Holocaust conference to be held at Bates

A three-day conference linking Maine scholars, school teachers, concentration camp survivors and students, will examine the Holocaust of European Jewry from Feb. 28 through March 2 at Bates College.

Maine Remembers the Shoah will examine the Holocaust as an historical crisis and as a continuing influence in contemporary life. “The program is designed to present new material, to stimulate discussion, and to prepare teachers and students to teach and learn about the Holocaust,” said conference organizer Steve Hochstadt, associate professor of history at Bates. Hochstadt teaches a Holocaust course at Bates.

The conference includes presentations of new research, personal memories of survivors, readings of prose, poetry, film and slide showings, and displays of teaching materials.

The conference will feature the world premiere on of the video You Ask about the Family, an interpretation of the Holocaust by Maine artist Robert Katz and Maine composer Mark Polishook, at 7 p.m. March 1 in Room 204 of the Carnegie Science Center. The video is based on Katz and Polishook’s trip to Poland to research the fate of their families.

Initially inspired by a letter Katz received from a distant relative who survived the Holocaust, You Asked about the Family fuses visual imagery, sound and narrative to address on one hand, the social climate in which the brutalities of the Holocaust occurred, and, on the other, cultural continuity, rebirth, and survival in the aftermath of the Holocaust.

The conference will also feature Judith Magyar Isaacson, Bates class of ’65 and author of the acclaimed autobiographical Holocaust memoir Seed of Sarah, reading from a work-in-progress about the Holocaust at 8:30 p.m Feb. 28, in Chase Hall Lounge.

Other sessions of interest include Steven R. Cerf, the Skolfield Professor of German at Bowdoin College discussing Anne Frank’s Short Stories: Imaginative Writing as a Mirror of Interiority, at 9 a.m., March 1, and Marcus C. Bruce, associate professor of religion at Bates College, talking about My People: Steven Spielberg, ‘Schindler’s List,’ and the Holocaust, at 11:15 a.m., March 1. Both presentations will be in Room 204 of Carnegie Science Hall.

Maine Remembers the Shoah is jointly sponsored by the departments of history, philosophy and religion at Bates, as well as the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine, the Dimmer-Bergstrom Fund and the Maine Humanities Council.

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