Ryken Farr is a second-year Honors undergraduate at the University of Minnesota. He’s pursuing a History B.A. with a concentration in Holocaust history and is the recipient of the Leo and Lillian Gross Scholarship in Jewish Studies. In addition, Ryken is a student worker with the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies.
Ryken chose to focus his academics around Holocaust history because it was a topic that he had a prior interest in but was not being taught about extensively in the classroom. Having been at the University for almost two years, he says it’s been enriching to learn more about the history of the Holocaust in the classroom, through his own research, and work like the CHGS’s.
Ryken’s research project focuses on nuanced consequences of the propaganda and advertising distributed by Zionist organizations and US-based fundraising groups targeting Jewish displaced persons after the Second World War. In his research, he explores how Jewish displaced persons, often Holocaust survivors, were treated in these campaigns meant to help them and what other consequences may have arisen from choices these organizations made. Last summer, Ryken traveled to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, and the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York City, NY, for on-site archival research with support from the Office for Undergraduate Research and the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies. Moving forward, he hopes to use this initial research as a starting point for other research projects with the OUR, research abroad in Germany, and work for his Honors Thesis, to be completed during his senior year.
Working with CHGS has been very beneficial for Ryken: He’s been able to work on various projects related to the history of genocide and mass violence, which in turn have been great companions to my classroom study of the Holocaust. He’s appreciated the opportunity to learn more about other examples of genocide in history, as well. Working with CHGS has given Ryken the ability to connect with other scholars in the field, the Center’s faculty, and graduate students, which are great relationships to have as he continues to pursue a career in this field.