Newsletter – Spring 2018
The Spring semester is always a special time at the Weiss-Livnat International Program. We begin to see the fruits of our current student’s hard work and dedication and are excited by their success. But it is also a bittersweet time as we begin to bid our current cohort goodbye and prepare for the new cohort’s arrival in October. Please enjoy this newsletter sharing accounts from the past semester, upcoming events and introductions to some of our new students.
Thank-you for following the Weiss-Livnat International MA Program at the University of Haifa. Your continued support and interest is vital to our program’s success.
Arieh J. Kochavi & Yael Granot-Bein
Conference for Emerging Scholars in the Field of Holocaust Studies hosted at University of Haifa
The University of Haifa was honored to host Torch Bearers: Conference for Emerging Scholars in the Field of Holocaust Studies this past May. The conference brought together a group of international Ph.D. fellows and MA graduate students who are pursuing Holocaust research in Israeli academic institutions.
The two-day conference was moderated by leading Israeli Holocaust scholars, including Professor Dan Michman from Bar-Ilan University, and Yad Vashem; Professor Havi Dreyfus from Tel Aviv University, and Yad Vashem; Dr. David Silberklang from the Weiss-Livnat MA Program at the University of Haifa, and Yad Vashem; Dr. Kobi Kabalek from the Weiss-Livnat MA Program at the University of Haifa; Dr. Roni Stauber from Tel Aviv University; and Professor Hana Yablonka from Ben Gurion University, and The Ghetto Fighters House.
The Weiss-Livnat International MA Program was also extremely proud to have five of its former and current students present their research topics at the conference. Their specialties of interests were broad and diverse, ranging from rabbinical responsa to women’s issues in the ghettos, case studies of pre-war Lithuanian towns, Holocaust memory amongst Romanian child survivors, and analyses of perpetrator photography.
The successful two-day conference connected emerging researchers with leading academic scholars, exemplified the varied topics currently trending in Holocaust studies, and provided students with opportunities for personal and professional networking.
Arrivals, Departures: The Oscar Ghez Collection
June 4th marks the opening exhibition of Arrivals, Departures: The Oscar Ghez Collection at the Hecht Museum. The exhibit brings together eighteen Jewish artists who lived in Paris at the outbreak of World War II. Sixteen of the Eighteen were murdered by the Nazis, their art destroyed and their memories erased. Under the guidance of our in-house art historian expert and professor, Dr. Rachel Perry, our interning students have been hard at work preparing this exciting exhibit.
When asked about working on the exhibit, student Annika Freidman said, “It has been an extremely unique experience. The artists in this collection are relatively unknown and to bring their works and personal stories to life has been an honor.” Ella Falldorf added, “It has been both professionally and emotionally gratifying to see these artists receive the recognition they have for so long been denied.”
Arrivals, Departures: The Oscar Ghez Collection will be on view at the Hecht Museum, at the University of Haifa through November 2018. The Collection was donated to the University of Haifa by Dr. Oscar Ghez, who collected and purchased the pieces in France after the end of WWII. The collection has been housed at the University of Haifa since 1995. For many of the artists in the exhibit, The Oscar Ghez Collection is the largest compilation of their works.
Museums and Shoah – The Case of Italy: Professor Paolo Coen, Universita degli Studi de Teramo
Students were honored to attend a fascinating lecture from Italian Professor Paolo Coen. In addition to his position at the University in Teramo, Professor Coen sits on the board of the planned Memoria della Shoah in Rome. The museum will be the first of its kind in Italy and is projected to open in 2021.
Professor Coen’s lecture addressed the history of Holocaust memorials throughout Italy, the challenges faced by frequent political changes, and the collective fading of Holocaust memory across Europe. Professor Coen concluded that “Italy has to accept the memory of the Shoah and transform it into the key factor in the peace-process of Europe.”
We look forward to continuing to strengthen the ties between the Weiss-Livnat International MA Program and our colleagues in Italy as we build long-lasting partnerships for the benefit of our student’s educational experiences.
The European Union, Antisemitism and the Politics of Denial: Professor Amy Elman, Kalamazoo College
Professor Amy Elman treated students to a lecture on her 2015 book, The European Union, Antisemitism and the Politics of Denial. In the book, Professor Elman begs the question, what role does the European Union play in diminishing racial discrimination in general and antisemitism in particular? This inquiry comes in response to the negligent behavior of European politicians to take acts of antisemitism seriously, especially in a post 9/11 world and Islamic extremism on the rise.
