Alumni, Current Events

Guest blog: Dorota Nowak

By lying we kill again*


Four years ago, I wrote a rather personal entry for this blog entitled Holocaust Studies vs. Mental Health. Back then, I was a student of the second cohort of the Weiss-Livnat International MA Program in Holocaust Studies. The first semester ended and I felt overwhelmed by the difficult topic with which I had decided to engage.

The entry was partly humorous, (if nobody else then my Mom laughed for sure), and partly serious, (it was a really tough period in my life, I thought), where I tried to grasp how studying the Holocaust influenced my life. All Holocaust scholars know that humour can sometimes save you from madness and despair.

It has been almost four years since then. Not much has changed and at the same time, a lot has changed. I am still working on my dissertation on contemporary Polish and Czech Shoah literature, and, on and off, I am still depressed. Even though in my research I analyse literary fiction, the Holocaust happened in reality, and even if you chase this thought away, the reality of this event always comes back, hits you with all its force and knocks you out. And there is no way to escape it, especially if you come from Poland. I’m also often down because writing a PhD is not an easy task and even though you gather more and more knowledge, it never seems enough to write a decent piece of scholarship. Especially if you come from Poland and struggle with the not-so-much-up-to-date-anymore complex of never being good enough for western standards.

With the uphill moments of my research, I try to deal with humour. As any forever student, I look in the mirror from time to time and the veil of melancholy about a yet unfulfilled academic career and family plans lifts, and I laugh about the prolonged non-adulthood and the wisdom forever more beyond my reach. I guess we all get to that point sometime in our lives. Besides, nothing is lost, after years spent in the library, protected from the influence of environmental factors, and interactions with people, I still feel and look like a baby, even though I’ll be 30 this year.

But these days I lose hope and I am definitely not in the mood for joking.

“Good Change” 

The reasons for which I don’t feel like laughing today are obvious to anybody who has any interest in either Holocaust studies or international relations. The political situation in Poland is not an enviable one. Despite what the ruling party and the public television say, it is not a “Good Change”. But, ok, we chose these people to rule our country. Let them rule. Let them spoil our education system, let them destroy the judiciary system, and introduce more religion-based laws which limit women’s rights. Let them do that to all of us, we chose them. And let’s protest if we don’t like it. But why the Jews again?

After I graduated from Holocaust Studies, my then boyfriend and I moved to Kraków. He was Jewish, so we signed up to be members of JCC Kraków. For a few months, we participated in Shabbat dinners, Torah learning sessions, Israeli dance lessons and other activities. We made friends. People we met there were mostly Jews from abroad, there were a few Holocaust survivors or children of Holocaust survivors there and a lot of non-Jewish Polish volunteers. And I felt that they all were hopeful. I too felt that these were the good days. I even heard the Chief Rabbi of Poland say that Poland is a place to be for the Jews of Europe. That was in 2014. My heart lifted. What do they think today? I can only imagine.


Many commentators say that the PiS party “let the genie out of the bottle”. Indeed, they created a space in which it is possible and acceptable to express anti-Semitic views. It is horrible, scary and outrageous. I am angry and sad. And, I assure you, so are many, many others in Poland. We are frustrated that the fragile friendship that was cautiously built for many years is now in danger. But, maybe, this is not the point. Maybe it is not today that is important. After all, the PiS party didn’t invent the genie, (please don’t read that as any kind of justification for the politicians in charge. I am a million miles from that). It was already there.

Marcin Wicha, a Polish contemporary writer, who was asked to comment on the current wave of anti-Semitism, said: “We all know the tap with anti-Semitism exists. I just didn’t think they would open it now.”

Yes, Polin museum is amazing, yes, there are 40 Jewish festivals all over Poland every year, yes, Klezmer music is enjoying a revival, and yes, we’ve Jewish restaurants all over. Yes, cheap flights to Israel from Kraków, Katowice, Warsaw and Lublin. Great success! Yes, yes, yes… But isn’t it only a facade? An exorcism?

