Holocaust Scholars Share Perspective In Presentation And In Print At Wittenberg University
Springfield, Ohio – A leading authority in Holocaust studies, Wittenberg University Professor of Religion Rochelle L. Millen will be among those to welcome colleague and fellow Holocaust expert John K. Roth, distinguished visiting professor at DePauw University and the Edward J. Sexton Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Claremont McKenna College, during a multi-department colloquium at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14, in Kissell Auditorium, Koch Hall.
Both members of the Pastora Goldner Holocaust Symposium, a bi-annual international conference on the Holocaust, which first convened in 1996, Millen and Roth have edited, authored or co-authored numerous publications on the Holocaust. Millen recently co-editedTestimony, Tensions, and Tikkun: Teaching the Holocaust in Colleges and Universities, the fourth and final volume in The Pastora Goldner Series in Post-Holocaust Studies.
"The book is an exploration of the experience of teaching the Holocaust," the editors report. "It focuses on the impact on the teacher, the agony of confronting the material, the struggle to balance intellectual and emotional responses to the course content and to students, the challenge to refrain from imposing personal values, and the teacher's difficulty in dealing with an abundance of complex, painful content."
As co-editor with Myrna Goldenberg, professor emeritus at Montgomery College, Millen edited the essays and helped organize the book for publication. The essays, divided into three parts including Course Content, The Process and Nature of Student Learning, and Progress and Process, were written by educators from universities throughout the United States and Europe, who discuss the Holocaust courses they teach and provide insight into the responses of their students to the materials presented.
In addition to her editorial work on the book, Millen also co-wrote an essay for it titled "Histories: Betrayed and Unfulfilled," with Wittenberg Associate Professor of Languages Timothy L. Bennett. The essay talks about their team-taught course "Germans and Jews: Culture, Identity, and Difference."
"Our classes meet independently as our students learn of both traditions and realities," Millen said. "I give a quick survey of Jewish history, and Tim discusses the roots of the churches in Germany. When our classes meet, we talk about German and Jewish culture, literature, history and religion."
The essay explains the structure of the course, the goals for student-learning and the possible problems they considered in planning. Each essay shares insights into experiences of the teachers and explains the factors that led to the courses taught and the conclusions reached.
The work of the post-Shoah educators will continue as the Stephen S. Weinstein Series in Post-Holocaust Studies.
Millen's involvement with the group began following an International Holocaust Conference, which she organized on Wittenberg's campus in 1993. She authored a chapter in the second book of the series and currently serves on the editorial board. Millen also wrote Women, Birth, and Death in Jewish Law and Practice, which was published in 2004 and will contribute a chapter to a forth-coming volume of the newly endowed Stephen S. Wise Series in Post-Holocaust Studies titled "Encountering the Stranger: Jews, Christians and Muslims in Trialogue." Millen co-founded the Religion, Holocaust and Genocide Group of the American Academy of Religion and served as its chair for seven years. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Ohio Council for Holocaust Education and is a member of the Committee on Church Relations at the United States Holocaust Museum.
Roth, a former member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council who currently serves on its Committee on Church Relations, has authored After-words: Post Holocaust Struggles with Forgiveness, Reconciliation, Justice (2004); a revised edition of Approaches to Auschwitz: The Holocaust and Its Legacy (2003); Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust (2002); and Will Genocide Ever End? (2002). Winner of nine awards for excellence from Claremont McKenna College, Roth was also named the 1988 National Professor of the Year by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. He has held visiting professorships at the University of Haifa, Israel, and Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan, and is a former Koerner Visiting Fellow for the Study of the Holocaust at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies in Great Britain.
His presentation, titled "Handle with Care: Approaches to Religion, Genocide and the Holocaust," is sponsored by the departments of religion, English, education and political science, Weaver Chapel and the Faculty Endowment Fund Board.
Written By: Phyllis Eberts