Notre Dame will examine the role of the Catholic Church in the Holocaust

Author: Michael O. Garvey

*(N.B. More information about the Holocaust Project and its components may be obtained by calling Betty Signer, project coordinator, at (219) 631-7760 or from the project’s website at * p. p. The University of Notre Dame will mount a major examination of the Holocaust with an emphasis on the role of the Catholic Church in several lectures, discussions, film presentations, art exhibitions and other public events throughout the current academic year.p. Initially funded by a grant from K-III Communications Corporation in New York, whose chairman and chief executive officer, William F. Reilly, is a Notre Dame alumnus and University trustee, the Notre Dame Holocaust Project will culminate next spring in an international academic conference entitled “Humanity at the Limit: The Impact of the Holocaust Experience on Jews and Christians” April 26-28.p. According to project coordinator Betty Signer, the project is intended to address “a need on campus for more understanding of the role of the Church in the Holocaust, what Catholics think about the Holocaust, and the lessons we can use for society’s role in dealing with the future in areas such as science, politics, business ethics and the arts.” Organizers of the project expect it to have an impact beyond the boundaries of the campus, as Notre Dame’s library becomes the repository for visual materials developed for high school educational television, publications generated by project discussions and conference papers, and other Holocaust-related materials designed for Catholic curricula.p. Gerda Weissmann Klein, Holocaust survivor, author of “All But My Life,” and subject of the Academy Award-winning documentary, “One Survivor Remembers,” will be the keynote speaker for an Oct. 5 workshop entitled “The Role of a Holocaust Curriculum in Catholic Higher Education.” One of the goals of the workshop is to help establish a repository where educators interested in the Holocaust can share information, curricula and resources. Representatives from the Shoah Foundation, the Holocaust Education Foundation, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum also will participate to discuss resources already available to educators.p. Also this fall, the project will bring to the Notre Dame campus five scholars representing the disciplines of history, anthropology, theology and the arts to discuss with students and faculty a variety of issues arising from the Holocaust. Addressing historical issues will be Saul Friedlander, professor of political science at the University of California at Los Angeles and author of numerous books on the Holocaust. Theological issues will be considered by Mary C. Boys, Skinner and McAlpin Professor of Practical Theology at Union Theological Seminary. The arts and the Holocaust will be discussed by Nancy Harrowitz, assistant professor of modern foreign languages and literatures at Boston University. Anthropological concerns will be discussed by Arthur L. Caplan, director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania and Jonathan M. Marks, visiting associate professor of anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley. Each of these disciplines will be represented during the spring conference as well.p. Other project events include a film series and symposium entitled “Screening/Teaching the Holocaust: Schindler’s List,” to be held on campus March 20-22, 1998. Several internationally recognized Holocaust films will be shown at the Annenberg Auditorium of the Snite Museum and visiting scholars will discuss film and its use in representing the Holocaust . There also will be a discussion of Steven Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List” designed specifically for local high school teachers. Also, an exhibit of photographer Jeffrey Wolin’s work, “Written in Memory: Portraits of the Holocaust,” will be shown at Notre Dame’s Snite Museum of Art April 19 – May 10, 1998.p. Notre Dame’s Holocaust Project is being sponsored by K-III Communications, the United States Holocaust Museum, the Liss Fund and the Kurt and Tessye Simon Holocaust Fund.

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