Join us for our weekly Lunch-and-Learn series to hear children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors, notable speakers on timely issues, and historical experts.
These programs aim to present perspectives and voices that challenge and inspire people to confront bigotry, racism, and indifference, and to consider how their actions make a difference.
Past Lunch-and-Learn Programs
Disclaimer: The views, information, or opinions expressed in these programs are solely those of the individuals involved and do not necessarily represent those of the Holocoaust Center for Humanity.
America and the Holocaust: 3-Part Lunch-and-Learn Series
October 6, 13, 20 | Co-Sponsored by the Holocaust and Genocide Studies Program and the Kurt Mayer Chair of Holocaust Studies at Pacific Lutheran University | Flyer (pdf)
Thank you to our generous supporter: The Powell Family Foundation
October 6 | Hell Before Their Very Eyes: American Soldiers Liberate Concentration Camps in Germany
With Dr. John McManus, Military Historian, who sheds new light on a relatively overlooked aspect of the Holocaust, namely the experiences of American soldiers who liberated or witnessed concentration camps. Drawing on the rich blend of archival sources and first hand accounts, including unit journals, interviews, oral histories, memoirs, diaries, letters, and published recollections that provided the foundation for his book "Hell Before Their Very Eyes," he will discuss the realities of the liberation of Ohrdruf, Buchenwald and Dachau. In case you missed it - Watch Video Recording
October 13 | Rescue Board: The Untold Story of America's Efforts to Save the Jews of Europe
With Dr. Rebecca Erbelding, Historian, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and author of Rescue Board. America has long been criticized for refusing to give harbor to the Jews during World War II as Hitler and the Nazis closed in. Yet few know the extraordinary unknown story of the War Refugee Board, a US government effort late in the war to save the remaining European Jews. In January 1944, facing mounting public pressure and pressure within his administration to do more to aid European Jews, President Franklin Roosevelt agreed to create a new government agency, the War Refugee Board, empowering it to rescue the victims of Nazi persecution. Over the next twenty months, John Pehle, the young Treasury Department lawyer tasked with heading this operation, pulled together D.C. pencil pushers, international relief workers, smugglers, diplomats, millionaires, and rabble-rousers to run operations across four continents and a dozen countries. They tricked Nazis, forged identity papers, maneuvered food and medicine into concentration camps, recruited spies, leaked news stories, laundered money, negotiated ransoms, and funneled millions of dollars into Europe. This is the story of how the United States War Refugee Board saved tens of thousands of lives. In case you missed it - Watch Video Recording
October 20 | Atrocity Pictures: Antisemitism, the Holocaust, and the Hollywood Studio System Before 1948
With Dr. Steven Carr, Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and author of Hollywood & Anti-Semitism. Much of the discussion about Hollywood and anti-Semitism has assumed anti-Semitism came out of Hollywood. Less attention has considered antisemitism directed toward Hollywood. With both increasing political instability and the resurgence of organized hate groups in the U.S., anti-Semitic allegations of Jewish control over the media today remain poised to regain mainstream traction. This informal Q&A will discuss how anti-Semitic allegations of Jewish control over Hollywood helped shape popular depictions of Nazism and the Holocaust in mainstream Hollywood film. With the memory of World War I still fresh in the minds of many Americans, along with a growing isolationist alliance against President Roosevelt, the Hollywood studio system throughout the 1930s and 40s found itself caught between intensifying public opinion accusing the industry of either not doing enough to combat Nazism, or accusing it of pushing the country into war to serve Jewish interests.
Thank you to our community partners for supporting the America and the Holocaust series:
September 29, 2020 | Practice Radical Empathy: Storytelling to Build an Equitable World
Join Luis Ortega, founder and director of Storytellers for Change, as he delivers an engaging and empowering message about the power of storytelling and story-listening to foster radical empathy, promote dialogue, and to build an inclusive and equitable world. In this virtual presentation, Luis will invite the audience to explore the role of connection, empathy, and belonging in communities. How do we co-create spaces for connection? How can we expand our empathetic capacity? What does belonging mean to you? A key part of the answer to these questions is stories. After all, what brings us closer to each other is knowing our individual and collective narratives. When a community or society has the ability to know, see, and hear the stories of everyone, we can expand our "circle of human concern" and close empathy gaps.
