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Learning From Genocide

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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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In the midst of the Second World War, Central and East European governments-in-exile struggled to make their voices heard as they reported back to the Allies and sought to reach mass Allied publics with eyewitness testimony of German atrocities committed in their respective homelands. The most striking case is that of Poland, whose wartime exile go…
 
International criminal justice is, at its core, an anti-atrocity project. Yet just what an 'atrocity' is remains undefined and undertheorized. Randle C. DeFalco's book Invisible Atrocities: The Aesthetic Biases of International Criminal Justice (Cambridge UP, 2022) examines how associations between atrocity commission and the production of horrific…
 
Fort Breendonk was built in the early 1900s to protect Antwerp, Belgium, from possible German invasion. Damaged at the start of World War I, it fell into disrepair . . . until the Nazis took it over after their invasion of Belgium in 1940. Never designated an official concentration camp by the SS and instead labeled a "reception" camp where prisone…
 
How do states and societies confront the legacies of war and occupation, and what do truth, guilt, and justice mean in that process? In Ghosts of War: Nazi Occupation and Its Aftermath in Soviet Belarus (Cornell UP, 2022), Franziska Exeler examines people's wartime choices and their aftermath in Belarus, a war-ravaged Soviet republic that was under…
 
On September 2, 1945, Japan surrendered to the United States, ending the Second World War. Yet the Japanese invasion had upended the old geopolitical structures of European empires, leaving old imperial powers on the decline and new groups calling for independence on the rise. That unsteady situation sparked a decade of conflict: in Indonesia, in V…
 
In the chaos of the end of WWI, the Russian Civil War, and a brief period of Ukrainian independence there occurred a series of massacres of German Mennonites. Sean Patterson's recent book Makhno and Memory: Anarchist and Mennonite Narratives of Ukraine's Civil War, 1917-1921 (University of Manitoba Press, 2020) analyzes the varying historical memor…
 
Kiril Feferman's The Holocaust in the Crimea and the North Caucasus (Yad Vadhem, 2016) presents a comprehensive account of the Jews in the Crimea and the North Caucasus in the Holocaust years. Based on extensive archival research, Feferman covers the life and destruction of the Jewish population in the region and describes in detail the relations b…
 
Beverley Chalmers's book Betrayed: Child Sex Abuse in the Holocaust (Grosvenor House, 2020) exposes a taboo aspect of Holocaust history; the sexual abuse of children. Children were sexually assaulted in ghettos, camps, on transit trains, while in hiding, and even when sent to supposed safety outside Europe. The Nazi’s genocidal brutality facilitate…
 
In the years leading up to the Second World War, increasingly desperate European Jews looked to far-flung destinations such as Barbados, Trinidad, and Jamaica in search of refuge from the horrors of Hitler’s Europe. Joanna Newman's book Nearly the New World: The British West Indies and the Flight from Nazism, 1933–1945 (Berghahn Books, 2019) tells …
 
Human Rights at Risk: Global Governance, American Power, and the Future of Dignity (Rutgers University Press, 2022) is a fascinating book that brings together social scientists, legal scholars, and humanities scholars from both the Global North and Global South to provide a challenge to understandings about normative and empirical claims to human r…
 
Aomar Boum and Sarah Abrevaya Stein's book Wartime North Africa: A Documentary History, 1934-1950 (Stanford UP, 2022), the first-ever collection of primary documents on North African history and the Holocaust, gives voice to the diversity of those involved--Muslims, Christians, and Jews; women, men, and children; black, brown, and white; the unknow…
 
Primo Levi and Ka-Tzetnik: The Map and the Territory (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022) is about Primo Levi and Ka-Tzetnik, both Auschwitz survivors and central figures in the shaping of Holocaust memory, who dedicated their lives to bearing witness and writing about the concentration camps, seeking, in particular, to give voice to those who did not return…
 