Meanwhile, the word “Jew” (“Żyd”) can still function as an invective in Polish, jokes about Jews and the Holocaust come up at any occasion, one can buy paintings and figures portraying a Jew with a coin on every corner. Anti-Semitic notions are present in our folklore religious rituals. A few years ago I witnessed a children’s Christmas play at my Grandmother’s village in which a Jewish character was beaten by the shepherds who came to greet baby Jesus. The shepherds shouted: “Beat the Jew! Beat the Jew!” And the oh-so common conviction that the Jews want to steal our leadership in the history of suffering and martyrdom. A constant outcry: “But we too, we too suffered, we suffered like no one else!”

The examples I list above are not, perhaps, representative, maybe a broader context should be provided, and obviously they don’t speak about the whole Polish nation. However, they show how deeply anti-Semitic stereotypes are embedded in Polish culture, for they are connected with emotions, (among them anger and jealousy), with painful historical issues which build our national identity, with rituals which define us, with our beliefs and superstitions, and we are surrounded by them from a young age.

The harrowing discrepancy between the revival of Jewish life in Poland and the growing anti-Semitism is especially and painfully vivid, I find, in the case of Olga Tokarczuk. In 2015, this Polish writer won a Nike price for The Books of Jacob. A wonderful book which deserved the national literary prize and recognition. However, the book was not only recognised as a literary masterpiece, and the author as a great mind. The book was also labeled by some as anti-Polish and the author faced a wave of hatred, which included being called a “Jewish whore”.

There were times when I felt that I was betraying Poland for speaking so harshly about how we dealt with the difficult past and with the issue of our complicity in the crimes committed against the Jews of Poland during WWII. After all, the discussion about Jedwabne was not a complete one and especially about Polish contemporary anti-Semitism.

But, how can you pass indifferently when a puppet representing an Orthodox Jew is being burned on a public gathering of ONR (National Radical Camp) on the main square in Wrocław in 2015?

How can you pass indifferently when a Holocaust survivor, Aleksandra Leliwa-Kopystyńska on a TV show just a few days ago, has to remind again, like during the Holocaust or in 1968, that Polish Jews are also Polish, they are us, we are one nation?

Instead of posing this as a rhetorical question, I should probably really ask myself. How can one pass indifferently? After the Christmas play in my Grandmother’s village, I didn’t say anything, I didn’t want to shame the children, because obviously they didn’t understand that it was wrong, I was afraid to talk to their parents. I only complained to my parents afterwards, but I was preaching to the converted. So often I go back to this evening and wish I had more courage then.

Poland is not an anti-Semitic country, but Poland has a problem with anti-Semitism. And I have to see it as my problem too.

So what now?

Let’s hope it is a turning point for Poland again – a similar one to the publication of Jan Gross’s book about Jedwabne in 2000. Let’s hope it is a crisis which will awaken those who still can’t face the truth about the complicity of the Polish population in the crimes committed against the Jews during World War II and about Polish anti-Semitism both past and contemporary.

Let’s hope we will have enough strength to stand in front of a mirror and see more than our own suffering and the history of Polish righteous among the nations. Let’s hope we will be truthful for once.

Let’s hope we will have enough courage. This, I say particularly to myself.

* This is an inscription made with a fluorescent orange spray by a courageous person on the walls of IPN (Institute of National Remembrance) building on Marszałkowska Street in Warsaw. I passed by it a few days ago.

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

Current Events, Holocaust Education, Program News, Research

Grabowski on Polish complicity: “It’s our obligation and duty to study it”

grabowski_smallPolish historian Jan Grabowski is concerned about the future of Holocaust research in his native Poland, in the wake of its controversial Holocaust law.

The new bill states that “whoever accuses, publicly and against the facts, the Polish nation, or the Polish state, of being responsible or complicit in the Nazi crimes committed by the Third German Reich … shall be subject to a fine or a penalty of imprisonment of up to three years.”

Speaking at the Centre of Organisations of Holocaust Survivors in Israel, Grabowski warned: “If you’re a student of history or a journalist, are you really going to want to dig into these issues if you’re going to lose your work, your grant or your possibility of promotion?”

