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Learning From Genocide

Holocaust Memorial Day Trust

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This is Learning From Genocide, a series brought to you by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust in which we hear the testimonies of people directly affected by the Holocaust, Nazi persecution, and the genocides that followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur. We also hear why we must continue to honour the past in order to create a safer present and a better future. Over 7 episodes, you'll hear testimonies of extraordinary experiences in the face of appalling and deliberate atrocities. Som ...
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AMERICAN GENOCIDE

IllumiNative

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Amidst an unprecedented federal investigation into hundreds of Native Boarding Schools and the 100,000+ children these institutions forcibly removed, one school has become the epicenter of controversy in America’s attempt to reckon with its dark history: Red Cloud Indian School. While today some see the school as a positive presence in the Pine Ridge Reservation, home to the Oglala Lakota tribe, others cite it as a perpetrator of generational trauma. While the US government is starting to ad ...
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Wojtek Soczewica has led the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation since 2019, near the site of the killing fields. The Foundation aims at the preservation of the remains of the concentration and extermination camp and of all the personal items that belonged to victims and survivors. Today they serve as material witnesses of the tragic history safeguarding…
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A Satellite Empire: Romanian Rule in Southwestern Ukraine, 1941–1944 (Cornell UP, 2019) is an in-depth investigation of the political and social history of the area in southwestern Ukraine under Romanian occupation during World War II. Transnistria was the only occupied Soviet territory administered by a power other than Nazi Germany, a reward for …
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What happens when beauty intersects with horror? In Exhibitions: Essays on Art and Atrocity (U New Mexico Press, 2023), Jehanne Dubrow interrogates the ethical questions that arise when we aestheticize atrocity. The daughter of US diplomats, she weaves memories of growing up overseas among narratives centered on art objects created while working un…
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Chiara Renzo's book Jewish Displaced Persons in Italy 1943-1951: Politics, Rehabilitation, Identity (Routledge, 2023) focuses on the experiences of thousands of Jewish displaced persons (DPs) who lived in refugee camps in Italy between the liberation of the southern regions in 1943 and the early 1950s, waiting for their resettlement outside of Euro…
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Yaacov Nir's Establishment and History of the Cyprus Detention Camps for Jewish Refugees (1946-1949) (Cambridge Scholars, 2024) explores the nature of the severe conflict over immigration to Palestine during the post-Second World War period, and the British policy of deportation to Detention Camps in Cyprus (1946-1949). It considers the perspective…
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Right to Reparations: The Claims Conference and Holocaust Survivors, 1951–1964 (Lexington, 2021) examines the early years of the Claims Conference, the organization which lobbies for and distributes reparations to Holocaust survivors, and its operations as a nongovernmental actor promoting reparative justice in global politics. Rachel Blumenthal tr…
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The Holocaust is much-discussed, much-memorialized and much-portrayed. But there are major aspects of its history that have been overlooked. Spanning the entirety of the Holocaust and across the world, this sweeping history deepens our understanding. Dan Stone reveals how the idea of 'industrial murder' is incomplete: many were killed where they li…
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World War II and the Holocaust have been the subject of many remarkable stories of resistance and rescue, but The Counterfeit Countess: The Jewish Woman Who Rescued Thousands of Poles during the Holocaust (Simon & Schuster, 2024) is unique. It tells the previously unknown story of “Countess Janina Suchodolska,” a courageous Jewish woman who rescued…
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Memories and Representations of Terror: Working Through Genocide (Routledge, 2024) explores how memories and representations shape our understanding of historical events, particularly the ways in which societies create narratives about genocide and its aftermath, using Argentina’s last military dictatorship (1976–1983) and its contested legacy as a…
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In Uprooting the Diaspora: Jewish Belonging and the Ethnic Revolution in Poland and Czechoslovakia, 1936-1946 (Indiana UP, 2023), Sarah Cramsey explores how the Jewish citizens rooted in interwar Poland and Czechoslovakia became the ideal citizenry for a post–World War II Jewish state in the Middle East. She asks, how did new interpretations of Jew…
