Faculty, Holocaust Education, Program News, Research, Uncategorized

Faculty Feature: Professor Stefan Ihrig

Ihrig2016Professor Stefan Ihrig received his BA degree in Law and Politics at the Queen Mary University in London, his MA degree in History, Turcology and Political Science at the Free University of Berlin and his PhD in History at the University of Cambridge. Professor Ihrig spent four years as a project assistant and researcher at the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research and has also spent four years as a Polonsky Fellow at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute. He has previously lectured at the Free University of Berlin and the Univesity of Regensburg. In 2016 the Weiss-Livnat International MA Program in Holocaust Studies had the pleasure of welcoming him to the faculty. He is also a professor in the Department of General History at the University of Haifa and at the Haifa Center of German and European Studies.

justifyinggenocideProfessor Ihrig’s recently published book Justifying Genocide: Germany and the Armenians from Bismarck to Hitler focuses on some of the connections between the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust. Justifying Genocide shows that the two are much more connected than previously thought. Professor Ihrig focuses on Germany’s close foreign relations with the Ottoman Empire, as well as responses and reactions to the violence and genocide against the Armenians. Professor Ihrig finds that for many Germans, Armenians represented a racial problem and that Germans had portrayed them as the “Jews of the Orient”. After World War I German nationalists and Nazis had justified the genocide in a German genocide debate lasting almost four years. For the Nazis, the Armenian Genocide showed that it was possible to get away with committing such atrocities.

In his course, German Colonialism, Late Imperialism and Racial Theories: Pre-Histories of the Holocaust? Professor Ihrig examines the “long road to Auschwitz” or the “pre-histories” of the Holocaust doing so from the context of German history, including the abovementioned justification of the Armenian Genocide. The course explores topics such as German nationalism and the creation of the Reich, the development and prevalence of racial theories, cultures of violence before and during World War I, as well as the rise of far-right politics and the Nazis. The course has a special focus on colonial and imperial experiences. It debates whether these can help explain the Holocaust. Professor Ihrig says that he enjoys teaching this course because it makes students think critically about the path to the Holocaust.

We are grateful to have outstanding individuals like Professor Ihrig as part of our program and look forward to seeing how our current students enjoy his course this semester.

To read more about Professor Ihrig’s work, see his articles summarizing his last two books in the Daily Beast and Tablet. To buy his book Justifying Genocide: Germany and the Armenians from Bismarck to Hitler, click here.


Interested in applying for our MA in Holocaust Studies Program?  You can find the application and more information at our website: http://holocaust-studies.haifa.ac.il/

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Current Students, Genocide Studies, Holocaust Internship, Internships, Program News, Uncategorized

International Internships Announcement

Each year students of our program are encouraged to apply for our prestigious international internships. They are an amazing opportunity for our students to gain professional, hands-on experience while networking, paving the way for their future careers in the field of Holocaust Studies. Students are given $1,500 from the Weiss-Livnat International MA Program in Holocaust Studies to help cover their accommodation and airfares. We are proud to announce the students who will be undertaking our internships this academic year!

meinternshipJasmine Munn-McDonnell, Cohort V

The Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust & Genocide, London

What inspired you to apply for our international internships and what makes you most excited about interning at the Wiener Library in London?

I would have been crazy to not apply for this round of international internships. One of the things that most attracted me to this program before applying was the partnerships with world-class museums and institutions. To gain professional experience abroad on top of the MA was an opportunity that was not to be missed! I am excited to intern at the Wiener Library specifically because it has such a rich and fascinating history. The library was founded in 1933 and was in operation during the Holocaust. The library’s mission today of supporting research, learning, teaching and advocacy about the Holocaust and genocide is important and something that I am passionate about. And, needless to say, I am excited to spend five weeks living in London!

What kind of work will you be doing at the Wiener Library?

At the library, I will be working on numerous projects. I will be working with the Library’s social media and helping with the launch of their new website and Facebook page. I will be in London for International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and at that time of year, the Library holds a debate for young people, which I will be helping to formulate questions for. Also while I am interning, the Library and the University of London are running a conference entitled Beyond Camps and Forced Labour: Current International Research on Survivors of Nazi Persecution, which is something that I will be helping out with.

HanaHana Green, Cohort V

Virginia Holocaust Museum, Richmond

Hana will be working under the supervision of the museum’s Senior Historian, Dr. Charles Sydnor, and with Director of Education, Megan Ferenczy, on several educational projects and educational outreach programs. Additionally, she will be helping out with tours and the ongoing care and upgrading of exhibits during her time at the Virginia Holocaust Museum

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Eugenia Mihalcea, Cohort V

POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Warsaw

Eugenia will be working on a project at the museum that involves using oral testimony from the USC Shoah Foundation to create IWalks (video segments that can be used on guided tours to provide historical context to sites).

