Tag Archives: Shoa

Oct 4 talk: A Slovak Anne Frank? The Case of Kitty Weichherz

A Slovak Anne Frank?

The Case of Kitty Weichherz

Please join us for a talk with  Professor Daniel Magilow, UT Knoxville
on Tuesday, October 4, 6 p.m. at the Chapel, Rutledge Hall (on the Horseshoe), University of South Carolina-Columbia

In 1929, the same year of Anne Frank’s birth, Katharina (“Kitty”) Weichherz was born into an acculturated Jewish family in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia. As with Anne Frank, Kitty Weichherz’s life became the subject of a diary.

Her father, Béla Weichherz, began to record his only child’s life in meticulous detail in two notebooks. In text and image, Béla’s baby book (or “diary” as he called it) tells the story of one anonymous life from its very beginnings until the summer of 1942, when the Weichherzes were deported to Nazi camps.

A comparison of the diaries of Kitty Weichherz and Anne Frank yields insight into the protocols that govern the representation of children and atrocity and the roles family photographs play in constructing memories of traumatic pasts.

The talk is sponsored by the Jewish Studies Program, the Capstone Scholars Program, the Department  of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, the German Studies Program, the History Department, and the Department of Religious Studies.

An accompanying exhibition will be on display in the chapel from 4 p.m. onwards and can be viewed at the Capstone Building until October 21.

Followed by a light reception in the Department of Religious Studies.
This event is free and open to the public. All are welcome.

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What a day!

What a day–Yom ha-Shoa (Holocaust Memorial Day), May 1st, the Beautification of John Paul II., and the death of Osama bin Laden!

Last night, after a leisurely dinner with some friends following the Yom ha-Shoa ceremony at the local reform synagogue, my FB page greeted me with “Yay! We did it!” “He’s dead!” “Finally!” and similar messages. It seemed as if many of my US-American FB buddies had suddenly joined a cheerleading club. The frenzy was clearly met by what seems to have been going on in DC and elsewhere: people roaming the streets, wrapped in US-American flags, deliriously shouting “USA! USA!” (as if they personally had had anything to do with it)

Immediately, my German upbringing made me squirm: As if the death of an old man in hiding would change anything! Aren’t there many others, only too happy to launch a few mindless attacks on civilians? Perhaps on one of the local churches in Abottabad where bin Laden had been killed? Or a Paris subway? This is not to say that a military response might not be called for at times, but if that’s all that happens, we might as well keep our soldiers at home, and safe. To gloat in this manner, is, well, unseemly. How is this better than the crowds in Teheran wishing death on the Great and the Little Satan? Better than the unforgettable image of the Palestinian man raising his blood-stained hands after the lynching of an Israeli? Better than the pictures from Abu Ghraib and elsewhere?

Two quotes from the Bible came to my mind: “When the wicked perish there is song” (Proverbs 11:10) which clearly seems to be what was going on last night. The other one reminds us: “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles”? (Proverbs 24:17). In other words: the text acknowledges the complicated nature of human feelings, and tells us that we have a choice.

Many of the foreign relatives of those murdered in the Towers did not feel any relief at the news. Instead, they were thrown back to the horrors of that magnificent September morning in 2001. Even I, far removed, kept thinking of that woman, covered in grey dust, who had grabbed my arm and screamed: “They just jumped! They just jumped!” I wonder what she is thinking right now and I wish we would remember the victims, those who died, those who survived, those who loved them. Here, Robert Klitman writes about his sister’s death on 9/11 in the NYT.

So ObL dead. Big deal (though, apparently, it is).

I had planned to write about our local commemoration of the Shoa (Holocaust), and in particular about the involvement of the “colors” from Fort Jackson, my unease to see military in synagogue, but somehow, this seemed more important. Though I will come back to the beatification later.

Exhibition on Deadly Medicine

The South Carolina State Museum (302 Gervais) is hosting, until February 14,  an exhibition called Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race conceptualized by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum that traces the development of eugenics from its beginnings in the 19th century to the Nazis.

There is also a United States Holocaust Memorial Museum online exhibition to the same topic.

Healing through Killing: Lessons from the Holocaust
Thursday September 10, 2009
Lecture by Eva Mozes Kor, survivor of the deadly genetic experiments conducted by Josef Mengle at Auschwitz during 1944-45.  Presented by the South Carolina Council on the Holocaust.  Free. 7:30pm

Deadly Medicine Teacher Workshop
Friday, September 11, 2009
Click here for more information