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Highlights of 60th Anniversary of Ravensbrück Concentration Camp

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
International Jewish 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 work.

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.

My 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 Early Warning.”

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 Concentration Camp.

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 are:
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 Board.

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


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 book signing.

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

7:30 p.m. 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.

Larger photo of panel participants
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.

Larger photo of A survivor in a wheelchair

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 Krakow, Poland

This 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 Holocaust.”

Dr. Goldenberg's paper was  Rape During the Holocaust

Dr. Plotkin's paper was "You're Too Pretty…"  Roselie Schiff and Oskar Schindler

Dr. Saidel's paper was Jewish Mothers and Daughters in Ravensbrück

Dr. Hedgepeth's paper was The Silence of Deportation: Margit Bartfeld-Feller's Stories of Survival in Siberia

Please see for the complete conference schedule and further information.


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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 University
Talila Kosh, Kibbutzim College of Education, Tel Aviv University
Dr. Rochelle Saidel, Remember the Women Institute and University of São Paulo
Chairperson, Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel

Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel
Literary Resistance in Ravensbrück by Käthe Leichter and Other Jewish Prisoners
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 Hebrew.

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, 2004.

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 art.

Talila Kosh
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 public consciousness.

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 Holocaust:
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 the conference.


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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, New York.


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 Guardia.

For a summary of Dr. Saidel's paper, see ESSAYS LINK

For more information and a complete program, please see


October 11, 2005

“Women Resisting the Nazis,” Panel with Dr. Margaret Crouch, Dr. Karen Paley, Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel and Frieda Soble

Rhode 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 G. Saidel

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. Susan Pentlin.

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

Dr. 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 Delaware (

Since 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


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