The Priebke Case: It's never too late for justice
Last June, the allegation that a 94 year old Ukrainian immigrant living in Northeast Minneapolis could of been a top commander of a Nazi- SS lead unit,
received international media attention. The public's response was polarized as for as many who felt justice needed to be served there were just as many who felt that we should leave him alone. Should a person's chronological age prevent them from being accountable for their crimes?
This weeks news, the death of
Erich Priebke, at the age of 100 in Rome, provides a clear answer to that question. Priebke, one of the few surviving former Nazi-SS
Hauptsturmführer (captain) was among those held responsible for the mass execution of 335 civilians at the Ardeatine Caves
outside Rome, one of the worst atrocities committed by German occupiers in Italy during World War II.
After the war Priebke escaped from a British prison camp in Rimini, Italy, and immigrated to Argentina. Like many other high-ranking Nazis, he was aided by the infamous Odessa (Organization of Former SS Members). He lived for decades in the Andean resort town of Bariloche without concealing his identity. He ran a delicatessen, traveled back and forth to Europe, and even became the director of the local German school.
While searching for another suspected Nazi criminal, an ABC News crew came upon Priebke in the early 1990s, and he freely admitted who he was. That revelation led to a lengthy extradition process. On November 20, 1995, on the 50th anniversary of the start of the Nuremberg trials, the former SS officer-who remained faithful to the Nazi ideology and never expressed regret for his actions-boarded a plane for Italy, to stand trial there.
After initial proceedings in which it was ruled that the statute of limitations on the crime had elapsed, Priebke finally faced trial in 1997 and was sentenced to life imprisonment for his role in the 1944 massacre. He was then 85 years of age.
His case proved that it is never too late to seek justice.
Interview with Visiting Professor Falko Schmieder
"Students here seem to have a more emotional connection to the Holocaust"
Falko Schmieder is a DAAD visiting professor at the University of Minnesota and is currently teaching the course "History of the Holocaust." He has studied Communications, Political Science and Sociology at various German Universities. Since 2005 he has worked as a researcher at the Center for Literary and Cultural Research Berlin. Together with Matthias Rothe,
the course "Adorno, Foucault, and beyond" is being offered through the Department of German, Scandinavian and Dutch. Falko Schmieder will give a lecture at the CHGS Library (room 710 Social Sciences) on The Concept of Survival on November 20th at 12 p.m.
What are the main differences between students in the US and in Germany regarding knowledge of and attitude towards the Holocaust?
After my first experiences here I would say the German students tend to know more about the historical preconditions of the Holocaust, especially the long tradition of religious anti-Judaism, and, of course they have more detailed information about German History in general. On the other hand, the students here seem to have a more emotional connection and a more political access to the subject. Many of them have come in contact with Holocaust survivors in High school, as part of their educational training, and because of the many Holocaust Survivors who emigrated to the US and started a new life here it's a more deeper innervated history. By the way, I am very fortunate to have the Holocaust Survivor Dora Zaidenweber coming to my class to speak this semester. I attended the presentation of her book The Sky Tinged Red, and was moved to learn about her personal story. I was astonished how many young people attended this program.
What do you expect your students to come out of your course?
I would like to make them aware of two things in particular: First, that modern antisemitism has a long prehistory, which is not limited to German history; and second, that antisemitism is in no way a thing of the past. Although it might have changed some of its features, it is still relevant today - at the end of my lecture I will deal with the phenomenon of antisemitism without Jews, and I will discuss some examples of contemporary reactions on the banking crisis in Germany, in which you clearly can find a revival of old antisemitic stereotypes.
How do you approach these sensitive and difficult issues in the classroom?
In the first class, when I introduced myself to the students, I showed some photographs that I took in Berlin shortly before coming to Minneapolis. These photographs show two Berlinian Jewish institutions, and how they are monitored by surveillance cameras and by the police. The American students were very surprised to learn that it's still necessary to constantly protect Jewish organizations and sites in this country, because of the fear (and possibility) of antisemitic attacks.
How does Holocaust studies relate to your current research?
My current research project is on the History of the Concept of Survival, for which the Holocaust and its aftermath is of great importance. The rupture in history is reflected in the invention of many new concepts: think of "survivor syndrome," "survivor guilt" and others, or in the disruption of traditional meanings of concepts. It is revealing that Claude Lanzmann or the well-known Spanish writer and Holocaust Survivor Jorge Semprún replaced the term "survivor" with "revenant" because older meanings of survival or survivorship no longer seemed appropriate to deal with the traumatic experiences in the extermination camps.
Dr. Vahram Shemmassian to Speak at The 2013 Ohanessian Chair Lecture
Thursday, October 17
Dr. Vahram Shemmassian is an associate professor and the director of the Armenian Studies Program at California State University, Northridge. He is the foremost scholar onMusa Dagh the site of the famed resistance during the Armenian genocide.
