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Monday, April 23, 2018
In my role as part of USC Shoah Foundation’s Education Department, I have the honor of working with our team members both in the United States and around the world to create localized educational content using genocide survivor testimony. As a former classroom teacher and a lifelong believer in the importance of experiential learning, I was fortunate to take part in three IWalks in Budapest, Hungary, Prague, Czechia, and Warsaw, Poland while on a recent vacation.
Tuesday, February 6, 2018
The future of Polish-Israeli relations can be driven by compassion and forgiveness, or a retreat behind walls of fossilized antisemitism, essentialist prejudice, nationalistic egotism, and fear.
Monday, May 7, 2018
In 2003, I and others were preparing for the opening of the Kigali Genocide Memorial to commemorate the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda when a volunteer data collector emptied the contents of a brown manila envelope onto my desk. There on top of the pile of papers and photos was a photo of two little girls.
Friday, February 9, 2018
Even absent this current era of “alternative facts” and “fake news,” the new Polish law making it a crime to point out Poland’s complicity in the Holocaust would be alarming.  But that it is occurring in today’s climate of demagoguery, heightened nationalism and ethnic tension – an unholy trio that threatens to metastasize on a global scale – is a troubling development. Poland’s effort has come under attack by Israel and stewards of Holocaust memory.
Monday, September 17, 2018
My father was born and raised in Sighet, Romania, just down the road from the Elie Wiesel's simple blue childhood home. When the Nobel laureate's house was spray-painted with antisemitic slurs this summer, it felt like an attack on my own familial history.
Friday, May 4, 2018
Like many countries around the world, we commemorated Labor Day on May 1 here in Germany. The day also coincided with the beginning of a new government position – commissioner for Jewish life in Germany and to fight antisemitism, but everyone refers to it as the “Antisemitism Commissioner.” The inaugural holder is Felix Klein, a career diplomat with an international law degree, who coincidentally happens to come from the same town I grew up in.
Friday, February 16, 2018
At the exact moment a former student was destroying lives at Stoneman Douglas High School, a group of students inside a classroom was studying ways to make the world a better place. These were students in a Holocaust history class, where they were exploring the 1936 Olympics in an IWitness learning activity to teach them about compassion and respect, and about the perils of living a life filled with hate and violence.
Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Curious but friendly onlookers in the multicultural middle-class neighborhood in Amsterdam joined us. A café owner slowly crossed the street. “What’s happening?” she asked. “We are placing memorial stones in front of my grandparents’ home where they last lived before being deported in 1942,” I replied. “Please join us!”
Thursday, May 17, 2018
While "The Girl and The Picture" focuses on the story and voice of one of the last remaining survivors of the Nanjing Massacre of 1937, it is also a project that I saw as a chance to excavate forms of storytelling itself – and look at different ways we preserve legacy and memory and process loss and survival.
Monday, April 9, 2018
It’s a story my grandfather never told me, something that I only heard and understood later, years after my mother recounted it. In 1943, after his first wife and children were killed, my grandfather, Sam Wasserman, participated in one of the only successful mass escapes from a Nazi extermination camp. He and hundreds of other prisoners, overwhelmed and killed several guards and escaped the Sobibor death camp in Poland. My grandfather eluded capture, joined a band of partisans fighting the Nazis, and shortly after surviving the war, met the woman who would become my grandmother.
Tuesday, December 4, 2018
Eighty-five years ago, millions of residents of Ukraine were starved to death as a result of the Soviet-era policies under Joseph Stalin’s totalitarian regime. The man-made famine of 1932-1933, also known as Holodomor, is part of my home country’s history that I grew to fully understand only through my work at USC Shoah Foundation.
Tuesday, May 8, 2018
When Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas made the claim that Jews were targeted in the Holocaust for their “social function” in banking and not for their religion, he was not ranting from the podium or calling for death to the Jews. His approach was much more subtle, and therefore much more sinister.
Friday, March 30, 2018
Mireille Knoll managed to survive the Nazis during the Holocaust, but antisemitism is ancient and tenacious, and its tentacles finally caught up with her last week at her home in Paris. The 85-year-old Knoll was stabbed 11 times and burned after attackers – a neighbor and a homeless man – tried to set her apartment ablaze. The men, both in their 20s, were later arrested for a crime that is being investigated as an antisemitic attack. “She’s a Jew, she must have money,” said one attacker to the other, according to Gérard Collomb, the interior minister of France.
Tuesday, November 27, 2018
Musician Alex Biniaz-Harris, a former employee at USC Shoah Foundation, writes about his inspiration for a piano composition he is co-writing with Ambrose Soehn, a former intern at the Institute. The duo plans to perform the piece in Cambodia in January to commemorate that country’s upcoming 40-year anniversary of liberation from the genocide at the hands of the Khmer Rouge regime.
Monday, December 17, 2018
I have been associated with USC Shoah Foundation since 2007. I attended my first gala that year because a close friend of mine was the honoree. I knew very little about the Institute before attending and I was blown away when I started to learn the story. The mission touched me deeply.
Tuesday, July 31, 2018
The young Nazi approached 13-year-old Szulem Czygielmamn as he walked on the sidewalk of Lubartowska Street in Lublin, Poland, and shoved him off the sidewalk. Szulem was lucky; Jews had died for less.