The Institute | The Institute Director | Inspiration for the Institute | Activities of Advisory Board Members
The Remember the Women Institute is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation founded in 1997 and based in New York City that conducts and encourages research and cultural activities that contribute to including women in history. Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel is the founder and executive director of the Institute, which maintains this website.
Special emphasis is on women in the context of the Holocaust and its aftermath, including post-World War II immigration. Other topics include women marginalized within Jewish religion and inter-religious dialogue, as well as the accomplishments and exclusion of women in Jewish and general history, the effects of genocide on women, exploitation of women, and the effects of culture on memorialization.
Through research and related activities, the stories of women--from the point of view of women--are made available to be integrated into history and collective memory. The work of the Institute is intended to influence academic research and publications, as well as popular culture, by encouraging the inclusion of all of humanity in historical and commemorative representations. Such academic fields as History, Holocaust Studies, Political Science, Sociology, Women's Studies, Gender Studies, and Cultural Studies can benefit from the Institute's contributions. The Institute's work can also enrich films, theater, museum exhibits, and other cultural products. The projects of the Institute include carrying out research on women and the Holocaust, co-publishing books, creating exhibits, organizing panels at conferences, and cooperating with other institutes and organizations for programs, films, and exhibits.
One research project is the identification of Holocaust survivors and witnesses of sexual violence who are willing to bear witness. To this day, sexual violence during the Holocaust is a secret cloaked in shame. The recent publication of Sexual Violence against Jewish Women during the Holocaust (Brandeis University Press/University Press of New England, Hadassah-Brandeis Institute's Series on Jewish Women), edited by Sonja M. Hedgepeth and Rochelle G. Saidel, has broken the silence after sixty-five years. This unprecedented anthology, with contributions from historians, social scientists, literary and film critics, and psychologists, opens a window into a world that has been virtually unknown. Some victims' experiences are referenced in the book, but most survivors have neither spoken out nor come together to share their experiences. While many of the victims were murdered by the Nazis to ensure their silence, some are still living and able to testify. Remember the Women Institute believes it is not too late for the world to hear firsthand what happened to them, but time is running out. Rape and sexual violence in connection with other genocides have been well documented, including those in the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sudan. In these cases women have come forward and found solidarity in each other and those who support them. The sexual enslavement during World War II of "comfort women" by the Japanese military was exposed only fifty years after the war, and the testimony of Kim Hak Soon, then age 67, inspired more than 200 other Korean women to speak out. The project is being coordinated by Jessica Neuwirth, an attorney who founded the international women's rights organization Equality Now and is a UN expert on sexual violence in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. She is being assisted by Karen Shulman, an education consultant with experience working on the Holocaust and in Rwanda, with a Master's degree focusing on the Holocaust and genocide, working with Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel.
Books that have been published in cooperation with Remember the Women Institute include: Sexual Violence against Jewish Women during the Holocaust (eds. Hedgepeth and Saidel, Brandeis University Press/University Press of New England, 2010); The Jewish Women of Ravensbrück Concentration Camp (Saidel, University of Wisconsin Press, 2004, paperback 2006, Hebrew 2007, and Portuguese 2009); Mielec, Poland: The Shtetl That Became a Nazi Concentration Camp (Saidel, Gefen Publishers, 2012); and Fiorello's Sister: Gemma La Guardia Gluck's Story (Gluck, ed. Saidel, Syracuse University Press, 2007). Exhibits include Women of Ravensbrück, Portraits of Courage: Art by Julia Terwilliger for the Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg, FL, and an exhibit about Gemma La Guardia Gluck for Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, New York.
Remember the Women Institute has organized panels on women and the Holocaust that include: the groundbreaking workshop, “Beyond Anne Frank: Teaching about Women and the Holocaust,” at a Conference on Teaching the Holocaust, Yad Vashem, Jerusalem (2006); various panels at the Scholars' Conference on the Holocaust; the first session dealing with women and the Holocaust (2005) and with sexual violence during the Holocaust (2009) at the World Congress of Jewish Studies, Jerusalem; the first session dealing with sexual violence during the Holocaust, the Association for Jewish Studies (2010); and a special panel at a Women and the Holocaust conference in Warsaw, Poland (2011).
Board of Directors
Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel, President
Dr. Elizabeth Baer
The Remember the Women Institute, 2012
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