Fall Newsletter 2018


Welcome Cohort VII

We are excited to welcome our new students of Cohort VII! They’ve come from countries all over the world – Spain, Germany, US, Australia, and Ireland – to name a few. We pride ourselves on our multidisciplinary approach to Holocaust Studies, which is highlighted by the diversity of our student’s academic backgrounds – whether it’s playwriting or linguistics, history or communications – our students bring a fresh take on how Holocaust Studies are defined today.

We thank you for following our blog www.facebook.com/haifashoahstudies and for being our partners in our challenging and inspiring endeavor – the education and study of the Holocaust.

Arieh J. Kochavi                        Yael Granot-Bein


Program News

‘Who Will Write Our History’ – Film Screening in Haifa


The Weiss-Livnat program is excited to take part in a global screening event of the film “Who Will Write Our History?” on 27th January, the International Day of Holocaust Commemoration. The film tells the story of the buried archive known as Oyneg Shabes which contained writings and artifacts from the Warsaw Ghetto. More than 60,000 documents were found after the war in metal boxes and milk cans hidden in the ground. These documents were secretly collected by an underground organization of journalists, scholars and community leaders who decided to fight back after the Warsaw Ghetto was sealed in November 1940.

This archive has served as a crucial source for historians researching the Holocaust and the history of the Jews of Poland.  The film tells – for the first time – the backstory of the collection and of the people who endangered their lives to create it. With the aim of educating the younger generation, we will screen the film to high school students in Haifa who will take part in post-screening discussions and  Q&A with historians and educators. The screening will be preceded by a global #weremember social media campaign to raise Holocaust awareness worldwide.

The Last Swiss Survivors” – Exhibition in collaboration with Embassy of Switzerland in Israel and the Gamaraal Foundation

last swiss.pngOur program is proud to join forces – once again – with the Embassy of Switzerland in Israel and with the Hecht Museum in the showing of the exhibition: “The Last Swiss Survivors”. The exhibition which will open in March 2019, presents biographies and portraits of Jewish refugees and Holocaust survivors who found refuge in Switzerland during the Holocaust and in its aftermath. The portraits, made by the photographer Beat Mumenthaler, portray the stories of survival, trauma, and sorrow that still to be found in survivors at their old age. They serve as a warning against the consequences of racism and anti-Semitism which are on the rise today. We are so excited to host former Chief Rabbi Israel Lau, a Holocaust survivor himself, at the opening.

New Specialization! Entrepreneurship in Holocaust Commemoration and Education

The Weiss-Livnat International MA in Holocaust Studies is excited to announce a new and original course this year, Entrepreneurship in Holocaust Commemoration and Education, led by Dr. Shahaf Gal and Tami Rich.


The Entrepreneurship in Holocaust Commemoration and Education course offers select students the opportunity to experiment with product development and design methodologies – from concept to formulation.

To ensure that the Holocaust remains a living and vivid memory, the Weiss-Livnat MA Program created an incubator where our students analyze and research ways in which the Holocaust is taught and commemorated today with the goal of developing new approaches to help further engage younger generations with the truth, values, and lessons of the Holocaust.

Students utilize the methodology of Design Thinking, a popular approach to new product development that begins with understanding unmet customer needs. A human-centered design process, Design Thinking encompasses the complete cycle of product development; concept development, applied creativity, mockups, prototyping, and experimentation. The results will be an original Holocaust education, or commemoration project, product or initiative that students will build from the ground up.

New Spring Semester Course! 

 The History of Anti-Semitism  

 The Weiss-Livnat MA Program is excited to announce a new course for the upcoming Spring semester – The History of Anti-Semitism. This poignant course will be instructed by Dr. Shmulik Lederman, our resident expert on genocide studies and one of our academic advisors.

We asked Dr. Lederman, What is the importance of the program offering this course? Are students not aware of the historical significance that religious-based anti-Semitism played in the development of the Holocaust? Is there a gap in knowledge between religious-based anti-Semitism and modern (political, race, eugenic-based) anti-Semitism?

s200_shmuel.ledermanDr. Lederman: The question actually contains the answer: What is the relationship between the old, religious-based Jew-hatred and modern anti-Semitism? And what is the relationship between modern anti-Semitism and the “eliminationist” anti-Semitism of the Nazis? At first sight, it seems obvious that there is a strong, direct connection between these phenomena. But in fact, these remain open questions for historians of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust.

To put it as succinctly as I can, it is hard to believe that the Jews could play such a role in modern anti-Semitism and particularly in the Nazi worldview without the long tradition of Jew-hatred in Europe. At the same time, however, only the Nazis tried to exterminate the entire Jewish people, and they distanced themselves—particularly Hitler—from traditional religious hatred of the Jews. As the question hints, the ideological basis of modern anti-Semitism was significantly different from the traditional one, and one of the questions is whether we should take this difference as a thin cover (or changing superficial justifications) for the essential, continuing, irrational hatred of the Jews throughout European history, or should this fact make us distinguish very sharply between modern anti-Semitism and traditional Jew-hatred or Judo-phobia. These are the kinds of questions we will ask in the course, and I think they are crucial for any understanding of the history of the Holocaust.

Meet Our New Students

We are pleased to introduce a few of the students who joined our program this fall.


Tamara Gutierrez, Spain – Tamara earned a BA in Philosophy from the Complutense University of Madrid and another degree in playwriting from Spain’s Royal School of Dramatic Arts. She is an active play writer who has had several of her plays produced, performed and win awards. Tamara is a recipient of the prestigious Azrieli Scholarship awarded to outstanding students in our program.


