Ever since the last concentration camp prisoner was liberated in the spring of 1945, historians have struggled to make sense of the Holocaust. Initially ignored, the mass murder of European Jewry was first analyzed in-depth by Raul Hilberg, the doyen of Holocaust historiography. At the time of the publication of his magnum opus The Destruction of European Jews (1961), few could have predicted the enormous growth in scholarship that would be devoted to this most elusive of modern tragedies. Countless writers continue to grapple with the origins, scope, and aftermath of the genocide that diminished the Jewish population of Europe by two thirds and resulted in massive loss of non-Jewish life. Despite this tremendous increase in knowledge, however, we do not seem to be any nearer to understanding what really happened. Like the woman in Halina Olomucki’s haunting “Portrait of a Woman,” we are both grieved and baffled in the face of virtually unimaginable brutality and barbarity. Since its founding in 2008, the Holocaust Living History Workshop has provided a forum to learn about the history of the Holocaust. This year’s lecture series is structured around the theme of the burden of this history. Approaching the Holocaust from various angles, the workshops aim to throw light on various aspects of the Holocaust such as recovering lost stories, documenting atrocity, and the transgenerational transmission of trauma.
Halina Olomucki, “Portrait of a Woman Warsaw after 1945” © Beit Lohamei Haghetaot, Museum Number 960.
Halina Olomucki (1919-2007) was a Polish-Jewish artist who helped document the Holocaust through her drawings and paintings. She was an inmate of Majdanek and Auschwitz-Birkenau. View the full list of Holocaust Living History Workshop Events for 2016 - 2017.
This year’s series contains presentations by scholars, writers, film makers, and survivors that highlight the trope of the journey. The geography of these “Holocaust journeys” extends from Poland in the East to Ecuador in the West, while the form of expression ranges from literature and art to documentary and scholarly research. The result is a rich tapestry of experiential trajectories that illustrates the complex nature of the Shoah.
The title page of the Jewish artist Charlotte Salomon's (1917-1943) principal work Life? or Theatre?located in the Joods Historisch Museum in Amsterdam. The story of Charlotte Salomon and her works was presented by Darcy Buerkle.
View the full list of Holocaust Living History Workshop Events for 2015 - 2016.
This year's lecture series was dedicated to the topic of "hidden stories." From the memories of Ruth Hohberg, a child survivor from Bielsko, to the archives of missing persons assembled by the International Red Cross, the Holocaust was a calamity of such massive proportions that we are still discovering and recovering new information.
Holocaust survivor Lou Dunst was present during the world-premiere of the documentary I Had to Clean My Heart, a film dedicated to his life. He passed away in September 2015.
View the full list of Holocaust Living History Workshop Events for 2014 - 2015.
Although the Holocaust officially ended with the conclusion of the Second World War in 1945, it is neither past nor "masterable," to borrow from the historian Charles Maier. In this series, survivors and scholars explored the journeys they have taken, both personally and professionally, and the insights they gained.
A Roma man and woman sit in an open area of the Belzec death camp. The Roma were the only people besides the Jews that was targeted for complete extermination.
View the full list of Holocaust Living History Workshop Events for 2013 - 2014.
This year's workshops constituted a tapestry of unique tales: from the experience of child survivors and the attempts of second-generation survivors to reconstruct their family's past to scholarly attempts to trace vanished communities – all these stories form an important chapter in the recent Jewish past.
The synagogue of Tunis
View the full list of Holocaust Living History Workshop Events for 2012 - 2013.
What does it mean to witness history in the making? During this academic year the Holocaust workshop provided the broader San Diego community with an opportunity to learn more about this experience and to contemplate the painful reverberations of events that took place more than half a century ago.
On the night of November 9, 1938, subsequently called Kristallnacht, the Nazis unleashed a nationwide pogrom that was intended to drive the Jews out of Germany. Synagogues all over the country were set on fire.
View the full list of Holocaust Living History Workshop Events for 2011 - 2012.
View the full list of Holocaust Living History Workshop Events for 2010.