Week of Remembrance slated for March 2-7

(Photo: Emaciated Jewish survivors, who had been confined to the infirmary barracks at Ebensee, are gathered outside on the day after liberation. The survivor at center-left holding his metal name tag is Joachim Friedner, a twenty-one year-old Polish Jew from Krakow. — May 7, 1945)

Washington State University will welcome John K. Roth, founding director of the Center for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights, and the Edward J. Sexton Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Claremont McKenna College, as the keynote speaker at the fourth annual “Week of Remembrance” March 2-7 on the Pullman campus.

The Week of Remembrance focuses on topics related to the Holocaust, the genocide of European Jews by Nazis and their allies from 1933-45. The Week of Remembrance programs at WSU include addresses, musical and film presentations, and discussions among guests including speakers, students, faculty, staff and members of the community.
Hungarian Holocaust survivor Noemi Ban, from Bellingham, will also be a special guest and speaker at this year’s Week.

“We are excited that such a renowned scholar and author as Dr. Roth, and a person with firsthand experiences to share as Ms. Ban, will be part of our 2007 Week of Remembrance activities,” says R. Wes Leid, senior faculty fellow in the Honors College and co-founder and organizer of the event. “The theme this year is ‘Memory of the Holocaust,’ and we are looking forward to hearing their personal insights into this rich and important topic.”

The schedule for the Week includes:

Friday, March 2, 12:10 p.m., Kimbrough Recital Hall – Performance of Quatour pour la Fin du Temps (Quartet for the End of Time) by Olivier Messiaen. Performing will be WSU School of Music faculty Jeffrey Savage on piano; Anthony Taylor, clarinet; Meredith Arksey, violin; and Ruth Boden, cello.

Sunday, March 4, 7:30 p.m., Smith Center for Undergraduate Education 203 – Film Europa, Europa (Agniezska Holland, 1990, in French and German with English subtitles.). Introduction by Rachel J. Halverson, professor in the Dept. of Foreign Languages & Cultures, and also co-founder and coordinator of the Week of Remembrance.         

Monday, March 5, 3:00-5:00 p.m., Honors Hall Lounge – Open discussion with Roth.

Monday, March 5, 7:30 p.m., Fine Arts Auditorium – Presentation entitled, “Sharing is Healing,” by Ban.

Tuesday, March 6, 7:30 p.m., Fine Arts Auditorium – keynote address by Roth, “Ethics During and After the Holocaust.” Roth will join guests for a book signing following the address. Copies of his book, “Ethics During and After the Holocaust,” will be available. 

Wednesday, March 7, noon, Murrow 53 – Dept. of History Colloquium with Roth, titled, “Philosophers, Historians, and the Holocaust.” 
Wednesday, March 7, 7:30 p.m., CUE 203 – Film The Pianist (Roman Polanski, 2002). Introduction by Halverson.

The first Week of Remembrance was held in fall 2003, but the seeds of the program were actually sown more than a decade earlier in the WSU Honors College (then Program).  Leid had led a “Medical Ethics and the Holocaust” Honors seminar for 14 years; Halverson had taught a “German Culture” Honors class for seven years; and Ray Sun, professor in the Dept. of History, had developed a strong research and teaching program in German history, the Nazis, and genocide..

The professors chose the week of Nov. 9, 2003 for the initial Week of Remembrance. On that date in 1938 – known as “Krystallnacht,” or “Night of the Broken Glass” – Jewish businesses and synagogues were destroyed by Nazis. At the first WSU program 65 years later, the keynote speaker was James Waller, from Spokane’s Whitworth College, a noted genocide psychologist and author.

The tradition began that year of featuring musical and film performances related to the Holocaust, as well as special discussions and class presentations by campus and regional guests.

The next Week of Remembrance was in spring semester 2005, with a theme of  “Liberation of the Concentration Camps.” Guest speakers were WSU philosophy professor Harry Silverstein and Eastern Washington University/Gonzaga University history professor Mike Russell. In 2006, the theme was “Aftermath of World War II and the Displaced Persons.” Special guest presenters were Pennsylvania State University professor emeritus Stanley Weintraub and WSU history doctoral student Laurie Whitcomb.

This year’s Week of Remembrance is sponsored by the Honors College, the Dept. of Foreign Languages & Cultures, the Dept. of History, and the Dept. of Philosophy. Roth’s visit is supported by the Holocaust Educational Foundation in Chicago, and Ban’s by the Washington Holocaust Educational Research Foundation.

For more information, contact Samantha Spears, marketing and communications assistant in the Office of Undergraduate Education, at 509-335-7798, or email her at sspears1@wsu.edu.

Other related websites with photos and documentaries can be found at:

* 20th Century History at http://history1900s.about.com/library/holocaust/blpictures.htm
* Shamah at http://shamash.org/holocaust/photos/index.shtml
* Remember at http://remember.org/image/
* Auschwitz at http://www.deathcamps.info/Auschwitz/