Spring/Summer Newsletter 2019
A busy and exciting academic year is coming to a close at the Weiss-Livnat International MA Program in Holocaust Studies. While continuing to provide our students with a well-rounded curriculum and international internship opportunities, we have been busy embarking on a new initiative – establishing an Innovation Hub for Holocaust Education and Commemoration which will offer a nurturing environment and practical tools for people from all over the world to develop innovative and creative ideas for projects in the field. We are pleased to share this news and our other activities in this newsletter.
Thank you for your continued support of our program, our work, and our mission.
– Professor Arieh Kochavi & Dr. Yael Granot-Bein
In March, our students participated in a three-day Psychology Seminar on the subject of Intergenerational Transmission of Holocaust Trauma among 2nd and 3rd generation Holocaust survivors. The workshop touched on the lively debate which is taking place among psychologists and researchers as to whether intergenerational transmission of Holocaust trauma exists. On the one hand of the spectrum, researchers and practitioners find high levels of resilience among the second generation with no other differing traits demonstrated by offspring of parents who did not go through the Holocaust, while on the other end of the spectrum, researchers claim to find distinct effects of trauma in second-generation Holocaust survivors. We wanted our students to learn more about the debate from the researchers themselves. The seminar was hosted by Clinical Psychologist and Weiss-Livnat Professor Hadas Wiseman and Dr. Irit Felsen, a clinical psychologist and trauma specialist, and adjunct professor at Yeshiva University’s Ferkauf School of Psychology. Also invited to present were Prof. Avi Sagi-Schwartz; Prof. Amit Shrira and others. The talks were followed by relevant documentaries and discussions with their creators and lively discussions that confronted this fascinating issue.
Study Tour to Beit Theresienstadt
This past semester students visited the Beit Theresienstadt Museum on Kibbutz Givat Haim for a study tour and seminar. This unique museum’s story began on May 8, 1955, when a group of 150 survivors of the Theresienstadt Ghetto gathered on the Kibbutz with a plan to create a commemoration space for the victims who passed through or died in Theresienstadt.
Throughout their tour, students visited the three exhibition spaces of Beit Theresienstadt and were guided by the museum director, education director, and head archivist. A highlight of the tour was the head archivist sharing some of the items housed in the Beit Theresienstadt archive. These included a handsewn toddler’s shirt made by women in the Ghetto, a charm necklace believed to have been smithed in the metal factory of the Ghetto, and one issue of a magazine produced by a group of young boys who were imprisoned there. The magazine, called Kamarad, was one of at least ten magazines created by children in Theresienstadt.
The Last Swiss Holocaust Survivors Exhibition
On March 26th, The Weiss-Livnat International Center for Holocaust Research and Education, in cooperation with the Embassy of Switzerland in Israel, and the Gamara’al Foundation in Geneva, hosted the opening of the photography exhibition, The Last Swiss Holocaust Survivors. The exhibit shares the stories of Jewish Holocaust survivors who found refuge in Switzerland during WWII. The exhibition will be on display at the Hecht Museum through October 2019. We look forward to hosting a group of Swiss educators this coming August in our center who will work with our faculty to integrate the stories of these survivors into the curriculum taught in classrooms.
The Weiss-Livnat International Center is excited to announce the creation of a Holocaust Education and Commemoration Innovation Hub. The first of its kind in the world, the Weiss-Livnat Innovation Hub aims to help those in the field of Holocaust studies develop their creative ideas for new initiatives in Holocaust education and commemoration. Our Call for Proposals has generated considerable interest, and our committee is currently reviewing dozens of ideas for projects sent from around the world. The selected entrepreneurs will be invited to Haifa for four months, to work with mentors, project designers, and leading innovation experts who will help these burgeoning entrepreneurs materialize their ideas.
The Weiss-Livnat International Center for Holocaust Education and Commemoration in cooperation with the University of Haifa School of the Arts is proud to screen, Defiant Requiem, a feature-length documentary film that highlights the most dramatic example of intellectual and artistic courage in the Theresienstadt (Terezín) Concentration Camp during World War II. This will be only the second time the film has been shown in Israel. The screening will be facilitated by renown conductor and president & creative director of The Defiant Requiem Foundation, Murry Sidlin. The two-day cultural event, held at the University of Haifa and open to the general public, will also include guest lectures by experts of the Terezín Concentration Camp and a special performance by Czech musical duet, Irena Troupova, and Jan Dusek.
