Millersville University Holocaust Conference Makes History

Apr 07, 2010, 05:00 ET from Millersville University

MILLERSVILLE, Pa., April 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Holocaust and Genocide conference, held at Millersville University of Pennsylvania, making it the longest annual academic conference held at the same venue in the world.  That's according to Dr. Jack Fischel, professor emeritus of history, who organized the first conference at the University in 1980 with help from other faculty members.

The 30th annual conference on the Holocaust and Genocide, titled, "A Half-Century of Changing Narratives," will be held April 14-16.  

"This conference is so important because all of the things that caused the Holocaust are still present today; genocide included," explains Fischel.

To acknowledge its continued presence, in 2005, the term "genocide" was added to the conference title.  This was meant to expand the focus of the conference, recognizing various instances of mass violence in places such as Darfur and Rwanda.

Among the outstanding speakers, according to Dr. Saulius Suziedelis, are outgoing conference director: Elie Wiesel, Nobel Prize winner and author; the late Raul Hilberg, author of the first comprehensive study of the Holocaust in the 1960s and General Romeo Dallaire, commander of the United Nations forces in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide.  

"This conference puts Millersville on the map; you can't buy that kind of recognition," says Fischel.

"A conference of this quality has benefits that far exceed the University," said Fischel. "Attendees, consisting of university students, faculty, staff and members from the community receive a valuable learning experience; such as being educated on what's going on in the world today."  

This year's keynote speaker (April 14) is internationally acclaimed Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko from the University of Tulsa.  Yevtushenko will be discussing one of his famous poems, "Babi Yar," which exposed anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union and Jewish suffering during the Holocaust at a time when the subject was rarely discussed openly.  

On April 15, as part of a special presentation and discussion of the movie "Defiance," Zvi Bielski, son of one of the Bielski brothers, will be speaking about the memories of resistance.  "Defiance" tells the story of the Bielski brothers, who escaped from Nazi-occupied Poland, rescuing more than 1,200 Jews from extermination while fighting against the Nazis from a base hidden deep in the forest.

The conference is free and open to the public.  

SOURCE Millersville University