Zlata Filipovic grew up under one of the longest sieges in modern-day history in her native city of Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina. Hear the fascinating story of her wartime childhood, the publication of her diary, and how they led to her current engagement with human rights and storytelling.
Zlata is the author of the international bestseller Zlata’s Diary, the co-editor of Stolen Voices: Young People’s War Diaries form WWI to Iraq, and a documentary filmmaker.
September 2021 marks the 80th anniversary of the Babi Yar massacre, which occurred on September 29-30, 1941. On the evening of September 29 almost 34,000 Jews were forcibly rounded up and shot over two days at Babi Yar, a ravine that was then located on the outskirts of the city of Kiev, Ukraine. This horrific massacre became a symbol of the Holocaust by bullets, the mass shootings carried out in Eastern Europe by the Nazis.
To observe this anniversary, the Holocaust Memorial Center is honored to rebroadcast the 2019 concert Shostakovich Babi Yar Remembering the Holocaust performed by the MSU Symphony Orchestra and Choral Ensembles. This performance features Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13 (Babi Yar) and selections from Charles Davidson’s I Never Saw Another Butterfly.
Presented by the Michigan State University College of Music and The Michael and Elaine Serling Institute for Jewish Studies and Modern Israel at MSU, in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, the Holocaust Memorial Center Zekelman Family Campus, the Jewish Community Center of Metro Detroit and The Detroit Jewish News.
Generously sponsored by Gretchen and Ethan Davidson, Margie Dunn and Mark Davidoff, Howard J. Gourwitz, Belle and Julius Harris Visiting Artist Fund established by Lauren Julius Harris, Stanley and Selma Hollander Endowed Fund in Jewish Arts & Music, Sue and Alan Kaufman, Iris and Stephen Linder, Rebecca and Alan Ross, Elaine and Michael Serling/The Serling Institute for Jewish Studies and Modern Israel, Drs. Lou A. and Roy J. Simon, Linn Van Dyne and Mike Knox, Jeff D. Williams, and Andrea L. Wulf.
Dr. Matthew Pauly, Associate Professor of History, College of Social Science, and affiliate of the Michael and Elaine Serling Institute for Jewish Studies and Modern Israel
Dr. Kevin Bartig, Associate Professor of Musicology, MSU College of Music
Dr. Amy Simon, William and Audrey Farber Family Chair in Holocaust Studies and European Jewish History; Assistant Professor, James Madison College, Department of History; and the Michael and Elaine Serling Institute for Jewish Studies and Modern Israel
In 1945 the diary of Polish teenager Rywka Lipszyc was discovered amid the rubble of the recently liberated Auschwitz-Birkenau camp. It was written during Rywka’s time in the Łodz ghetto and provides poignant reflections on her life and experiences in the years 1943 and 1944. This presentation explores the historical context within which Rywka’s diary was written – focusing on the organizational structure of the Łodz ghetto and the nature of life there under Nazi rule – while also reflecting on broader themes raised by Rywka’s compelling narrative and on the continuing importance of such first-person accounts in deepening our understanding of victims’ experiences.
Derek Hastings received his PhD in modern European history from the University of Chicago and is currently Associate Professor of History at Oakland University. He is the author of Catholicism and the Roots of Nazism (Oxford University Press, 2011) and Nationalism in Modern Europe (Bloomsbury, 2018).
Thank you to our Community Partner: Cis Maisel Center for Judaic Studies and Community Engagement, Oakland University
During WWII, a handpicked group of GIs landed in France to conduct a secret mission: use special effects to fool the enemy about the strength and location of American troops. Rick Beyer brings this incredible true story to life.
Thank you to our Community Partners: the Detroit VA Health Care System, Yankee Air Museum and the Jewish War Veterans of the United States – Department of Michigan.
After the Nazis murder her family, 12-year-old Sara Guralnik flees to the Ukrainian countryside and assumes the identity of her Christian best friend. She lives by her wits as a farmhouse maid, where one slip of her tongue could mean her life. The award-winning film My Name Is Sara tells the true story of her bravery, strength and survival. Watch it online, on-demand from Thursday, July 15- Sunday, July 18 at holocaustcenter.org. Then join us on July 18 for a discussion with Sara’s son and Executive Producer Mickey Shapiro, Director Steven Oritt and Detroit Free Press columnist Nancy Kaffer.
Thank you to our Community Partner: Congregation Beth Ahm.
Evil Auschwitz doctor Josef Mengele was the embodiment of bloodless efficiency and passionate devotion to a grotesque worldview. Author David Marwell will discuss Mengele’s twisted career and his escape to South America.
To order a copy of Mengele: Unmasking the ‘Angel of Death’ by David Marwell, click here.
Learn about the Jews who escaped to India and Iran after 1933. On the margins of the Holocaust and anxious about their families’ fates, they were homeless and stateless, but also oddly privileged as adventurous Europeans in non-western societies. Our speaker, Atina Grossmann, is Professor of History at the Cooper Union in New York City.
