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Holocaust Living History Workshop Series Continues at UC San Diego in 2020

Each event takes place at the UC San Diego Library and features a Holocaust survivor, witness, or scholar who lends their experience and knowledge to explain the Holocaust

The 2019-20 Holocaust Living History Workshop (HLHW) continues at UC San Diego in 2020 with five profound events focusing on the themes of trauma, memory, and resilience in the process of renewal following the persecution of countless individuals during the Holocaust.

Established in 2008 as a collaborative project between the UC San Diego Jewish Studies Program and the UC San Diego Library, HLHW aims to broaden understanding of the past, foster tolerance, and preserve the memory of victims and survivors of the Holocaust while emphasizing their continued relevance in the world today. 

Members of the public and campus community are invited to attend the events to hear personal stories and memories from Holocaust survivors, witnesses, relatives, and scholars. All events are free and held on the UC San Diego campus in Geisel Library’s Seuss Room from 5-7 PM unless noted otherwise.

“The Dandelions Call to Me”: The Living History of Terezin
January 22, 4:30 PM, Geisel Library, Seuss Room

Terezin was unique among Nazi ghettos and camps. Intended as a showcase of German benevolence, the Czech garrison town boasted a profusion of cultural activities encompassing music, visual arts, and poetry. At this special event—which will feature Cheryl Rattner, Steven Schindler, Jacqueline Gmach, Yale Strom, Jeff Pekarek, and community members—the remarkable legacy of Terezin will be celebrated with music, art, and poetry.

The event will begin with an account of the Butterfly Project, a San Diego-based initiative launched to commemorate every child lost in the Holocaust. Co-founder and CEO Cheryl Rattner Price will introduce the project, while the second-generation survivor Steven Schindler offers a look at its recent impact in Cottbus, Germany, the town where his father was born. Attendees will also be introduced to Jacqueline Gmach’s forthcoming tribute to the writers and artists of Terezin, We are THE TREE OF LIFE, which focused on the regenerative power of art in the face of oppression and persecution.

Registration for this event, which has been made possible by Judi Gottschalk, is closed. Walk-ins will be accommodated on a first-come, first-served basis if seats become available. 

Transmitted Wounds: Media and the Mediation of Trauma
February 19, 5 PM, Geisel Library, Seuss Room

In his new book Transmitted Wounds, the Israeli communications scholar Amit Pinchevski explores the ways media technology shapes the social life of trauma both clinically and culturally. Drawing on a number of case studies, such as the radio broadcasts of the Eichmann trial, the videotaping of Holocaust survivor testimonies, and the recent use of digital platforms for holographic witnessing, he will demonstrate how the technological mediation of trauma informs the traumatic condition itself.

Pinchevski is an associate professor in the Department of Communication and Journalism at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the author of By Way of Interruption: Levinas and the Ethics of Communication (2005). He has co-edited two books on media ethics and media witnessing.

Registration required and now open. This event has been made possible, in part, by the UC San Diego’s Department of Communication.

Yiddish Glory: The Lost Songs of World War II
April 15, 5 PM, Geisel Library, Seuss Room

At the height of World War II, a team of Soviet scholars embarked on an ambitious goal to collect recently written songs dealing with the Holocaust. Lost until the early 1990s, these songs were rediscovered and recorded with an ensemble of recognized soloists. Thanks to the painstaking labor of Anna Shternshis and the talent of Psoy Korolenko, lecture attendees can enjoy and reflect upon this treasure trove of songs that offer a precious glimpse into an unfolding tragedy and the artistic reaction to it.

Shternshis is the Al and Malka Green Professor of Yiddish and Diaspora Studies at the University of Toronto. Korolenko is a prominent singer-songwriter and philologist who holds a Ph.D. in Russian literature. In 2018, their joint project Yiddish Glory was nominated for a Grammy.

Registration is required and opens March 1 at 8 AM. This event has been made possible by the Lou Dunst Memorial Endowment.

Sexual Barter in Times of Genocide: Reflections on Sexual Violence, Agency, and Sex Work
May 6, 5 PM, Geisel Library, Seuss Room

What is everyday life, and how is it experienced under extreme stress? This is the broader question that animates the research of Anna Hájková, an associate professor of Modern Continental European History at the University of Warwick. In her lecture, Hájková will examine sex work, sexual violence, and coercion of Jewish women and men in concentration camps, ghettos, and in hiding.

Hájková is the author of many journal articles and books, including her current project, Boundaries of the Narratable: Transgressive Sexuality and the Holocaust, which contributes to the understanding of gender and sexual violence during the Holocaust and explores the erasure of narratives of gays and lesbians who were deported as Jews and who subsequently vanished from the historical record.

Registration is required and opens March 1 at 8 AM. This event has been made possible through support from the Thurgood Marshall College at UC San Diego. 

Trauma, Memory, and the Art of Survival
June 3, 5 PM, Geisel Library, Seuss Room

As a child, Gabriella Karin was separated from her parents and placed in a Slovakian convent for three years. Although physically safe, she did not emerge unscathed. Suppressed memories of her past came flooding back once she began to fashion sculptures related to the Holocaust later in life. Hear about her journey and how it offers important insight into trauma and how creativity can be used as a tool to process memories of oppression, persecution, and loss.

This event will begin with a talk given by Rose Schindler, a Czechoslovakian Jew who was deported to Auschwitz at age 14. Her story is told in the recently published Two Who Survived: Keeping Hope Alive While Surviving the Holocaust.

Registration is required and opens March 1 at 8 AM. This event has been made possible by Daniel and Phyllis Epstein.

All visitors to the UC San Diego campus are required to display a valid parking pass. The closest parking to Geisel Library is the Hopkins Parking Structure. For information about accessible parking on campus, click here.

For more information about the events above or help with registration, contact

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