Weiss-Livnat alumna, Esther Selman, participated in the inaugural cohort of theWeiss-Livnat Innovation Hub for Holocaust Education and Commemoration, in which she developed the idea to create a podcast where people could engage with the Holocaust in an accessible way. ‘Without the Footnotes’ was born.
Esther spent four intensive months at the University of Haifa’s Weiss-Livnat Innovation Hub, which was created to offer graduates of the Weiss-Livnat MA Program and professionals in the field from around the world a dynamic space where they can develop innovative projects for Holocaust education and commemoration using new technologies.
Piyush Kumar Banerjee is a current student of our Holocaust Studies MA program. In this post, he shares about his favorite guest lecture of the program so far,The Mass Graves in Camp III: Archaeological Excavations of Sobibor by archaeologist Yoram Haimi
“I have always had a fascination with archaeological excavations. The Mummy and Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark are two of my favorite movies ever. I suspect that may be why I found our recent lecture from Dr. Yoram Haimi of the Israeli Antiquities Authority about his archaeological research conducted at the site of the former Sobibor Death Camp to be so incredibly fascinating.
Since starting my MA degree at the Weiss-Livnat MA Program in Holocaust Studies at the University of Haifa last October, I have been privileged to hear several fascinating lectures by some of the world’s leading scholars in this field. However, Dr. Haimi and his colleague Wojciech Mazurek presented one of the finest lectures I have heard inside the classroom.
Our annual ‘Top Ten Holocaust Books’ as recommended by this year’s cohort of students. As we have done for the past two years, our International MA students in Holocaust Studies compiled a list of Holocaust books which they found most thought-provoking, impactful, and moving.
All of the books on this year’s list are appearing for the first time. It is a unique collection made up mostly of nonfiction, academically inspired works but also includes a graphic novel, two fiction novels, and a suitable read for older children. Here are ten recommended Holocaust books worth reading today.
1. Promise Me You’ll Shoot Yourself: The Downfall of Ordinary Germans, 1945, Florian Huber, 2015 (Nonfiction)
The extraordinary German bestseller on the final days of the Third Reich. One of the last untold stories of the Third Reich is that of the extraordinary wave of suicides, carried out not just by much of the Nazi leadership, but by thousands of ordinary Germans, in the war”s closing period. Florian Huber’s remarkable book, a bestseller in Germany, confronts this terrible phenomenon. What drove whole families, who in many cases had already withstood years of deprivation, aerial bombing and deaths in battle, to do this? In a brilliantly written, thoughtful and original work, Huber sees the entire project of the Third Reich as a sequence of almost overwhelming emotions and scenes for many Germans. He describes some of the key events which shaped the period from the First World War to the end of the Second, showing how the sheer intensity, allure and ferocity of Hitler’s regime swept along millions. Its sudden end was, for many of them, simply impossible to absorb.
Soumyaditya is a current student in our Holocaust Studies MA program. He is one of two inaugural students from India this year. In this post, he shares his thoughts on the importance of language within the field.
“In the very first blog that I am penning down ever in my life, I wish to talk about an essential aspect of Holocaust Studies, i.e., knowing the language of the geographic region that one is interested in. It can be any mainland European language, be it Hungarian, or German, or Italian, or any other Slavic languages, or the languages of the survivors and victims, like Hebrew or Yiddish. This is more valid for native English speakers and also individuals like me, who are neither European nor native English speakers.
Students of the Weiss-Livnat MA Program were recently treated to a guest lecture from Adi Altschuler, the social entrepreneur and founder of the alternative Holocaust commemoration project Zikaron Basalon.
“Zikaron Basalon is a social initiative that takes place on the Israeli Holocaust Memorial Day and various other dates around the world. Literally meaning “remembrance in the living room” in Hebrew, the idea was born from the understanding that the connection between today’s society and the memories of the Holocaust, has significantly deteriorated.”
“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.