Grabowski, who is currently Professor of History at the University of Ottawa, also teaches a course on the extermination of Polish Jewry to students of the Weiss-Livnat International MA program in Holocaust Studies. While learning about German perpetrators and Jewish victims, students also explore the attitudes of Polish society and the Polish Catholic Church to the persecuted Jews.

The author of Hunt for the Jews: Betrayal and Murder in German-Occupied Poland, Grabowski insists that research on the subject of Polish complicity must go on unabated.

“We can talk about the complicity of segments of Polish society in the extermination of the Jews of Poland,” he confirmed.

“The question is how widely we want to interpret this term, but we are talking about a widespread phenomenon which has not been discussed in depth. And regardless of what current nationalist authorities in Poland want to do, it’s our obligation and duty to study it.

“The assumption that the extermination occurred in outer space, that the Holocaust happened without Polish society becoming aware of this unfortunate event, is simply absolutely false.

“The mass murder of Polish Jews was not abstract. It happened inside the space of the Polish nation, so this is why you cannot pretend that this is only a German-Jewish affair. There are no Polish bystanders in the Holocaust.”

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

Current Events, Guest Lecturers

Austria dealing with the past


In 1995, Hannah M. Lessing took the helm of the Austrian National Fund, an institution entrusted with Holocaust recognition, restitution and remembrance. At the time, her father, himself a survivor, was less than impressed with her decision to turn her back on a successful banking career. His response? “Can you give me back my childhood? Can you bring back my mother from Auschwitz?”

“That’s when I decided to do it, with the knowledge that we cannot turn back the hands of time, that we cannot repair anything,” Hannah explains. And true to her word, she approached the then President of Parliament and asked for the job.

“He asked what I would need to get started. I told him that I need you to write a letter, together with me, where we say that we’re sorry, that it’s too late and we are aware that nothing can be repaired. Then, I need historians who will research, I need staff who will listen, and I need open access to the archives.

“‘Very interesting’, he said, and he told me to send him a letter with all of my ideas. I left the meeting thinking I’ll never hear from him again. Still, I wrote the letter and two weeks later I had the job.

“Through our work, we seek to combat the historical amnesia in Austria. For decades, the atrocities committed were shrouded in a veil of silence. The National Fund was the first organisation to officially recognise Austrian survivors and to give them the recognition that they deserve.”

Over the coming years, Hannah and her team would find as many as 30,000 survivors, in 17 countries, all originating from Austria. “One of the beautiful things about the fund is that it’s not exclusively for Jewish survivors,” she confirms. “It’s a fund dealing with all persecutees from Austria, be they Roma, Sinti, the handicapped, political prisoners or homosexuals.

“We didn’t know what to expect. I told my employees, ‘don’t count on people being grateful, because they haven’t been dealt with for 50 years. We will reach out and we will listen.’ And yet, we were humbled from day one. It seems that we were exactly what they were looking for. Someone to reach out and say, ‘we’re sorry’.

“We received many, many letters that after we had sent the first letter and issued the first payment, people passed. Their children would write to me and say that it was finally an opportunity for closure.”

Ultimately, the National Fund would be allocated a total of $360m with which to compensate the victims. Naturally, such an undertaking required painstaking research, not least because it was also a fund for heirs. At its peak, Hannah assembled a team of 180 employees, including 40 historians, 40 archivists and 40 legal clerks.

“I could only actually compensate for 12 per cent and that was really horrible. But, because we had already dealt with survivors for a long time, we could reconcile with them, because we were giving back their family history. As of today, we have researched 30,000 Jewish family histories, we gave back all of the documents and we compensated for a certain amount of losses.”

And Hannah fondly recalls returning a painting to an elderly survivor, Freddy, here in the Carmel. It was deemed too expensive to ship from Vienna, and so Hannah personally obliged.

“I will never forget it,” she adds. “The feeling is indescribable. These are really the pieces of work which are the most beautiful things, that you can return something. I went with our Speaker of the House in June to New York, where we returned one book to a family. No matter how small it is, it’s a piece of family history that you’re returning.”


