David Silberklang is Senior Historian at the International Institute for Holocaust Research at Yad Vashem, and Editor of the scholarly journal Yad Vashem Studies, as well as Series Editor of The Holocaust Survivors’ Memoirs Project. In addition to his teaching at the University of Haifa, he teaches Jewish History at the Rothberg International School of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and at Tel Aviv University, and he has been a visiting professor at Case Western Reserve University and the IDF College. We are very privileged to have him as one of our professors, and we are happy to share a bit of his experience with you today. This past summer Dr. Silberklang wrote the following about his time teaching our first cohort:
“They were 29 students from more than half a dozen countries, with a wide range of backgrounds, education, and work experience, ranging in age from their early 20s and fresh out of college to their 60s and near retirement. They came with education and experience in history, psychology, art, filmmaking, journalism, tour guiding, theater, social sciences, and more. This was the surprising and diverse class that I met in October 2012 as I began teaching my graduate course, “‘The Final Solution to the Jewish Question’: The Nazi Policy of Extermination.” And quite a class it was. Discussions were lively and varied, and students came prepared and eager. It was a long trip from Jerusalem to Haifa and back every week, but the seriousness and dynamism of the class made for a valuable and memorable experience. That is why I will be teaching again in the autumn 2013 semester.
This MA in Holocaust Studies is a unique program in Israel. Its multi-disciplinary and international approach is refreshing and enriching for teachers like me as well as for the students. It is a new program, and therefore it will likely undergo some tweaking during its first years. This is natural, but based on my experience with its first group of students I see a real chance for it to become a huge success. I would like to see this grow into a PhD program as well in the not-too-distant future. The Holocaust is viewed by many people as a popular and perhaps thoroughly researched and even over-discussed subject. In fact, there is a shortage of qualified researchers in the subject, especially in Israel. Much more is still unknown than known about this event that shook modern civilization to its very foundations. I am confident that quite a few of the students in my class can go on to research and write high quality dissertations if they so choose, and I would expect that future cohorts will be similar. This program can be poised to expand into the PhD in the coming years, and perhaps even to host post-docs in the future, and in this way make a major contribution to the study of the subject in Israel and internationally.”
Since this past October, Dr. Silberklang has been saying very positive things about this year’s group as well, and has in the meantime guided three MA thesis proposals for last year’s students, all of which look very promising, indeed.
Our students are lucky to have outstanding faculty like Dr. Silberklang who is both an excellent educator and example of what our students can become in the professional world of Holocaust Studies.