The first week in May will see the 30th annual observance of Holocaust Memorial Week at Oregon State University. In keeping with standard practice, the program will deal not only with the Holocaust but with the theme of comparative genocide, and human rights issues will receive a prominent place.
Public Talk: Sunday, May 1, 4:00 p.m., Congregation Beth Israel (1972 NW Flanders)
Speaker: Eva Mozes Kor
Topic: The Triumph of the Human Spirit: From Auschwitz to Forgiveness
As was the case in 2015, a major event associated with this year’s program will be staged
in Portland, and it will focus on one of the best-known Holocaust survivors. In 1944, 10-year- old
Eva Mozes and her family of Rumanian Jews was taken to Auschwitz. Her parents and two
sisters perished there. Eva and her sister Miriam were spared, but only because they were twins,
and as such they were given over to the most notorious Nazi doctor, Josef Mengele, who
employed them, as well as other sets of twins, in his experiments. After the war, Eva spent time
in Israel, then immigrated to the United States, settling in Terre Haute, Indiana. In 1984, she
founded CANDLES, an organization dedicated to tracing survivors of Mengele’s experiment,
and in 1995 she established a Holocaust museum in Terre Haute. In the cause of Holocaust
education, she has also spoken widely of her experiences and observations. But she is likewise
well known for her work on peace and forgiveness; she has personally forgiven the Nazis, even
Mengele, for what they did to her during World War II.
Besides her talk in Portland, Eva Mozes Kor will speak in Corvallis, in Austin Auditorium
of the LaSells Stewart Center, at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, May 2. As at the event at
Congregation Beth Israel, the title of her talk will be The Triumph of the Human Spirit:
From Auschwitz to Forgiveness.
Other events associated with the observance of Holocaust Memorial Week, all of them staged at
Panel Discussion: Tuesday, May 3, 7:30 p.m., C & E Auditorium, LaSells Stewart Center
Panelists: Kristin Johnson, Linda Richards, and Michael Dicianna
Topic: Close to Home: Eugenics in the United States – and at Oregon State
This panel will focus on the period 1870-1970, when eugenics, which justified such
practices as forced sterilization to eliminate “undesirable” traits from the gene pool, had a broad
following in both Europe and the United States, including Oregon, and was for a time taught at
Oregon State College, as well as at many other American colleges and universities. Panelists will
also examine the decline of eugenics.
Public Talk: Wednesday, May 4, 7:30 p.m., C & E. Auditorium
Speaker: Scott Straus
Topic: What Have We Learned about Genocide Prevention?
Well known for his study, The Order of Genocide: Race, Power, and War in Rwanda,
Scott Straus (University of Wisconsin-Madison) will focus on the issue of what causes genocide
and what can be done to reduce the likelihood of genocidal campaigns in the future. Straus’s talk
will highlight issues and observations discussed in his two most recent books, Fundamentals of
Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention and Making and Unmaking Nations: War, Leadership,
and Genocide in Modern Africa.
Public Talk: Thursday, May 5, 7:30 p.m., C & E Auditorium
Speaker: Lawrence Douglas
Topic: Building the Case against Perpetrators of Genocide
Comparing the trials at Nuremberg with the later trials of Adolf Eichmann and of John
Demjanjuk, Lawrence Douglas, the James J. Garfield Professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Social
Thought at Amherst College, will discuss how prosecutors gathered and used evidence and how
the trials shaped historical memory. Douglas’s many books include his highly acclaimed study,
The Memory of Judgment: Making Law and History in the Trials of the Holocaust, as well as the
recently published The Right Wrong Man: John Demjanjuk and the Last Great Nazi War Crimes
Trial. He has also published two award-winning novels.
Conference: Friday, May 6, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Native American Longhouse
At the annual Social Justice Conference on Human Rights, students will read papers and
discuss issues relating to human dignity. This year, the focus will be on immigration and
participants will address questions of migration, borders, marginality, and identity.
All of the events noted here are free and open to the public. No tickets are required. Further
information on any of the events is available at the website of the Holocaust Memorial Program