Professor Shemmassian will talk about the resistance and the genocide in his presentation "The Musa Dagh Resistance to the Armenian Genocide and Its Impact through Franz Werfel's Historical Novel The Forty Days of Musa Dagh."
Franz Werfel(1890-1945), Austrian poet, modernist playwright, and novelist, was born in Prague, the son of a Jewish merchant. During World War I, Werfel served for several years on the Russian front as a soldier in the Austrian army. His novel The Forty Days of Musa Dagh published in 1933 detailed the mass murder and expulsion of Armenians from eastern Anatolia in 1915. The novel received much attention in the United States standing as a warning against future acts of mass murder and won lasting respect from Armenian communities throughout the world.
Sponsored by: The Institute for Global Studies, Center for Austrian Studies, Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies, College of Liberal Arts, Critical Asian Studies, Study of the Asias.
Law's Labor's Lost: Constitutional Revolution and the Problem of Radical Social Change
Thursday, October 17
Anthropology and Conflict Studies, George Mason University
How do the regulating logics of law constrain forms of violence that often accompany revolutionary movements, and how do these logics at the same time constrain the kind of creative social and political practices that are necessary for real transformation? Scholars have shown how human rights can be used to bring authoritarian leaders to justice and shape progressive forms of governance. But when international norms are domesticated through national legal processes, their role in facilitating deep and structural transformation is more fraught with ambiguity and contradiction.
Mark Goodale is an anthropologist, socio-legal scholar, and social theorist. He is Associate Professor of Conflict Analysis and Anthropology at George Mason University and Series Editor of Stanford Studies in Human Rights. Goodale is author and editor of numerous books and field projects and has an upcoming critical introduction to anthropology and law and an ethnography of revolution, folk cosmopolitanism, and neo-Burkeanism, in Bolivia.
Organized by the IAS Reframing Mass Violence: Human Rights and Social Memory in Latin America and Southern Europe Collaborative. Cosponsored by the Human Rights Program, and the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies
What is the IAS Collaborative Reframing Mass Violence?
In April, CHGS, along with the Human Rights Program and Departments of Sociology and Political
Science, were awarded a grant from the University of Minnesota's Institute for Advanced Studies to host a collaborative on "Reframing Mass Violence: Human Rights and Social Memory," during the 2013/2014 academic year.
The collaborative will explore the particular developments and transnational entanglements of social memories in societies revisiting their legacies of dictatorship, state terror, and grave human rights violations. It will focus on Latin America and Southern Europe and the contemporary processes of re-interpretation and re-framing of a) the atrocities themselves and b) the transitional justice models that were adopted in their aftermaths.
The collaborative will work in tandem with the newly formulized Interdisciplinary Graduate Group on
"Holocaust, Genocide and Mass Violence Studies" which will expand on the collaborative activities of graduate students and faculty that were initiated in the fall of 2012 by CHGS, the Human Rights Program, and the Department of Sociology.
Using a combination of the pre-existing structure of the "Holocaust, Genocide and Mass Violence Studies" workshop and the resources of the "Reframing Mass Violence" collaborative, the Center will focus the interdisciplinary conversation around the topic of public memory of atrocity in particular and will invite outstanding scholars from the affected countries, along with key international scholars in these areas of study, to participate. The invited scholars will be asked to discuss their work and to engage in dialogue with local scholars, students, and the university community.
Conveners: Alejandro Baer, Sociology and CHGS; Barbara Frey, Human Rights Program; Joachim
Savelsberg, Sociology; Kathryn Sikkink, Political Science.
Lawyers Without Rights: Jewish Lawyers in Germany Under the Third Reich
Exhibition comes to Minnesota
October 21-November 21
Remarks by Alejandro Baer
Thursday, October 24
"Lawyers Without Rights" tells the story of the fate of German Jewish lawyers, judges and prosecutors after Hitler came to power. The Exhibit explores Hitler's systematic and calculated strategy to disable the legal system and the constitutional framework of the Weimar Republic, setting the stage for the commission of unthinkable crimes against humanity.
The exhibition will be on view for a month in various location in Minnesota.
Oct. 21 - Nov. 4 Minneapolis Federal Courthouse
Nov. 4 - Nov. 9 Minnesota Judicial Center
Nov. 9 - Nov. 14 Duluth Federal Courthouse
Nov. 14 - Nov. 16 University of Minnesota School of Law
Nov. 17 - Nov. 20 IDS Center, Crystal Court
Nov. 21 Minneapolis Marriott, City Center
A complete listing of events in conjunction with the exhibition can be found on the CHGS website by clicking here.