Watch acclaimed French violinist Arnaud Sussmann and Dave Wagner, Program Director and host of WRCJ 90.9 FM discuss his Holocaust-inspired recital. Arnaud regularly graces the world’s stages as a soloist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. The special program performed on June 8 for the Holocaust Memorial Center was inspired by his grandfather’s survival of Auschwitz-Birkenau. To honor the memories of those lost, Arnaud Sussmann and pianist Michael Brown performed works of Jewish composers whose lives were directly impacted by WWII, including Robert Dauber, Pavel Haas, and Erwin Schulhoff. Learn more about Sussman’s music and family by clicking the arrow above.
Arnaud’s program pays homage to his grandfather, Jacques Sussmann, who was a Holocaust survivor. Watch the video below to hear Arnaud share his grandfather’s story of surviving Auschwitz.
Thank you to our Community Partners: Hour Detroit Magazine, Detroit Public TV/ WRCJ 90.9 FM and Eastern Michigan University Center for Jewish Studies.
After nearly two decades of war in Afghanistan, the U.S. government is engaged in talks with the Taliban as part of an effort to forge a peace settlement and wind down U.S. military commitment. Within Afghanistan, government officials and ordinary citizens are fearful that an American exit could leave a beleaguered population at the mercy of the Taliban. How can the U.S. avoid a repeat of the 1975 Indochina withdrawal, which contributed to the rise of Cambodia’s genocidal Khmer Rouge regime? Associate Professor of Public Policy, John D. Ciorciari, will discuss the ways in which governments and ordinary citizens can help reduce the risk of genocide.
For Professor Ciorciari’s suggestions for how you can help and his links to agencies and projects in Afghanistan: Click Here
Thank you to our Community Partners, the International Policy Center at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan and the Donia Human Rights Center at the University of Michigan.
To download a program for the commemoration, click here.
Presented in cooperation with C.H.A.I.M.-Children of Holocaust-Survivors Association In Michigan, Hidden Children and Child Survivors Association of Michigan, Lester and Jewell Morris Hillel Jewish Student Center at Michigan State University, Michigan Jewish Conference, Program for Holocaust Survivors and Families, a Service of Jewish Senior Life, The Shaarit Haplaytah Organization, and The Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive.
As part of the 2021 Yom HaShoah commemoration, the Holocaust Memorial Center continues our tradition of participating in “Unto Every Person There Is A Name” in a new, innovative way. Volunteers sent videos of themselves reading the names of Holocaust victims from their homes. Thank you to all of our volunteers for working together with us to ensure the victims of the Holocaust are never forgotten.
Trapped in Nazi-occupied Europe, thousands of women fought with defiance and dignity to save themselves and others. Be inspired by the courageous choices and words of female leaders in rescue and resistance movements. Our speaker, Dr. Lori Weintrob, is Professor of History and Director of the Wagner College Holocaust Center in Staten Island, NY.
Thank you to our Community Partners: the University of Detroit Mercy Women’s and Gender Studies Program and the National Council of Jewish Women, Michigan.
Pen and Pistol Program
A virtual program featuring Sarah Megan Thomas, the film’s screenwriter, actor and producer; Craig Gralley, author of Hall of Mirrors – Virginia Hall: America’s Greatest Spy of WWII; and Detroit Free Press columnist Nancy Kaffer in partnership with IFC Films and Tamar Simon from Mean Streets Management.
Synopsis of A Call to Spy: In the beginning of WWII, with Britain becoming desperate, Churchill orders his new spy agency to recruit and train an army of female spies to infiltrate Europe and help build the French Resistance against the Nazi regime. Inspired by true events and the stories of Virginia Hall, Vera Atkins and Noor Inayat Khan. Vera Atkins, was Jewish and faced anti-Semitism in London while working for the SOE, British intelligence.
A special thank you to our Community Partners: Detroit Jewish Film Festival and Greater Farmington Film Festival.
As an increasingly polarized America fights over the legacy of racism and slavery, what can we learn from the Germans about confronting the evils of the past? Philosopher and author Susan Neiman and National Public Radio (NPR) 1A host Jenn White will discuss Germany’s effort to atone for the Holocaust and the work that contemporary Americans are doing to try to make amends for our country’s historical wrongdoings.
Thank you to our Community Partners: the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Coalition for Black and Jewish Unity, and Detroit Public Television.
The Uyghurs, a Turkic Muslim ethnic group in western China, are being persecuted by the Chinese government with incarceration in concentration camps, forced sterilization, mass disappearances, and the destruction of their culture. Dr. Ellen J. Kennedy, Executive Director of World Without Genocide, discusses the efforts to hold the Chinese government accountable.
Thank you to our community partners: the Uyghur Human Rights Project, the Lori E. Talsky Center for Human Rights of Women and Children and the Jewish Community Relations Council/American Jewish Committee (JCRC/AJC)
Medical professionals played an integral role in the planning and implementation of Nazi racial policy. Dr. Patricia Heberer-Rice, senior historian at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, will discuss how medical professionals enforced policies of compulsory sterilization, as well as the “Euthanasia” program. Through these legalized programs, the Nazis murdered 650,000 people and set an important precedent for the Holocaust.