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

Current Events, Current Students, Newsletter, Program News, Research, Uncategorized

Newsletter Fall 2017


Website  ■  Blog  ■  Donate  ■  Scholarships

Fall 2017

We were happy to welcome this last October a group of new young students, who constitute our sixth Cohort. These students – from Israel, the U.S., Canada, England, Poland, Germany, Bulgaria, Romania, Russia and Ukraine, will be studying with us for the next 12 months, touring Holocaust related sites, interning at museums, schools and research centers and working on their own independent research. We look forward to sharing their meaningful year with you all in our blog and newsletters.
We are happy to share with you some of the highlights of the last few months, as well as to let you know what to expect in the coming months. We have a very exciting year ahead!Please let everyone know that we are now accepting applications for the 2018-19 academic year and are on the lookout for excellent and motivated students. Please share our newsletter and help us reach those who are committed to the research and study of the Holocaust.

Prof. Arieh J. Kochavi & Dr. Yael Granot-Bein

Program News

malloryCohort V Student Reflects on Her Life Changing Year

It has already been three months since we said goodbye to Cohort V. Our student Mallory reflects on her life changing year, shares her plans for the future, and gives advice for the students of Cohort VI…

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Iternational Internship Announcement

Each year students of our program are encouraged to apply for our prestigious intenational internships. They are an amazing opportunity for our students to gain professional, hands-on experience while networking, paving the way for their future careers in the field of Holocaust Studies. Students are given a scholarship from the Weiss-Livnat International MA Program in Holocaust Studies to help cover their accommodation and airfares. We are proud to announce the students who will be undertaking our internships this academic year!

jasmine_0Jasmine Munn-McDonnell, Cohort V
The Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust & Genocide, London

What inspired you to apply for our international internships and what makes you most excited about interning at the Wiener Library in London?

I would have been crazy to not apply for this round of international internships. One of the things that most attracted me to this program before applying was the partnerships with world-class museums and institutions. To gain professional experience abroad on top of the MA was an opportunity that was not to be missed! I am excited to intern at the Wiener Library specifically because it has such a rich and fascinating history. The library was founded in 1933 and was in operation during the Holocaust. The library’s mission today of supporting research, learning, teaching and advocacy about the Holocaust and genocide is important and something that I am passionate about. And, needless to say, I am excited to spend five weeks living in London!

What kind of work will you be doing at the Wiener Library?

At the library, I will be working on numerous projects. I will be working with the Library’s social media and helping with the launch of their new website and Facebook page. I will be in London for International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and at that time of year, the Library holds a debate for young people, which I will be helping to formulate questions for. Also while I am interning, the Library and the University of London are running a conference entitled Beyond Camps and Forced Labour: Current International Research on Survivors of Nazi Persecution, which is something that I will be helping out with.

hana_1Hana Green, Cohort V
Virginia Holocaust Museum, Richmond

Hana will be working under the supervision of the museum’s Senior Historian, Dr. Charles Sydnor, and with Director of Education, Megan Ferenczy, on several educational projects and educational outreach programs. Additionally, she will be helping out with tours and the ongoing care and upgrading of exhibits during her time at the Virginia Holocaust Museum

eugenia_1-e1...Eugenia Mihalcea, Cohort V
POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Warsaw

Eugenia will be working on a project at the museum that involves using oral testimony from the USC Shoah Foundation to create IWalks (video segments that can be used on guided tours to provide historical context to sites).



eugenia_1-e1...Mallory N., Cohort V
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington D.C.
Mallory will be completing a fellowship at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies. Her research is titled: “The British-American Diplomat and the Lithuanian Nationalist: The relationship of John Mazionis and Stasys Žakevičius during the years 1939-1961”.

roteminternshipRotem Zilber, Cohort IV
The Jewish Museum in Budapest

Rotem will be interning at the Jewish Museum in Budapest, focusing on Holocaust education. Rotem, a teacher, will enhance her skills as a teacher by working in a different cultural setting




hirshDr. David Hirsh Speaks about Contemporary Left Antisemitism

The Weiss-Livnat International MA Program in Holocaust Studies had the pleasure of hosting Dr. David Hirsh, a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London, who spoke about the subject matter of his new book: Contemporary Left Antisemitism. Hirsh’s book covers a range of issues surrounding contemporary left antisemitism in the United Kingdom…

Read more…


mallindAlumni Activities

Congratulations to Mallory (Cohort V) and Lindsay Shapiro (Cohort III) who recently presented their research at the Seventh International Conference for Jewish Studies Researchers in Warsaw. Mallory’s presentation was titled “Through the Decades: The Jewish Perception of the Great Provocation and its Aftermath”, and Lindsay presented on “Polish Immigration to Israel during the Polish Anti-Zionist Campaign 1967-1970”.

