Highlights of 60th Anniversary of Ravensbrück Concentration
Women and the Holocaust Conference, Krakow, Poland
Lest We Forget Tour Sponsored by The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey
Panel at World Congress of Jewish Studies, Jerusalem, Israel
The Third International Conference: Women and the Holocaust: Gender Issues in Holocaust Studies
Events related to the
publication of The Jewish Women
of Ravensbrück Concentration Camp
January 13, 2005, Lecture on the research behind The
Jewish Women of Ravensbrück Concentration Camp, The International
Institute for Holocaust Research, Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, Israel.
February 13 – 18, 2005
Book Fair, Jerusalem
Two books that, in different ways, integrate women into history were
released in Hebrew editions and featured at the International Book Fair
in Jerusalem, held February 13 – 18, 2005. Both have already been
published in English. The authors were present and spoke about their
The Trouble With Islam:
A Muslim's Call for Reform in Her Faith was written by Irshad
Manji, a Muslim living in Canada. She made an eloquent plea for understanding
and tolerance, explaining that antisemitism and discrimination against
women should not be practiced by Muslims who understand their religion.
She called for tolerance and acceptance of diversity.
Wounded Heart, The Life of Lilli Jahn, 1900-1944 was edited
by Martin Doerry, Lilli Jahn's grandson and the editor-in-chief of Der
Spiegel magazine. Lilli, a German Jewish woman, was married to a German
Protestant. He divorced her during the Holocaust, and this resulted
in her being shipped to Auschwitz and murdered. Doerry's book is based
on letters that she sent to her children.
The Jewish Women of Ravensbrück Concentration
Camp was among the books on display at the booth of the
Association of Jewish Book Sellers.
March 5 – 8, 2005
35th Annual Scholars' Conference on the Holocaust
and the Churches
St. Joseph's University, Philadelphia, PA
The Annual Scholars’ Conference on the Holocaust and the Churcheswas
founded in 1970 by Franklin H. Littell and Hubert G. Lockeas an interfaith,
interdisciplinary, and international organization. Throughout the decades,
the Conference has been devoted to remembering,learning, and teaching
the lessons of the Holocaust in tandem with educators, clergy, and community
leaders, examining the issues raised by the "Final Solution."
With a new antisemitism spreading around the world, the theme of this
year's conference is “New Threats and Sowing Seeds of Hope: Operation
Among the diverse and innovative conference sessions, there are several
that are related to the question of women and the Holocaust, and a number
of members of the Advisory Board of Remember the Women Institute are presenting
papers. Dr. Marcia Sachs Littell, a member of the Advisory Board, is Executive
Director of the Conference and a participant in several panels.
On Sunday March 6, a Breakout Session on “Yellow Stars on the Silver
Screen: Teaching through Film” is chaired by Dr. Myrna Goldenberg,
Montgomery College (Bethesda, MD), an Advisory Board member. Dr. Littell
(Richard Stockton College of New Jersey) is also a panelist, along with
Miriam Klein Kassenoff, (University of Miami) and Dr. Richard Libowitz
(Saint Joseph’s University/Temple University).
On Monday morning, March 7, a Breakout Session entitled “Roots
of Genocide: Yesterday & Today” and chaired by Benjamin Liebman
(Saint Joseph’s University) includes Advisory Board members Dr.
Susan Pentlin (Central Missouri State University, Warrensburg, MO) and
Anna Rosmus, (Independent Scholar, Edgewood, MD).
