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March 2022

Empowering Women: Lessons from a Survivor of Genocide

March 7 @ 11:20 am - 12:50 pm
Foundation Hall Manzulli Board Room

Join Dr. Lori Weintrob and Dr. Vannessa Smith Washington as they welcome guest speaker Consolee Nishimwe, global human rights activist and author of Tested to the Limit: A Genocide Survivor’s Story of Pain, Perseverance, Resilience, and Hope.

Telling the Story of Zionist Settlement Through Language

March 8 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

This talk will explore the history of Jewish agricultural settlement in Palestine/Israel through the lens of language.
What happened when Yiddish speaking settlers purchased land from Arabic speaking owners with the help of Ladino-speaking (Judeao-Spanish) intermediaries in an Ottoman Turkish context? How did they relate to the Arabic-speaking workers the first of them hired? How did the story change as more of them started speaking Hebrew? How did older settlers confront and content with Jewish newcomers speaking Polish, German, Arabic, and many other languages after World War II?

Talk by Liora Halperin, Associate Professor of International Studies, History, and Jewish Studies, and the Jack and Rebecca Benaroya Endowed Chair in Israel Studies at the
University of Washington.

Register in advance for this meeting here.

April 2022

Understanding Anti-Semitism and Jewish Experiences

April 12 @ 12:00 pm - 12:50 pm

This New York City Commission on Human Rights workshop promotes understanding of the City’s diverse Jewish communities from a human rights lens. The abbreviated version of the workshop being presented here will focus on antisemitism, its impact on Jewish New Yorkers, and its impact on our larger society.

Speaker Bio
Jonah S. Boyarin is a social justice educator and writer, born-and-raised New Yorker, and Yiddish speaker. He co-founded the country’s first Diversity and Equity Program at a Jewish day school, at JCHS of the Bay, and serves as the Jewish Community Liaison for the New York City Commission on Human Rights. Jonah was named by the Jewish Week as one of 2020’s “36 under 36.”

For zoom info email holocaust.center@wagner.edu.

The Art of Survival: Friedl Dicker-Brandeis and Children’s Art at Theresienstadt

April 14 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Bauhaus-trained artist and designer Friedl Dicker-Brandeis (1898-1944) brought the philosophies of progressive art education to the NSDAP ghetto and concentration camp at Theresienstadt, teaching drawing to imprisoned children, mostly girls, to inspire hope and self-expression under the most adverse conditions. While most of “Friedl’s girls” ultimately perished, Dicker-Brandeis’s surviving students spoke of their teacher’s remarkable ability to create a nurturing atmosphere where students could express hopes, fears and dreams as a temporary release from the brutal ghetto around them. Examining Dicker-Brandeis’s intellectual influences in Secessionist Vienna and the Weimar Bauhaus, Dr. Brandow-Faller’s talk focuses on Dicker-Brandeis’s brief but heroic teaching and exhibition career in the children’s homes of Theresienstadt, where art became a means of humanistic, if not physical, survival for its youngest inhabitants.

Dr. Megan Brandow-Faller is Professor of History at the City University of New York (CUNY) and teaches at the CUNY Graduate Center. She is a member of the Kingsborough Holocaust Advisory Board.

This event is organized by the Kingsborough Holocaust Center and is cosponsored by the Wagner College Holocaust Center.

Register in advance for this Zoom meeting here.

“Ordinary People”: Heroes for Hiding Jews

April 28 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Foundation Hall Manzulli Board Room

Of the approximately 159,000 Jews in the Netherlands before World War II, an estimated 25,000 men, women, and children went into hiding, including 3 1/2 year old Leo Ullman.

Mr. Ullman will present his and his family’s personal experiences, which are also chronicled in his book, "796 Days" and a film, "There Were Good People Doing Extraordinary Deeds…Leo Ullman’s Story".

A graduate of Harvard College and Columbia Law School and Business School, Mr. Ullman has had a long and successful career as a lawyer and real estate entrepreneur. Mr. Ullman is profoundly devoted to promoting Holocaust education, including serving many years as Chairman of the Anne Frank Center, USA, and presently as Chairman of the Foundation for the National Holocaust Museum in Amsterdam, Inc.

Attendees can join in person or via Zoom. RSVP Required at https://alumniconnect.wagner.edu/2022holocaustheroismday.

October 2022

My Father the Klansman: Growing up in the American Far Right

October 17 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Foundation Hall Manzulli Board Room

If no one is born a racist, how are they made? This question is central to the oral history project Elke Weesjes is currently working on. Based on a series of interviews with 15 children of Ku Klux Klan members (born between 1945 and 1975), auto/biographies, archival materials, and existing Ku Klux Klan historiography, her project explores what it was like to grow up on the political fringes of American society in the latter part of the 20 th century.

