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Friday, April 1, 2016
April is Genocide Awareness Month, a time to reflect on atrocities of the past while ensuring that we avoid acts of mass murder in the future. The urgency of this mandate was highlighted just weeks ago when the U.S. House of Representatives and the State Department officially recognized that ISIS is committing genocide in the Middle East.
Thursday, March 31, 2016
This year I focused on eyewitness testimony to the Holocaust and it changed the experience for my students and for me.
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
During the 1960s, the Guatemalan government unleashed a war against various small guerilla groups across the country. This so-called “internal conflict” turned into a 36-year genocide against Mayan populations.
Friday, January 24, 2014
The word journey comes to the English language from the Old French jornee, meaning a day, or, by extension, a day’s labor or travel.  This word, which we normally associate with something pleasant, takes on a different meaning when placed in conversation with the word Holocaust. This was the challenge placed in front of me by colleagues at UNESCO, when they requested that the USC Shoah Foundation prepare an exhibition for International Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 27 – the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp.
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Yom HaShoah as it’s known in Hebrew, commemorates and honors the victims and survivors of the Holocaust. This year, people around the world will remember the victims of the Holocaust May 4-5, 2016.
Thursday, April 23, 2015
For two full days in June 2010, while the camera was rolling in Thousand Oaks in the Hagopian’s living room, I had the privilege of being behind the camera while the late Jacob Michael Hagopian was in front of it -- the whole time.
Monday, April 10, 2017
Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Yom HaShoah as it’s known in Hebrew, commemorates and honors the victims and survivors of the Holocaust. This year, people around the world will remember the victims of the Holocaust April 23- 24, 2017.
Monday, February 13, 2017
I recently was an expert witness from October 11-13, 2016, at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) in Phnom Penh, the so-called Khmer Rouge Tribunal that was established in 2001. When I mention this to colleagues, a typical response is, “That’s still going on?”  Indeed. Many forget the train that runs direct from USC to Long Beach takes you to the largest concentration of Cambodian survivors in the United States, where elders make daily offerings to ancestors in their homes or Buddhist temples.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
The Holocaust collection in USC Shoah Foundation's Visual History Archive contains nearly 53,000 testimonies; however, only a mere six of those testimonies are from survivors who were persecuted by the Nazis for being gay: one in English, three in German, one in French, and one in Dutch. There are other gay survivors we have in the Archive, but they were persecuted by the Nazis for the greater sin of being Jewish; Gad Beck being one of them. The meager number says a lot about the history of the gay men who lived through the Nazi regime and who came out the other end willing and unafraid to speak about their lives.
Friday, March 25, 2016
Never forget. Never again. These are common phrases used in Holocaust and genocide education. These are important statements especially when they evoke the real reason to study, learn, and teach about genocide. We must bring this content to students to empower them and encourage them to see beyond themselves. If done right, students become aware of the steps that lead to such atrocities. Teaching about genocide is the only way to have a lasting impact on our students, to affect their worldview, to help them understand that they can make a difference.
Friday, August 5, 2016
Aristides de Sousa Mendes was a Portuguese diplomat stationed in Bordeaux in the late 1930s who issued tens of thousands of visas to Jewish families, in direct violation of anti-Jewish laws instituted by Portugal’s fascist government at the time. For this act of resistance, Sousa Mendes faced trials and conviction, leaving him to live out the rest of his life in poverty and disgrace, and his 15 children scattered all over Europe and the U.S.
Monday, August 15, 2016
Poland’s new right-wing government wants to change the way children in that country learn about the Holocaust, casting Poles as only victims or heroes. In this new narration, the Polish people were always helping the weak, were good neighbors and cared about minorities.
Monday, June 30, 2014
As an intern at the USC Shoah Foundation and a student on the Problems Without Passports trip to Rwanda this summer, I’m more than familiar with the phrases “Never Forget” and “Never Again.” Sometimes the two seem like tired mottos. They’re valid and true, but oftentimes I think I miss the full impact of those few words.
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
News of the deadly bombs that ripped apart the Brussels airport terminal last month sent a shockwave through me. I know that line, that place. I have stood in that spot. The “what if” scenario is not what troubles me most, however.
Monday, January 19, 2015
Auschwitz should never have existed, so why are we so keen to cling onto it? Would it not be reasonable to scrub it from the landscape, remove the very thought of what it represents from our minds, recognize it as the cemetery it is, then grass it over and leave the dead to rest in peace?  
