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ASU Holocaust Symposium July 18-22



Article Published: Jul. 15, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
ASU Holocaust Symposium July 18-22

Rennie Brantz is director of ASU's Center for Judaic, Holocaust and Peace Studies. File photo



Preventing a great tragedy like the Nazi Holocaust from ever occurring again begins in the foundation of all societies, the classroom.

The Appalachian State University Center for Judaic, Holocaust and Peace Studies' Martin and Doris Rosen Summer Symposium on "Remembering the Holocaust," now in its ninth year at the Broyhill Inn and Conference Center, focuses on educating public schoolteachers.

It provides them with the resources to teach about genocide and intolerance in a thought-provoking and meaningful way that can influence their students behaviors and attitudes toward important social issues.

Dr. Rennie Brantz, director for the center and a speaker at this year's symposium, said that even though the event focuses on schoolteachers, the insights and messages can be applicable and beneficial to everyone.

"What we've tried to do is bring in the best speakers we can find to explain the Holocaust, like Dr. Michael Berenbaum, who is the founding director of the U.S. Holocaust Museum and an internationally-known scholar and a keynote speaker for the symposium," Brantz said.

Bridging the gap between scholarly evaluations of the Holocaust and lessons that middle and high school students will benefit from is a job that falls to Lee Holder, chairman of the social studies department at North Lenoir High School in the eastern part of North Carolina.

"Holder, as a facilitator and teacher-in-residence, will help translate the scholarly presentations into usable classroom lessons," Brantz said.

The participating schoolteachers, nearly 40 in number, represent several states in the southeast, and Brantz said the symposium was fortunate to have several participants from Europe, as well.

"We have three teachers from Eastern Europe coming, one from the Slovak Republic and two from Croatia," he said. "This is an arrangement we worked out with the U.S. Holocaust Museum and the State Department, and they add a great deal of insight to our discussions."

The symposium kicks off Sunday with a discussion of the history of Judaism with Dr. Peter Cohen, a professor in the philosophy and religion department of Clemson University, and a lecture on Jewish culture from Ruth and Stan Etkin, members of the Steering Committee for the Center.

Monday, after an opening session and agenda overview, Brantz will present an historical overview of the Holocaust, to provide the educators and audience with a concrete point from which to begin their discussion.

Berenbaum will present two lectures Monday, one titled "In the Mind of the Perpetrator," a discussion of how something like the Holocaust could occur in a country as well-educated and cultured as Germany was in the early 20th century, and a keynote lecture beginning at 7:30 p.m., titled, "How Much More Do We Know About the Holocaust? What Are We Still Likely to Learn?"

Perhaps the most compelling lessons on the Holocaust come not from scholars, but from individuals who faced the horror of Nazi Germany and survived. This year's special guest is Zev Weiss, an Auschwitz survivor who, Brantz said, will provide the audience with a firsthand account of what life was like in Nazi Germany.

"I think many people want to hear what that personal experience was," he said. "From that, I think they come to realize that this isn't just a movie, this isn't just a photograph, this is a real person who went through that. I think a lot of people learn perhaps more completely from a person who has actually been there. It's an incredibly powerful experience."

Although the symposium focuses on the public school community, Brantz said the lessons that will come from the speakers and presentations are ones that are universally applicable to teachers, students and faculty members, and community residents as a whole.

"The community as a whole, whether it's the ASU student body and faculty and staff or the greater Boone community, can benefit from this kind of topic because it raises the issue of tolerance," he said. "In our own time we are struggling with those issues every day, and what this does is give us a starting point. If we can better understand how this came about, how Germany could fall under the spell of a misfit like Hitler and the Nazis and then follow him into war and genocide, we can recognize the warning signals that we must always be aware of."

For more information, see the schedule below, or visit the Center for Judaic, Holocaust and Peace Studies website at http://www.holocaust.appstate.edu, or call (828) 262-2311. All events are free and open to the public.

Symposium Schedule

Sunday, July 18

10 a.m.-12 p.m. - History of Judaism with Dr. Peter Cohen
1-4 p.m. - Jewish Culture with Ruth and Stan Etkin



Monday, July 19

8:30-9:15 a.m. - Opening Session/Agenda Overview with comments from Meline Markarian, member of the Steering Committee of the Center for Judaic, Holocaust and Peace Studies
9:15-10:45 a.m. - Historical Overview of the Holocaust with Dr. Rennie Brantz
11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. - USHMM.org - Online Resources for Learning and Teaching about the Holocaust with Dr. Rosemary Horowitz
1-3:30 p.m. - "In the Mind of the Perpetrator" with Dr. Michael Berenbaum
7:30-9:30 p.m. - Keynote Evening: "How Much More Do We Know About the Holocaust? What Are We Still Likely to Learn?" with Dr. Michael Berenbaum



Tuesday, July 20

8:30-8:45 a.m. - Review/Reflection/Questions
9 a.m.-12 p.m. - Film and the Holocaust with Linda Scher
1-3 p.m. - Holocaust Survivor Testimony with Zev Weiss
7:30-9:30 p.m. - Film with Panel Discussion



Wednesday, July 21

8:30-9:30 a.m. - Review/Reflection/Questions
9:45 a.m.-12 p.m. - Teacher Workshop with Lee Holder, Dr. Zohara Boyd, Dr. Rennie Brantz and Dr. Rosemary Horowitz
1-4 p.m. - Literature of the Holocaust - Introduction to Elie Wiesel's "Night" with Lee Holder, Dr. Zohara Boyd, Dr. Rennie Brantz and Dr. Rosemary Horowitz
7:30-9:30 p.m. - Keynote Evening: "Children and Youth of Buchenwald" with Dr. Ken Waltzer



Thursday, July 22

8:30-9:30 a.m. - Review/Reflection/Questions with Dr. Ken Waltzer
9:30-10:30 a.m. - Using Survivor Testimony in the Classroom with Dr. Rosemary Horowitz
10:45 a.m.-12 p.m. - "Did They Fight Back? Jewish Resistance, Resilience and Survival Strategies During the Holocaust" with Dr. John Cox
1-2:15 p.m. - Discussion of Simon Wiesenthal's "Sunflower" with Dr. Zohara Boyd, Dr. Rennie Brantz and Dr. Rosemary Horowitz
2:15-3 p.m. - Legacy of the Holocaust Today with Dr. John Cox
3-4 p.m. - Closure, Recognitions, Graduation

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