About the Institute

The Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is a locus for research and teaching on the Holocaust, as well as on the memory and representation of this and other genocides. Its three primary organizing and research rubrics are: History, Memory, and Education.

The Institute’s principal activities include: teaching and research, public events and lectures, permanent exhibition visits and training. The Institute houses a permanent Holocaust teaching exhibition, “A Reason to Remember: Roth, Germany 1933-1942,” which is open to both university students and the general public, as well as to visiting middle and high school student groups by appointment. A travelling version of this exhibition is available to other borrowing institutions upon request.

The Institute also houses a research library and archive, as well as collections of multiple media, including photographs and film, art and artifacts.

History of the Institute

The Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies at UMass Amherst opened in March 2011 and was formally approved by the Faculty Senate in December of that year. It was established initially to house the generous gift of a permanent teaching exhibition on the Holocaust, "A Reason to Remember: Roth, Germany 1933-42," donated to the University by the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts, formerly installed at "Hatikvah Holocaust Education Center" in Springfield. Now housed near the center of campus in a graceful 1929 Tudor-style house, with an attached exhibition hall, the Institute and its teaching exhibition have been visited in its first year by some 2,000 middle and high school students, as well as by hundreds of university students, who have toured the exhibition in the company of survivors and docents.

With generous founding gifts from Pamela and Robert Jacobs of Washington, D.C., Brenda and Al Curtis of Springfield, and an anonymous local donor, the Institute continues to host monthly public lectures, conferences, screenings, university classes, and other visiting school groups. Eventually, it plans to host visiting scholars and researchers, who will come to visit its library, archive, and collections.