Welcoming Cohort VI


On 12 November, Doron Livnat, the son of Yitzhak Livnat, and his wife Marian visited and welcomed Cohort VI to the program. Regrettably, this is the first cohort since the creation of our program who did not have the opportunity to hear Yitzhak speak. We are so thankful to have had Yitzhak as a dear friend and partner.

The Livnat family, through their generosity, continues to impact our program and students. Their annual donation allows students from different countries to spend a year in Israel and dedicate their time and energy to researching the Holocaust. We are forever grateful to Honorary Dr. Livnat and his wife Marian for their continued support. We will never forget Yitzhak and his legacy and promise to carry it on.

Holocaust Survivor Micha Gelber and his wife also joined Doron and Marian. Micha shared his story with Cohort VI.

Read Micha Gelber’s story here

Meet Cohort VI

malloryOlga Kartashova, Russia

MA in Comparative History and Jewish studies at the Central European University in Budapest.

My main interests in the field are the history of the Holocaust in Poland and in the USSR and its aftermath, memorialization, politics of memory, mythology, historiography, and war crimes trials in Eastern Europe.

I am interested in how Jewish, Polish and Soviet agencies together with Nuremberg Tribunal formed the memory of Holocaust and helped to remember/forget the crimes connected to Nazi death camps in Poland.

malloryAndreea Camelia Tudor, Romania

B.A English and Romanian literature, University of Bucharest; MA in Jewish Studies, Paidea University, Sweden.

Everything started with a poem. I was a first year Bachelor’s student studying literature at the University of Bucharest and I came across Paul Celan’s famous Death Fugue. I had read it thousands times before, but did not internalize it until that moment of clarity. My interpretative lenses changed in that moment. I was repeating and combining the phrases and realized how vividly Holocaust imagery plays in my head. Years passed by and I found myself driving indirectly towards researching the Holocaust in Romania.

Read more about Olga and Andreea here

What to Expect This Year


The Ghez Collection Catalogue and Exhibition

In 1978 Dr. Oscar Ghez, a Swiss art collector, donated his collection of works of art by artists who perished in the Holocaust to the University of Haifa. Consisting of paintings, watercolours, drawings and scultures, the collection includes over 130 works by 18 artists who lived and worked in Paris before the Holocaust. Arrested by the Nazis and their French collaborators, many of these artists were interned in the transit camps of Drancy, Gurs, Compiègne before being deported East to death camps. Ghez conceived of the collection as a memorial to artists who perished in the Holocaust, but it is also an important record of their lives and creativity.

In 2017 the students of Cohort V worked with Dr. Rachel Perry, researching these 18 artists and compiling a new catalogue of their works.

We are proud to share the digital version of the catalogue, which is available to view online here.

In the Spring of 2018 we are excited to be opening an exhibition of the Ghez Collection of Jewish Artists Who Perished in the Holocaust in the Hecht Museum at the University of Haifa. Students of Cohort VI will have the opportunity to work with Dr. Rachel Perry as an internship curating and installing the exhibition.

jagieJagiallonian University

Our program enjoys a close cooperation with the Jagiallonian University in Krakow, Poland. We have hosted Dr. Edyta Gawron for a series of lectures on the Jews of Poland and our students were hosted by Dr. Ewa Wegrzyn and her students. This year through the EU program of Erasmus, we will host professors from the Jagiallonian University and facilitate student’s exchange between the two institutions.