Thank you to our community partners on this program: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center | Unexpected Productions Improv
September 15, 2020 | How the Holocaust Shaped Senator Scoop Jackson’s Human Rights Work
Speakers Anna Marie Laurence and Craig Gannett. As a U.S. Senator from Washington State, Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson was a strong advocate for human rights and religious freedom. In the 1970s, he pressured the Soviet Union to allow the emigration of Jews, many of whom were being persecuted. His commitment to human rights can be traced back to 1945, when he entered Buchenwald just three days after the death camp was liberated. Scoop’s daughter, Anna Marie Laurence, will share photos of items he received at the camp, and the President of the Henry M. Jackson Foundation, Craig Gannett, will explain how the unspeakable horrors he saw there led him to champion the 1974 Jackson-Vanik Amendment, which in turn led to the Magnitsky Act of 2012 and the Global Magnitsky act of 2016, allowing the U.S. government to sanction foreign government officials implicated in human rights abuses anywhere in the world.
Thank you to our community partners on this program: The Jackson Foundation | Historic Seattle | Washington State Historical Society | Henry M. Jackson High School
September 8, 2020 | A Childhood in Nazi Germany: Barbara Sachs D'Asaro
Andrea and Joanna D’Asaro and their mother Barbara Sachs D’Asaro tell the story of Barbara’s childhood in Nazi Germany, and her escape as a young girl. Barbara was born Bärbel Sachs near Rostock, Germany on August 18, 1927. She was adopted by a Jewish couple, Erich and Johanna Sachs, who lived in Berlin. Barbara’s parents bribed officials to destroy documents about her adoption, which noted that a non-Jewish child had been adopted into a Jewish family. Join us for this incredible and unique story of determination, luck, and love. Barbara, Joanna, and Andrea are part of the Holocaust Center's Speakers Bureau.
Thank you to our community partners on this program: Seattle Genealogical Society | Cornell Club of Western Washington
September 2, 2020 | Law as an Instrument of Mass Crimes? The Legal System Under the Third Reich
Speaker: Lawrence Douglas, James J. Grosfeld Professor of Law, Jurisprudence & Social Thought, Amherst College. Join the Holocaust Center for Humanity, and legal professionals from around Washington state, for a special virtual Lawyers CLE program with Professor Lawrence Douglas on Law as an instrument of Mass Crimes and the Legal System Under the Third Reich. Hitler’s Germany disturbingly demonstrated how a legal system can become an instrument of state sponsored mass atrocities.
This talk will examine questions such as: How did the Nazi state succeed in perverting the German legal system? What role did prominent lawyers and judges play in resisting or assisting the perversion? Are there limits to which law can be perverted before it ceases to function as law? What lessons can we apply from the German case to challenges facing lawyers today?
Thank you to our event partners: Perkins Coie | Karr Tuttle Campbell | Cardozo Society of Washington State | The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle
It is not too late to receive 1 Ethics Credit. If you missed this legal program on September 2, 2020 and you are an attorney seeking ethics credit, it is not too late to participate. To watch this program for 1 Ethics credit, please register here.
August 25, 2020 | Let It Not Happen Again: Lessons of the Japanese American Exclusion
With speaker Clarence Moriwaki. In March of 1942, 227 Japanese Americans were forcibly removed from their homes on Bainbridge Island by the US Army. Starting with this small community, a national strategy began, with more than 120,000 Japanese American men, women, and children forcibly removed and incarcerated during World War II.
Clarence Moriwaki shares the story of Bainbridge Island—the origin point of the Japanese American exclusion—to provide a human, historical account of this national tragedy, and to ask the question: Are there parallels to what’s happening in America now?
Moriwaki is the president of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community and a founder and former president of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial Association. Moriwaki has written guest editorials on the subject that have been published nationwide. Moriwaki has served as a spokesperson for administrations including the Clinton Administration, the Office of the Governor, and Congressman Jay Inslee. Moriwaki lives on Bainbridge Island and is a member of Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau.
Thank you to our community partners on this program: Humanities Washington | The Consulate General of Japan in Seattle | JACL | Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Washington | Keiro Northwest.
August 18, 2020 | The Yellow Star House: The Remarkable Story of One Boy's Survival in a Protected House in Hungary
With author Paul Regelbrugge. Paul Regelbrugge, a teacher in Spokane, WA at the time, asked survivor Robert Holczer to come and speak to his 6th grade class. His students were enthralled by the unique story of Robert and the motivations of his rescuer. Paul and Robert became friends over the last decade of Robert's life and Paul became one of the few people trusted to record Robert's story. From these stories and interviews comes Paul's first book, and one of the first books on this incredible story of the rescue of 400 Jews in the middle of Budapest, Hungary: The Yellow Star House. The Yellow Star House can be purchased from our community partner, Queen Anne Book Company!
