News

154Professor Philip Spencer is Director of the Helen Bamber Centre for the Study of Rights, Conflict and Mass Violence, at Kingston University. The Centre, which he founded in 2004, provides a focus for research and teaching in these areas. His own research interests include the Holocaust, comparative genocide, nationalism, and antisemitism. He is also Director of the University’s European Research Department.

Professor Spencer was a panelist at the CHGS and the Center for Austrian Studies’ discussion on “Antisemitism Then and Now” and gave a lecture on “The Recurrence of Genocide Since the Holocaust”, both of which took place at the University of Minnesota December 5 & 6, 2013. more...

Every year in April, the international community recalls the genocide in Rwanda and the failure to intervene. This year, on the 20th anniversary of the genocide, we did the same in several sites and countries around the world. Here at the University of Minnesota, we held a three day-long event that brought together practitioners, scholars, activists and K-12 educators. We asked ourselves what we learned from the Rwandan experience and how these lessons can be used to prevent and intervene in future atrocities. I personally think the world has learned very little from the genocide in Rwanda and that we have failed to efficiently put to use our limited knowledge to prevent other atrocities.

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147In the past month two significant events occurred in two of Africa’s on-going conflicts. The National Transitional council members in Central Africa Republic elected former Bangui (the nation’s capital) mayor, Catherine Samba-Panza as its new interim president and South Sudan signed a ceasefire between Kiir and Machar. Kiir is the president of South Sudan and Machar is his immediate former vice-president and the de facto rebel leader.

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137Noemi Schory, a documentary film director and producer, was the Schusterman Visiting Artist in Residence at the Center for Jewish Studies 2013 Fall Semester. Schory taught The Holocaust in Film: Recent Israeli and German Documentaries Compared and spoke at various film screenings and events on campus and in the community. Schory produced the award-winning documentary film “A Film Unfinished” about the Warsaw ghetto in Poland, which was screened by CHGS on November 12th, 2013 at the St. Anthony Main Theatre.

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After concerted efforts by the Economic Community of Central African States, Prime Minister Djotodia, stepped down last week following a two-day summit in Chad. This concluded the shuttle diplomacy by Ambassador Power and concerted efforts by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to raise awareness of what was happening in CAR. His replacement, Mr. Alexandre-Ferdinand Nguendet is the former speaker of parliament and upon his ascension to office has claimed that violence has largely subsided. more...

It is with great sadness that the Center for Holocaust and Genocide announces the passing of Gus Gutman. We recently had the pleasure of working with Gus on the “Portraying Memories” project with artist Felix de la Concha. Gus was an enthusiastic participant, turning what is typically a 2-4 hour session into a daylong adventure involving a trip to the Shalom Home, where he introduced Felix to his good friend Walter Schwartz, so he could participate as well.

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Something insidious, but sadly not unexpected, is happening in the Central African Republic (CAR)-over the past twelve months mass killings have been taking place in the CAR, a former French colony in a very rough neighborhood (it borders the Sudan’s to the East, Chad to the North, and DRC to the South). Things came to a head in March when the former president Francois Bozizé was deposed by a group of Muslim militants (Séléka) whom instigated sectarian killings and human rights abuses against the largely Christian populace. This has resulted in the formation of self-defense groups (Anti-balaka meaning ‘sword/machete’ in the Sango language) formed to protect the victims. This conflict is complicated by the fact that there are claims of the Séléka getting support from mercenaries in Sudan and Chad.

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Myron Kunin passed away at the age of 85 last week. It was Myron’s passion for art that brought him together with Stephen Feinstein. Together they curated Witness and Legacy, a major commemorative art exhibition to mark the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz that debuted in St. Paul in 1995 and traveled until 2002. That collaboration began the friendship and vision that lead to the founding of our Center in 1997.

We will honor Myron’s his legacy as we strive to fulfill our mission of educating all sectors of society about the Holocaust and other genocides.

May his memory be a blessing to us all.

Obituary: Myron Kunin, businessman, patron of the arts
Star Tribune 10-31-2013

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My Parents II, 1946. Henry Koerner (1915-1991)
This painting from Myron Kunin’s  collection has been associated with the Center since it was used to promote the Absence/Presence exhibition of 1999. It was also used as the cover photo for Dr. Stephen Feinstein’s book of the same name.

 

“Students here seem to have a more emotional connection to the Holocaust”

104.jpgFalko Schmieder is a DAAD visiting professor at the University of Minnesota and is currently teaching the course “History of the Holocaust.” He has studied Communications, Political Science and Sociology at various German Universities. Since 2005 he has worked as a researcher at the Center for Literary and Cultural Research Berlin. Together with Matthias Rothe, the course “Adorno, Foucault, and beyond” is being offered through the Department of German, Scandinavian and Dutch. Falko Schmieder will give a lecture at the CHGS Library (room 710 Social Sciences) on The Concept of Survival on November 20th at 12 p.m. more...

Last June, the allegation that a 94 year old Ukrainian immigrant living in Northeast Minneapolis could have been a top commander of a Nazi- SS lead unit, received international media attention. The public’s response was polarized as for as many who felt justice needed to be served there were just as many who felt that we should leave him alone.  Should a person’s chronological age prevent them from being accountable for their crimes? more...