Sandra Alfers is the founding director of The Ray Wolpow Institute for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Crimes Against Humanity and Professor of German in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages at Western Washington University. In 2013, the American Association of Teachers of German (AATG) designated Western’s German program a “National Center of Excellence,” one of only three public undergraduate programs in the U.S. with this distinction. Her work on the poetry of the Holocaust has been published in German, English, and Czech. Sandra’s German-language book weiter schreiben. Leben und Lyrik Else Dormitzer traces the life and work of Holocaust survivor and activist Else Dormitzer (1877-1958) from Nürnberg. Earlier this year, Sandra was named a statewide recipient of the 2018 Timm Ormsby Award for Faculty Citizenship to recognize her exemplary civic engagement. The award is inspired by the many achievement of Rep. Timm Ormsby, including his steadfast support of higher education in Washington state, and award winners embody service in the public interest.
Sandra will give an overview of best practices in Holocaust Education and illustrate a) how language and literature courses in languages other than English can contribute to generating knowledge in dynamic and collaborative learning environments and b) how they can serve as models for other disciplines.
Amy Wlodarski is Associate Professor of Music and Chair of the Department of Music at Dickinson College. Her research explores the relationship between music, trauma, memory, and politics, especially with regard to the music of European totalitarian regimes. Current publications focus on the manner in which composers have imagined the Holocaust in musical works ranging from Arnold Schoenberg to Steve Reich. Her book Musical Witness and Holocaust Representation appeared with Cambridge University Press in 2015 and won the American Musicological Society’s Lewis Lockwood Award, which is presented annually to an emerging musicology scholar in the field. With support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Paul Sacher Stiftung, Amy spent the 2017-2018 academic year in Basel, Switzerland researching the composer George Rochberg. Her book-in-progress is the first book-length study of Rochberg, whose work and worldview were deeply influenced by his wartime experience. At Dickinson, Amy teaches music history courses and conducts the Dickinson College Choir. In 2015, she received the Constance & Rose Ganoe Memorial Award for Inspirational Teaching.
Amy will explore how music functioned as a form of testimonial witness both during and after the Holocaust. Participants will encounter relevant literature that helps to situate music with the diverse traumatic soundscapes of the Holocaust and its aftermath.
Sarah Ellen Zarrow holds the Endowed Professorship in Jewish History at Western Washington University, where she teaches courses in Jewish history and the Holocaust. She holds a doctorate from New York University (2015), from the joint program of the Skirball Department of Hebrew & Judaic Studies and the History Department. After spending a year as an international fellow at the New Europe College Institute for Advanced Study in Bucharest, Romania, she joined the faculty at WWU in 2017, where she is also a member of the Wolpow Institute Faculty Committee. Currently, she is working on a book on the social role of ethnography for Jews in interwar Poland, and developing a project on Polish Jewish refugees in Romania. She spent part of summer 2018 as a visiting scholar at the Simon Dubnar Institute for Jewish History and Culture at the University of Leipzig, Germany. In December 2018, Sarah organized the panel “Religion and Jewish Education in Poland, 1915-1939”, and she also presented new research on the Lwów-based Craft Schools for Jewish Girls.
Sarah will introduce recent memorial projects in Europe, focusing on Eastern Europe in particular. She will consider a possible typology for Holocaust memorials and examine examples of collaboration and conflict between states and citizens in memorialization efforts.
Devin Naar is the Isaac Alhadeff Professor of Sephardic Studies at the University of Washington. He is the founder of the Sephardic Studies Program at the UW and currently its acting chair. He is Associate Professor of History and faculty at the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies in the Jackson School of International Studies at the UW. Devin’s first book Jewish Salonica: Between the Ottoman Empire and Modern Greece was published by Stanford University Press in 2016 and won the National Jewish Book Award in the category Research Based on Archival Materials the same year. It also won the 2017 Edmund Keeley Prize for best book in Modern Greek Studies awarded by the Modern Greek Studies Association and was translated into Greek by Alexandria Press in Athens in 2018. His second book project, Reimagining the Sephardic Diaspora, explores the dispersal of Sephardic Jews from the dissolving Ottoman Empire during the early 20th century and the creation of new Sephardic communal hubs in Europe and the Americas – including Seattle. At the UW, he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses linked to his research. He also supervises MA and PhD students in fields such as Modern Jewish History and Culture, Sephardic Studies, and Transnational Studies. Earlier this summer, he delivered the Otto and Monna Annual Lecture at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C.
Public Lecture Description:
Although usually understood as a “European” event, the Holocaust also resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of Sephardic Jews born in the predominantly Muslim world of the Ottoman Empire (Greece). Grappling with the particularities of their experiences compels us to expand the scope of the Holocaust into the eastern Mediterranean and to recognize the interconnections between the rise of Hitler’s empire and the making of the modern Middle East.
Martina Cucchiara is an Associate Professor of history at Bluffton University in Bluffton, Ohio. She received her Ph.D. in Modern German History from the University of Notre Dame in 2012. Martina has been awarded an Eli Lilly Presidential Fellowship at Notre Dame as well as a Charles H. Revson Foundation Fellowship at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. Her recent publications include articles in European History Quarterly and the current volume of Lessons and Legacies. She is the co-editor and translator of The Evil That Surrounds Us. The WWII Memoir of Erna Becker-Kohen (Indiana University Press 2017) and currently she is completing her book manuscript on the School Sisters of Notre Dame in Nazi Germany.
Martina will focus on the long and complex history of Christian antisemitism in Europe. Christian antisemitism buttressed “scientific racism” in Hitler’s Germany, thus the discussion will be contextualized within recent research on the Nazi racial state. Session participants will also examine specific Catholic responses to Jews and racism, which will further complicate an understanding of the Christian legacy of antisemitism in Nazi Germany and the Holocaust.
Sarah Cushman is the Director of the Holocaust Educational Foundation (HEF) of Northwestern University (NU). HEF was founded in 1976 by Theodore Zev Weis, a Holocaust survivor and trained educator, in order to preserve and promote awareness the Holocaust. HEF joined Northwestern University in 2013 to further expand its role and create educational opportunities for college- and university-level educators who teach, or wish to teach, Holocaust education in the fields of history, literature, Jewish studies, film studies, and psychology, among others. Prior to her work with NU, Sarah served as Head of Educational Programming at the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University. From 2007-2013, Sarah was Director of Youth Education at the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County (New York). While there, she completed her doctoral dissertation, The Women of Birkenau (Clark University, 2010), which is a social history of the women’s camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Sarah’s work has been recognized through receipt of fellowships from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Steven Spielberg Foundation, and the Holocaust Education Foundation.
Sarah will broaden the concept of “gender”, think about and discuss constructions of masculinities and femininities regarding perpetrators and victims, and whether and how sexuality figures in various gender constructions. She will explore difficult topics such as sexual violence and sexual barter, and discuss how to approach these topics critically and sensitively.