Thank you to our community partners on this program: Queen Anne Book Company | Honorary Consulate of Hungary in Seattle | Seattle Public Schools Library Services
August 11, 2020 | Genocide Today: The Uyghurs in China
With speaker Ellen Kennedy, Ph.D, World Without Genocide. The Uyghurs, a Turkic Muslim minority in western China, are being persecuted by the Chinese government with practices that governments, human rights leaders, and experts are labeling as ‘genocide.’ These actions include the use of sophisticated artificial intelligence to round up and incarcerate more than a million Uyghurs in concentration-camp-like facilities; forced sterilization of women; harvesting of body organs; mass disappearances; and the destruction of Uyghur language, culture, practice, and community. Learn about the economic and political reasons at the heart of the crisis and efforts to hold the government of China accountable for perpetrating genocide against this vulnerable Muslim minority population.
Ellen J. Kennedy, Ph.D., is the founder and Executive Director of World Without Genocide, located at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, St. Paul, MN. The organization provides education about past and current conflicts and advocacy at local, state, and national levels for policies and legislation that promote peace and justice. She has been an adjunct professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law since 2011. Due to the sensitive political nature of the topic, a recording of this program is not available. Please visit World Without Genocide for more information on this topic.
Thank you to our program community partners: Jewish Family Services | Faith Action Network
August 4, 2020 | Peter Metzelaar: Surviving the Holocaust in Hiding
Peter Metzelaar, a native of the Netherlands, was just seven when his entire family was seized by the Nazis except for him and his mother, Elli. Pete then endured the Holocaust under various harrowing circumstances -- from time in hiding on the farm of a non-Jewish couple, to going to school posing as a Christian boy, to a daring escape on a Nazi truck with his mother dressed as a Red Cross nurse. Pete is a longtime member of the Holocaust Center for Humanity Speakers Bureau and resides in Seattle with his wife, Bea.
With Tom White, Keene State College | As the Nazis began to coordinate and crystalize their racist program in the early 1930s, they looked for legal precedence that could help shape their own work within the German legal system. They found this precedent in U.S. legislation and initiatives, such as racist-based immigration laws and disenfranchisement of minorities. The Nazis explored ways to legitimize their racial state by studying what worked and what did not work within U.S. race-based laws and practices. Utilizing American ideas not only helped the Nazis craft the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, it also helped them cement their power.
With us today is Tom White, Coordinator of Educational Outreach for the Cohen Center for Holocaust Studies at Keene State College in New Hampshire to talk about the influence of racist policies in the United States on Nazi Germany. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Association of Holocaust Organizations (AHO); has participated as observer and facilitator in the Global Raphael Lemkin Seminar for Genocide Prevention at the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation; and in 2015 was named a Peace Ambassador by the Center for Peacebuilding from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Tom was also just appointed to the New Hampshire Governor’s Commission on Holocaust and genocide education. Tom White's article, "The US and Racism" referenced in the program can be found here. Article includes bibliography of sources. Image: A Jewish woman sits on a bench marked "Only for Jews," Austria, 1938.
Thank our community partners for this program: The Black Heritage Society, The Ray Wolpow Institute for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Crimes Against Humanity at Western Washington University, and Pacific Lutheran University.
July 21, 2020 | Jessica Fenton: Granddaughter of Polish Holocaust Survivors
Jessica Fenton grew up in South Florida very close to her grandparents, Natalie and Murray Borenstein. Jessica knew that her grandparents and their friends and neighbors were Holocaust survivors. As an adult, Jessica dug deeper to learn of her grandparents' past. She collected documents, video, and photos of her grandparents' lives and shared them with the Holocaust Center for Humanity. Jessica Fenton officially joined the Holocaust Center's Speakers Bureau in 2020 to share the stories of her grandparents and to ensure that their legacies lived on.
July 14, 2020 | Overlooked: People with Mental Illness and Disabilities During the Holocaust | With Dr. Beth Griech-Polelle, Pacific Lutheran University
Among the programs the Nazi regime created was a secret project called "Aktion T-4" or the "Euthanasia Project" to rid themselves of the "unwanted" people. Not only did 70,000 adults and approximately 5,000 children die, but Hitler used these early mass killings as training for how he'd be able to efficiently and systematically commit genocide. Dr. Griech-Polelle is the Kurt Mayer Chair of Holocaust Studies at Pacific Lutheran University. The books mentioned in this presentation are Michael Burleigh's Death and Deliverance: "Euthanasia" in Germany c. 1900-45 and James Q. Whitman's Hitler's American Model.