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
What does it mean to live 70 years after the liberation of Auschwitz in a world in deep crisis? What does it mean with all we know about the damage that hatred causes – after all the pain we have gone through – that we are hurtling out of control into an inferno of rage that takes us right back to where we started?  Why are survivors of the Holocaust who walked out of the camps with at least the hope that their own suffering was not in vain, dying disappointed?
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
At a first glance The Yellow Spot: The Extermination of the Jews in Germany is a book about the Holocaust. But in fact, it was published in 1936, after just three years of Nazi rule — and a full five years before the first gas chambers were commissioned for the murder of European Jewry. The authors spend 287 pages detailing a series of laws and actions taken against the Jews. Their conclusion was that the “legal disability” being imposed by the Nazis upon the Jews ultimately would result in their elimination. (Originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.)
Friday, July 18, 2014
On July 16 -17, 1942, over 13,000 Jews from Paris and its suburbs were rounded up by French police in the early morning hours and forcefully taken from their homes to both the Vélodrome d’Hiver, a winter cycling stadium in Paris, and to the Drancy internment camp.
Wednesday, November 2, 2016
The Kristallnacht pogrom was a critical turning point on the path to genocide, and all of our #IWitnessChat participants agreed that using testimony is a meaningful way for students to understand and connect with the event. Hearing survivors’ detailed accounts of this night makes it much more accessible to students.
Friday, March 31, 2017
Educators share how they teach with eyewitness testimony for April's Genocide Awareness Month.
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Thousands of people came to Times Square on Sunday to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, and to demand the U.S. government recognize the slaughter of 1.5 million people as genocide.In a speech at the event, USC Shoah Foundation Executive Director Stephen Smith said that the world must stand together speak for those who are not here to speak for themselves.
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
As the indexer for USC Shoah Foundation’s Armenian Genocide Testimony Collection, I have to listen carefully to hundreds of testimonies assigning keywords to each minute so that these stories will be accessible in the Visual History Archive. Now just in time for the 101st anniversary of the Armenian Genocide we will be integrating an additional 155 indexed testimonies into the Archive. I thought this would be a fitting time to highlight some of the most interesting aspects of the 245 testimonies that will be available in the Visual History Archive Online.
Friday, August 12, 2016
Maximilian Kolbe, born in Poland in 1894, was a Franciscan friar and Catholic priest. He spent most of his life studying theology and dedicating himself to the church, traveling across Europe and Asia during his lifetime.
Friday, April 8, 2016
In 2015 , I traveled to Guatemala with a small team from USC Shoah Foundation to train staff from a local organization called the Fundación de Antropología Forence de Guatemala (FAFG) to begin collecting voices from survivors to the Guatemalan Genocide.
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
I found as a teacher that the most challenging task when teaching about the Holocaust and genocide, is how to do it not using material that shocks the students to the point that they do not want to look at the content, study the history or listen to present day issues due to the emotional shut down that can occur.
Thursday, April 7, 2016
To help introduce your students to the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda explore testimonies and activities in IWitness.
Monday, January 27, 2014
The recent New York Times article, The Shroud over Rwanda's Nightmare (January 9, 2014), had me perplexed at first. Michael Dobbs' enquiry centers on the character of Jean-Pierre, the informant who tipped off United Nations head of mission General Romeo Dallaire about preparations for widespread killing of civilians in Rwanda 1994 as evidenced by the training of the Interhamwe militia, the presence of arms caches and the purchase of large numbers of machetes.
Thursday, October 22, 2015
There is a current controversy about the allegation that the great mufti of Jerusalem instigated the final solution of the Nazis. While there is no doubt that Haj Amin al-Husseini, was a virulent anti-Semite, history shows that the Final Solution was conceived and implemented by Nazis and nobody else.
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
As fall meets winter, we find ourselves in the seasonal in-between – summer is gone and winter is not yet biting. Yet it is in the in-between that we find moments for appreciation with friends and family. We create these moments in the cycle of the seasons. I think about what it means to live in the in-between – in a place of ambiguity and uncertainty where we must negotiate both the successes and the struggles of daily life. Progress propels us forward, but sometimes it is a roller coaster rather than the smooth gradient we may wish for.
Monday, December 12, 2016
On Thursday, Oct. 27th, I witnessed history in the making. Nanjing Massacre survivor Xia Shuqin flew from Nanjing, China to Los Angeles to record a 3-D audiovisual testimony in Mandarin for USC Shoah Foundation’s New Dimensions in Testimony. For those of you who watched USC Shoah Foundation’s Instagram story that day, I was the intern behind the camera.

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