The exhibition is sponsored by the U.S. District Court, the Federal Bar Association Minnesota Chapter, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC), ), Justice David Stras of the Minnesota Supreme Court, the Cardozo Society, the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, The Law School and the Center for Austrian Studies, the University of Minnesota.
Erasures: Gender, Violence and Human Rights
Thursday, October 24 & Friday, October 25
9:00a.m. to 5:00p.m.
Maroon and Gold Rooms
The symposium will address violence against women as a human rights violation, the erasure of gender violence in cultural debates about human rights, and the epistemic revolts of the rethinking of violence from a gender perspective.
Thirteen national and international scholars will address the most crucial human rights struggles that are taking place in the juridical scenario, as well as the cultural practices that form part of the struggles against the invisibility and the silence about gendered forms of violence. The presentations will also underscore the importance of addressing these forms of sexual violence, and disappearance, campaigns to stop violence, national and international gatherings focusing on women and human rights issues, documentaries and testimonial literature, films, literature, art, performance, video-installations, telenovelas, murals, and arte callejero.
The Story of a Fight Against Human Trafficking in Argentina
Susana Trimarco - Activist against Human Trafficking in Argentina
Thursday, October 24
Maroon and Gold Rooms
McNamara Alumni Center
After the disappearance of her daughter, Marita, Susana began her career as an investigator, uncovering a chilling criminal network of human trafficking. In the search for her daughter, she has managed to free more than a hundred victims. On Oct. 19, 2007, she founded the
Fundación María de los Ángeles, through which she continues to help eradicate human trafficking in Argentina.
For more information on the symposium and speaker please contact Ana Forcinito at 612-625-5858.
Sponsored by: The Department of Spanish & Portuguese, College of Liberal Arts, Human Rights Program, Sociology, Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies, German, Scandinavian & Dutch, Institute for Global Studies, Institute for Advanced Study, Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies, Anthropology, English, Journalism and Mass Communication, Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change (ICGC), Philosophy, Human Rights Center, Writing Studies, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, The Center on Women and Public Policy at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Institute of Linguistics, Global Studies, Institute for Advanced Study, Cultural Studies & Comparative Literature
CHGS announces an educator workshop on the occasion of the 75th Anniversary of Kristallnacht
History, Memory and Pedagogy
November 9, 2013
9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Free and open to educators K-16
Registration required by clicking here
This one-day professional development workshop is a follow-up to the Holocaust in European Memory Summer Institute that took place on July 8-11, 2013 at the University of Minnesota. That workshop examined questions such as how the Nazi murder of European Jews became "The Holocaust." How the story is conveyed through public memorials, school curricula, art, literature and film. How the Holocaust has been contextualized and rendered meaningful within the diversity of European nations and in the distant US.
We will continue the discussions we started this summer by exploring the specific connections between history, memory and education in the contemporary world. We will examine history and memory as it deals with the genocide of the Roma, communal gatherings and ceremonies dedicated to commemorate the Holocaust and reflections on the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, which is considered the official catalyst for the Holocaust.
(Attendance at the July institute is not required for the November 9, workshop.)
Kristallnacht and the Duties of Memory: Remarks Alejandro Baer
Alejandro Baer is the director and Stephen C. Feinstein Chair of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Minnesota. He has authored numerous articles addressing issues of genocide, memory, and antisemitism.
The Roma Genocide and Memory: Lecture by William Duna
William A. Duna is an American Gypsy descended from Hungarian musicians who emigrated to the U. S. in 1893. Duna has taught music, written and performed, and has served as an entertainment consultant. He has written and lectured about the Roma people and was appointed by Ronald Reagan as the first Roma to serve on the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Council in 1987.
"Holocaust Commemorations for the Broader Community"
Presentation by Deborah Petersen-Perlman
Deborah Petersen Perlman Associate Professor Communications, University of Minnesota Duluth and coordinates the Baeumler-Kaplan Holocaust Commemoration.
Sponsored by The Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Institute for Global Studies, European Studies Consortium
The Order Has Been Carried Out: History, Memory, and Meaning of a Nazi Massacre in Rome
by Allesandro Portelli
Pallgrave Macmillan 352 pages
Winner of the 2005 Oral History Association Book Award
On March 24, 1944, Nazi occupation forces in Rome killed 335 unarmed civilians in retaliation for a partisan attack the day before. Alessandro Portelli has crafted an eloquent, multi-voiced oral history of the massacre, of its background and its aftermath. The moving stories of the victims, the women and children who survived and carried on, the partisans who fought the Nazis, and the common people who lived through the tragedies of the war together paint a many-hued portrait of one of the world's most richly historical cities. The Order Has Been Carried Out powerfully relates the struggles for freedom under Fascism and Nazism, the battles for memory in post-war democracy, and the meanings of death and grief in modern society.
For more information please click here.
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