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  • Our Mothers, Our Heimat, Our Holocaust: "Ordinary" Nazis on German Television, 1984-2014

    A Lecture by Offer Ashkenazi
    Monday, September 22
    4:00 p.m.
    1210 Heller Hall


    Edgar Reitz's groundbreaking TV drama "Heimat" aired 30 years ago in an attempt to 'take back" German history from the American entertainment industry. Going back to this drama -- and to the sequel and prequel Reitz directed during the past decades -- I will suggest that "Heimat" subtly provided a revolutionary portrayal of World War II as a framework in which "German" and "Jewish" categories have been melded together to create a new nation (or a genuine alternative to "American" imperialism). In emphasizing this process, I will look at more recent productions, such as "Generation War," to argue that Reitz's implicit notion of German-Jewish symbiosis has been replicated in later mainstream TV dramas. The transformation of this image, however, replaced the self-criticism (or self-mockery) of "Heimat" with a melodramatic affirmation of Germany's "cure" from its violent past.

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  • First Meeting of the HGMV 2014-2015 Workshop Announced

    Holocaust, Genocide and Mass Violence
    Studies (HGMV) Interdisciplinary Graduate Group
    2014-2015 workshops

    First Meeting
    Thursday, September 18
    12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
    Room 710 Social Sciences Building
    Lunch will be provided

    The group was founded to foster interdisciplinary conversations on the subject areas of Holocaust studies, genocide and memory, peace and conflict studies, human rights, nationalism and ethnic violence, representations of violence and trauma, conflict resolution, transitional justice, historical consciousness and collective memory.

    The HGMV Graduate Group also provides funds for graduate students whose work has been accepted for conference presentations.

    To RSVP to the September 18 meeting or for more information on how to become involved please contact Erma Nezirevic at

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  • Seats still available for new course, Never Again! Memory and Politics after Genocide

    SOC 4090 and GLOS 4910
    Tue/Th 1.00 to 2.30 (FALL 2014) /Room 15 Humphrey Center
    Instructor: Alejandro Baer, Associate Professor Sociology, Feinstein Chair and Director of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies


    Course overview: This course focuses on the social repercussions and political consequences of large-scale political violence, such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. How do individuals, communities and societies come to terms with these atrocities? How do successor regimes balance the demands for justice with the need for peace and reconciliation? How is public memory of the atrocities constructed?

    Section I provides an overview of the basic concepts and themes of this class: defining mass violence, collective memory and forgetting in post-atrocity contexts, and transitional justice. In Section II we will look at memory of the Holocaust among descendants of victims and descendants of perpetrators and its impact on the way other communities shape and represent their memories of mass violence and victimhood, i.e. their specific demands, symbolic politics and judicial strategies. In Section III we will address cases from around the globe and different historical settings, including the legacies of State terror in Latin America, the aftermath of Stalinist mass violence in Eastern Europe and American Indian struggles for memory and justice.

    We will also examine public remembrance projects such as monuments and museums, film and television series, visual art and other initiatives which operate in conjunction or in tension with legal and political procedures (tribunals, truth commissions, reparations, etc.) and are often initiated by human rights NGOs, victim organizations, intellectuals and artists.

    Course Format: This course will be conducted as a combined lecture and discussion course. This basic format will be supplemented by occasional in-class exercises.

    Course Requirements: In addition to regular attendance and active participation in discussions, students are required to complete short in-class writing based on the readings, write two 4-5 page, double spaced, critical essays, complete one mid-term exam and a end of semester essay.

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Community Events

  • Marek Edelman Dialogue Center to commemorate 70th anniversary of Litzmannstadt Ghetto liquidation

    Thumbnail image for Lodz Ghetto 2.jpg

    This year marks the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Litzmannstadt (i.e. Łódź) Ghetto, the second-largest ghetto (after the Warsaw Ghetto) established for Jews and Romani in German-occupied Poland. The Marek Edelman Dialogue Center will be hosting a commemoration of the ghetto's liquidation from August 28 - 31, 2014 in and near Łódź, Poland.

    A total of 204,000 Jews passed through the Litzmannstadt Ghetto. Despite reverses in the war, the Germans persisted in liquidating the ghetto and were able to transport the remaining population to Auschwitz and Chełmno extermination camps, where most died. It was the last ghetto in Poland to be liquidated. It is believed that the last transport took place on August 29, 1944.

    A full program of the commemorations can be found by clicking here. Registration is needed to take part in selected events and is available here.

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  • USC Shoah Foundation seeking 2014-2015 Center Research Fellow

    The USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research (CAGR) has invited senior scholars to apply for its 2014-2015 Center Research Fellow. Applications will be accepted from now until July 14, 2014.

    The fellowship provides $30,000 support and will be awarded to an outstanding candidate from any discipline who will advance genocide research through the use of the Visual History Archive (VHA) of the USC Shoah Foundation and other USC resources. The incumbent will spend one semester in residence at the CAGR during the 2014-2015 academic year and will be expected to provide the Center with fresh research perspectives, play a role in Center activities, and to give a public talk during his or her stay.

    For more information, please see the USC Shoah Foundation Call for Applications.pdf

    The CAGR was launched in April 2014 and builds on the diverse and interdisciplinary genocide research programs established over the last several years at the University of Southern California to offer a unique research opportunity to students and scholars around the world.

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  • In Memoriam. Fred Baron (1924-2014)

    CHGS is sad to announce the loss of friend and Holocaust survivor, Fred Baron.

    Fred Baron was born in Vienna in 1924. He was 15 when the German's annexed (Anschluss) Austria in 1938. Fred's father had died while his sister was sent to England as part of the Kindertransport in 1939. Meanwhile, he and his mother sought shelter and lived in hiding. In 1941 they managed to escape to Hungary. Fred was arrested in Hungary and imprisoned for a time while his mother was sent to an interment camp. In June 1944 he was deported to Auschwitz.

    After time in various labor camps, he was liberated by the British Army at Bergen-Belsen; in terrible health he was taken to Sweden for medical care. At the hospital he met his future wife Judith, who was also a Holocaust survivor, and was reunited with his sister. He resettled in Minnesota in 1947, attracted to the large Swedish population.

    With Judith he raised a family, started a successful business and was a great supporter of the community. He had a kind and gentle spirit and a very optimistic outlook on life. He spoke often about his experiences and generously supported Holocaust education.

    Fred died at the age of 91 on May 23, 2014. He will be sorely missed.

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