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2015 “Gender & Genocide”

2015 Holocaust Lecture Series

October 7 – November 3, 2015

This year’s theme is gender and genocide. As one of our presenters this year, Elisa von Joeden-Forgey, has written:

“The gender question in genocide goes well beyond the experiences of women and girls, the perpetration of gender-based crimes (against both men and women), or even the comparative study of the experiences of men and women. Rather, it involves … considering the simultaneous operation of gender within several different layers that contribute to the perpetration of the crime.


Genocide and Sexual Violence, A Panel Discussion

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015   Commons Center MPR 235/237

Shame-filled and stigma-fearing silences, sexism, and the nonrecognition of sexual violence as more and other than violent sex have contributed to the marginalization if not outright omission of the occurrences and functions of sexual violence in genocides from Nazi-occupied Europe to 1990s Bosnia, from 1970s Cambodia to Darfur and Eastern Congo in the new millennium. This conceptual failure has contributed to the perpetuation of both unaddressed past trauma and possible future trauma. This panel is part of the international efforts to end the silence and to prevent further victimization.

Lecture by Inge Auerbacher, Child Survivor of the Holocaust

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015   Wilson Hall 103

Inge Auerbacher was born in Germany in 1935 and spent three years between seven and ten years of age in the Terezin (Theresienstadt) concentration camp in Czechoslovakia. In her lecture, she will describe her memories of life before World War II in the small village of Kippenheim where she grew up; her family’s deportation to Terezin in 1942; and the ordeal of survival in a camp where starvation, disease, and transportation to the death camps were among the salient features of everyday life.


Ida, Film Screening

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015   Sarratt Cinema

Winner of the 2015 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, Ida is a Polish feature film directed by Paweł Pawlikowski and written by Pawlikowski and Rebecca Lenkiewicz. Set in Poland in 1962, it is about a young woman on the verge of taking vows as a Catholic nun. Orphaned as an infant during the German occupation of World War II, she must now meet her aunt, a former Communist state prosecutor and only surviving relative, who reveals to her that her parents were Jewish. The two women return to Ida’s rural birthplace to learn the wartime fate of her family.


Hitler’s Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields

Monday, Oct. 12th, 2015 at 7PM in Wilson Hall 126

“The role of German women in Hitler’s war can no longer be understood as their mobilization and victimization on the home front,” writes Wendy Lower in her path-breaking book, Hitler’s Furies (Houghton Mifflin, 2013). “Instead, Hitler’s Germany produced another kind of female character at war, an expression of female activism and patriotism of the most violent and perverse kind.” Wendy Lower is the John K. Roth Professor of History and George R. Roberts Fellow at Claremont McKenna College.


Etty, A One-Woman Theatrical Play by Susan Stein

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015 at 7PM All Faith Chapel, Divinity School

Etty is a one-woman play based on the diaries and letters of Etty Hillesum, adapted and performed by Susan Stein and directed by Austin Pendleton. Using only Hillesum’s words, the play brings us to 1941 when Esther “Etty” Hillesum, a young Dutch Jewish woman, is living in German-occupied Amsterdam. Upon the recommendation of her therapist and later lover, Julius Spier, she begins a diary to help her with her depression. As deportations begin, she digs deeper into her soul to understand this piece of history and root out any hatred or bitterness, believing that humanity is the best and only solution for survival. Etty’s words, insights and beliefs refuse to be muted by her murder in Auschwitz and insist that we see the power of faith and individual thought to sustain life in the most extreme circumstances.


38th Annual Holocaust Lecture Series

Now in its 38th year, Vanderbilt’s annual Holocaust lecture series is the longest-running program of its kind at any university in the U.S.

Our series this year explores how the multifaceted entanglements of gender and genocide, as they manifested themselves during the Holocaust, provide insight into some of the most salient and challenging issues in contemporary society.