Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Belfer National Conference for Educators (July 2015)

Our friends at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum encourage teachers to attend the Belfer National Conference this summer at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in July. The conference is free, but participants have to take care of their own travel expenses, though there are scholarships available to cover them if people apply early enough and are accepted. It is three days at the Museum, with free resources, and money to spend in the gift shop, as well as hearing from historians, survivors, and teacher leaders in the field. Middle and high school teachers who teach the Holocaust in any area are encouraged to attend. Please share this information widely!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Sunday, February 22, 2015

On Tuesday, March 3, UNCG welcomes VIP guest Alfred Schnog, an eyewitness to the rise of Nazi Germany and the infamous Kristallnacht pogrom. 

  • Panel discussion 4-5 PM in Curry 225 (auditorium) on the UNCG campus with reception immediately following.

  • In his keynote "Prelude to Genocide" (7-8:30 PM in Curry 225), Alfred will share his personal story of his childhood in Nazi Germany and a dramatic escape.

Events are free and open to all.

Sponsored by the UNCG Department of Communication Studies, Department of History, and a Kohler Fund grant from the UNCG International Programs Center.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism

Here is a reminder of why we must remain vigilant not only against anti-Semitism but against actions that mock the history of any people. It's a sobering case and raises the question of whether education alone is sufficient to prevent such actions.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Today's Music & the Holocaust

First, a huge THANK YOU to everyone who planned, organized, presented, or otherwise participated in the US Holocaust Memorial Museum workshop (USHMM) for Holocaust educators held at the NC Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) in Cullowhee, NC (see my previous blog post). Special appreciation goes to:
  • Jonathan Wade, the "Jolly Good Fellow" at NCCAT
  • Donna Glee Williams, organizer and planner extraordinaire at NCCAT
  • The USHMM Teacher Education Corps "road show" team (a.k.a. the Washington Wizards): Pete Fredlake (who obviously plays center), Greta Stults, Kate English, and Laurie Schaefer
  • All the catering, security, maintenance, and clerical staff at NCCAT. These folks may often labor behind the scenes, but enable everyone and everything to function.
The collective talent, knowledge and enthusiasm of our Holocaust educators in the schools continues to impress me. The partnership with the USHMM opens up exciting possibilities--and I'll track the progress right here.

On to today's topic. What do you think of when someone talks about "music and the Holocaust"? For many, the only exposure to "Jewish music" might be Adam Sandler's "Hanukkah Song." OK, it's a comedy classic, but it's hardly genuine. How about the now lost songs of the shtetls, whose melodies now are preserved as memorials to those lost civilizations?

It turns out that reverberations of the Holocaust extend deeply into today's musicians. I'm not talking about beloved Debie Friedman, the renowned Jewish folk singer who brought so many Jewish folk tales and tunes to life before her untimely death. Nope, I refer to hard-core, take-no-prisoners, serious modern rockers. Few people realize how the Holocaust lives on in the descendants of the witnesses, survivors, and victims. Here are a few examples:
  • Geddy Lee, lead singer of Rush. His nickname "Geddy" was bestowed by childhood friends imitating how his mother, a Polish immigrant who was liberated from Bergen-Belsen, used to pronounce his name (given name Gary Lee Weinrib) when calling out for him.
    • article about Geddy's Holocaust connections
    • "Red Sector A" (on the album Grace Under Pressure) song, which deals with his mother's experiences
  • David Draiman, lead singer of Disturbed (a band whose music must be played on maximum volume to achieve proper effect)
  • Gene Simmons, co-founder of Kiss, whose mother is a Hungarian survivor, lost virtually all of his family on his mother's side during the Holocaust. Although his heritage does seem to influence Gene's life, it is less clear (at least at this point) how or whether it connects to his music.
Reverberations of the Holocaust extend far beyond history books.

Friday, August 3, 2012

US Holocaust Memorial Museum Teacher Forum in NC

On August 3-5 at the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) in Cullowhee, NC, staff from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) is conducting the North Carolina Teacher Forum on Holocaust Education. This workshop brings together many of the most active Holocaust educators at all levels (middle school, high school, post-secondary) and across many different subject areas. The objective is to energize Holocaust education in North Carolina by fueling deeper collaboration and greater innovation. This effort focuses on inventive ways to use the resources of the USHMM in classroom and co-curricular activities.

The benefits of this forum extend beyond the participants and their students. USHMM has set up an ongoing website to share the conversations and outcomes as widely as possible:
NC Teacher Forum Website
The site also contains many links to useful Holocaust education resources and websites.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Massive Discovery of Holocaust Documents

Here is a CBS 60 Minutes segment called "Hitler's Secret Archive." It details the discovery of a hitherto unknown trove of documents related to the Holocaust:16+ miles of files. Originally aired 17 December 2006.