NYjewishHeritage Museum

We are pleased to share with you our new partnership with the Jewish Heritage Museum in New York. From 2018 students will have the opportunity to undertake 4-8 week internships at the Jewish Heritage Museum in New York as well as at their partner institution, the Auschwitz Jewish Center in Poland or New York.

coursesMulti-disciplinary Courses

As well as providing our students with a strong historical foundation of the Holocaust, students of our multi-disciplinary program have the opportunity to enrol in a wide range of courses that cover a number of academic approaches. Some of the multidisciplinary courses offered to our students this year are…

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ihrig2016Faculty Feature: Prof. Stefan Ihrig

Professor Stefan Ihrig received his BA degree in Law and Politics at the Queen Mary University in London, his MA degree in History, Turcology and Political Science at the Free University of Berlin and his PhD in History at the University of Cambridge….

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s200_carol.k...Faculty Feature: Dr. Carol Kidron

Dr. Carol A. Kidron is a senior lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Haifa. She teaches Anthropology of Memory, Trauma and Commemoration in the Weiss-Livnat International MA Program in Holocaust Studies…

Read more…

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

Current Events, Current Students, Guest Lecturers, Program News, Research Forum, Uncategorized

Dr. David Hirsh speaks at the University of Haifa about Contemporary Left Antisemitism

hirshToday the Weiss-Livnat International MA Program in Holocaust Studies had the pleasure of hosting Dr. David Hirsh, a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London, who spoke about the subject matter of his new book: Contemporary Left Antisemitism. Hirsh’s book covers a range of issues surrounding contemporary left antisemitism in the United Kingdom, from the Livingstone Formulation (that bringing up antisemitism is more offensive than antisemitism itself to particular progressives), antisemitism and antizionism in the British Labour Party, to assorted boycotts of Israelis, Israel, and supporters of Israel. Hirsh, in his book and in his lecture at the University of Haifa, provides an analysis and critique of the various left-wing antisemitic and antizionist discourses and movements in Britain today.

In his informative and thought-provoking lecture, Hirsh discussed some of the characteristics and manifestations of contemporary left antisemitism. For example, Hirsh noted that left antisemitism is often dressed up and is attempted to be passed off as antizionism – something which is tolerated and deemed relatively acceptable in the mainstream today. It seems that to be left-wing and antisemitic is an oxymoron, given the left’s tradition of anti-racism. However, antisemites of the left, Hirsh argues, often do not even recognize that their rhetoric in fact holds hostility towards Jews. In his lecture, Hirsh also demonstrated many similarities between the tenets of both left and right wing antisemites, such as contempt for democracy, and suspicions of international corporations and trade, which supposedly hide the true power structures of the world.


Hirsh went on to discuss some of the worrying aspects of antisemitism creeping into the mainstream through both the avenues of the populous left and the populous right. Hirsh recalled Hannah Arendt by noting that we must not forget that Nazism was viewed by many Germans as a radical and exciting movement that people wanted to be a part of. Hirsh explained that today people have a “plastic” understanding of the Nazis and forget that it did not start straight away with characteristics of 1939; it was something that grew and manifested from small kernels of supposed rationality. Today there is the problem that many have forgotten the past and say that the political situation “couldn’t be worse,” which, indeed, it could be if people blindly follow and cease to engage in intellectual discussion and debate.


Hirsh wrapped up his talk by speaking about the effects of the left’s antisemitism on the Jewish community of the United Kingdom. Hirsh explained that while contemporary left antisemitism is certainly of concern, many British Jews do not face antisemitism in everyday life and are safe on the streets. But, if one is involved in politics (student or other) then they are likely to experience it.

Ending the lecture on a more positive note, Hirsh optimistically stated that the fight in the Labour Party and in the United Kingdom is not finished yet and is not even close to being finished. As long as the discourse remains lively and people can still write and debate, there is hope.

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

Current Events, Current Students

A Reflection on Cohort V


Students sitting with donors, Marianne and Doron Livnat and Director of the Program, Arieh Kochavi. 

