This past weeks are students had the privilege of visiting Massuah Institute for Holocaust Studies. Massuah represents an aspect of Holocaust education that is literally foreign to must of our international students as it focuses on the relationship between Israeli society and the history of the Holocaust.
We spent ample time in two exhibits, examining first the history of the Holocaust through testimonies given at the Eichmann trial in the early 1960s. It is clear how these testimonies have since shaped the Israeli narrative of the Holocaust. The second exhibit we spent time in looked at letters sent in the early part of the war that were ultimately sent back to the sender. We learned that the recipient had likely already been deported, which was why they never received it. The exhibit also explained some of the different codes people used in their correspondence to avoid agitating censorship, which would keep them from communicating clearly.
We ended our visit with a very special lecture from Nava Semel. Nava Semel is an Israeli second-generation author, playwright, screenwriter and translator. She is a recipient of “The Israeli Prime Minister’s Award for Literature,” the “Women Writers of the Mediterranean Award” and the “Women of the Year in Literature of the City of Tel Aviv” among many others. In her lecture, Nava spoke to use about much of her literary work, the balance between historical facts and personal or emotional truths in her work, and the way this balance materializes in the materials Massuah creates.
We are very proud to offer a program with the opportunity to visit places like Massuah. Studying the Holocaust in Israel allows our students to confront the discrepancies in the approaches taken by the various institutions dealing with the Holocaust in Israel today, as well as the different national approaches to the topic and its representation.
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/