MalloryMallory N., Cohort V

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington D.C.

Mallory will be completing a fellowship at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies.

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Rotem Zilber, Cohort IV

The Jewish Museum in Budapest

 

 

 

 

 

We wish our students luck in their endeavours abroad!


Interested in applying for our MA in Holocaust Studies Program?  You can find the application and more information at our website: http://holocaust-studies.haifa.ac.il/

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Guest Lecturers, Holocaust Survivor, Research Forum, Uncategorized

Holocaust Survivor Micha Gelber shares his story with Cohort VI

Gelberblog.pngThis week in the Research Forum, Holocaust Survivor Micha Gelber shared his story with Cohort VI.

Micha was born in 1935 in the Netherlands. His memories began in 1940 at age five when the Germans invaded. He recalled the Nazi restrictions placed on him and his family, from not being permitted to leave their village, to having the family’s house confiscated and going in and out of hiding. Fortunately, Micha’s father was well-informed through the company he worked for and by local connections and was warned in advance when there would be waves of arrests. In 1943, however, when a Dutch policeman warned them of further arrests, Micha’s father, who had been given information that the family would be receiving Red Cross exchange certificates, decided not to go into hiding. As a result, the family was sent to Westerbork, but did receive confirmation that the Nazis intended to keep them alive to be exchanged for German nationals living in Palestine. That certificate was one of the reasons why the family was able to survive together throughout the rest of the war.

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The Sternlager at Bergen-Belsen

Micha and his family spent five long months in Westerbork until 11 January 1944 when they were sent to Bergen-Belsen. At Bergen-Belsen they were kept in the Sternlager (Star Camp), which was comprised of other Jewish prisoners who were expected to be exchanged. Prisoners of the Sternlager did not have their heads shaved, kept their own clothing, and were not tattooed with a number. This is only because the Nazis benefited from the prisoners’ “wellbeing” for the purposes of the human exchange. At night, men and women were separated, but during the day, the families could spend time together and interact. As lucky as Micha and his family were to survive, they did not escape the traumas of Bergen-Belsen. Micha and his father suffered from typhus and it was impossible to avoid witnessing the inhumanities of such a camp. Micha recalled seeing people collapse and having their clothes stolen from them while they were still alive, as well as seeing dead bodies pile up around them. Micha also told our students how fortunate his family was to survive, stating that only 6 out of 1250 families in the Sternlager survived completely intact. Micha attributes this survival to luck, but also to strength and resistance. On 10 April 1945, just days before the British arrived at Bergen-Belsen, Micha and his family were deported east, either for extermination or to be used for trading with the Russians. While en route to whichever was to be their fate, they were liberated by the Red Army.

 

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Micha today lives in the Netherlands and spends his time giving lectures weekly at schools and universities. He believes that speaking about his experiences is perhaps a way of digesting his trauma. Despite his story, Micha says he has always been active and takes life as it is. He considers himself a survivor and not a victim. This is his character and his spirit.


Interested in applying for our MA in Holocaust Studies Program?  You can find the application and more information at our website

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Guest Lecturers, Holocaust Survivor, Research Forum, Uncategorized

Holocaust Survivor Danny Chanoch Speaks to Cohort VI

Danny ChanochThis week in the Research Forum Holocaust Survivor Danny Chanoch spoke to Cohort VI to share his story of survival through solidarity. Danny was born in 1933 in Lithuania. He was nine years old when the Germans invaded. Danny recalled seeing the atrocities that accompanied the German occupation of Lithuania with his own eyes. Because of his blonde hair and Baltic looks, he was the only member of his family who was able to safely leave their home to buy food. Walking around Kovno as a young boy, Danny saw Jewish people being tortured on the street. At such a young age he had to put up a wall between him and what he saw happening. His duty was to get food for his family, and he was also unable to help.

In August of 1941 Danny and his family had been moved into the Kovno Ghetto. He survived a kinder aktion because his older brother, Uri, despite suffering severe beatings, refused to disclose his whereabouts. This was one of the many instances of solidarity in Danny’s story of survival.

