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CHGS News April 2013 
From The Director
Alejandro Baer

Yom HaShoah and the Meanings in History


"If Herodotus is the father of history," wrote renowned historian Yosef Yerushalmi (1932-2009), "the father of meaning in history was the Jews."  The upcoming Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) on April 8th, will give, like every year, this quote its proper significance.


Throughout the liturgical year-cycle the Jewish tradition looks back at the events in the history of the people of Israel not with a particular historical curiosity. Rather, it asks what the events of the past mean for us today. How can the past illuminate our present?


We now know much about the Holocaust. The Shoah has generated more historical research than any other event in Jewish history. Preserving the record of the disaster was a major concern for the survivors and those with whom they shared their worlds. However, survivors also struggled, from the very beginning, to extract some meaning from the events they had lived through and to convey relevant lessons for Jews and non-Jews alike.


Yom HaShoah pays tribute to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust. It serves, at the same time, as a powerful landmark in the calendar that highlights the ongoing problem of genocide and mass atrocities throughout the world.


This year at CHGS we will commemorate Yom HaShoah by engaging in a cutting edge scholarly symposium on "Representing Genocide."  Leading thinkers in the field will try to respond to a fundamental and urgent question: When and how can memories of past mass atrocities, embodied in journalistic, judicial and scholarly representations, lead to effective anti-genocide policies? What is the impact of memory on unfolding events of mass violence?


CHGS is grateful for the support received from colleagues, departments, centers and community donors to put together this important symposium.


We look forward to meeting you on April 5th and/or 6th at the University of Minnesota.


Alejandro Baer
CHGS Events
Representing Genocide
Faces of Genocide (2013) J. Elowitz
Representing Genocide:  
Media, Law and Scholarship 
A symposium created to shed light on the increasing tension between the local and global representations and memories of mass murder.


April 5 & 6, 2013  
Friday 9 am-6 pm, Saturday 9 am-3:30 pm  
Rooms 20 and 50  
Mondale Hall-The Law School  
Free and open to the public. Reservations required,please click here to reserve.

Scholars from across the U.S. and abroad will examine the connection between representations of atrocities and their actual impact on unfolding events of mass violence.

For complete list of scholars and schedule click here.
The Future's Past

Special Screening, "The Future's Past" documentary by Austrian filmmaker 
Susanne Brandstätter 
Wednesday, April 3
7:00 p.m.

Director Susan Brandstaetter will be present for a Q & A session after the
film with Alejandro Baer, Director of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies.

Using the Khmer Rouge Tribunal as a starting point, Susanne Brandstätter takes a deeper look into the lives of young people on the brink of adulthood. As the trial accusing a perpetrator of the Pol Pot regime progresses, it becomes a catalyst for a new generation of Cambodians questioning their parents, families and neighbors about the inhumanities their nation has suffered.

Sponsored by Center for Austrian Studies, Institute for Global Studies and the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies,Human Rights Program, Study of the Asias.

Scripting the Shoah: The Holocaust in Moroccan Official and Public Discourses

Aomar Boum, Assistant Professor, School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies and Religious studies Program, University of Arizona

April 11, 2013

Room 1210 Heller Hall

5:30 p.m.


Since the end of WWII, the Holocaust has been a prominent issue in Arab political and intellectual discourse. Although this issue has largely played out in Egypt, Syria and Lebanon, it has also been an integral part of the North African debate in general and the Moroccan anti-Israeli and Zionist discussions in particular by the early years of Independence.


Using archival material and ethnographic interviews, Professor Boum will argue that North African and Moroccan perspectives about the Holocaust are part of what he calls the durable structures of acceptance and minimization.  Using Bourdieu's habitus, Boum claims that Moroccan debates about the Holocaust have been framed and ossified in a context of social and political pre-dispositions of minimization of the Holocaust generating typological and conflicting scripts. Therefore, when individuals go against the grain and question this habitus, they are perceived as going against the principles of regular continuity that has governed the Arab/Moroccan critique of Israeli policies towards Palestinians.


