The Holocaust Living History Workshop (HLWH) at the University of California San Diego continues its year-long series of educational events with three insightful programs this winter, underscoring this year’s theme, “Holocaust and the Burden of History.” This year’s events approach the Holocaust from various angles to shed light on lesser-known aspects of the atrocities committed, such as the transgenerational transmission of trauma. The series, now in its ninth year of programming, is presented by the UC San Diego Library and the UC San Diego Jewish Studies Program.
HLHW events are designed to broaden understanding of the past, foster tolerance, and preserve the memory of victims and survivors of the Holocaust. Members of the public and campus community are invited to attend the events to hear from local Holocaust survivors, witnesses, relatives, and scholars, as they share their personal stories and memories. All events are free and held on the UC San Diego campus in Geisel Library’s Seuss Room from 5 to 7 p.m., except where otherwise noted.
January 18—Out of Oswiecim: A Family’s Odyssey—With William Rosenbaum
Our first winter quarter event features Del Mar resident William Rosenbaum, who will present the story of Oswiecim/Auschwitz through the prism of his family history, and share some of the challenges of being a second-generation Holocaust survivor. After the outbreak of WWII, William’s father, Jakob Enoch Rosenbaum, and his family were forced to move from Os-wiecim—a small town in Southern Poland that had been home to Jews since the mid-16th century— to the Bedzin ghetto, where they endured a life of grueling forced labor, material hardship, and daily cruelty. Through one of the ironies of history, Jakob eventually ended up in Auschwitz, a few miles from his old home.
February 13—The Voice of Your Brother’s Blood: The Murder of a Town in Eastern Galicia—With Omer Bartov
Omer Bartov, the John P. Birkelund Distinguished Professor of European History and German Studies at Brown University, is recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on the subject of genocide. Bartov will explore the dynamics of the horrifying genocidal violence which took place in the East Galician town of Buczacz— following the German conquest of the region in 1941— and its subsequent erasure from local memory. For centuries, Poles, Ukrainians, and Jews coexisted in the region, but tragically, by the time the town was liberated in 1944, the entire Jewish population had been murdered by the Nazis. They were assisted by local Ukrainians, who then ethnically cleansed the region of the Polish population.
March 8—A Mother’s Last Wish: Stories from the Bloodlands—With Pam Zimbalist
In her memoir, My Mother’s Last Wish, Hanna Gendler Rom Young tells the story of her childhood in the Jewish sector of Kovno, her years in the ghetto, and her incarceration in KZ Stutthof, where she watched her mother die from starvation. For many years, she was unable to confront the enormous losses she had endured, but with the help of her daughter Pam Zimbalist, Gendler was finally able to honor her mother’s dying wish and complete her memoir. Zimbalist shares her mother’s history as well as her own role in bearing witness, and explores the impact of trauma on subsequent generations and how the child of a Holocaust survivor comes to terms with an excruciatingly painful past.
In addition to the HLHW lecture series, which attempts to teach the history of the Holocaust through face-to-face interactions, the HLHW also engages Holocaust survivors, their relatives, students, and interested members of the public through the USC Shoah Foundation Institute’s Visual History Archive. The Archive was created by film maker Steven Spielberg to document the stories of Holocaust survivors for his movie, Schindler’s List. In 1994, Spielberg established the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, a non-profit organization, to collect and preserve firsthand accounts of survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust. The foundation became the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education in 2006.
The UC San Diego Library is one of only three university libraries on the West Coast to have access to the Visual History Archive, which includes 52,000 digital oral testimonies recorded by Holocaust survivors and witnesses. Members of the campus community and the public can access the testimonies housed in the Visual History Archive, which come from 40,000 specific geographic locations in languages ranging from Bulgarian and Greek to Japanese and Spanish, from any computer on the UC San Diego campus.