The University of Massachusetts Amherst
Section Menu

Spring 2021 Event Programming






The IHGMS Spring 2021 Event Program


The Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies at UMass Amherst is pleased to present our event program for the Spring semester of 2021. All events times are based off of the Eastern Time Zone. Registration via ZOOM is required to attend all IHGMS events. For more information about these and other IHGMS events, please visit our website and “like” us on Facebook. You can visit our YouTube Channel to watch the full recordings of past IHGMS events.



cid:image002.jpg@01D6EB65.A9CEB990   ­­­

Wednesday, January 27, 2021, 5:00-6:30PM

International Holocaust Remembrance Day Event

A conversation with David Slucki on his book Sing This at My Funeral: A Memoir of Fathers and Sons (Wayne State University Press, 2019). 

With: David Slucki, Loti Smorgon Associate Professor in Contemporary Jewish Life and Culture at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia; and Alon Confino, Professor of History and Jewish Studies, Pen Tishkach Chair of Holocaust Studies, and Director of the IHGMS, UMass Amherst.

In 1978, Jakub Slucki passed away peacefully in his sleep at the age of seventy-seven. A Holocaust survivor whose first wife and two sons had been murdered at the Nazi death camp in Chelmno, Poland, Jakub had lived a turbulent life. Just over thirty-seven years later, his son Charles died of a heart attack. David Slucki’s Sing This at My Funeral: A Memoir of Fathers and Sons tells the story of his father and his grandfather, and the grave legacy that they each passed on to him. This is a story about the Holocaust and its aftermath, about absence and the scars that never heal, and about fathers and sons and what it means to raise young men. David Slucki and Alon Confino will discuss the memoir and the issues raised in its writing.

View the recording of this event here:




cid:image003.jpg@01D6EB65.A9CEB990   Leona Toker | English Department
Tuesday, February 9, 2021, 1:00-2:30PM
A conversation on Leona Toker’s new book Gulag Literature and the Literature of Nazi Camps: An Intercontexual Reading (Indiana University Press, 2019).


With: Leona Toker, Professor of English, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Naomi Mandel, Ann and Joseph Edelman Chair in American Studies in the Department of English, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; and Amos Goldberg, Jonah M. Machover Chair in Holocaust Studies in the Department of Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Leona Toker's book, Gulag Literature and the Literature of Nazi Camps, performs an intercontexual reading, one against each other, of narratives and texts documenting writers' experiences of repression under the Soviet and the Nazi regimes. Naomi Mandel and Amos Goldberg will discuss with Toker the twofold analysis she presents in her book: what narrative qualities have emerged in the light of the unique historical background of each of these regimes - the similarities and differences; how the prominent features of one text shed light on the veiled features and methods of the other; and what is the new meaning obtained during the double reading that takes place during the passage of time.

“Encounters”: this event is held simultaneously in Amherst and Jerusalem in collaboration with the Avraham Harman Research Institute of Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


View the recording of this event here:




Thursday, February 11, 2021, 5:00-6:30PM
A panel discussion on Rachel Havrelocks’ new book The Joshua Generation: Israeli Occupation and the Bible (Princeton University Press, 2020).


With: Rachel Havrelock, Associate Professor of English, the University of Illinois at Chicago; Arie Dubnov, Max Ticktin Chair of Israel Studies and Associate Professor of History, George Washington University; and Jaqueline Vayntrub, Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible, Yale Divinity School.

No biblical text has been more central to the politics of modern Israel than the book of Joshua, depicting the march of the ancient Israelites into Canaan, describing how they subjugated and massacred the indigenous peoples. The Joshua Generation examines the book’s centrality to the Israeli occupation today, revealing why nationalist longing and social reality are tragically out of sync in the Promised Land. At the center of Rachel Havrelock’s book is the question, how a controversial Biblical tale of conquest and genocide became a founding story of modern Israel.

View the recording of this event here:





Thursday, February 18, 2021, 1:00PM

A talk by Kerry Wallach

Associate Professor and Chair of German Studies and an affiliate of the Jewish Studies Program at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania.
“Rahel Szalit-Marcus as Transnational Jewish Artist and Refugee”


Forgotten artist and illustrator Rahel Szalit-Marcus (1888-1942) was born in an East European shtetl and driven westward by the quest for personal and artistic freedom. After escaping Germany for France in 1933, she ultimately perished at Auschwitz; most of her works were destroyed or lost. Through a close look at some of her surviving works, this talk explores Szalit's engagement with art movements in Berlin and Paris as well as her status as a Jewish woman émigré and refugee.