On Monday March 7, Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel is the luncheon speaker, providing
insights into her research for The Jewish Women of Ravensbrück
That same afternoon, there is a Plenary Session on “Healers in
Hell: Nurses, Physicians, and Other Caregivers.” Chair and Presenter
is Dr.Susan Benedict, Medical University of South Carolina (Charleston,
SC), a member of the Advisory Board. Other participants are:
Mary Lagerwey, Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo, MI)
Cheyenne Martin, University of Texas Medical Branch (Galveston, TX)
Susan Mayer, North Central Bronx Health Network (New York, NY)
Linda Shields, The University of Hull (Hull, England)
Jacqueline Claude Romney, University of Calgary (Calgary, Alberta, Canada)
Later that day there is a Breakout Session on “The Roles of Women”
chaired by Thomas D. Marzik (Saint Joseph’s University). Participants
Dr. Sonja Hedgepeth (Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro,
TN), a member of the Advisory Board
Maureen Wilt, Central Missouri State University (Warrensburg, MO)
Bat-Ami Zucker, Bar Ilan University (Ramat-Gan, Israel)
Another Breakout Session on Monday, “The Legacy of Language: Generations
After the Holocaust,” includes Chair and Presenter Dr. Karin Doerr
(Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada), a member of the Advisory
On Tuesday, March 8, a Breakout Session entitled “Coping with the
Kingdom of Night”
includes a paper by Dr. Nancy E. Rupprecht (Middle Tennessee State University,
Murfreesboro, TN), a member of the Advisory Board.
For a complete conference schedule see http://www.sju.edu/events/scholars_conference/schedule.pdf
March 13, 2005, 1:30 p.m.
Holocaust Memorial and Educational Center of Nassau County, Lecture
and book signing.
March 23, 2005, Rockland
Community College, sponsored by the
Holocaust Museum and Study Center, Spring Valley, NY, Lecture and
March 30, 2005
Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN
Dr. Rochelle Saidel, author of The Jewish Women of Ravensbrück
Concentration Camp spoke on that topic in the State Farm Auditorium
at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 30, 2005 on the campus of Middle
Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, TN. The title of her
presentation was “The Forgotten Women of Ravensbrück Concentration
Camp.” The event, which was free and open to the public, was sponsored
by the Middle Tennessee State University Holocaust Studies Committee.
Dr. Nancy Rupprecht (l) and Dr.
Sonja Hedgepeth (r) with Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel at Middle Tennessee
State University, Murfreesboro.
May 3, 2005
Lecture and book signing at Borders, Fort Lee, NJ.
May 4, 2005
6:30 p.m. Book lecture in commemoration of Yom HaShoah,
Mid-Manhattan Library, New York Public Libraries, 455 Fifth Avenue.
April 15 – 18, 2005
60th Anniversary of Ravensbrück Liberation Ceremonies held at camp memorial near Berlin, Germany
A memorial rose floats in the lake at Ravensbrück
Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel, President and Director, and Remember the Women Institute Advisory Board Member Dr. Sonja Hedgepeth joined hundreds of Ravensbrück survivors, their families, and scholars to participate in the April 15 – 18 events commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the Liberation of Ravensbrück Concentration Camp.
The long weekend included poignant reunions among survivors, and also between Dr. Saidel and some of the survivors whose stories she told in her book, The Jewish Women of Ravensbrück Concentration Camp. These women include Sali Solomon Daugherty, Lidia Vago, Nomi Friedmann and Chaya Dana, all of Israel; Judith Gertler of New York; and Stella Kugelman Nikiforowa from St. Petersburg, Russia. Many other Jewish survivors from Israel, the United States, and elsewhere also attended.
Highlights of the event were:
Dedication of new memorialization for the infamous tent, where many women, especially Hungarian Jewish women, were forced to subsist in the fall and winter of 1944.
A survivor in a wheelchair shared her memories of the tent with other survivors.
Ceremonies at Uckermark, which was a camp for youth categorized as “asocial” (including lesbians) in the ear ly years and then a place for women designated to die at Ravensbrück. Exhibits included abstracted wire sculptures of women prisoners along barbed wired fences.
Lectures on specific subjects, including one by Dr. Rochelle Saidel on the camp's Jewish victims. This event took place in a seminar room in a building that had housed the camp's SS guards.
Inauguration of a new exhibit about Dr. Antonina Nikiforowa, a heroic Soviet prisoner who was the mother-in-law of Stella Nikiforowa, a Jewish child survivor of the camp. Stella spoke with students at the exhibit, under a photo of her and her mother-in-law.