Oliver Neef, Germany – Recently graduated from the Technical University of Dresden, Germany, Oliver focused on Jewish history in the 19th and 20th centuries for his BA degree. His main topic of interest was the history of Zionism under the Third Reich. He is also interested in looking more deeply into the phenomenon of anti-Semitism and hopes to do so in the framework of our program.


Elena Hoffenberg, USA – Elena, another recipient of the Azrieli Scholarship, has a BA in history and Near Eastern Languages and Civilization from Harvard University and an MA degree from the School of Library and Information Science in Simmons College, Boston. She hopes to pursue an academic career in the field of Jewish History.



Rotem Kornblit, Israel – Rotem has a rich background in Holocaust education as a certified guide to Poland who has led numerous delegations of youth to the historical sites and in her former capacity director of the education department of the Ghetto Fighters House Museum. She is passionate about Holocaust education and in making it relevant to younger audiences today.

Alumni Corner

After our students complete the Weiss-Livnat program, they can be found furthering their education and gaining work experience around the world! Here is a small taste of what some of our amazing past students are up to now.


“I participated in a four-week long internship at the USHMM in Washington DC. During the internship, I worked on a project that analyzed the children’s exhibition, Daniel’s Story. I focused on the implications of using an interactive exhibit to teach children about the Holocaust. I conducted informal observations, formal observations and held interviews with long-term staff members to see if and how children interacted with the artifacts on display, and what children said during three different points of the tour.”

“I also worked on creating a finding aid for a collection that was recently donated to the museum. This involved examining every single item of the collection – newspaper clips, family documents, photos, postcards, letters – and organizing them into binders and folders for the archives. I interacted with documents that were stamped by the Nazi party and signed “Heil Hitler.” I also examined an original passport from Germany that was stamped with the letter ‘J’ for Jewish. It was both a very surreal and enriching experience.” – Elizabeth Schram, USA

rivka 2“Upon completing my coursework at the University of Haifa I set off to participate in an Erasmus+ exchange program at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. When I arrived in Krakow, I was warmly welcomed by a vibrant city full of history, students, tasty pierogi and ‘grzane piwo’ (hot beer). As a historian and researcher of the Shoah, it is impossible not to be of the country’s bleak history. I have to admit that the proximity to the Shoah’s most infamous death machine, and therefore the accessibility to the archives of Auschwitz, has evoked in me both a sense of duty and academic privilege.”

“You do not have to go far or even leave the city to see remnants of history’s dark past. In the middle of Krakow once can find both Schindler’s factory as well as the Plasów concentration camp. However, you are also only two hours away from the beautiful Tatra mountains where you can hike through the stunning landscapes and enjoy peaceful mountain air. The combination of all these aspects, the historical as well as cultural features are shaping my experience here in a very meaningful way.” – Rivka Baum, Netherlands


“This past November, I had the opportunity to share my thesis research at the 2018 biannual ‘Lessons and Legacies’ Conference in Saint Louis, MO, hosted by the Holocaust Education Foundation of Northwestern. The conference showcased 40 different panels presenting new research in the field as well as numerous seminars, workshops and plenary sessions featuring notable Holocaust historians and scholars. During the conference, I participated in a seminar entitled, ‘Probing the Limits of Holocaust Memoir.’ The seminar explored how our professional lives and study of the Holocaust intersect with our personal lives.”

“It proved to be a very enriching experience with each story reflecting a different aspect of the history of the Holocaust as well as how our different paths led us to our current work. Participation in the Lessons and Legacies conference was an excellent opportunity and made a lasting impression on me. It brought together the distinguished scholarship of the likes of Omer Bartov, Doris Bergen, and Dalia Ofer while also inviting the participation of graduate students like myself who will help lead the next generations of scholars in the study of the Shoah.” – Shannon Quigley, USA

Annual POLIN Seminar

Each summer, our Israeli students have the opportunity to participate in a unique seminar hosted by the POLIN museum in Warsaw, Poland. The museum hosts graduate students from Israel, Poland, Germany and Ukraine for a two-week workshop. Students are given the chance to meet with their European contemporaries and travel around Poland. Avshalom Nachmani, who attended this past August, shares his perspectives on the program.


“Last summer I took part in the POLIN meeting point summer education program in Warsaw. The program brought together young scholars from Germany, the Ukraine, Israel, and Poland. This year’s topic was “March 1968 and its legacies”. The seminar was held in the POLIN museum, across from the Warsaw Ghetto uprising memorial. Throughout the seminar, we heard different speakers who dealt with the events and their consequences in the relevant four countries, and in their global context.

Aside from classes, we participated in workshops that were designed to create classes and activities relating to the topic. During these workshops, we had the time and comfort to exchange thoughts and research topics with our peers. I feel that the seminar, aside from its obvious aim of studying the events of March 1968, created a unique opportunity to meet students from different disciplines and different countries. We also had the opportunity to tour the impressive POLIN museum, and spent the weekend in Gdansk, where we visited the Solidarity museum and the WWII museum.”

“On a more personal note, I would add that the location of the seminar, the accommodation, and the structure of the schedule allowed me to experience Warsaw, and to tour sites related to our field of research like the Umschlagplatz, the house in Volitzov st. 14 and the Jewish cemetery. I would highly recommend to all Israeli students that they participate next year.”

We are now accepting applications for the 2019-2020 academic year.

       Please help us build an excellent Cohort VIII by sharing this newsletter and by spreading the word that we are currently accepting new applications.


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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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