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Yad Vashem's International Institute for Holocaust Research has invited Dr. Rochelle Saidel to participate as a research fellow for the Fall 2006 semester. Her research topic is The Untold Story of Mielec, Poland. The destruction of the Jewish community of Mielec, Poland has a unique aspect requiring exploration and better understanding. Like hundreds of other shtetls and small towns in Poland, its Jewish community was destroyed during the Holocaust. However, this was the first Polish town in the Generalgouvernement that had its Jewish community deported, and the decision to do so was made very early, in January 1942. Mielec is unique because it was the first Jewish population to be deported, but was not murdered immediately. Nevertheless, histories of the Holocaust barely or never mention Mielec. A survivor living in Jerusalem, Moshe Borger, has rare documentation about Mielec before, during, and after the Holocaust, which helps to tell the story of Mielec and appropriately place it within Holocaust history. He was hidden near Mielec with the help of a school friend's family. However, his sisters, Sarah and Ziporah, were deported and murdered. This study will  include information about Moshe and his sisters.


Budapest, March 17-18, 2006

Dr. Sonja Hedgepeth and Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel were among the presenters at “Jewish Intellectual Women in Europe: Gendering History, Politics and Culture,” held in Central European University, Budapest, Hungary. Scholars participated from Hungary, Romania, Italy, Germany, Austria, England, the United States, Israel, and Canada. Dr. Hedgepeth, a professor at Middle Tennessee State University and a member of the member the Women Institute Advisory Board, presented a paper on Else Lasker-Schüler. Dr. Saidel presented a paper on Olga Benário Prestes and Dr. Käthe Pick Leichter, two Jewish intellectual women in Ravensbrück. The co-chairs of the conference were Dr. Andrea Peto and Dr. Marina Calloni.

This was a conference and book project of the Central European University, Department of Gender Studies in a cooperation with the University of Milan-Bicocca, supported by the Hanadiv Foundation, London.

The conference was devoted to gender, politics and Jewish tradition in Europe, starting from the example of European women activists coming from Europe. The aim of the project is to develop a useful comparative analysis of gender, political identity and religious heritage, based on the study of the activities and works produced by Jewish women intellectuals in the interwar and the post-Shoah period. In particular, Hannah Arendt is considered as representative of the German tradition, while Zefora Lombroso, Sara Nathan, Amelia Rosselli, Gina Lombroso and Laura Orvieto indicate a specific liberal Italian Jewish tradition; Eugenia Miskolczy, Cecile and Laura Polanyi, and Edith Bruck, a Hungarian tradition; Käthe Leichter, an Austrian tradition. Organizers are also planning to publish a volume on the contributions of European Jewish female intellectuals to feminist theory in general and the redefinitions of progressive politics in their European country in particular.

The methodological approach uses gender as a fundamental category organizing Jewish life and in the shaping of the ethnic/religious identities among Jews. As such, this can be a valuable contribution, creating the possibility of rethinking the basic concepts within Jewish Studies, such as spirituality, community, and/or political activism. By working across disciplines and exchanging experiences the participants of the project can better understand the complex linkage between gender and Judaism. Collaboration of scholars and researchers and the comparison of their results from different countries of Europe are providing a more comprehensive gendered picture of Jewish life. The working language of the conference was English. For more information, please contact Andrea Peto [email protected] or Marina Calloni  [email protected]


            New York, April 24, 2006, 7:30 p.m. Yom HaShoah Program at Congregation Ansche Chesed

            The Yom HaShoah program will be a lecture by Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel, entitled “;The Victims of Ravensbrück: Life and Death in a Nazi Camp for Women."

Bronx, April 24, 2006, 2:00 p.m. Lehman College Yom HaShoah Program.

            “Forgotten Women of Ravensbrück,” a lecture by Rochelle G. Saidel for the Jewish Affairs Club and other students.


Jerusalem, June 26 –29, 2006 Teaching the Holocaust to Future Generations: A Special Conference for Educators

A workshop round table discussion, “Beyond Anne Frank: Teaching about Women and the Holocaust,” coordinated by Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel and Dr. Sonja M. Hedgepeth, is part of the day that focuses on “The Face of the Individual Within the Historical Narrative: Educational Uses of Holocaust Art, Literature, and Film.”

The purpose of this round table workshop is to encourage teachers to include the topic of Women and the Holocaust in their curriculum. The workshop is guided interactive discussion intended to result in providing teachers with a better understanding of the special gender-related experiences of women during the Holocaust. Teachers are be asked to think about whether and how they have introduced the special experiences of girls and women into discussions and readings for their classes. They will share their experiences regarding this issue, and to recommend specific books, films, and activities to their colleagues. Subjects are: the role of patriarchy during the Holocaust, biological differences between men and women, housekeeping and family-related skills and roles, sharing gifts and memories of home in concentration camps, modesty and submission, sexual abuse, and religious observances.

As the leaders of the workshop, Dr. Saidel and Dr. Hedgepeth present examples of women's stories from her own work, including The Jewish Women of Ravensbrück Concentration Camp (2004, University of Wisconsin Press, spring 2006 paperback edition) and My Story: The Memoir of Gemma La Guardia Gluck (to be published). The stories chosen from the Ravensbrück book focus on the experiences of teenage girls, and other accounts about and memoirs by women who were teenage girls will also be discussed.  The goal is that after this workshop teachers will have a better understanding of and greater sensitivity to this topic, and will be more likely to include it in their teaching about the Holocaust. Optimally, they will become aware that men and women did not experience the Holocaust in the same ways, and that the subject has usually been taught with males as the norm. They will become aware or more aware that gender differences need to be considered, and they will incorporate into their lessons discussions about women and the Holocaust.

This workshop is intended to generate change in the attitudes, thinking, and practices of English language arts and social studies teachers who teach about the Holocaust, and thus in those of their students. A suggested bibliography is provided, but participants share their own ideas about appropriate books, films, and related media and activities that help to integrate the stories and experiences of women into the curriculum.

Other members of the Advisory Board of Remember the Women Institute who are participating in this Conference include Noreen Brand and Dr. Mary Johnson.


Moscow, July 23 – 27, 2006

Dr. Eva Alterman Blay, Scientific Coordinator of NEMGE, the Center for the Study of Women and Gender at University of São Paulo and a member of the Advisory Board of Remember the Women Institute, plans to participate in the next congress of the European Association for Jewish Studies, which will take place in Moscow on July, 23-27, 2006. It will be the first EAJS Congress held in Eastern Europe, and aims to bring together scholars from both Eastern and Western Europe. The theme of the Congress is “Past and present perspectives in Jewish Studies.” The local organizers are the International Center for Russian & East European Jewish Studies, and “Sefer” Center for University Teaching of Jewish Civilization.

Members of the European Association for Jewish Studies and all other scholars in the various fields of Jewish Studies are invited to participate in the VIIIth EAJS Congress. Scholars are welcome to attend the Congress whether or not they intend to present a paper. The language of the Congress is English. Russian will be used at plenary sections (where simultaneous translation will be provided) and at the meetings of the section devoted to Modern Jewish History in Eastern Europe. Dr. Rashid Kaplanov is academic chair of the conference.


            Lessons and Legacies, November 2 -5, 2006

The Ninth Biennial Lessons and Legacies Conference, “Memory, History, and Responsibility: Reassessments of the Holocaust, Implications for the Future,” will take place on November 2-5, 2006, at Claremont McKenna College, Claremont, California. Dr. John Roth is academic chair of the conference.



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