An interreligious service, held in the old cell block punishment building. The Jewish part of the service was conducted by Rabbi Elisa Klapheck (r), accompanied by a cantor.
Traditional throwing of flowers into the Schwedtsee, the adjacent lake that holds the ashes of countless victims. Dr. Sonja Hedgepeth and Dr. Rochelle Saidel added their flowers to the memorial tribute.
Visiting the camp's crematorium, where votive candles, yartzeit candles, flowers and Israeli flags were left in memory of the camp's victims.
Exhibits in the cell blocks, with each room representing a specific group of the camp's victims. Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel visited the Jewish memorial room, where panels included information on Rosa Menzer, Olga Benario Prestes, and Dr. Käthe Pick Leichter.
Placing flowers and candles in front of the narrow gallery where political prisoners were shot to death.
Meeting survivors from many countries, including political prisoners from throughout Europe. Stanislawa Osiczko of Jaroslaw, Poland (r) was one of the so-called “rabbits” who underwent horrible “medical” experiments at the camp. She is shown with Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel (l) and Anna Jarosky of New Jersey, whose late mother was also a victim of the experiments.
A visit to the site of the Malchow subcamp, where many Jewish women were sent from Ravensbrück during the spring of 1945. A housing project has been built on the land where women once slaved in a munitions factory.
A visit to Neustadt-Glewe, a city that was the site of an airfield and aircraft factory that comprised a subcamp of Ravensbrück. Karl Heinz-Schütt, a town resident, created a memorial and published material about the victims. He is shown with Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel and Dr. Sonja Hedgepeth at a museum exhibit about the subcamp.
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May 26-28, 2005
"The Legacy of the Holocaust: Women and the Holocaust" conference in
conference, which took place close to Auschwitz-Birkenau, focused on
issues that are especially related to women during the Holocaust. Among
the members of the Remember the Women Institute Advisory Board
presenting papers were Dr. Myrna Goldenberg, Dr. Sonja Hedgepeth, Dr.
Diane Plotkin, Dr. Rochelle Saidel, and Dr. Nechama Tec. Dr. Tec was the
keynote speaker. Her address was entitled “Listening to Voices from the
Dr. Goldenberg's paper was
Rape During the Holocaust
Plotkin's paper was "You're Too Pretty…" Roselie Schiff and Oskar
Dr. Saidel's paper was
Jewish Mothers and Daughters in Ravensbrück
paper was The Silence of Deportation: Margit Bartfeld-Feller's Stories of
Survival in Siberia
http://www.uni.edu/klink for the complete conference schedule and further
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July 10 – 22, 2005
“Lest We Forget” Study Tour to Ravensbrück and other
concentration camps sponsored by The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey,
Master of Arts Program in Holocaust and Genocide Studies
As part of this tour of three countries and six major
cities in Germany, Poland, and Czech Republic, the group visited nine
concentration camp sites, including Ravensbrück and Sachsenhausen, outside of
Berlin. Dr. Marcia Sachs Littell, Director of the Master's Program in Holocaust
and Genocide Studies at Stockton, led the tour. Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel joined
the group in Berlin, and accompanied and guided them at the Ravensbrück
concentration camp memorial. She also joined them for tours of Sachsenhausen and
Holocaust memorial sites in and around Berlin, including Wannsee House, Banhof
Grunewald deportation point, Topography of Terror, the Jewish Museum, the new
memorial to the Six Million Murdered Jews of Europe, and Rosenstrasse.
The “Lest We Forget” study tour group
visited the Ravensbrück memorial site, with Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel as their
scholar in residence. Pictured at the memorial are, left to right, Dr. Saidel,
tour leader Dr. Marcia Sachs Littell, Dr. Emanuel Tanay, and Dr. Insa Eschebach,
Director of the Ravensbrück memorial
Nearly forty graduate students and teachers of the
Holocaust participated in the study tour. Dr. Emanuel Tanay, a psychiatrist and
survivor, also accompanied the group as a scholar in residence. Werner Händler,
a survivor of Sachsenhausen and former International Secretary General of that
camp's survivors, spoke with the group in Berlin.
