. A searchable campus map with parking details is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap13-14.

For more information, contact Dr. Elyce Helford at elyce.helford@mtsu.edu.

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)

Holocaust Studies Conference

Producer/Writer/Announcer: Gina Logue

MTSU attracts scholars from around the globe to examine one of the world’s worst atrocities and how genocide still affects different parts of the world today.

Listen to: Holocaust Studies Conference

MTSU hosts acclaimed Holocaust expert at Adams Place

One of the world’s foremost experts on the Holocaust will provide a unique community service while in Murfreesboro visiting MTSU.

Dr. Gerhard Weinberg, professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will speak on “Roosevelt, Truman and the Holocaust” at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15, at Adams Place, located at 1927 Memorial Blvd. in Murfreesboro.

Gerhard Weinberg

Weinberg, who escaped from Nazi Germany at age 10, will be in town to attend MTSU’s Biennial International Holocaust Studies Conference, which is scheduled for Oct. 15-18 on campus.

His two-volume work, “The Foreign Policy of Hitler’s Germany, 1933-1939,” and his magnum opus, “A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II,” have won numerous prizes for historical scholarship.

In a review of “A World at Arms,” historian Mark Stollar described Weinberg as “the dean of both modern German historians and World War II scholars. There is no one who knows more about World War II than Gerhard Weinberg. His knowledge is truly encyclopedic.”

In May 2008, the German Historical Institute in Washington, D.C., paid Weinberg the extraordinary compliment of hosting an international academic conference in his honor.

Weinberg received the Pritzker Prize in 2009 for lifetime achievement in military history.

He has been a distinguished guest professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy, a Fulbright professor at the University of Bonn, a fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies and a Shapiro Senior Scholar at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Weinberg’s Adams Place address is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Dr. Nancy Rupprecht at 615-898-2645 or nancy.rupprecht@mtsu.edu or Dr. Elyce Helford at 615-898-5961 or elyce.helford@mtsu.edu. You also can visit the Holocaust Studies Conference website at www.mtsu.edu/holocaust_studies/conference.php, which includes a printable schedule of events.

 —Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

Jewish and Holocaust Studies is new undergrad minor focus

The start of the fall 2012 semester at MTSU includes the first offerings in a new minor in Jewish and Holocaust Studies, an undergraduate study of the cultures of the Jewish people and the genocide known as the Holocaust.

“Developing this exciting new two-track interdisciplinary minor has been a cooperative labor of love across disciplines and fields of study,” said Dr. Elyce Rae Helford, a professor of English at MTSU and the director of the minor.

Four new courses are unique to the program. “Jewish Culture and Civilization,” “The Holocaust” and “Current Trends in Jewish and Holocaust Studies” are general requirements for the minor. “Independent Research in Jewish and Holocaust Studies” also is available.

Courses from English, geography, history and other disciplines may be taken as electives.

They include “The Bible as Literature,” “Women of the Middle East,” “Israeli Film” and “Nazis and Victims,” among others.

A total of 18 credit hours is required for the minor in either the Jewish Studies or Holocaust Studies track.

The minor program offers students a chance to study multiculturalism and the meanings of diversity, religious tolerance and intolerance and genocide studies.

For more information, visit www.mtsu.edu/JHStudies, or contact Helford at 615-898-5961 or elyce.helford@mtsu.edu.

– Gina K. Logue (Gina.Logue@mtsu.edu)

 

Worldwide research is focus of holocaust-studies event

“Global Perspectives on the Holocaust” is the theme of the 10th International Holocaust Studies Conference in the James Union Building at MTSU Oct. 19-22.

Scheduled participants include scholars from Russia, India, Austria, New Zealand, Nigeria, Israel, Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia, Ukraine, Romania, Canada, Poland, France and the United States.

The gathering is sponsored by the MTSU Holocaust Studies Committee, whose mission is to encourage interdisciplinary study, teaching and scholarship in the area of Holocaust and genocide studies.

The conference will feature special public presentations, or plenary sessions, by four top researchers in the field, including:

  • Paul R. Bartrop of Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, who will discuss “Holocaust Studies and Genocide Studies: Is There a Difference? And, If So, Why?” at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19;
  • Laurence Mordekhai Thomas of Syracuse University, whose topic will be “The Courage to Survive Evil” when he speaks at 11:20 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 20;
  • Gerhard L. Weinberg, professor emeritus of the University of North Carolina, who will discuss “A Worldwide Holocaust Project” at 12:40 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 21; and
  • Alexandra Zapruder, writer and educator, who will present “Salvaged Pages: Diaries of Teenage Girls in the Holocaust” at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 22.

Each of the plenary sessions is scheduled in the James Union Building. There is no admission charge for these special presentations.

Other topics for the conference’s daily sessions include humanitarian intervention to fight atrocities, the impact of American fiction on contemporary Holocaust awareness, and parent-child separation as a means of survival during the Holocaust. One session, slated for 1:50 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21, will feature Holocaust survivors.

Another highlight of the four-day conference will be the free public screening of “I’m Still Here: Real Diaries of Young People Who Lived During the Holocaust,” featuring actors Kate Hudson, Zach Braff, Ryan Gosling, Amber Tamblyn and Elijah Wood and a musical score by Moby. It will be shown at 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21, in the JUB.

Zapruder, who wrote the 2005 documentary, is the granddaughter of Abraham Zapruder, whose amateur film of the 1963 Kennedy assassination is one of the most dramatic and debated historical resources of the 20th century.

MTSU students will perform a two-part Holocaust-themed dance, “Adumbration” and “Yours Faithfully,” introduced by Kim Neal Nofsinger, director of the MTSU Dance Program, at 4:10 p.m. Friday.

K-12 teachers from across the state will learn more about age-appropriate Holocaust instruction in the classroom on Saturday, Oct. 22. Presenters include Danielle Kahane-Kaminsky of the Tennessee Holocaust Commission.

The entire conference is free for MTSU faculty, staff and students. For more information, contact Dr. Nancy Rupprecht, chair of the MTSU Holocaust Studies Committee, at 615-898-2645 or holostu@mtsu.edu, or visit www.mtsu.edu/~holostu for the complete conference schedule.

– Gina K. Logue (Gina.Logue@mtsu.edu)