July 7, 2020 | From Anne Frank's Amsterdam to Present-Day Seattle: An Arc Spanning Over Eighty Years | Laureen Nussbaum
Born in Germany in 1927, Laureen and her family left Nazi Germany for Amsterdam in 1936. In her new neighborhood, Laureen became friends with Margot and Anne Frank, although she was closer to Margot. After the Holocaust, Laureen remained close to Otto, Anne's father and the only surviving member of the Frank family. Laureen and her family were able to avoid deportation because they obtained paperwork claiming they were not Jewish. Laureen's book, Shedding our Stars: A Story of Hans Calmeyer and How He Saved Thousands of Families Like Mine was published in 2019. Laureen moved to the United States in 1955 and later became a professor of Foreign Languages and Literature at Portland State University. She has consulted on many scholarly works, written articles and continues to lecture on the Holocaust, Anne Frank, and her own experiences. More about Laureen Nussbaum.
Olympic Pride, American Prejudice tells the story of 18 African Americans who defied Jim Crow and Adolf Hitler to compete in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Deborah Riley Draper is an award-winning and critically acclaimed filmmaker, motivational speaker, and advertising agency veteran. She directed the 2016 documentary "Olympic Pride, American Prejudice" (available on Amazon Prime) and in February 2020 released her book that expands on the stories in the film.
Set against the turbulent backdrop of a segregated United States, sixteen black men and two black women are torn between boycotting the Olympic Games in Nazi Germany or participating. If they go, they would represent a country that considered them second-class citizens and would compete amid a strong undercurrent of Aryan superiority that considered them inferior. Yet, if they stayed, would they ever have to chance to prove them wrong on a global stage?
Thank you to our community partners for this week's program: The Northwest African American Museum | The Ray Wolpow Institute for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Crimes Against Humanity at Western Washington University | The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle | Temple De Hirsch Sinai | Jconnect Seattle | Temple B'nai Torah | Herzl-Ner Tamid | Temple Beth Am
June 23, 2020 | Barbara Adler West: Daughter of a Kindertransport Survivor
After her grandfather was arrested and imprisoned in Sachsenhausen in 1938, the family desperately looked for avenues to escape Germany. At only 9 years old, Barbara's father Steve was sent alone on the Kindertransport (children's transport) to England. Kindertransports were organized with British government sanction, giving refuge to approximately 10,000 mostly Jewish children from Nazi occupied countries. Barbara Adler West is an attorney, a mother, and recently started a non-profit organization to help folks in need with elder law. She is also the co-author, with her father Steve, of a 2017 book about families and aging, “When I Need Your Help I’ll Let You Know.” Barbara is very proud to share her father’s story as a Legacy Speaker in the Center’s Speakers Bureau.
Thank you to our Community Partner on this program Temple Beth Am.
June 16, 2020 | Race, Equity, and Holocaust Education
A conversation with three changemakers who are advocates of Holocaust education and who are working in Washington's school system to raise awareness of systemic racism and close the education and opportunity gap for students of color. |List of books and resources mentioned in this program
Panelists: Tanisha Brandon-Felder Ed.D, Director of Equity and Family Engagement, Shoreline School District | E-chieh Lin, Director of Diversity and Community and Director of Hiring, University Preparatory School | Angela Jones, CEO Washington STEM
June 9, 2020 | "Real Nazis of the Northwest - 1933-1941" with Knute Berger
Nazism in the Northwest is not a new phenomenon. You’ve heard of the heroic UW rowers called “the Boys in the Boat” who beat the Nazis at the Berlin Olympics. This talk will introduce you to another group Knute Berger calls the Fascists in the Forest. We will look at the pre-World War II era in Seattle and the major players in local and West Coast fascism, focusing on representatives of the Third Reich, their propaganda efforts here, and the activities of William Dudley Pelley who headquartered his 1936 presidential campaign in Washington State in his bid to become the “American Hitler.” The talk is based on a series of stories Knute Berger wrote while researching our region’s political past for Crosscut and for his KCTS9 video series, “Mossback’s Northwest.”