At the 35th Annual Scholars' Conference on the
Holocaust, held in Philadelphia in March 2005, there was a special dessert
reception and book signing in honor of the publication of The Jewish Women of
Ravensbrück Concentration Camp. Dr. Saidel signed books for Dr. Marcia Sachs
Littell, Executive Director of the Conference (l.). The book was required
reading for participants in the July study tour.
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July 31 – August 4, 2005
The Fourteenth World Congress of
Jewish Studies took place at Hebrew University, Jerusalem, with a broad
and deep variety of sessions and participants from around the world.
The following panel was presented from 9 – 11 a.m. on August 3:
“Literary Responses to the Holocaust by Women in Israel, the United
States, and Nazi Concentration Camps”
Dr. Myrna Goldenberg, Ida E. King Distinguished Visiting Scholar of
Holocaust Studies at Richard Stockton College
Dr. Sonja Hedgepeth, professor of German, Middle Tennessee State
Talila Kosh, Kibbutzim College of Education, Tel Aviv University
Dr. Rochelle Saidel, Remember the Women Institute and University of São
Chairperson, Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel
Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel
Literary Resistance in Ravensbrück by Käthe Leichter and Other Jewish
Even within the brutal conditions of Ravensbrück women’s concentration camp,
some of the early prisoners were able to create moving poems, theater pieces,
and other writings. Most of the writings by Jewish prisoners were created by
early political prisoners who arrived before the winter of 1942, and most of
them were lost. Almost none of the Jewish prisoners in the camp before 1942
survived. Because conditions were so harsh for Jewish women who arrived later,
they rarely had the opportunity to even hold a pencil.
Among the early literary materials that survived are the poems of Austrian
Jewish political prisoner Dr. Käthe Pick Leichter. She was a leader of the
Social Democratic Party in Austria and received a doctorate in Social Sciences
at a time when this achievement was rare for women. She was arrested and brought
to Ravensbrück in 1940. Before her murder by the Nazis in the winter of 1942,
she wrote bitter but sometimes optimistic poems about her experience in the
camp. She also wrote dramatic presentations which were performed secretly in the
camp. Although they were not preserved, they were recounted by surviving
prisoners. This paper focused on Dr. Leichter and her works. Her story and her
literary achievements were placed in the context of resistance that raised
women's spirits in the camp, including drawing sketches, creating and exchanging
gifts, and writing recipes.
Dr. Sonja Hedgepeth
Passing Sentence on the Third Reich: Else Lasker-Schüler’s Exile Drama ‘IchundIch’”
The famous Jewish German poet, Else Lasker-Schüler, died in Jerusalem on January
22, 1945, and was not able to witness Germany’s defeat less than four months
later. However, during her exile in Jerusalem, Lasker-Schüler had already
predicted Hitler’s defeat in her last play, “IchundIch” (1940/1941). Her drama
“IchundIch” (“I and I”) was written in German and read out loud to distinguished
German olim of Rehavia in the Alfred Berger Club. Among her invited guests were,
for instance, Martin Buber, Ernst Simon, and Salman Schocken, who, like
Lasker-Schüler, had to leave Germany when the Nazis came to power. Since Else
Lasker-Schüler was already a German writer of stature upon her arrival during
the British Mandate of Palestine, she was often at the center of literary and
culture gatherings sponsored by olim from German-speaking countries. However,
during her life as an older person in Jerusalem, she was recognized as a famous
German writer only by the “jekkes.” To most of the rest of the population she
seemed to be no more than a strange-looking old woman, who could not learn
This paper presented Else Lasker-Schüler’s play “IchundIch” as her “anti-Hitler
play,” directed at the Nazi leadership from Jerusalem. In this presentation, Dr.