Rivka Baum, of Cohort VI, is from Amsterdam, Netherlands. She received her BA in History from Leiden University. During her MA studies, Rivka dedicated much of her coursework to researching the memoirs written by the Sonderkommandos. She plans to write her MA thesis on the same topic and hopes to continue to a Ph.D. track. Rivka has made great use of the international study and internship opportunities offered by the Weiss-Livnat Program as a means of accomplishing her goals. She spent the Fall 2018-19 semester in Krakow at the Jagiellonian University as part of an Erasmus exchange, interned at the Auschwitz Jewish Center in Oświęcim and is currently interning at the Wiener Library in London.
“In the past four months, I have interned at the Auschwitz Jewish Centre in Oświęcim and also at the Wiener Library in London. Both have been very interesting in different ways. At the Auschwitz Center, I learned about the different reactions that various groups of people have to the difficult history of the Shoah. The adjustments that you have to make as a guide to connect with different people is a great learning experience. In London, my experience has been more behind-the-scenes. I mostly work on an upcoming exhibition about the Roma people and their experience during the Second World War, but I am also working on a pop-up exhibition for World Refugee Day. Both experiences have been valuable to me and have caused me to reflect in a completely new way on the Shoah and the different ways in which we study and commemorate it.” – Rivka Baum
Danny Melkonovitsky of Cohort VI is from Holon, Israel. He received his BA in Media and Communications Studies from The College of Management and Academic Studies. As his background suggests, Danny’s favorite course during his MA studies was Visual Culture and the Holocaust: Art and Visual Culture in Response to Fascism. His thesis topic is a semantic analysis comparing anti-Semitic propaganda in the Ukrainian and Polish languages. Danny plans to pursue a Ph.D. and hopes to one day write screenplays for Holocaust tv-series production. To further enrich his practical and hands-on experience in the field of Holocaust studies, Danny applied for and was chosen to participate in an 8-month long internship at the Virginia Holocaust Museum in Richmond, Virginia.
“For the past 6 months, I have been interning at the Virginia Holocaust Museum in Richmond, Virginia. In the framework of my internship in the education department at the Museum, I’ve been working on many curricular projects and events for middle and high school teachers and students. I also assist by elaborating the content in our tour guide booklets and audio guides, and by updating the historical sources on our website. In addition, I’ve been working on curating my own exhibit, which deals with the contribution of Holocaust survivors to the state of Israel.” – Danny Melkonovitzky
Weiss-Livnat Alumna, Elizabeth Schram, of Cohort VI was recently appointed the new Director of the Buffalo Holocaust Resource Center.
Elizabeth Schram of Cohort VI is from San Antonio, Texas. She received her BA in Applied Learning and Development from the University of Texas, Austin. Before joining the Weiss-Livnat Program, Elizabeth taught English as a second language in Netanya, Israel through MASA. Elizabeth loved the education courses offered in the Weiss-Livnat program, in particular, Teaching and Learning about the Holocaust through WHY Questions with Dr. Nurit Novis Deutsch. Upon completion of her MA studies, Elizabeth participated in a 6-week internship at the USHMM in Washington DC, where she worked on a project that analyzed the children’s exhibition, Daniel’s Story.
“Two months ago, I was welcomed in as the Director of the Holocaust Resource Center of Buffalo, New York. As the Director, I get to help steer the organization in achieving its critical mission to Teach the Lessons of the Holocaust, Remember the Survivors and Victims and to Promote Social Justice, Civic Responsibility and Human Rights. This is achieved in a variety of ways: through coordinating teacher training and conferences on Holocaust education, through engaging the youth by bringing local Holocaust survivors to their schools and organizing Arts and Writing contests, through running community programs and through displaying a variety of exhibitions all around the city. Besides managing and developing our programs, I engage and partner with community groups, teachers, school districts, higher education institutions, and other related museums/organizations. In addition, I facilitate fundraising efforts, supervise HRC staff, represent the HRC at community events and I prepare our newsletters, press releases, and all other community communications. I am extremely grateful for my new position and I would not be here today without my amazing experience in the Holocaust Studies program at the University of Haifa.” – Elizabeth Schram
Join us for the 2019-2020 Academic Year
Interested in applying for our MA in Holocaust Studies Program? You can find the application and more information on our website.