Danny and Rivka of Cohort VI – Reflections on the past year and focus on the future

The summer semester is coming to an end and with it, another group of students is saying goodbye to the University of Haifa and Israel. Over the next few weeks, we will be highlighting some students of Cohort VI as they share their best experiences from the Weiss-Livnat program and the exciting new adventures they are starting next!

Danny Melkonovitzky is from Holon, Israel. He received his BA in Media and Communications Studies from The College of Management Academic Studies, Israel


Danny Melkonovitzky

What was your favorite course in the Weiss-Livnat Program?

“My favorite course was Visual Culture and the Holocaust: Art and Visual Culture in Response to Fascism with Dr. Rachel Perry. My background is in media and communications studies, and analyzing visual cultural products – especially film – is my bread and butter. I felt like the course was tailored exactly to my interests.”

As an Israeli, what was the experience of studying with an international group like?

“At first I was asking myself, ‘why do so many foreign students have an interest in Holocaust studies?’ After a while, I found that it is very cool to study in a non-Israeli environment – engaging in discourse with a strong diversity of views and ideas, which are not always present within the Israeli discourse. It made the subject matter even more interesting.”

Will you be participating in any of our upcoming international internships?

“Yes, in January I will be traveling to Richmond, Virginia to participate in an 8-month long internship at the Virginia Holocaust Museum where I will also write my thesis. My thesis topic is a semantic analysis comparing anti-Semitic propaganda in the Ukrainian and Polish languages. I’m intending to persuade a Ph.D. and hope to one day write screenplays for Holocaust tv-series production for Netflix.”

Rivka Baum is from Amsterdam, Netherlands. She received her BA in History from Leiden University.

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Rivka Baum

Which of the course you took this year was your favorite?

“My favorite course was The Final Solution to the Jewish Question”: The Nazi Policy of Extermination with Dr. David Silberklang. The course was designed as an overview of how the Final Solution came to be and what it entailed. The way Dr. Silberklang teaches has a great deal to do with why I appreciated the course so much. He entwined personal stories with factual developments in such a way that we never lost sight of the fact that the horrors of the Shoah happened to people. In other words, we were constantly reminded of both the bureaucratic and the personal nature of the Shoah.”

What was one of your favorite experiences you had in Israel?

“There were so many great ones! The fact that you get to study in a foreign country with people from all over the world, has been an amazing aspect of my time in Israel. I also really enjoyed the broad range of interesting people that we were introduced to as part of this masters. If I had to choose one specific experience that was not related to the masters itself, I would probably say every time I traveled to a more southern part of the country. It continued to surprise and amaze me that there are so many different beautiful landscapes in such a small country. In all honesty, I could talk for hours about my favorite experiences in Israel! Just to mention a few things: the food, the people, the openness, the hospitality, the sun, the beach, the beautiful museums, and the mind-boggling archaeological finds.”

What are your upcoming plans?

“At the end of September, I will travel to Krakow, to study for five months at the Jagiellonian University as part of an Erasmus exchange. In that time I will start writing my thesis, which is about the memoirs that were written by the Sonderkommano which were buried in Auschwitz during the war and have since been found. After that, I will start applying for Ph.D. positions and hopefully continue in academia.”

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



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