Past Programs & Events

Apr 29, 2014

Henia Lewin

Child Survivor of the Holocaust

The Institute and the UMass Hillel House organized this program together in conjunction with Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day.  Lewin discussed the experiences of her and her family as survivors of Lithuanian and German persecution during the Second World War.  

Apr 18, 2014

The Content of the Form: Interventions into the Representation of War

Comparative Literature will bring six artists, writers, and scholars together to talk about their work; the conversation will address how different representations of war, written and visual, fictional and non-fictional, contribute to our knowledge and perceptions of particular conflicts. The symposium features three panels on three different war zones: the Spanish Civil War, the recent war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Speakers: Francesc Torres and Carlo Ramos; Nebojša Šerić Shobaand Una Tanović; Roy Scranton and Tyler Boudreau. The symposium will end with a roundtable moderated by James Young. 

Co-sponsors include The College of Humanities and Fine Arts, the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Culture, the English Department, and the Program in Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Massaschusetts, Amherst as well as its Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies, Translation Center, the University Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Massachusetts Review.

Apr 7, 2014

Inside the "Hotel Rwanda": The Surprising True Story, and Why It Matters Today

    It was the 2004 Academy Award–nominated movie Hotel Rwanda that introduced most Westerners to the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. It has been used in almost every high school and college in America as a teaching tool. The film lionized hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina for single-handedly saving the lives of all who sought refuge in the Hotel des Milles Collines during the genocide. Because of the film, the real-life Rusesabagina has been compared to Oskar Schindler, but unbeknownst to the public, the hotel’s refugees do not endorse the movie's version of the events.
    Is Hollywood a reliable chronicler of history, held to the same standards as journalists and historians? Should Hollywood films be our sole source of historic information in classrooms?  On this, the 20th anniversary commemoration of the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, hear the true story of what really happened inside the "Hotel Rwanda" from those who were there -- Hutu, Tutsi, UN peacekeepers, and diplomats -- and why the real truth of how hundreds there were saved still matters today. 

American Kerry Zukus is a full-time author, ghostwriter, and memoirist, having written over 40 books under his own name and others. He is the co-author of Inside the "Hotel Rwanda": The Surprising True Story, and Why It Matters Today (BenBella Books, March 25, 2014) with Edouard Kayihura, a Rwandan survivor of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda and a refugee from the Hotel Milles Collines. Along with Kayihura, he has spent the past seven years interviewing refugees, UN peacekeepers, diplomats, and others to weave together the true story of what really happened inside the "Hotel Rwanda."

Apr 2, 2014

Ladies Tailor

1990, dir. Leonid Horowitz, 92 min.

Ladies Tailor is set in Kiev, on the eve of the mass execution on September 29, 1941 in Babi Yar. An old Jewish tailor Isaac (famous Soviet actor Innokentii Smoktunovskii) joins his family in their soon-to-be-lost home, and the film chronicles the last twenty-four hours in their lives.  The violence is never fully depicted on screen and the night is almost mundane: the family members pack, bake cookies for the road, argue and reminisce about the past. Yet, what appears to be a simple story emerges as an intense drama raising complex and terrifying questions about the fate of the Jews under Nazi and Soviet tyranny. Introduced and discussed by Olga Gershenson, author of “The Phantom Holocaust.”

Mar 26, 2014

Student-Docent Training Workshop

We are pleased to announce another Student-docent Training Workshop at the Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies located on 758 North Pleasant Street, Amherst 01002. This workshop will be held on Wednesday, March 26th from 3:00-4:00, and is offered to high school and university students. Students who are interested in attending will learn how to lead their student peers through the Institute’s permanent Holocaust teaching exhibition, “A Reason to Remember: Roth, Germany, 1933-1942." This workshop will introduce students to the exhibition and its origins, and encourage discussion about the exhibition and its message. We hope that the worksop will encourage further study and training in order to become student tour facilitators.

Upon finishing the session, students will receive a certificate of completion and an invitation to bring their classes and teachers back to the Institute for a tour. Students who earn the certificate should contact their school administrators about receiving credit toward community service. The training can also be a unique addition to the college applications of high school students.

This workshop is free of charge, and light refreshments will be served. For inquiries and registration, please call 413.835.0221 or send an e-mail to We hope you will join us!

For further information about the Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies at UMass Amherst and its permanent exhibition, “A Reason to Remember: Roth, Germany, 1933-1942,” please visit: