University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Past Programs & Events

Oct 1, 2012

The Berke Family Collection of Nuremberg Deposition Papers

This collection contains nearly 600 pages of depositions, photos, and German war records gathered by American soldiers and prosecutors as the Allies pushed through Germany in 1945.  They include dozens of first-person eye-witness accounts by German soldiers and their commanders of Nazi war-crimes against Jews and other victims of the Third Reich. Originally donated to Kent State University in 2002, the original copies are now archived at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

In honor of the 100th Birthday Anniversary of her father, David M. Berke, Cathy Berke Abrams is donating a copy of these deposition papers to the Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with the intention of making this material as widely available to scholars and researchers as possible.  Toward this end, the gift of these papers by the Berke Family is accompanied by a fund to digitize the entire collection, which will then be posted for all researchers on the Institute'’s web-site.

In October 2012, (a specific date will soon be announced) Professor Lawrence Douglas of Amherst College, author of The Memory of Judgment (Yale University Press), will give a lecture on the value of these deposition papers for historical understanding of the Holocaust, followed by a reception honoring Cathy Berke Abrams and the Berke Family for the gift of these papers.

Sep 5, 2012

Language, Culture and Testimony: A Case Study of Lithuanian Jewish Survivors

Hannah Pollin-Galay holds a B.A. from Columbia University in English and Yiddish literature and an M.A. in Jewish history from Tel Aviv University. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in history at Tel Aviv University. Over the course of her studies, she has received a Fulbright Fellowship, a Rotenshtreich Fellowship for Excellence in the Humanities and a Shoah Foundation Research Residency. This summer, she has been developing her dissertation as a Graduate Fellow in Residence at the UMass Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies. Her doctoral project explores how language, place and culture shape the narration of the Holocaust in oral and audio-visual testimonies. In addition to writing her dissertation, Hannah lectures in Yiddish language and culture at Ben Gurion University of the Negev.  This talk will take place at 4 p.m. 

Aug 22, 2012

Student-Docent Training for High School Students

In this half-day workshop, conducted at the Institute in the exhibition hall, student-docents studied in depth both the origins of and teaching approaches to the permanent exhibition, “A Reason to Remember:  Roth, Germany 1933-1942.”  On successfully completing this workshop, Student Docents are invited to return as tour facilitators working in tandem with their supervising teachers to guide their high school peers and classmates through this exhibition.

Jun 14, 2012

The Minister’s War: Educators’ 25-minute Version

The Film-story of American Rescue during the Holocaust

Followed by Q&A with film-maker Artemis Joukowsky and reception! 

The Minister’s War tells the story of Waitstill Sharp, a Unitarian minister, and his wife Martha, a social worker, who just days prior to the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia, left their young children and home in Wellesley, MA to begin what would become a perilous, heroic journey. At a time when most Americans were turning a blind eye to the gathering clouds in Europe, this pair rushed headlong into the storm, where they faced arrest, torture, and perhaps worse from the Gestapo had they been captured while aiding Jews and anti-Nazi dissidents escape Czechoslovakia and later France. Who were these “American Schindlers”? What lay behind their willingness to put the well-being of their fellow human beings ahead of their own comfort and family? What is their legacy for us today?”

“We realized that we were living at the front lines against Nazism. We had never felt such an urge to act before it was too late — to serve these brave people, to help them save their world and our own.” -- Martha Sharp

To find out more about THE MINISTER’S WAR Contact:

Artemis Joukowsky:

Sandri Valente:

Emma Blaxter:

Download a pdf flyer for this event

May 4, 2012

Present Company Excluded

The Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies at UMass Amherst and the Yiddish Book Center are pleased to present a bold new play from The Drama Studio, inspired by the Institute’s powerful Holocaust teaching exhibit, “A Reason to Remember: Roth, Germany 1933-1942.”

Written by Doug Foresta and directed by Dan Morbyrne, Present Company Excluded will be performed at The Yiddish Book Center in the Applebaum-Driker Theater on Friday, May 4th at 12:00 p.m., Saturday, May 5th at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, May 6th at 2:00 p.m. The Yiddish Book Center is located in the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Building, at 1021 West Street, Amherst.

Tickets are $15 for general admission, $10 for students, seniors, and Yiddish Book Center members. Reservations are very strongly recommended and tickets can only be reserved online at Any additional questions regarding the performance can be directed to The Drama Studio at (413) 739-1983.