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NYU professor Sonali Thakkar’s brilliant first book, The Reeducation of Race: Jewishness and the Politics of Antiracism in Postcolonial Thought (Stanford UP, 2023), begins as a mystery of sorts. When and why did the word “equality” get swapped out of the 1950 UNESCO Statement on Race, to be replaced by “educability, plasticity”? She and John sit do…
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Devoted to the ways in which Holocaust literature and Gulag literature provide contexts for each other, Leona Toker's Gulag Literature and the Literature of Nazi Camps: An Intercontexual Reading (Indiana UP, 2019) shows how the prominent features of one shed light on the veiled features and methods of the other. Toker views these narratives and tex…
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Japan's Holocaust: History of Imperial Japan's Mass Murder and Rape During World War II (Knox Press, 2024) combines research conducted in over eighteen research facilities in five nations to explore Imperial Japan's atrocities from 1927 to 1945 during its military expansions and reckless campaigns throughout Asia and the Pacific. This book brings t…
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In World War II's Poland, thirty year old Zofia Sterner and her husband Wacek refuse to be classified as Jews destined for extermination. Instead, they evade the Nazis and the Soviets in several dramatic escapes and selflessly rescue many Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto and a labor camp, later becoming active participants in the Warsaw Uprising where t…
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In December 1937, the Chinese capital, Nanjing, falls and the Japanese army unleash an orgy of torture, murder, and rape. Over the course of six weeks, hundreds of thousands of civilians and prisoners of war are killed. At the very onset of the atrocities, the Danish supervisor at a cement plant just outside the city, 26-year-old Bernhard Arp Sindb…
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The Holocaust in Croatia (U Pittsburgh Press, 2016) recounts the history of the Croatian Jewish community during the Second World War, with a focus on the city of Zagreb. Ivo and Slavko Goldstein have grounded their study on extensive research in recently opened archives, additionally aided by the memories of survivors to supplement and enrich the …
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The Balkans provided the escape route for tens of thousands of German Jews, and remained a place of refuge until the Nazis brutally shut it off with the mass murder of Jewish refugees on the so-called Kladovo transport starting in September 1941, which can be considered as the beginning of the Holocaust in Europe. Responding to publications about t…
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In his new book, Democracy, Nazi Trials, and Transitional Justice in Germany, 1945-1950 (Cambridge University Press, 2020), Dr. Devin O. Pendas examines how German courts conducted Nazi trials in the immediate postwar context. His work combines close readings of legal discourses in conjunction with very human stories to present a narrative of both …
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Today I talked to Mara Josi about her new book Rome, 16 October 1943: History, Memory, Literature (Legenda, 2023). Rome. Saturday 16 October 1943. This is where and when the largest single round-up and deportation of Jews from Italy happened. 1259 people were arrested by the German occupiers and gathered in a temporary detention centre for two days…
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Most accounts of the Holocaust focus on trainloads of prisoners speeding toward Auschwitz, with its chimneys belching smoke and flames, in the summer of 1944. This book provides a hitherto untold chapter of the Holocaust by exploring a prequel to the gas chambers: the face-to-face mass murder of Jews in Galicia by bullets. The summer of 1941 ushere…
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Ever since World War II, the United Nations and other international actors have created laws, treaties, and institutions to punish perpetrators of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. These efforts have established universally recognized norms and have resulted in several high-profile convictions in egregious cases. But international …
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Between Romania's entry into World War II in 1941 and the ouster of dictator Ion Antonescu three years later, over 105,000 Jews were forced to work in internment and labor camps, labor battalions, government institutions, and private industry. Particularly for those in the labor battalions, this period was characterized by extraordinary physical an…
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Facing the harrowing task of rebuilding a life in the wake of the Holocaust, many Jewish survivors, community and religious leaders, and Allied soldiers viewed marriage between Jewish women and military personnel as a way to move forward after unspeakable loss. Proponents believed that these unions were more than just a ticket out of war-torn Europ…
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Estonia is perhaps the only country in Europe that lacks a comprehensive history of its Jewish minority. Spanning over 150 years of Estonian Jewish history, Anton Weiss-Wendt's On the Margins: Essays on the History of Jews in Estonia (CEU Press, 2017) is a truly unique book. Rebuilding a life beyond so-called Pale of Jewish Settlement in the Russia…
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