Thank you to our community partner the Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive.
The Soap Myth Play
The Soap Myth virtual discussion
Remembering Kristallnacht: An interview with Henry and Rosie Baum (Monday, Nov. 9)
Krakow, one of the largest and most vibrant Jewish communities in Poland before WWII, is rich in Jewish history. In spite of a resurgence of antisemitism throughout Europe, Krakow’s Jewish community continues to grow and thrive.
Panelists were Rabbi Aaron Bergman of Adat Shalom Synagogue; Gail Offen, a child of a Shoah survivor from Krakow; and Jessica Katz, 2019 Ralph I. Goldman Fellow for the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC).
Author and journalist Helen Epstein discussed her mother’s powerful memoir, the testimony of an incredibly strong young woman who endured the horrors of the Holocaust and survived. Franci Rabinek was a Prague dress designer when the war began. She lied to Dr. Mengele at her Auschwitz selection, saying she was an electrician, an occupation that both endangered and saved her life. Her memoir gives an intense, candid, and sometimes funny account of those dark years, with the women prisoners in her tight-knit circle of friends.
An online Film and Conversation with Alexandra Kauffman Horowitz and Rabbi Rachel Schmelkin
Three years ago white supremacists came to Charlottesville chanting neo-Nazi slogans and rallying just outside the city’s only synagogue. Since then, members of Charlottesville’s Jewish community have been on a journey against hate. At times, the journey required self-reflection. At times, it required communal action. But no matter what form it took, Charlottesville’s Jews found that standing up for themselves meant standing up for justice in the broader community.
Documentary short Reawakening recounts their journey. Through interviews with rabbis and congregants, the film explores how the white supremacy they experienced transformed their understanding of themselves and their city — and how it intensified their commitment to racial justice.
Rabbi Rachel Schmelkin served as associate rabbi for Charlottesville’s Congregation Beth Israel from 2016-2020. During her time in Charlottesville she was active in Charlottesville’s interfaith and social justice community. Alexandra Kauffman Horowitz is a former Senior Producer at CNN International covering business and economics. She now works as a writer, director, and producer of documentary shorts for non-profits, often on subjects related to Judaism.
A very special thank you to our program supporters:
World-renowned Holocaust scholar Dr. Michael Berenbaum interviewed Dr. Guy Stern in an online Zoom webinar about Guy’s remarkable life and his new memoir. Born in Germany, Guy was the only one in his family to escape from the Holocaust. He landed in Normandy 3 days after D-Day as a member of a special military intelligence unit and earned a Bronze Star Medal for his work interrogating German prisoners of war. Today, Guy is the HMC’s Director of the Harry and Wanda Zekelman International Institute of the Righteous and a Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Classical and Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at Wayne State University.
- To purchase Invisible Ink, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Stern’s memoir Invisible Ink is published by Wayne State University Press.
A hidden child during the Holocaust, Miriam was smuggled as an infant out of the Srodula ghetto by a righteous gentile couple who adopted her. Her immediate family perished in the Holocaust and Miriam learned that she was Jewish when she was 16 years old.
Yiddish literature grappled with the questions the Holocaust raised for the Jews and the wider world. How did they understand what was happening? What did it mean to be “the chosen people?” Were the promises of the Enlightenment—liberty, equality, fraternity—now at an end for Jews? In this lecture, Dr. Anita Norich discusses a range of Yiddish literary responses to these questions in an online Zoom Webinar.
Thank you to our program supporters: Robin & Leo Eisenberg, Gerald & Betsy (z”l) Loomus, Denise & Peter Rodgers, Shelley & Joel Tauber and the PNC Foundation.
On the 60th anniversary of the the Israeli secret mission to capture the architect of the Holocaust, Adolf Eichmann, the Holocaust Memorial Center hosted our first Facebook Live event featuring New York Times Best-Selling Author Neal Bascomb and moderated by Multimedia Journalist and former WXYZ TV 7 anchor Stephen Clark.
The Holocaust Memorial Center Zekelman Family Campus hosted its annual community-wide Yom HaShoah commemoration on Sun. April 26 at 2 pm. For the first time, the Holocaust Memorial Center’s Yom HaShoah commemoration was hosted online while the museum is closed to the public in accordance with Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order.
Board member Steven R. Weisberg offered opening remarks, while Rabbi Yonatan Dahlen and Hazzan David Propis of Shaarey Zedek led the commemoration.
As part of this 2020’s Yom HaShoah commemoration, the Holocaust Memorial Center continues our tradition of participating in “Unto Every Person There Is A Name” in a new, innovative way. Volunteers sent videos of themselves reading the names of Holocaust victims from their homes. Thank you to all of our volunteers for working together with us to ensure the victims of the Holocaust are never forgotten.
Click here to see a list of everyone who sent in videos for this special project to perpetuate the memory of the Six Million, and see below to watch the entire program.
Avner Avraham, Shula Bahat and Patrick Gallagher join the Holocaust Memorial Center to kick off the “Operation Finale: The Capture & Trial of Adolf Eichmann” exhibit’s last stop in the United States.