Holocaust Memorial Week

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

OSU, include:

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


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