Dr. Aomar Boum was born and raised in the oasis of Mhamid, Foum Zguid (Province of Tata, southern Morocco). As a socio-cultural anthropologist, his main research focuses on how Moroccan Muslims remember, picture, and construct Jewishness and Moroccan Judaism.  Dr. Boum has written a number of entries on the Jews of southern Morocco in The Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World; he also published on ethnic folk dances and nationalism, traditional Islamic and modern education, as well as on hip-hop and youth dissent in Morocco, and youth culture. 


Sponsored by: The Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies and the Center for Jewish Studies, Institute for Advanced Studies. 

Holocaust Schnabel
             Untitled Amanda Schnabel
Illumintated Memory
A group exhibition of student artwork on Holocaust remembrance organized by Kathy Carlisle, Visual Arts Instructor at St. Francis High School in Sacramento,California.
Exhibition Dates
April 2 - 13, 2013
Public Reception
Friday, April 12, 6:00 - 8:00 pm

Gallery hours are 11 am to 7 pm, Tuesday through Saturday.

The project showcases the collective work of Photography One and Two students at St. Francis High School during the Spring semester, 2012. This conceptual photography assignment required students to engage in historical research about the Holocaust and to create symbolic photographic imagery in response to their research. An exploration of artists employing symbolism, metaphor, and allegory in historical and contemporary art established the foundation of the project. Students then began their work by expanding their knowledge of the Holocaust from 1933 to 1945 through personal and collaborative research and class assignments. 

The students' creative challenges began as they refined their research to focus on a single personal narrative from a survivor or someone who had perished in the Holocaust. They were asked to personally assess and symbolize the essence of that single person's story through photographic imagery. Students were limited to a palette of sepia or black and white photography, using only tonal value to describe the depth and breadth of their concept. The final step of the project required students to write an artist's statement about their work, explaining their creative process and its connection to their research.

For more information on the project and exhibition click here.

Armenian genocide memorial Philadelphia
          Philadelphia Armenian Genocide Monument by Khoren Der Harootian

98th Anniversary Commemoration of the Armenian 
Wednesday, April 24
7:00 p.m.

The Armenian Cultural Organization of Minnesota in conjunction with St. Sahag Armenian Church will be observing the 98th anniversary commemoration of the Genocide. This year's theme is one of renewal ("the Armenian phoenix") as we look towards the end of a century of genocide and a greater understanding of human rights for all. 


Remarks by Alejandro Baer, music and readings.


Free and open to the public.


For more on the Armenian genocide visit the Armenian CHGS page.

Book of the Month

Pius Holocaust Book Cover
Pius XII and the Holocaust: 
Current State of Research 
Edited by David Bankier (Author) Iael Nidam-Orvieto (Editor), Dan Michman (Editor). Yad Vashem, 2013


Dilemmas, silence, active rescue, and passivity are words often associated with Pius XII. "Critics" emphasize the wartime Pope's failure to condemn Nazism, while "defenders" maintain that Vatican neutrality facilitated rescue activities by the faithful. This publication, which consists of the oral presentations of scholars gathered at Yad Vashem (Israel`s official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust) for a groundbreaking international workshop, attempts to present the current state of research on Pius XII and the Holocaust, based on new documentation.
In This Issue
Representing Genocide Symposium
The Future's Past
Scripting the Shoah
Illuminated Memory
Armenian Genocide Commemoration
Book of the Month
University of Minnesota Library
Recent Library Acquisitions in Holocaust & Genocide Studies 

Artistic Responses

Philadelphia Armenian genocide Monument

Community Programs

2013 Yom HaShoah Commemoration

The Heart of a Mother: Susette's Story


Inna Meiman Human Rights Award

Interdisciplinary Workshop for Graduate Students and Faculty
Secondary Educators

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