Office of Religious Life

Home » Holocaust Lecture Series » 2013 Holocaust Lecture Series

2013 Holocaust Lecture Series

Posted by on Wednesday, September 18, 2013 in Holocaust Lecture Series, News.

As the fall semester of 2013 has come quickly upon us, we are already approaching the time for the 36th Annual installment of the Holocaust Lecture Series. Vanderbilt is proud to have the longest running lecture series dealing with the holocaust in the United States for a university and is pleased to share the upcoming series themed, “Neighbors”.

This series, traditionally in the fall, will span from late September through mid November and feature a mixture of lectures, films and art. Deriving its theme from the seminal work of Dr. Jan Gross, the over-arching theme of this year will focus on the aspect of the neighbors of the victims and perpetrators. While the series has focused on groups within the holocaust and different aspects of its perpetrators, this year will look at those whom were not directly involved but still played a pivotal role.

Beginning with an art exhibit “Justes de l’Isere”, the series will take a closer look at a French village whose population defied the Vichy regime and risked their lives to save those who were being hunted by the occupying Nazi military. Next, we will welcome Dr. Jans Gross who will discuss his book, Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community of Jedwabne, Poland, which has given the theme for this year’s series. To accompany this focus on Poland, we will be also showing the film, In Darkness, which shows a Polish city workers efforts to hide fleeing Jewish families in the sewers of the city where he works and the fallout from his efforts.

Each series we strive to welcome a survivor to campus to hear first hand of the Holocaust. This year, in collaboration with the Tennessee Holocaust Commission, we will be welcoming Nelly Toll, a hidden child of the Holocaust who has shared the art she created while in hiding. Painting 64 watercolors of family, friends and children, Toll has shared her memories through her book, Behind the Secret Window.

In addition to the Holocaust, the series also strives to focus on other genocides throughout the world and the causes of this culture of violence. This year we will be focusing on Rwanda by showing the film, Sometimes in April, and also hearing from writer Phillip Gourevitch. Gourevitch is the author of We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families. His talk will describe the Rwandan genocide and he will also discuss his coming follow-up work on the current situation in Rwanda.

We are also please to feature the film, Refuge: Stories of the Selfhelp Home. Director Ethan Bensinger and survivor Edith Stern who is featured in the film will be on campus to share the experience of 1,000 survivors who have resettled in the United States. Finally, we will will close the series with Dr. Annamaria Orla-Bukowska, whose work, Rethinking Poles and Jews: Troubled Past, Brighter Future, sheds light on the current situation in Poland and the aftermath of the Holocaust. Her work will bookend the opening talk and work by Dr. Jan Gross.

We hope that you are able to join us for one or more of our wonderful events for the 36th annual Holocaust Lecture Series. For more inforamtion, please go to