Today I talked to Xabier Irujo about his book (co-authored with Queralt Solé) Nazi Juggernaut in the Basque Country and Catalonia (Center for Basque Studies, 2019) Hitler and Mussolini's decision to help General Franco with war materiel and troops brought war to the Basque Country and Catalonia. Between 1936 and 1939, the German Condor Legion and t…
 
Anthropological Witness: Lessons from the Khmer Rouge Tribunal (Cornell UP, 2022) tells the story of Alexander Laban Hinton's encounter with an accused architect of genocide and, more broadly, Hinton's attempt to navigate the promises and perils of expert testimony. In March 2016, Hinton served as an expert witness at the Extraordinary Chambers in …
 
Today I talked to Michael Eli Nutkiewicz about his translation A Ukrainian Chapter: A Jewish Aid Worker’s Memoir Of Sorrow (Slavica, 2022). Eli Gumener’s 1921 Yiddish memoir, A Ukrainian Chapter, is a rare historical source about relief work spanning the two most devastating years of the pogroms in the Russian Civil War. He concentrates on the coll…
 
Need help curating a list of Holocaust books for your students or library patrons? What’s on your shelf? What should be there? This podcast episode explores: The most commonly assigned Holocaust books. Why some of them are books you should never assign. Recommendations for books to assign, read, and share. Gaps in the literature. Gatekeepers of hig…
 
Donald Bloxham and Dirk Moses have offered us a unique opportunity--a chance to see authors and editors in conversation with each other and themselves about the state and nature of Genocide Studies. Genocide: Key Themes (Oxford University Press, 2022) emerged out of an effort to update and slim down their earlier, larger volume The Oxford Handbook …
 
With nearly a century of life behind her, Stella Levi had never before spoken in detail about her past. Then she met Michael Frank. He came to her Greenwich Village apartment one Saturday afternoon to ask her a question about the Juderia, the neighborhood in Rhodes where she'd grown up in a Jewish community that had thrived there for half a millenn…
 
In March 2022 the U.S. government announced its determination that genocide was committed by the Myanmar military against Rohingya communities in Myanmar’s Rakhine State in 2017. What will this mean for the roughly one million Rohingya refugees living in neighboring countries, for Rohingya IDPs in Rakhine, and for post-coup Myanmar? In this episode…
 
Since the 1980s the study of genocide has exploded, both historically and geographically, to encompass earlier epochs, other continents, and new cases. The concept of genocide has proved its worth, but that expansion has also compounded the tensions between a rigid legal concept and the manifold realities researchers have discovered. The legal and …
 
There are currently a record-setting number of forcibly displaced persons in the world. This number continues to rise as solutions to alleviate humanitarian catastrophes of large-scale violence and displacement continue to fail. The likelihood of the displaced returning to their homes is becoming increasingly unlikely. In many cases, their homes ha…
 
Self-professed ICJ procedure wonk Juliette McIntyre of the University of South Australia on the slew of interventions in the Ukraine Russia genocide case at the ICJGenocide – asymmetrical haircuts
 
In March of 2022 the U.S. government announced its determination that genocide was committed by the Myanmar military against Rohingya communities in Myanmar’s Rakhine State in 2017. What will this mean for the roughly one million Rohingya refugees living in neighboring countries, for Rohingya IDPs in Rakhine State, and for post-coup Myanmar? In thi…
 
Sara Brown and Stephen Smith have edited a much needed and fascinating compilation of essays on the intersection of religion and mass atrocity. Their intent is not to theorize the relationship, but rather to explore how religious faith, institutions and leaders have participated in, resisted and remembered genocide and mass violence. The Routledge …
 
In 1930, about 750,000 Jews called Romania home. At the end of World War II, approximately half of them survived. Only recently, after the fall of Communism, are details of the history of the Holocaust in Romania coming to light. In The Romanian Orthodox Church and the Holocaust (Indiana UP, 2017), Ion Popa explores this history by scrutinizing the…
 
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