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Theodore Zev Weiss Lecture in Holocaust Studies

Each May HEF of NU invites a distinguished scholar of the Holocaust to deliver the annual Theodore Zev Weiss Lecture in Holocaust Studies.  The lecture is open to the public and is followed by a reception that honors Theodore Zev Weiss and his family.  Past lecturers have included Professors Omer Bartov, Christopher Browning, Gerald Feldman, Jan T. Gross, Peter HayesDagmar Herzog, Francis Nicosia, Mark Roseman, David Roskies, Eric Sundquist, Nikolaus Wachsmann, and James E. Young.

Passing on the Wand – Theodore Zev Weiss Annual Lecture
Tuesday, May 12, 7:30 PM
Harris Hall, Room 108

In “Passing on the Wand,” Eva Hoffman will reflect on the role and perspective of the post-Holocaust generation in extending our understanding of that history-altering event.  As the generation of survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust passes on, the task of both their direct heirs, and the larger “second generation” is to move from personal memory to the investigation of history on the one hand; and at the same time, to incorporate our knowledge of more recent developments and events into our attempts to grapple with the causes of collective atrocity, and its possible prevention.

Eva Hoffman, photographed by Charlie Hopkinson © 2009

Eva Hoffman grew up in Cracow, Poland, before emigrating in her teens to Canada and then the United States. After receiving her Ph. D. in literature from Harvard University, she worked as senior editor and literary critic at The New York Times, and has taught at various British and American universities. Her books, which have been translated widely, include Lost in Translation, Exit Into History, After Such Knowledge and Time, as well as two novels, The Secret and Illuminations.  She has written and presented programs for BBC Radio and has lectured internationally on subjects of exile, historical memory, cross-cultural relations and other contemporary issues. Her awards include the Guggenheim Fellowship, Whiting Award for Writing, an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and Prix Italia for Radio.  She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and holds an honorary doctorate from Warwick University.  She is currently a Visiting Professor at UCL and lives in London.



The 2019 lecture, “Being in Auschwitz: Space, Sense and Sensibility,” was delivered by Professor Nikolaus Wachsmann, who teaches modern European History at Birkbeck College (University of London). He has written widely on Nazi terror, most recently KL: A history of the Nazi concentration camps (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015), winner of the Wolfson Prize, the Mark Lynton History Prize, and the Jewish Quarterly-Wingate literary prize. He serves on the advisory boards of memorials in Sachsenhausen, Ravensbrück, Belsen and Mauthausen, and has devised an AHRC-supported educational website on the concentration camps. The lecture took place on Tuesday, April 9, 2019 in Harris Hall 108.

The 2018 lecture was delivered by Marion Kaplan, the Skirball Professor of Modern Jewish History at New York University and author of Between Dignity and Despair: Jewish Life in Nazi Germany. One of three books by Kaplan to have won the National Jewish Book Award, this volume, published in 1998, was among the first to explore how gender influenced individual and collective Jewish responses to Nazi policy. Since then, research on gender and the Holocaust has proliferated. Kaplan discussed the state of the field before and since the release of her pivotal and seminal work. The lecture took place on Thursday, May 3, 2018 in Harris Hall 108.

The 2017 Theodore Zev Weiss lecture, “The Ravine: Researching the Holocaust” was delivered by Professor Wendy Lower of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The lecture took place on Wednesday, May 10, 2017 in the McCormick Tribune Forum.