Our year with Cohort V is coming to an end. We will be with them for another month then they will return to the far reaches of the world. To celebrate our year, we held an event with our generous donors, Doron and Marianne Livnat, as we simultaneously celebrated the life of Yitzhak Weiss-Livnat. With a heavy heart we grieve the loss of our great friend and partner, but we also laud him and his family for the existence of our program. Through the family’s generosity, this year alone, they have effected 30 students, but in actuality they have infinitely changed the world as we send our students out with the tools to impact the world.


Mallory and Dr. Shmulik Lederman

Many of our students shared what it meant to them to be a part of Yitzhak Weiss-Livnat’s legacy. One of the most touching comments was from Mallory, who comes to us from California, and her research is mostly with the Einsatzgruppen and specific aktions. She spoke about Abba Kovner and his manifesto, which was a warning to Jews and pleaded them to “Resist, resist until your last our breath.” After the Holocaust, in an interview he was asked why he wrote the manifesto. He said that he wanted to ignite resistance in the Jewish people with this small flame. Mallory said that this program has been the ignition she needed to start a blazing fire, which we can all bring to our respective homes. She also commented on the diversity in the program, as we looked around the room we realized that no one was sitting next to someone like them: their neighbors were from another country, older or younger, etc. What Mallory said reflects well on our program; our diverse students are now well equipped to enter the professional world, and make a lasting impact.


Other students talked about different opportunities made available to them by the program including internships at Atlit Detention Center, the Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum and Yad Vashem. Our students have shaped databases, installed exhibits and formed educational programs. Other students talked about different research conferences they were able to attend; this year we sent students to Austria; Romania; Germany; and Poland. Our students have also put together a publication on Jewish artists, most of whom perished in the Holocaust, and their work before, during, and after the Holocaust. The accomplishments of this year were humbling and a good harbinger of what is to come from our impressive students.


Dr. Rachel Perry sharing about a new publication her class wrote early this year. 

Though most of our students are finished with the coursework, this isn’t a true farewell because the resources and professional network that we offer our students will always play a significant role in their professional lives. We look forward to seeing the professional progress of our students.


Wei shares about his year with Cohort V. 

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

Current Events, Holocaust Survivor

Yitzhak Weiss-Livant’s Legacy


Yitzhak Weiss-Livnat with his wife, and director Yael Granot-Bein.

With a heavy heart, we announce the death of Yitzhak Weiss-Livnat in late March, 2017. The Livnat family invited Cohort V to the funeral which was held March 28. We were fortunate to have Yitzhak Livnat as a central element to our program, every cohort since the inception of the program has heard Yitzhak’s testimony.

Doron Livnat, Yitzhak’s son, shared with Cohort V earlier this week. Doron told the story of when Yitzhak started to talk about the Holocaust. During his childhood and even into adulthood, Doron’s father never talked about the Holocaust. Everyday at 2 o’clock the family would listen to the radio, in Israel for several years after the Holocaust the Israeli radio hosted a program that allowed survivors to announce the names of those they were looking for. Faithfully, the Livnat family listened, but never talked about the names Yitzhak was hoping to hear. Then during the Eichmann trial the family dutifully listened, but again they never talked about the Holocaust.


Weiss-Livnat Family and Cohort V

When Doron met a German woman, Marian, now his wife, he decided to study in Germany. On Saturdays and Sundays they would walk their dog through the forest, and Yitzhak would visit often. One day as they walked through the forest, behind some houses, the farmer’s dogs started barking at the small group. Yitzhak sarcastically said, “On the death marches, the dogs would bark and bark, and the farmers saw nothing.” Doron was surprised and shocked, but Marian asked Yitzhak to share more. Doron was even more astonished when his father divulged more.


Yitzhak Weiss-Livnat and his wife with students from the program.

This was in 1978, since then Yitzhak has shared his testimony all over the world. Through his testimony, he inspired the audience to compassion and tolerance. Yitzhak fought hate and the ugliness of this world which he knew all too well. We’re all aware of the ignorance that continues, which is prevalent in today’s politics. Doron shared that the Livnat family sees the Weiss-Livnat Holocaust Studies program as Yitzhak’s legacy. We are proud to carry his name, and share his values. Doron charged us to “fight the deniers and to teach the ignorant.”


Doron Livnat speaking to previous students about his father.