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.
“The first time I visited Yad Vashem, I arrived at the museum on a bus with the two dozen other members of my summer program. We wore our backpacks and drank from our water bottles as we crossed the open plazas under the blazing sun. Plunging into the cool concrete space of the main exhibit of the museum, we followed the story of the destruction of European Jewry as it unfolded, led by a knowledgeable guide who showed us the way through the dense galleries and difficult history.
Even before we stepped off the bus in the driveway near Yad Vashem’s entrance, I knew this visit would be different. I would be visiting the museum not as a visitor but as a student and researcher and as a part of a cohort of scholars, educators, curators, and tour guides who are visiting Yad Vashem not as an essential stop in a tour of Israel, but as a place for critical engagement.
In the Weiss-Livnat International Program in Holocaust Studies, we are training to become the people who will contribute to the exhibitions and education that happens in Holocaust centers throughout the world. To do so, we are learning to ask questions, apply concepts, and create our own arguments when we encounter places like Yad Vashem. In this brief seminar of four days’ length, we engaged with the museum and research institute as scholars entering the field, benefitting from the tremendous knowledge and generosity of the staff. Continue reading →
The Weiss-Livnat International MA Program in Holocaust Studies is proud to announce that three of our students were recently awarded scholarships from Yad Vashem’s International Research Institute! Students Jovana Cvetićanin from Serbia, Meredith Scott from the US, and Lani Berman from US/Israel received the scholarship to help finance their research for their MA theses. Congratulations!
This past week, our students visited the Beit Theresienstadt Museum on Kibbutz Givat Haim for a study tour and seminar. This unique museum’s story began on May 8, 1955, when a group of 150 survivors of the Theresienstadt Ghetto gathered on the Kibbutz with the intention of creating a commemoration space for the victims who passed through or died in Theresienstadt. In 1975, it became a non-profit organization in memory of the Jewish Martyrs of Ghetto Theresienstadt and in 2011, was renovated, expanded, and established as an official museum.
Students listen to a lecture by Beit Theresienstadt Director, Tami Kinberg