Past Programs & Events

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.

Nov 16, 2016

Book Launch for James E. Young, The Stages of Memory: Reflections on Memorial Art, Loss, and the Spaces Between

Published by University of Massachusetts Press

James E. Young is founding director of the Institute andEmeritus Distinguished Professor of English and Judaic and Near Eastern Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He has served on juries that selected designs for the 9/11 Memorial and the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin. In his new book, The Stages of Memory: Reflections on Memorial Art, Loss, and the Spaces Between, published by University of Massachusetts Press, Young reflects on the expectations that countries bring to their painful memorial debates. 


A reception with refreshments will precede the book talk, which will begin at 5.

A book sale and signing will follow this program. Thank you to Amherst Books for handling book sales.

New York City Book Event, November 10 at 7 at the 9/11 Memorial Museum:

Nov 14, 2016

You are invited to a presentation by Ruth Ravina, a survivor of the Holocaust from Poland

Ruth Ravina speaks frequently to school and community groups in her home state of New Jersey. She was born in 1937 in Kozienice, Poland. After her parents were taken by the Nazis to a slave labor camp, she remained with her grandparents and cousins. When the ghetto was about to be liquidated, three Jewish girls escaped, taking Ravina with them and bringing her to the home of a Christian Polish family, where she was sheltered for some time. After six months, she was smuggled to her mother inside the slave labor camp. Her mother succeeded in hiding her through two different camps. Her father died in the Buchenwald concentration camp. Ruth Ravina was the only Jewish child from her hometown who survived the war.

Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies
University of Massachusetts Amherst
758 North Pleasant Street
Amherst, MA 01002