UVM Center for Holocaust Studies Events Calendar

Thu Feb 20 2020

  • Stranded in North Africa: The “Benghazi Group” of European Jewish Refugees during the Holocaust, lecture by Susanna Schrafstetter, UVM
    4:30pm - 6:00pm
    Waterman 338 (Memorial Lounge)

    Stranded in North Africa: The “Benghazi Group” of European Jewish Refugees during the Holocaust

    UVM College of Arts and Sciences Full Professor Lecture

    Susanna Schrafstetter, University of Vermont

    This lecture will focus on the journey of over 300 Jews who attempted to reach Palestine from Italy in 1940, and who came to be known collectively as the “Benghazi Group.” The group – most of them refugees from Nazi Germany and Austria – never made it to Palestine, and were temporarily stranded in Benghazi, then part of the Italian colonial empire.
    Following the Italian expulsion order covering foreign Jews in 1938, large numbers of Jews who had previously fled to Italy from Germany, Austria, and Poland now desperately attempted to leave Italy. In May 1940, over 300 Jews sailed from Sicily to Benghazi, where a chartered vessel was supposed to pick them up and take them to Palestine. Waiting for the ship – which never materialized - the travelers were welcomed by the local Jewish community of Benghazi. North Africa became a temporary sanctuary for the European Jewish refugees. After several months, the group was forcibly sent back to Italy, and interned in the camp of Ferramonti, in the south of Italy.
    The study of the Benghazi group provides insight into unusual escape routes of European Jews, Jewish refugee life in Italy before and during internment, the possibilities and limitations for self-help and agency among Jewish refugees, and the role of north African Jews in providing aid. Focusing on the perspective of the refugees, the lecture will also examine how the members of the Benghazi group struggled for survival in Ferramonti and elsewhere in Italy. Some of them experienced liberation in southern Italy in the fall of 1943, while others found themselves trapped under German occupation.

Wed Apr 01 2020

  • Why? Explaining the Holocaust, lecture by Peter Hayes, Northwestern University
    7:00pm - 8:30pm
    Waterman 338 (Memorial Lounge)

    Annual Holocaust Remembrance Lecture

    Why? Explaining the Holocaust

    Peter Hayes, Northwestern University

    Professor Hayes will discuss his recent book, “Why? Explaining the Holocaust,” a bold new exploration that answers the most commonly asked questions about the Holocaust.

    Despite the outpouring of books, movies, museums, memorials, and courses devoted to the Holocaust, a coherent explanation of why such ghastly carnage erupted from the heart of civilized Europe in the twentieth century still seems elusive even seventy years later. Numerous theories have sprouted in an attempt to console ourselves and to point the blame in emotionally satisfying directions—yet none of them are fully convincing. As witnesses to the Holocaust near the ends of their lives, it becomes that much more important to unravel what happened and to educate a new generation about the horrors inflicted by the Nazi regime on Jews and non-Jews alike.

    Why? dispels many misconceptions and answers some of the most basic—yet vexing—questions that remain: why the Jews and not another ethnic group? Why the Germans? Why such a swift and sweeping extermination? Why didn’t more Jews fight back more often? Why didn’t they receive more help? While responding to the questions he has been most frequently asked by students over the decades, world-renowned Holocaust historian and professor Peter Hayes brings a wealth of scholarly research and experience to bear on conventional, popular views of the history, challenging some of the most prominent recent interpretations. He argues that there is no single theory that “explains” the Holocaust; the convergence of multiple forces at a particular moment in time led to catastrophe.

    In clear prose informed by an encyclopedic knowledge of Holocaust literature in English and German, Hayes weaves together stories and statistics to heart-stopping effect. Why? is an authoritative, groundbreaking exploration of the origins of one of the most tragic events in human history.

    Peter Hayes holds degrees from Bowdoin, Oxford, and Yale and was from 1980 to 2016 Professor of History and German and from 2000 to 2016 Theodore Zev Weiss Holocaust Educational Foundation Professor at Northwestern University. His publications have won several prizes and been translated into Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Polish, and Spanish. His acclaimed study of IG Farben, Industry and Ideology, received the Biennial Book Prize from the Conference Group for Central European History of the American Historical Association. An award-winning teacher, Hayes lectures widely on German and Holocaust history in the United States and abroad.


    Supported by the Richard Ader/Paul Konigsberg Endowment for the UVM Center for Holocaust Studies

Mon Apr 13 2020

  • Enemy of the People: The Munich Post and the Journalists Who Opposed Hitler
    5:05pm - 6:20pm
    Location TBA

    Enemy of the People: The Munich Post and the Journalists Who Opposed Hitler

    Retired Associated Press journalist and UVM alumnus Terrence Petty will discuss his new book, Enemy of the People: The Munich Post and the Journalists Who Opposed Hitler. He will also reflect on his long career in journalism and on how his youth in Vermont and education as a history major at UVM prepared him for it.

    This event will take place in the framework of Prof. Alan Steinweis' class on the History of the Holocaust. This session is open to the public and free.

Mon Apr 20 2020

  • Nazi Eugenics: History and Memory
    5:05pm - 6:20pm
    Venue TBA

    A panel discussion about Nazi eugenics featuring Prof. Lutz Kaelber of the UVM Department of Sociology and Prof. Annette Eberle of the Catholic University of Applied Sciences, Munich-Benediktbeuern, Germany.


    Additional details will be posted here.


    This event will take place in the framework of Prof. Alan Steinweis' class on the History of the Holocaust. This session is open to the public and free.