Past Programs & Events

Mar 23, 2017

Film Screening and Discussion of STALAGIM

Stalags is a 2008 documentary film produced by Barak Heymann and directed by Ari Libsker. The film examines the history of Stalags, a genre of pornographic comic books popular in Israel in the 1960s. The Stalags were based on a stock plot, in which erotically drawn Nazi women sexually exploit male prisoners of war. The comic books broke sales records and sold hundreds of thousands of copies in the period of the Adolf Eichmann trial. After the authors of the books were accused of distributing anti-Semitic pornography, the popularity of the books declined. In raising questions about the connection between taboo imagery and repressed history, eroticism and violence, the film offers a daring perspective on Holocaust memory in Israeli society. Ari Libsker is an Israeli documentary filmmaker and journalist, who writes for the newspaper Calcalist. He is best known for his films Circumcision and Home Poem, as well as his artistic activism through the journals Maayan and Maarvon.

Hannah Pollin-Galay is an interdisciplinary scholar of Holocaust and Memory Studies. Her research, which draws from both literature and history, explores the connection between spoken language and memory in atrocity testimony. She is the author of Ecologies of Witnessing: Language, Place and Holocaust Testimony (forthcoming, Fall 2018), which compares oral narratives across linguistic and geographic boundaries. Pollin-Galay has published articles in journals such as Jewish Social StudiesHolocaust and Genocide Studiesand Prooftexts, as well as scholarly reviews for The Oral History Review and Studies in American Jewish Literature.

This presentation is part of a lecture series entitled Witnessing Otherwise, organized by Hannah Pollin-Galay, IHGMS Faculty Fellow and UMass Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of English.

Mar 21, 2017

Sounding the Inexpressible: Arnold Schoenberg and the Birth of Postwar Musical Memory

A lecture by Jeremy Eichler (Boston Globe/ Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University)

Mar 7, 2017

Will Eisner: Fighting Anti-Semitism with Graphic Novels

On Tuesday, March 7, one day after Will Eisner's one hundredth birthday anniversary, the Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies will host a panel entitled “Will Eisner: Fighting Anti-Semitism with Graphic Novels.” Panelists will include leading specialists on Eisner's work and life: 

Denis Kitchen, the founder of Kitchen Sink Press, was Eisner's friend, publisher, and agent for over three decades; he has authored numerous books on comic history and biographies of Eisner's friend Harvey Kurtzman and of comic strip creator Al Capp (Li'l Abner).

N. C. Christopher Couch, professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, was Eisner's editor at Kitchen Sink, and is co-author of two volumes on Eisner's work, The Will Eisner Companion and Will Eisner: An Exhibition. He has published extensively on comics history, including a book on a longtime Eisner friend and colleague, Jerry Robinson: Ambassador of Comics, about the creator of Robin and The Joker.

Steve Weiner, director of the Maynard, Massachusetts, library, co-authored The Eisner Companion and has written multiple books on graphic novels, including a study of the best-selling American graphic novel series Bone by Jeff Smith.

This panel was organized by N.C. Christopher Couch.



Feb 2, 2017

In Those Nightmarish Days: Ghetto Reportage as Witnessing

In the Warsaw and in the Lodz ghettos Jewish journalists like Joseph Zelkowicz and Peretz Opoczynski wrote reportage that individualized the ghetto experience and conveyed events in 'real time.'  Zelkowitz and Opoczynski perished but their writings survived, hidden in secret ghetto archives. This lecture will explain why this ghetto reportage was so important. 

SAMUEL KASSOW, A Charles H. Northam Professor of History at Trinity College, holds a Ph.D. from Princeton University. He was a Lady Davis Visiting Professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, as well as a Leon I. Mirell Visiting Professor at Harvard  and the Shier Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Toronto. Professor Kassow is the author of several books, including Who Will Write Our History: Emanuel Ringelblum and the Secret Ghetto Archive, which has been translated into eight languages.  “In Those Nightmarish Days: Ghetto Reportage as Witnessing”is based on his most recent work on the first-hand experiences of Peretz Opoczynski and Josef Zelkowicz, Jewish journalists of the Warsaw and Lodz ghettos. 

Nov 30, 2016

Zionism, Holocaust Survivors, and the Creation of Israel

Avinoam Patt

Avinoam J. Patt is the Philip D. Feltman Professor of Modern Jewish History at the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford, where he is also director of the Museum of Jewish Civilization.  He received his Ph.D. in Modern European History and Hebrew and Judaic Studies from New York University.  His first book, Finding Home and Homeland: Jewish Youth and Zionism in the Aftermath of the Holocaust (published by Wayne State University Press, May 2009) examines the appeal of Zionism for young survivors in Europe in the aftermath of the Holocaust and their role in the creation of the state of Israel.  He is also the co-editor (with Michael Berkowitz) of a collected volume on Jewish Displaced Persons, titled We are Here: New Approaches to the Study of Jewish Displaced Persons in Postwar Germany (Wayne State University Press, February 2010).  He is a contributor to several projects at the USHMM, and is co-author of the recently published source volume, entitled Jewish Responses to Persecution, 1938-1940 (USHMM/Alta Mira Press, September 2011).  He has also published numerous articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia articles on various topics related to Jewish life and culture before, during, and after the Holocaust. He is co-editor of a forthcoming anthology of recent American Jewish fiction entitled The New Diaspora: The Changing Landscape of American Jewish Fiction. In Celebration of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Edward Lewis Wallant Award for American Jewish Fiction (with Mark Shechner and Victoria Aarons, to be published by Wayne State University Press in November 2014).  Patt teaches courses on Modern Jewish History, American Jewish History, Responses to the Holocaust, the History of Zionism and the State of Israel, Jewish film, and Modern Jewish Literature among others.