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Peter Metzelaar: Surviving the Holocaust in Hiding | Tuesday, August 4

12:00-1:00pm Pacific Time

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. 

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Upcoming Presentations

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. Lunch-and-Learns will be offered at the same time every Tuesday. A separate link will be posted for each event.  

12:00 - 1:00pm (PT) Every Tuesday


Ellen Kennedy 450x275Tuesday, August 11 | 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.

Thank you to our community partner for this program:

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Yellow Star House 450x275.2Tuesday, August 18 | 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. 

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Tuesday, August 25 | To Be Announced


Lawyers CLE 450x275.2Wednesday,* September 2 | Law as an Instrument of Mass Crimes? The Legal System Under the Third Reich

A Lawyers CLE Program & Open to all. 1 Washington State Bar CLE Ethics Credit available.

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?

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 Zoom link available upon registraton. 
*Please note this special program is taking place on a Wednesday. 

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Thank you to our event partners:

PerkinsCoie logo   Karr Tuttle Campbell Logo   Cardozo Society  JFGS


Past Presentations

Catch up on the presentations you missed!

JA Jewish woman who is concealing her face sits on a park bench marked Only for Jews Austria 1938 450x275July 28, 2020 | Jim Crow Laws and Nazi Racial Policy: How the United States Influenced Hitler
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.

JessicaFenton headshot 450x275.2July 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.  


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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.