In “My Father the Klansman”, Weesjes examines the lives of two of her respondents. Both renounced their upbringing and left their family and community behind to start a life without racism and antisemitism. She will discuss their childhood experiences growing up in a KKK family, their fraught relationships with their parents, the contrast between the hateful ideology passed down by their parents at home and the moral values taught in school, the extent of social isolation experienced during their childhood, what prompted them to break with their family and community, and how they have fared since then. Her paper ultimately shows how children navigated and negotiated the differences between their home lives and public lives and developed their own views on race and sense of identity.

Elke Weesjes is the Research and Programming Director of the Kingsborough Holocaust Center and a visiting assistant professor at Kingsborough Community College (CUNY) in Brooklyn where she teaches 20th Century U.S. and European history. She recently published her first monograph, Growing Up Communist in the Netherlands and Britain. Childhood, Political Activism, and Identity Formation (Amsterdam University Press October 2021).

Studying Zionism and Israel in the PLO

October 24 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

In this lecture, Professor Jonathan Gribetz will introduce us to the PLO Research Center, upon which he is currently completing a new book, and discuss the importance of this group of activist researchers and intellectuals on the history of the PLO.

The Palestine Liberation Organization, founded in 1964, became famous, or infamous, over the decades primarily for its militants and its politicians. There was another group in the organization, however, that was less well known but no less important: PLO researchers. In 1965, the PLO established a Research Center in Beirut dedicated to carefully analyzing what it referred to as “the Palestine Problem,” a crucial element of which was “knowing the enemy.” This meant researching the Jews, Judaism, Zionism, and Israel.

Dr. Gribetz's first book, Defining Neighbors: Religion, Race, and the Early Zionist-Arab Encounter (Princeton University Press, 2014), investigated the mutual perceptions of Zionists and Arabs in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, showing the prominent place of religious and racial categories in the ways in which these communities imagined and related to one another. Defining Neighbors was named a Choice Outstanding Academic Title in 2015. For the new book, tentatively titled Reading Herzl in Beirut: The PLO’s Research on Judaism and Israel (under contract with Princeton University Press), Gribetz has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Dr. Jonathan Gribetz is an Associate Professor in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University and teaches about the history of Zionism, Palestine, Israel, Jerusalem, and nationalism in the modern Middle East. s.

November 2022

Rescue and Resilience in the Rwandan Genocide: A Survivor’s Voice (Session I)

November 1 @ 11:20 am - 1:00 pm

The Wagner College Holocaust Center, Education Department and History Department will be offering two opportunities for the Wagner community to hear Consolee Nishimwe speak about her experiences during the Rwandan Genocide.

Only 14 years old, Nishimwe went into hiding with her mother, a teacher, and her younger siblings. Her father and brothers did not survive the massacres. She experienced violent trauma, yet encountered goodness among a few neighbors. A gender activist, Nishimwe is the author of Tested to the Limit: A Genocide Survivor’s Story of Pain, Resilience and Hope.

If you can't make the first time at 11:20am, join LC10 at 1pm!

Rescue and Resilience in the Rwandan Genocide: A Survivor’s Voice (Session II)

November 1 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

The Wagner College Holocaust Center, Education Department and History Department will be offering two opportunities for the Wagner community to hear Consolee Nishimwe speak about her experiences during the Rwandan Genocide.

Only 14 years old, Nishimwe went into hiding with her mother, a teacher, and her younger siblings. Her father and brothers did not survive the massacres. She experienced violent trauma, yet encountered goodness among a few neighbors. A gender activist, Nishimwe is the author of Tested to the Limit: A Genocide Survivor’s Story of Pain, Resilience and Hope.

Join the FYP class of Prof. Rita Reynolds and Vanessa Washington-Smith at 1pm-2:30pm in Union 201.

7th Annual Kristallnacht Ceremony

November 10 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Foundation Hall Manzulli Board Room

The event will feature two second generation speakers who will share their reflections on their parents’ and grandparents’ strategies to escape Nazi Germany and their compelling messages to the next generation.

Susan Slater and Joan Loeb will speak about their mothers who were on the St. Louis transatlantic refugee ship.

The event will also feature a candle lighting ceremony, and musical performance by Jaylen Grey ’24, Molly Nemirow ’25 and other members of the Wagner College Choir, as well as a tribute to the life lessons of Egon J. Salmon (1924-2022).

Register here alumniconnect.wagner.edu/kristallnacht2022.

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