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In 1944 when the Germans began to evacuate the Kovno Ghetto, Danny, Uri and their father were deported to Dachau, and Danny’s sister and mother were sent to Stutthof. This was the last time that Danny saw his sister and mother. A few days later, Danny and 130 other children from the Kovno deportation were then sent to Auschwitz, where they worked dragging roll wagons full of victims’ possessions from the ramp to the storerooms. Danny experienced another case of solidarity at Auschwitz. When working with the wagons, if one of the boys was unwell or felt he was going to collapse, the others would give the struggling boy a better position so that the Nazis could not identify that they were weak, which saved them from their certain death.

The surviving members of the 131 children, including Danny, were then sent to Mauthausen. Another act of solidarity occurred on a death march. Anyone who collapsed or fell during the death march from weakness was shot. The 40 boys left from the 131 had helped and carried each other throughout the march to ensure their survival.

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Eventually, Danny was liberated from Gunskirchen. After liberation, Danny and Uri were reunited in Italy and made their way to Eretz Israel in 1946. Danny, who grew up in a Zionist household, remembers that arriving in Eretz Israel and seeing his Israeli brothers and the Star of David on the flag was one of the greatest moments of his life.

As harrowing as his story is, it is a reminder that even through the worst times there were still moments of support and solidarity. Danny attributes every single survivor to acts of solidarity, stating: “There’s not a single survivor which survived without solidarity and without help.”


Interested in applying for our MA in Holocaust Studies Program?  You can find the application and more information at our website

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Current Events, Current Students, Guest Lecturers, Program News, Research Forum, Uncategorized

Dr. David Hirsh speaks at the University of Haifa about Contemporary Left Antisemitism

hirshToday the Weiss-Livnat International MA Program in Holocaust Studies had the pleasure of hosting Dr. David Hirsh, a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London, who spoke about the subject matter of his new book: Contemporary Left Antisemitism. Hirsh’s book covers a range of issues surrounding contemporary left antisemitism in the United Kingdom, from the Livingstone Formulation (that bringing up antisemitism is more offensive than antisemitism itself to particular progressives), antisemitism and antizionism in the British Labour Party, to assorted boycotts of Israelis, Israel, and supporters of Israel. Hirsh, in his book and in his lecture at the University of Haifa, provides an analysis and critique of the various left-wing antisemitic and antizionist discourses and movements in Britain today.

In his informative and thought-provoking lecture, Hirsh discussed some of the characteristics and manifestations of contemporary left antisemitism. For example, Hirsh noted that left antisemitism is often dressed up and is attempted to be passed off as antizionism – something which is tolerated and deemed relatively acceptable in the mainstream today. It seems that to be left-wing and antisemitic is an oxymoron, given the left’s tradition of anti-racism. However, antisemites of the left, Hirsh argues, often do not even recognize that their rhetoric in fact holds hostility towards Jews. In his lecture, Hirsh also demonstrated many similarities between the tenets of both left and right wing antisemites, such as contempt for democracy, and suspicions of international corporations and trade, which supposedly hide the true power structures of the world.

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Hirsh went on to discuss some of the worrying aspects of antisemitism creeping into the mainstream through both the avenues of the populous left and the populous right. Hirsh recalled Hannah Arendt by noting that we must not forget that Nazism was viewed by many Germans as a radical and exciting movement that people wanted to be a part of. Hirsh explained that today people have a “plastic” understanding of the Nazis and forget that it did not start straight away with characteristics of 1939; it was something that grew and manifested from small kernels of supposed rationality. Today there is the problem that many have forgotten the past and say that the political situation “couldn’t be worse,” which, indeed, it could be if people blindly follow and cease to engage in intellectual discussion and debate.

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Hirsh wrapped up his talk by speaking about the effects of the left’s antisemitism on the Jewish community of the United Kingdom. Hirsh explained that while contemporary left antisemitism is certainly of concern, many British Jews do not face antisemitism in everyday life and are safe on the streets. But, if one is involved in politics (student or other) then they are likely to experience it.

Ending the lecture on a more positive note, Hirsh optimistically stated that the fight in the Labour Party and in the United Kingdom is not finished yet and is not even close to being finished. As long as the discourse remains lively and people can still write and debate, there is hope.


Interested in applying for our MA in Holocaust Studies Program?  You can find the application and more information at our website

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Alumni, Current Students, Holocaust Education, Holocaust Internship, Internships

Cohort V Student reflects on her year in the Weiss-Livnat International MA Program in Holocaust Studies

Mallory

Cohort V Student Mallory

It has already been a month since we said goodbye to Cohort V. Our student Mallory reflects on her life changing year, shares her plans for the future, and gives advice for the students of Cohort VI, who we have the pleasure of welcoming to Haifa later this month.

