Powell-Heller Conference: Empowerment
March 13-15, 2013
The Powell-Heller Holocaust Education Conference at Pacific Lutheran University teaches the history and the lessons of the Holocaust to students and educators throughout the Pacific Northwest. This conference believes that through this education and from the teachings of present day scholars we will create an understanding of mutual respect among people for future generations.
Deborah Lipstadt, the Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies at Emory University, completed her PhD at Brandeis University and published her first book, Beyond Belief: The American Press and the Coming of the Holocaust, in 1986. Her second book, Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory (1993), put her on a collision course with David Irving, a self-taught British historian who protested being called a right wing extremist and Holocaust denier. Irving sued for libel in a London court, resulting in a resounding defeat for him and other Holocaust deniers and a complete victory for Lipstadt. Her third book, History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving (2005),describes the process by which Irving's denial of the Holocaust was judged a perversion of history. (Note that Christopher Browning, formerly at PLU, was one of three historians whose testimony buttressed Lipstadt's case at trial.) Most recently, Lipstadt has written a fourth book, The Eichmann Trial (2011). Her teaching career included stints at the University of Washington and UCLA before her appointment at Emory, where she now is also the Director of the Rabbi Donald A. Tam Institute for Jewish Studies.
Sharon Rennert has a BS in Broadcasting and Film from Boston University and an MFA from the University of Southern California. After a fifteen-year career creating award-winning documentary films and other productions for television, she is now turning her attention to her own remarkable family story. Rennert is granddaughter to one of the Bielski brothers, those Jewish partisans celebrated in the feature film, "Defiance." Among other things, she now is using interview footage with her feisty grandmother,one of those Bielski partisans, to give us a documentary version of this story of Jewish resistance to Nazi terror. The documentary is not yet finished, but she will show us portions of the film and speak about her project.
Cara De Silva is a food historian and award-winning journalist. For more than adecade she wrote about New York ethnic food for Newsday and also contributed articles on food to the New York Times, the Washington Post, and many other publications. In 2006 she edited and published In Memory's Kitchen: A Legacy from the Women of Terezin, a New York Times bestseller and one of the New York Times Book Review's most noteworthy books of the year. This book tells the story of women in the Terezin (Theresienstadt) concentration camp, focusing on a handwritten book of Jewish recipes, remembered and recorded by women surviving on potato peels and watery soup. As noted in the foreword, this work "is not to be savored for its culinary offerings but for the insight it gives us in understanding the extraordinary capacity of the human spirit to transcend its surroundings, to defy dehumanization, and to dream of the past and of the future."