June 2, 2020 | Propaganda vs. News
We are bombarded with theories, opinions, and a rapidly changing news cycle. While we have exposure to more media now than ever, we are faced with many of the same challenges of previous generations - how to evaluate and think critically about the news and media we are consuming. What does it mean to be news-literate? John Silva, Director of Education at The News Literacy Project will share tips for being reliably informed. Holocaust Center for Humanity docents Marcy Bloom and Carl Shutoff will take a deep dive into a few examples of propaganda during the Holocaust that are part of the Holocaust Center for Humanity's collection.
While COVID-19’s impact continues on a global scale – economically, socially, politically, and existentially – it will be particularly felt in deeply divided, fragile, conflict-prone, or at-risk societies. In such societies, it is absolutely vital that policy measures be taken for preventive action before risk escalates to the point of mass atrocity. This presentation will review some of those pressure points related to governance, economic conditions, and social fragmentation. The pandemic, and its potential to serve as a trigger for mass violence, makes our shared work of atrocity prevention more urgent than ever.
Dr. James Waller is Cohen Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Keene State College (NH). He also serves as Director of Academic Programs for the Auschwitz Institute for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities, a leading international NGO in the field. He is the author of six books, most notably Becoming Evil: How Ordinary People Commit Genocide and Mass Atrocity (Oxford University Press, 2007). His newest book, due out later this year from Oxford University Press, is A Troubled Sleep: Risk and Resilience in Contemporary Northern Ireland.
Thank you to our community partners for this week's program: The Henry M. Jackson Foundation | The Ray Wolpow Institute for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Crimes Against Humanity at Western Washington University | Washington State University History Department | Humanities Alliance at Everett Community College | Temple B'nai Torah | Temple De Hirsch Sinai | Temple Beth Shalom | Jconnect Seattle | Moishe House Seattle
May 19, 2020 | Michal Lotzkar: A Father's Siberian Exile
Michal Lotzkar, daughter of Polish Holocaust survivor Arieh Engelberg, who survived numerous labor camps before eventually finding refuge in Israel after the Holocaust, shares her family's story of survival, determination, and luck. Michal is a member of the Holocaust Center's Speakers Bureau.
May 12, 2020 | NAZI HUNTERS with author Neal Bascomb
In 1945, at the end of World War II, Adolf Eichmann, the head of operations for the Nazis’ Final Solution, walked into the mountains of Germany and vanished from view. Sixteen years later, an elite team of spies captured him at a bus stop in Argentina and smuggled him to Israel, resulting in one of the century’s most important trials, one that cemented the Holocaust in the public imagination. Author Neal Bascomb turns his investigative research into a captivating narrative in his award-winning books Hunting Eichmann and Nazi Hunters. Special thanks to our partner The Queen Anne Book Company for supporting this program.
May 5, 2020 | Clarice Wilsey: Letters from a Dachau Liberator
Clarice Wilsey, daughter of Army physician Captain David Wilsey, M.D. who was one of 27 doctors who entered Dachau concentration camp at liberation, shares her father's story. Clarice is a member of the Holocaust Center's Speakers Bureau.
April 28, 2020 | Betsy Touriel-Kapner: Rescue in Bolivia
Betsy Touriel-Kapner, the daughter of Austrian Holocaust survivors, tells the stories of her parents' escape from Austria to Bolivia. Betsy is a member of the Holocaust Center's Speakers Bureau.
April 21, 2020 | Yom Hashoah: Holocaust Remembrance Day
Special Memorial Program with Survivor George Elbaum and introduction by Rabbi Daniel Weiner of Temple De Hirsch Sinai and Dee Simon, the Baral Family Executive Director of the Holocaust Center for Humanity.
April 14, 2020 | Breeze Dahlberg: A Granddaughter's Story
Granddaughter of Hungarian Auschwitz survivor Vera Frank Federman, Breeze Dahlberg shares her grandmother's story. Breeze is a member of the Holocaust Center's Speakers Bureau.
April 7, 2020 | Naomi Newman: My Family's Resilience
The daughter of two survivors, Naomi Newman tells the stories of her parents from primary source documents and historical records. Naomi is a member is of the Holocaust Center's Speakers Bureau.
March 31, 2020 | Arik Cohen: Grandson of Four Holocaust Survivors
Arik Cohen is the grandson of four Holocaust survivors, shares their incredible stories of survival and luck. Arik is a member of the Holocaust Center's Speakers Bureau.