What were some of your highlights from the past year?

Highlights from the past year circled around learning from the wonderful professors who are instrumental in the field of the Holocaust. Every single professor has a unique teaching style and they all have their own niche. I can only wish we had more time with them! Another major highlight was to see classmates grow into colleagues. Meaning, I look forward to the next few years, staying in touch to learn who earned what job position, or doctorate, or where they will be speaking next – or, how I can get an advanced copy of their amazing book or article! I am certain there are some of us who, because of the education we received at Haifa, will contribute greatly to the new generation of Holocaust academics. We have experienced something special and I think that experience will sustain for years to come.

What impact has the Weiss-Livnat International MA Program in Holocaust Studies had on your life?

The impact of this Program will continue to reverberate in my life for years to come but for now, the greatest impact has been the chance to grow as an academic with those interested in this field. The discussions in and out of class were thought provoking and unique. Moreover, the networking and introduction to possibilities that extend beyond the classroom such as internships and fellowships are the start to my academic career, and a strong one at that. It is only through the Program that such a firm foundation could have been built.

What advice do you have for the students of Cohort VI and beyond?

Seek out, and take advantage of, every opportunity beyond the classroom hours. The professors have dedicated office time, are responsive to email, and will help you flourish in your writing and thinking more than you could imagine. Additionally, the internships and fellowships that are granted exclusively to us are incredible – APPLY! More practically, find a study schedule and stick to it, but remember that you’re in a once in a lifetime opportunity both academically – and geographically! Study, but travel, too. That said, don’t forget why you’re here. You wanted to earn a degree – so earn it. Do the homework, contribute to class dialogue, and enjoy your time. (But definitely travel.)

What are your plans for the future?

My only aim is to finish my thesis. I think once I find myself close to completing that goal, more opportunities and ideas will crop up. In the meantime, it’s research, research, and writing!


Interested in applying for our MA in Holocaust Studies Program?  You can find the application and more information at our website

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Current Students, Eritrean refugees, Genocide Studies, Holocaust Movies, Research Forum, Uncategorized

Cohort V Student shares thoughts on “Sound of Torture” and her decision to study the Holocaust

 

The following is written by Cohort V student Eugenia Mihalcea:

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Eugenia Mihalcea   

The documentary Sound of Torture (2013) written and directed by the Israeli filmmaker Keren Shavo, screened in one of the last Research Forum classes, might have many unspoken things. The director chose to follow the Eritrean radio host and human rights activist Meron Estefanos as she reports on Eritrean refugees who have been captured in Sudan while migrating across the Sinai Peninsula into Israel. Keren Shavo does not address the problem of the Israeli official approach to the Eritreans or to refugees in general, or the criminality in the southern part of Tel Aviv. On the other hand, the documentary reminded me why I chose for research the Holocaust.

In order to explain this, I will tell a story. A few years ago, I came to Israel as a young BA student to learn Hebrew. We were five colleagues from Bucharest willing to learn Hebrew better but also to visit and explore Israel a little bit. One day we went to Tel Aviv, to the beach, we enjoyed the sun, the sea, the sunset. We were staying in Jerusalem, so at some point we realized that we need to go back by bus. We asked around and people guided us to a bus station in the southern part of Tel Aviv. We knew nothing about the Eritrean neighbourhood. We just walked in the dark to the bus station. Until we reached what we imagined is Africa – as Maron said in the documentary. But we did not feel joy and happiness as Maron did. We felt fear. We were afraid. I was afraid of the unknown and unfamiliar people walking around without purpose. I was afraid of their music, of their houses with the doors wide open, of their language I could not understand. I knew nothing. I did not see them as people, as individuals. I saw them as Africans. I was using racial denominations when thinking about them and this was beyond my rational mind.

After almost one year in the International MA program, after exploring other genocides as part of different courses I took, and last but not least, after seeing the abovementioned movie, I can say that engaging in Holocaust Studies is not only about research.

sound of torture

Unknown people in an unfamiliar environment, speaking a strange language, not having enough food, enough money, living like in a ghetto. Sound familiar? They could be the Eritreans in the south of Tel Aviv. They could be the African refugees living in different European countries nowadays. They could be the Muslims in Western Europe. They were the Jews during the Holocaust.

It is a pattern and even if the planned idea is not to compare, this pattern can be helpful in understanding that every, but every person has a story. And we just need the patience to listen to it.


Interested in applying for our MA in Holocaust Studies Program?  You can find the application and more information at our website

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