Citing instances within Europe where antisemitism has become violent and yet also has been normalized, Professor Elman’s book exposes how EU responses to antisemitism cripple efforts, rather than help to end it. She argues that we need to see through the alleged claims of support against antisemitism frequently presented by the EU and it’s member states in order to better recognize the indirect expressions of prejudice towards Jews.
Contemporary Left Antisemitism: Dr. David Hirsh, University of London
The Weiss-Livnat Program had the pleasure of hosting a lecture by Dr. David Hirsh on his 2017 book, Contemporary Left Antisemitism. In his highly poignant lecture, Dr. Hirsh provided an analysis of and critique of the various left-wing antisemitic and antizionist discourses and movements popular in the UK.
Dr. Hirsh discussed Boycott Divisions and Sanctions’ popularity in Britain, antisemitism as presented under the guise of antizionism, and the ongoing concern over antisemitism within the British Labor Party. While Dr. Hirsh claims most Jews living in the UK do not encounter blatant antisemitism on the streets, students in universities or those involved in political work are likely to experience such prejudice. Ending the lecture on a brighter note, Dr. Hirsh optimistically noted that the fight in the Labor Party and in the United Kingdom as a whole is far from over. As long as the discourse remains lively and people engage in critique and debate, there is hope.
Internship News from Cohort V
Students from our 2017-2018 Cohort have been participating in unique internship opportunities at our affiliate institutions around the world.
“Since January, I’ve had the opportunity to intern at the Virginia Holocaust Museum in Richmond, Virginia. During my time at the Museum, I’ve had the opportunity to work on curriculum development and teacher training, to spend time in the archives collecting and highlighting artifacts from the Museum’s collection, and have had the chance to learn the ins and outs of Museum operations. This August I will continue my studies at Clark University where I will pursue a Ph.D. in Holocaust History and Genocide Studies.” – Hana Green
“After I finished my coursework, I went back to the US, where I conducted research for my thesis at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the Library of Congress. In continuation of my research, I applied for and was accepted to Erasmus+ Research in Salzburg, Austria. While in Salzburg, I was able to work on my German and visit important archives. This summer, I will be heading back to the States and will begin an internship at USHMM in their Planning Office. I am so grateful for the opportunity.” – Meredith Scott
“In January 2018 I went to London for a five-week internship at the Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust & Genocide. During my internship, I took part in a number of projects in areas of social media and marketing, exhibitions, events, and outreach. After finishing the international internship I went back home to Australia where I am now one of the first people involved with the development of the new Adelaide Holocaust Museum and Steiner Education Centre. My time in Haifa and undertaking the international internship has played a big role in putting me in this position.” – Jasmine Louise Munn-McDonnell.
Meet Cohort VII
Meet Cohort VII
Tamara Guitiérrez joins us from Spain, where she is currently pursuing an MA in Cultural Theory and Criticism at the Carlos III University of Madrid. She has two BA degrees in Philosophy and Playwriting and is currently working on her MA thesis, Writing after Auschwitz: Challenges and Limits for a Critical Theatre which examines the ethical issues of Shoah as represented in contemporary theater.
Julie Ammons holds two BA degrees from the University of Montana in Biology and Russian. She is passionate about intercommunication and has studied four languages – German, Russian, French, and Hebrew. For the last two years, Julie has been teaching English on a Fullbright Grant in Volgograd, Russia where she enjoys leading students in discussions about multiculturalism, value systems, and media dissemination.
Barry Kennedy is only the second student from Ireland to join the Wiess-Livnat MA Program. He holds a joint BA from the University of Maynooth in History and Sociology and has had an extensive career in hospitality management. Barry is an avid traveler, in 2016 he backpacked across Israel for five weeks and in the summer of 2017 took a train from Paris to Istanbul stopping to explore 9 European countries.
Elena Hoffenberg graduated with a BA in History and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University. She also holds a Masters in Library and Information Science. Elena’s passion is Yiddish studies. She interned at YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, completed a summer course at the Vilnius Yiddish Institute, and worked as a development assistant at the Jewish Women’s Archive.
Kim Simpson graduated with a BA from the University of Adelaide with degrees in International Studies and Arts. She has since traveled and lived around the world, including South Korea where she taught English, and Aachen, Germany where she attended a German language school. Since 2016, Kim has worked as a tour guide and digital content creator for a European travel company which specializes in history and culture.