Hedgepeth will explore how the play, which opens and closes at real locations in
Jerusalem, is this famous German writer’s condemnation of the Nazi leader and
his henchmen, while it is also a lamentation for her lost homeland. “IchundIch”
is rarely performed; it was staged for the first time in Germany in 1979, well
after Lasker-Schüler’s death. [In 1941, the Habima Theatre in Tel Aviv had
already expressed some interest in “IchundIch,” but did not stage the play.]
Thus, Dr. Hedgepeth included some remarks about the performance history of Else
Lasker-Schüler’s last drama, especially regarding the most recent staging of “IchundIch,”
which she attended at the Schauspielhaus in Dortmund, Germany on November 20,
Dr. Myrna Goldenberg
Selected Jewish American Women Poets and their Holocaust Poetry
Dr. Goldenberg examined the Holocaust poetry of Myra Sklarew, Dori Katz, and
Hilary Tham to discover common and disparate themes, metaphors, and tone. Less
well known than contemporaries Piercy, Klepfisz, Kaye-Kantrowitz, Lifshin, and
others, these poets speak with an authentic intensity and credibility. Sklarew
is an American-born poet whose interest in the subject stems from the murder of
her Lithuanian relatives during the Shoah. Her intellectual curiosity impelled
her to search further into her roots and took her to Lithuania several times;
her “Lithuania” (1995) is an extraordinary extended narrative of her search for
traces of her family and other Jewish victims. Dori Katz, far less published
than Sklarew, is a child survivor who recounts her experiences passing as a
Catholic during the war, her child anger at her father for abandoning her, and
her reconciliation with her mother after the war. Her poetry output is scant but
searing. Hilary Tham is a converted Jew whose outrage at the senseless murder of
her adopted people is couched in cautious narratives that are autobiographical,
often disarmingly witty, wise, or ironic.
All three poets enlighten us about the impact of the catastrophe of the
Holocaust on American life and letters. They experienced the Holocaust
differently and from different distances—even continents, but their poetry
directly and indirectly reflects the indelible presence of the event in their
Remembering or Forgetting: Women Writers and the Memory of the Holocaust
This study belongs in the discursive field generated by the question of
remembrance of the Holocaust in Israeli culture. It considers this issue in the
context of the so-called second-generation literature. This literature’s role in
shaping the memory of the Holocaust in Israel has long been recognized, together
with its contribution to raising and preserving the Holocaust narrative in
This study contributes to the literary discourse on the Holocaust by means of
extending the possible ways of reading second-generation Holocaust literature.
This is done by introducing the concept of gender and its literary
representations into this field of discussion.
The paper looked at five works by Israeli women authors: Ariela Avigur-Rotem,
Lisi Doron, Lea Eini, Eleonora Lev and Aliza Olmert, investigating the authors'
poetic choice to place the survivor woman/mother protagonist as the principal
memory agent. The survivor woman/mother refuses to forget, defying the
(patriarchal) command not to look back; she inscribes the past on her body and
proposes a feminine ethic of remembering and forgetting the Holocaust.
For more information on the conference please see
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September 5 – 7, 2005
The Third International Conference: Women and the
Gender Issues in Holocaust Studies
The conference takes place in Israel in three locations:
September 5 - Beit Berl College (Kfar Saba)
September 6 - Beit Terezin (Kibbutz Givat Hayim Ichud)
September 7 - Beit Lohamei HaGeta'ot (Ghetto Fighters' Kibbutz and Museum)
Sessions include Feminist Ethics, Femininity and the
Body, Women in Ravensbrück, Sex, Gender and Identity, Gendered Experience in the
Arts, and Women's Literature and the Holocaust. Scholars are participating from
Israel, the United States, Canada, Germany, United Kingdom, and Hungary. Members
of the Advisory Board of Remember the Women Institute who are presenting papers
at this conference include Dr. Judith Tydor-Baumel, Dr. Batya Brutin, Dr. Karen
Doerr, and Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel. Dr. Brutin and Dr. Esther Hertzog, also an
Advisory Board member, are among the organizers of the conference. The
conference is sponsored by Beit Berl College, Beit Terezin, and Beit Lohamei
HaGeta'ot, and Remember the Women Institute served as a consultant in organizing
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September 14, 2005
Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel spoke about The Jewish Women of
Ravensbrück Concentration Camp at a meeting of the Jewish Women's Foundation,
September 18, 2005
Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel spoke about Gemma La Guardia Gluck
at a conference of David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies.
