“When visitors come to Yad Vashem, they brace themselves for a day of difficult history and deep reflection. Surely, they do not expect to be greeted by 20 students awkwardly rolling suitcases across the entrance pavilion. Yet there we were, a diverse group of MA students from the Weiss-Livnat Holocaust Program, excited to attend the annual Yad Vashem seminar. For four days, we had the opportunity to participate in lectures by leading Holocaust researchers, interact with the memorial-museum, and bond as a group – getting to know each other in new and meaningful ways.
For me, the seminar was both my first time at Yad Vashem and in the city of Jerusalem. While much of our time there was dedicated to attending lectures and utilizing the extensive archives and databases open to us, I also took the time to visit the various memorials housed on the Yad Vashem campus. The Valley of the Communities was especially compelling for me, and as our first semester is coming to an end, it was also a valuable opportunity for personal reflection. Continue reading →
On Friday, October 25, we held an opening event to welcome the students of Cohort 8. This diverse group of amazing individuals has come to us from around the world – Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, Italy, Israel, Poland, Russia, Rwanda, Sweden, and the United States – to dedicate an entire year of their lives to the study about the Holocaust. We were honored to have Professor Edyta Gawron of the Jagiellonian University as our guest speaker to open up the year. Professor Gawron gave an insightful lecture on the current situation of Holocaust scholarship and historical narrative in Poland. We wish all of our new students a challenging and meaningful year ahead!
Recently my classmates and I were privileged to hear a lecture by Dr. Claudia Globisch, a visiting researcher and sociologist from Nuremberg, Germany. Dr. Globisch brought topical insight to our cohort in her guest lecture entitled, Right-Wing Extremism, Contemporary Antisemitism, and Qualitative Methods.
Dr. Globisch brought up the synagogue shooting in Halle, Germany that killed two people just one month ago, as an unfortunate but timely reference point to better understand why the antisemitic violence we are seeing play out isn’t new. Rather, it is the modes through which those sentiments are being shared and encouraged that are, in fact, innovative.
Its that time of year again! As we say goodbye to Cohort 7, we are already busy preparing to welcome the newest cohort of incoming students. Twenty-sevenindividuals are joining us from around the world, to embark on a new adventure in Haifa as MA students in Holocaust Studies. This cohort will be presented with new courses which we developed over the past year, among them the History of the Holocaust in the Former Soviet Union, and the Holocaust in Digital Media. They will be invited to take an active role in research projects directed by our faculty and gain hands-on experience working in historical archives and museums.
The students of Cohort 8 come from the United States, Germany, Poland, India, Canada, Rwanda, Italy, Brazil, Russia, and Israel. We are pleased to introduce you to a small selection of them below.
Yoav Yaron, Israel
BA in Literature & Political Science, Tel Aviv University
A busy and exciting academic year is coming to a close at the Weiss-Livnat International MA Program in Holocaust Studies. While continuing to provide our students with a well-rounded curriculum and international internship opportunities, we have been busy embarking on a new initiative – establishing an Innovation Hub for Holocaust Education and Commemoration which will offer a nurturing environment and practical tools for people from all over the world to develop innovative and creative ideas for projects in the field. We are pleased to share this news and our other activities in this newsletter.
Thank you for your continued support of our program, our work, and our mission.
“Approaching the entrance gates and visitor’s center of Yad Vashem from the ascending road down Mt.Herzl, with its vast vegetation and spectacular views over the Jerusalem hills has become a weekly occurrence for me. I am fortunate to be interning here one day a week at the Visual Center of Yad Vashem as part of my studies in the Weiss-Livnat MA program. Our Cohort’s recent, intensive 4-day Seminar at Yad Vashem has, however, been a very different and new experience for me, one that opened up many more facets of both the institution specifically and Holocaust research, generally.
Still a little tired from the long bus ride from Haifa, which included the obligatory traffic jam on Road One, our group was warmly welcomed by the Head of the Academic Affairs Section of the International Institute of Holocaust Research, Eliot Nidam-Orvieto, who throughout our stay remained our dedicated contact person. From the very beginning and over the entire course of the seminar, he and the other staff and affiliates of the Institute fostered an open exchange between themselves and us students, treating us as recognized and respected young colleagues. After every lecture, students who were particularly interested in the specific field or methodological approach were able to discuss the topics in more detail and ask the lecturers’ questions one-on-one. Eliot Nidam also helped find available resources at Yad Vashem that could assist us with our current projects, and even provided networking contacts of experts and prominent scholars from our fields of interests.
Last year, in Honor of Yom Hazikaron leShoah ve-leG’vurah (Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day) most commonly referred to as Yom HaShoah, our International MA students in Holocaust Studies compiled a list of the Holocaust books they found most thought-provoking, impactful, and moving.
We are continuing with the tradition and sharing the books our cohort recommends. A few of the classics you’ll find reappearing again on this year’s list but they’ve also added some insightful new finds – including two books suitable for younger audiences. From the philosophical to the purely historical, here are ten recommended, non-fiction and fiction books to read today.
1. Into That Darkness, Gitta Sereny 1974
Based on 70 hours of interviews with Franz Stangl, commandant of Treblinka (the largest of the five Nazi extermination camps), ‘Into That Darkness’ bares the soul of a man who continually found ways to rationalize his role in Hitler’s final solution.