USU's Religious Studies Program hosts Four-part Symposium on the Holocaust
Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013
The systematic, state-sponsored extermination of about six million Jews across Europe by the Nazi regime remains among the most evil crimes of humanity. The Utah State University Religious Studies Program presents “Responses to the Holocaust: Religious, Cultural and Personal,” a four-part symposium with presentations in March and April. It features scholars of the Holocaust and a survivor of the Nazi concentration camps.
The Nazi regime is also responsible for the mass killings of political dissidents of the Third Reich, Slavic and Romani populations and others deemed racially and ideologically inferior by German authorities. Speakers at the USU symposium will share the history of the Holocaust and some of its lesser-known stories nearly 70 years after the liberation of the concentration camps.
Emil Kerenji, an applied research scholar at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, will deliver the keynote address March 7. The second event, March 28, is a showing of the documentary Witness: Voices from the Holocaust, a collection of interviews with individuals who experienced life in the Nazi Germany era in different and juxtaposing ways. A discussion led by USU folklorists and historians will follow.
In April, Alan Keele, professor emeritus of German Studies at Brigham Young University, will present the case of Helmuth Hubener — a young Mormon executed for confronting the Nazi regime.
The final event in the series is a talk on forgiveness by Eva Mozes Kor, a victim of Dr. Josef Mengele’s medical experiments on twins at Auschwitz. She is one of the few known twins alive today. In 1995, she made international headlines for issuing a personal “Declaration of Amnesty” to those responsible for the Holocaust and for attempting to protect those involved.
Assistant professor of history Alice Weinreb, an expert of 20th Germany, and Philip Barlow, the Arrington Chair of Mormon History and Culture at USU, organized the public lecture series to expose the Cache Valley community to these different accounts of the Holocaust and provide rare and valuable expertise on the subject.
A complete list of events is as follows:
Keynote address — “Jewish Responses to the Holocaust: From Spiritual and Religious Practices to Armed Resistance”
Old Main 121, from 6:30 p.m.
Dr. Emil Kerenji, an applied research scholar at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, will deliver a keynote address for the series. His talk “Jewish Responses to the Holocaust: From Spiritual and Religious Practices to Armed Resistance” describes the spectrum of contemporary Jewish understanding of the Nazi persecution. The lecture is free and open to the public. After, there will be a question and answer session. The event is sponsored by the Campus Outreach Lecture Program of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, supported by the Anne and Harry Chinitz Campus Outreach Lecture Fund; USU’s Religious Studies Program; and the USU Department of History.
Film — Witness: Voices from the Holocaust
Old Main 121, 6:30 p.m.
Screening of Witness: Voices from the Holocaust, a documentary featuring firsthand accounts of individuals who experienced life in the Nazi Germany era, including survivors, a Jesuit priest, an American prisoner of war and a Hitler youth. The interviews were conducted in the 1970s and offer juxtaposing portrayals of the Holocaust. USU professor Leonard Rosenband will introduce the film, with reflections and discussion afterward led by USU professors Alice Weinreb, a 20th century German historian, and Steve Siporin, an expert of Jewish folklore.
Talk – “What Can Mormons in the U.S. Learn from the Case of the Mormons in the Third Reich?”
Old Main 121, 6:30 p.m.
Alan Keele, professor emeritus of German studies at Brigham Young University, will present “Mormons and Nazis: The Case of Helmuth Hubener,” a talk about a young Mormon’s decision to leave Hitler’s Youth and confront both the Nazi regime and his church leaders. Keele wrote “When Truth Was Reason,” the primary source about Hubener’s excommunication from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and execution by the Nazi regime. On April 3, the documentary Truth and Conviction will be shown at the LDS Institute of Religion on campus to orient the audience to Hubener’s story.
“Encountering Dr. Mengele”
Old Main, room 225, 6:30 p.m.
The final event in the series is a talk on forgiveness by Eva Kor, a victim of Dr. Josef Mengele’s sinister medical experiments on twins at Auschwitz. Mengele was given the infamous name “Angel of Death,” because of his position as a SS physician in charge of selecting which new prisoners of the camp would be killed or selected for forced labor. Kor and her sister launched a search for other twins who survived Megele’s experiments and located 122 individual survivors. She founded C.A.N.D.L.E.S. Holocaust museum in Indiana and is a forgiveness advocate. In 1995, she made headlines for issuing a personal “Declaration of Amnesty” to those individuals responsible for the Holocaust and cover-up attempts. Her act of forgiveness has served to both inspire and anger others.
Source: USU Religious Studies Program and Department of History
Contact: Philip Barlow, (435) 797-3406, Philip.Barlow@usu.edu
Contact: Alice Weinreb, (435 797-3791, Alice.Weinreb@usu.edu