This event is held in collaboration with the German & Scandinavian Studies Department at UMass Amherst. For more information, please email: Mariana Ivanova ( or Jonathan Skolnik (






 Thursday, February 25, 2021, 4:30-6:00PM
A round table discussion on Advancing Holocaust Studies, the new edited volume by Carol Rittner and John Roth (Routledge, 2020).


With: Dr. Carol Rittner, Distinguished Professor Emerita of Holocaust & Genocide Studies and the Dr. Marsha Raticoff Grossman Professor of Holocaust Studies at Stockton University, John K. Roth; Edward J. Sexton Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and the Founding Director of the Center for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights at Claremont McKenna College; Debórah Dwork, Founding Director, Center for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Crimes Against Humanity, the Graduate Center – CUNY; Lisa Leff, Director, the Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Professor of History at American University; and James Young, Distinguished Professor Emeritus and Founding Director of the IHGMS at UMass Amherst.


The growing field of Holocaust Studies confronts a world wracked by antisemitism, immigration and refugee crises, human rights abuses, mass atrocity crimes, the COVID-19 pandemic, and environmental degradation. What does it mean to advance Holocaust Studies in such dire straits? Vast resources support study and memorialization of the Holocaust. What assumptions govern that investment? What are its major successes and failures, challenges and prospects? The book Advancing Holocaust Studies poses these questions and provides answers by scholars who grapple with those tough issues.

This event is organized and held in collaboration with the Sara and Sam Schoffer Holocaust Resource Center as well as the Master of Arts in Holocaust and Genocide Studies (MAHG) Program at Stockton University.

View the recording of this event here:




Tuesday, March 9, 2021, 1:00-2:30PM
A conversation on Anna Hájková’s new book The Last Ghetto:
An Everyday History of Theresienstadt
(Oxford UP, 2020).


With: Anna Hájková, Associate Professor of modern European continental history, the University of Warwick; and Amos Goldberg, Jonah M. Machover Chair in Holocaust Studies in the Department of Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Challenging conventional claims of Holocaust exceptionalism, Anna Hájková examines the prisoner society in the Theresienstadt ghetto using the same analytical tools as for other historical events. In this way, she argues, the prison societies that developed during the Holocaust can be best understood. Her book, The Last Ghetto, offers a new, modern history of Theresienstadt from a transnational, cultural, and social lens. Liberated the day after the end of World War II, Theresienstadt was literally “The Last Ghetto.” Amos Goldberg and Anna Hájková will discuss authority, responsibility, boundaries, and belonging, as they are revealed in the extreme conditions of the social hierarchy in the ghetto, and how these ultimately influenced the fate of the prisoner.


“Encounters”: this event is held simultaneously in Amherst and Jerusalem in collaboration with the Avraham Harman Research Institute of Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

View the recording of this event here:






Thursday, March 25, 2021, 5:00-6:30PM

"Mapping Genocide and the Refugee Experience during the
Great War in the Middle East", by Michelle Tusan


With: Michelle Tusan, Professor of History, the University of Nevada; Bedross Der Matossian, Hymen Rosenberg Professor of Judaic Studies, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; and Melanie S. Tanielian, Associate Professor of History and Director of the Center of Armenian Studies, the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

This panel explores relief work and refugee movement in and around the Ottoman Empire during World War I using interactive ARC-GIS mapping technology. Patterns found in the data gleaned from refugee memoirs, NGO archives, and military documents suggest that the reality of total war that shaped Allied strategies and humanitarian practice also shaped norms and conditions for dealing with displaced peoples. Michelle Tusan presents a series of georeferenced maps charting experiences of exile and return over time and space, which enables us to understand how people used aid, where they went and which groups survived. Bedross Der Matossian and Melanie S. Tanielian respond to Tusan’s paper and open up questions for discussion.

View the recording of this event here:



Thursday, April 8, 2021, 4:00-5:30PM
Special Event for Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day


With: Terry Kurgan, an artist and writer based in Johannesburg, author of Everyone Is Present; and Marianne Hirsch, William Peterfield Trent Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University.


A conversation between Terry Kurgan and Marianne Hirsch on Kurgan’s book Everyone is Present (Fourthwall Books, Johannesburg, 2019), in which she uses diaries and photographs to tell her family’s Holocaust story. Terry Kurgan begins Everyone is Present with a family snapshot made by her Polish grandfather in 1939 on the eve of the war. Presenting this evocative image as a repository of multiple histories—public, private, domestic, familial, and generational—she sets off on a series of meditations on photography. What do photographs conceal, how do they mislead, what provocations do they contain? Her insights tell the story of her family across Europe as they flee, country by country, Nazi occupation until they reach Cape Town, South Africa.


View the recording of this event here: