The University of Haifa was honored to host the conference; Torch Bearers: Emerging Scholars in the Feild of Holocaust Studies on May 7-8, 2018. The conference brought together a collection of international Ph.D. fellows and MA graduate students from around the world, currently pursuing Holocaust research in an Israeli academic institution.
The two-day conference was moderated by leading Israeli Holocaust scholars, including; Dr. Dan Michman from Bar-Ilan University and Yad Vashem, Dr. Chavi Dreyfus from Tel Aviv University and Yad Vashem, Dr. David Silberklang from 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. Dinah Port from Tel Aviv University and Yad Vashem, Dr. Roni Stauber from Tel Aviv University, and Dr. Chana Yoblonka from Ben Gurion University and The Ghetto Fighters House.
Polish 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?”
Every year, Yitzhak Livnat would proudly welcome the new cohort of students and share his remarkable story of survival. He did so “in a very authentic way”, his son, Doron, tells us. “My father was always very genuine and very honest.” Sadly, Yitzhak passed away in March 2017, and so, Doron now carries the torch in his father’s honor.
Cohort VI joined Doron, together with his wife Marianne, at the Yitzhak Rabin Centre for a tour of the Israeli Museum. After all, Yitzhak Livnat was a devoted Zionist and his story, just like Rabin’s, is deeply entangled with that of the birth and development of the State of Israel. The perfect setting, then, in which to remember a dear friend of the programme.
“A person is only forgotten when his or her name is forgotten.” Words from the Talmud, no less, and the inspiration behind the world’s “largest commemoration project”, the Stolperstein.
The brainchild of German artist Gunter Demnig in the early 1990s, Stolpersteine – stumbling stones or blocks – are commemorative brass plaques installed in the pavement in front of a Holocaust victim’s last address of choice. Each engraving begins with the words, “Here lived…”
Cohort VI enjoyed a lively afternoon with ethical campaigner Terry Swartzberg, who is a tireless and, quite clearly, passionate advocate of the memorial project. “Stolpersteine are just the start of getting to know someone, an introduction to the victim,” he explains. “We can restore their name to our consciousness.”
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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
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
Cohort 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…
Olga Kartashova, Russia
What brought you to the University of Haifa?
After completion of an MA in Comparative History and Jewish studies at the Central European University in Budapest, I had in hand a decision to devote myself to the career of a Holocaust scholar and pursue further opportunities in academia. What supported my decision was a serious reputation of this very “young” program worldwide and the recommendations of alumni. And, of course, discovering Israel by living here for a year seemed to be a great adventure.
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, watercolors, drawings and sculptures, the collection includes over 130 works by 18 artists who lived and worked in Paris before the Holocaust.