Current Students

Student Blog: Gabriel Mayer

eie0hyt_wapnjbczcfr_r0ayee_n2-wx5-xsibqzujiToday’s blog post is written by Dr. Gabriel Mayer, who came to our program after moving to Israel in 2013. Please enjoy his essay:

Holocaust Studies: A Transformative Journey

Nearing the end of my second year at Haifa University MA in Holocaust Studies Program, I can truly say that it is the journey of a lifetime. Not that I was ever far from the subject matter. Born in Transylvania, my core family, parents and older brother are all Holocaust survivors, and as I made my way in life, through four countries-Romania at birth, Italy when we fled Communism, US where I grew up and now my Aliyah to Israel-it seems that this destiny was preordained.

When I entered the program, in the fall of 2013, after a lifetime of medical practice and teaching sciences as a professor at several US universities, the humanities greeted me with an ‘we been waiting for you’ open arms atmosphere. I encountered a class, the 2013-14 Cohort, which, we all agree now, have been a phenomenally close-knit group. We had great instructors, and superb programing in Research Forum, all of which allowed us to interact with some of the greatest scholars in the field. In our personal interactions this turned out to be both stimulating and personally binding. Our class members continue to interact with one another and many of us have undertaken joint projects and still continue to exchange ideas and experiences.  I was involved in several projects, the Yom Hashoah program in 2014, seminars on antisemitism and Holocaust denial, a Carl Lutz exhibition, and wrote papers with classmates Madene Shachar, Zahava Moedler, Heather Viniar and Ionela Dascultu.  Last December I traveled to Vienna with Madene and Zahava to present papers, as a panel, at the Simon Wiesenthal Institute’s Annual Conference, which that year dealt with the topic of the moving image and the Holocaust; our panel’s work, “Agency in the Media” may be viewed on YouTube[1].

Earlier the same year I presented a paper in Vienna at a conference dealing with Holocaust denial and antisemitism, alongside Professors Arieh Kochavi and Eli Avraham of Haifa University. I have also seized on the opportunity to publish in scholarly journals, by transforming several semester papers into published articles.

These would be on the Holocaust in Kolozsvar[2] (Transylvania), Jews in the Red Army[3], and a Hungarian Holocaust Diary[4].

Currently, I am still auditing classes and working diligently on my MA thesis. With the bulk of the research completed, the topic of Holocaust historiography in museums as told through artifact has taken me to various museums and afforded the opportunity to interview many of the great contributors in the field. Indirectly, this work has also led to what I hope to be a real contribution in the future, by providing me a new role in 2015, as Head Historian at Martef Hashoah in Jerusalem[5]. Here, once again, the doors are open to interacting with the many organizations and talented folk who work in Holocaust museums, at universities in Israel and abroad, and the experts who are invited by Yael Granot-Bein for the Research Forum. Yes this program continues to be a mainstay of scholarly and intellectual pursuit for many of us. I, along with several classmates, try to attend as many of the current programs as possible; the quality is unparalleled. My last observation comes with gratefulness to the many professors at Haifa University as well as other institutions who are willing with open arms to provide assistance when asked. The core staff at the MA Program, Yael Granot-Bein, Professor Kochavi, and Audrey Zada are always working to improve education and provide stimulating programs; this is truly where scholarship takes shape.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqBUPb0fbGQ

[2] Mayer, Gabriel. “Holocaust in Kolozsvar: 1944.” International Journal of Social Science Studies 2, no. 3 (2014): 100-108.

[3]. Mayer, Gabriel. “Holocaust and WWII: Jews in the Red Army.” International Journal of Social Science Studies 3.2 (2015): 113-122.

[4] Mayer, Gabriel, “Translation and Linguistics: In a Hungarian Holocaust Diary” 3, No.1, 2015, in press, Journal of Culture and Religion.

[5] http://www.martefhashoah.org/#!team/caqx

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