"America and the Holocaust: Politics, Art, History" was
the title of the third national conference of The David S. Wyman Institute for
Holocaust Studies, which took place in New York City on September 18, 2005.
The conference was held in the McNally Amphitheater and
atrium at the Fordham University School of Law, 140 West 62 Street, on Sunday,
September 18, 2005, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. The master of ceremonies was
Fordham faculty member Prof. Thane Rosenbaum, the eminent scholar, award-winning
novelist, and leading member of the Wyman Institute's Arts & Letters Council.
The sessions included:
"La Guardia and the Holocaust," chaired by former New
York Mayor Ed Koch. The speakers at this session include: Dr. Rafael Medoff,
unveiling new research on Fiorello La Guardia's efforts to promote rescue from
the Holocaust; Dr. Rochelle Saidel, on the ordeal of La Guardia's sister Gemma,
who was a prisoner of the Nazis; and Prof. Thomas Kessner, biographer of La
For a summary of Dr. Saidel's paper, see
For more information and a complete program, please see
October 11, 2005
Resisting the Nazis,” Panel with Dr. Margaret Crouch, Dr. Karen Paley, Dr.
Rochelle G. Saidel and Frieda Soble
Island College, Providence
Left to right, Dr. Karen Paley, Dr. Rochelle Saidel,
Frieda Soble, Dr. Margaret Crouch
Photo credit: James Montford
October 27 – 29, 2005
“From Liberation to Life: 60 Years after Auschwitz,”
Seventh Holocaust Studies Conference at Middle Tennessee State University
Keynote Speaker, Dr. Gerhard L. Weinberg, Author of A
World at Arms: A Global History of World War II
Luncheon Speakers, Dr. Myrna Goldenberg and Dr. Rochelle
Conference Chairperson, Dr. Nancy Rupprecht
Other members of the Remember the Women Institute
Advisory Board who participated include Judy Cohen, Dr. Sonja Hedgepeth, and Dr.
For further information, see:
October 30, 2005
Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel spoke about The Jewish Women of
Ravensbrück Concentration Camp and the camp's 60th anniversary commemoration at
the Holocaust Museum and Study Center in Spring Valley, New York.
Holocaust Museum and Study Center
November 22, 2005
In honor of Jewish Book Month, Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel
spoke about The Jewish Women of Ravensbrück Concentration Camp to the Sharon
Group, Manhattan Chapter of Hadassah.
December 1, 2005
Rochelle G. Saidel presented the Halina Wind Preston Memorial Lecture at the
Brandywine Hundred Library, Wilmington, DE, followed by a book signing. The
lecture is supported by a grant from the Halina Wind Preston Memorial Fund of
the Jewish Fund for the Future, the endowment of the Jewish Federation of
1990, the Preston Lecture series has brought outstanding Holocaust scholars and
survivors to speak in Delaware to help carry on the educational work of Halina
Wind Preston. A survivor of 14 months in the sewers of
Nazi-occupied Lwow, Poland (now Lviv, Ukraine) in 1943-44, Halina Wind Preston
became an eloquent spokeswoman for the victims and survivors of the Holocaust.
In 1979, she dedicated downtown Wilmington’s Holocaust monument. And in 1981, a
year before her death, she honored the memory of the Catholic sewer workers who
had rescued her, when she conceived and dedicated the Garden of the Righteous
Gentiles in front of Wilmington’s Jewish Community Center – the first monument
in the U.S. to Christians who saved the lives of Jews.
The News Journal, a Gannett Co. newspaper in Delaware, printed the following
article on 11/28/2005
"Local - Holocaust author to speak about atrocities"
To view this article