Holocaust Memorial Week

At Oregon State University, we have observed Holocaust Memorial Week every year since 1987.  The Holocaust Memorial program grows from the belief that educational institutions can do much to combat prejudice of all kinds, and to foster respect for the diversity that is America, by promoting an awareness of the Holocaust, perhaps the most horrific historical indicator of the high cost of prejudice.

“For the dead and the living, we must bear witness.”

During the week of April 24th-April 28th Oregon State University will celebrate the 31st annual Holocaust Memorial Week with various talks and seminars open to all.

Monday, April 24, LaSells Stewart Center, 7:30 p.m.

Public Talk: Sarhang Hamasaeed, The Wars in Iraq and Syria – National, Regional, and Global Implications

The ongoing wars in Syria and Iraq have resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths. By far the largest number of victims have been civilians, and some groups, like the Yazidis, have been targeted for genocide. But the significance of the two wars extends far beyond the Middle East. They have helped to produce a flood of refugees that has in turn sparked political turmoil in Europe. They have given birth to ISIS, the most feared and active terrorist network on the current scene. They have had a considerable impact on international relations, as a number of major regional and world powers, including Iran, Russia, and the United States, have become involved.

In his talk on April 24, Sarhang Hamasaeed will examine the complexities of the wars in Iraq and Syria and discuss their implications for the region and the wider world. He is well acquainted with the intricacies of Middle East politics and at one time served as deputy director of the Council of Ministers of the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq. He is currently the director of Middle East Programs at the U.S. Institute of Peace. As such, he often speaks on issues that affect the Middle East, advising the State Department, giving testimony to Congress, and providing analysis to such outlets as NPR, PBS, Al-Jazeera America, and Voice of America.


Tuesday, April 25, Austin Auditorium, 7: 30 p.m.

Public Talk: Lucille Eichengreen, Reflections on the Holocaust

Born as Cecilia Landau in Hamburg, Germany, in 1925, Lucille Eichengreen would as a teenager endure the brunt of the Holocaust. During World War II, she survived the Lodz Ghetto, Auschwitz, and Bergen-Belsen. Her father and sister were murdered in the camps, and her mother died of starvation in Lodz. After liberation, Lucille assisted the British in identifying and bringing to justice more than forty individuals who had oppressed prisoners in the Nazi camps, but this service brought death threats and she moved to the U.S. She has spoken widely of what she saw and experienced during the war and has been much honored for this educational work, particularly in Germany. Her memoir, From Ashes to Life, tells her story in detail, and she will be doing a book-signing after she speaks. She has written two other books, as well.

Note: In order to assure that everyone who attends this event will find seating, we ask that those who wish to attend obtain tickets. These tickets are free and are available through Eventbrite website or directly by clicking here.


Wednesday, April 26, Milam Auditorium, 7:30 p.m.

Panel: Hilary Bernstein and Amarah Khan, Religious Prejudice on the Contemporary Scene: How Great is the Threat?

We will sponsor a discussion on the current level of religious prejudice, primarily in the U.S. and Europe. The rise of the alt-right, incidents in which religious minorities are harassed or targeted by violence, and the prospects of a “Muslim Ban” in the U.S. have aroused concern and fear. This program is intended to provide insight and perspective. Hilary Bernstein, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, will discuss recent indicators regarding the level and intensity of Antisemitism, while Amarah Khan, Associate Director of Global Diversity Initiatives at OSU, will speak to the issue of Islamophobia, both locally and more generally. The event will also address the targeting of other religious groups in the contemporary world.

Note: Weather permitting, this event will be followed by a candlelight vigil (9:15-10:00 p.m.) on the MU Quad. The vigil is intended to affirm religious and cultural understanding in our diverse community.


Thursday, April 27, C&E, 7:30 p.m.

Public Talk: Anne Kelly Knowles, The Transformative Power of the Holocaust

A professor of history at the University of Maine and formerly professor of geography at Middlebury College, Anne Kelly Knowles is among the foremost proponents of GIS (geographic information systems), a methodology that bridges geography and history. Among her many books is the highly acclaimed Geographies of the Holocaust, a volume that she co-authored and co-edited. In her talk at OSU, Knowles will draw on survivor testimony and her extensive research on concentration camps and ghettos in order to explore “the power of confinement, relocation, forced labor, and the constant threat of violence to change the everyday worlds of Jews throughout Eastern Europe.”

This event will be co-sponsored by the OSU College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences and the Geography Program.


All of the events noted here are free and open to the public. Except for the talk by Lucille Eichengreen, no tickets are required. Updates and further information on the events are available at the website of the Holocaust Memorial Program (http://holocaust.oregonstate.edu).


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