Kurt Mayer: Jan. 14, 1930-Nov. 13, 2012
The Holocaust Studies program at PLU lost its founder and namesake for our esteemed endowed chair on November 13, 2012.
Kurt Mayer, survived by his wife Pam, his daughter Natalie, his son Joe, and Joe’s wife Gloria made this program possible.
Mayer's long friendship to PLU prompted Mayer and his family to join with Nancy Powell and her family to provide generous gifts which launched the Kurt Mayer Professor in Holocaust Studies in 2007.
Two years later, the Endowed Professorship was elevated to its current level, an Endowed Chair.
Kurt Mayer's Legacy
Chair's report on scholarships and activities
Bob Ericksen received several notable invitations this year, including an opportunity to give the annual Raul Hilberg Memorial Lecture at the University of Vermont. Hilberg spent his entire career at this university, becoming the father of Holocaust Studies with his groundbreaking book, The Destruction of the European Jews (1961).
Ericksen also was invited by the Kaplan Center for Jewish Studies to speak at the University of Cape Town in August.
A look ahead
The Kurt Mayer Summer Fellowship Winners for 2012
Thanks to increasing support, we funded a second Kurt Mayer Summer Student Fellowship in the summer of 2012, based on extra gifts received at the 2012 Powell and Heller Family Holocaust Conference. Two Summer Fellows, Kathryn Perkins ‘13 and Julia Walsh ’15, were the recipients of the 2012 PLU Holocaust Studies Summer Fellow Research Grants. In her essay, Walsh looks at the evolution of Holocaust literature. In her essay, Perkins looks at Cambodian genocide and its coverage by the US press.
Alumna pursues research in Prague and Israel
A Ph.D. candidate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Laura Brade is spending the 2012-2013 academic year in Prague, Czech Republic researching her dissertation. Brade’s dissertation is titled “Coerced Voluntary Migration: Jewish Flight from the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, 1939-1941.”
She is investigating the ways in which networks of transnational relief organizations facilitated the successful emigration of a quarter of the Protectorate’s Jews by helping them to overcome significant obstacles.
Brade will give a presentation on her research next summer in Israel.
Holocaust memories in Berlin, Prague and Poland
This January, Professor Bob Ericksen and his wife, Dr. Judith Meyers, accompanied a J-Term travel course with a group of 16 PLU students.
They visited museums and memorial sites of the Holocaust in Berlin, toured former concentration camps at Sachsenhausen near Berlin and Theresienstadt near Prague, as well as four death camps in Poland at Treblinka, Sobibor, Maidanek, and Auschwitz. While in Prague, students met Laura Brade '08 (see article above) who is completing Holocaust-related Ph.D. research. She described her work and advised the students how best to use their three days in Prague, touring the Jewish Quarter, visiting the Pinkas Synagogue, among other sites. This is PLU's first J-Term travel course devoted entirely to Holocaust issues. It is part of a development we hope, with additional support, will soon lead to a Holocaust Studies Minor for PLU students.
Student Opportunities for 2013• Students are encouraged to submit an essay on Holocaust or genocide to the Raphael Lemkin Student Essay Contest. The deadline for submissions will be Feb. 22, 2013. Check the PLU website of the Social Science Division for further details. First and second place winners will be awarded cash prizes on March 14, at the Sixth Annual Powell and Heller Family Holocaust Conference. And a special thanks to Connelly Law Offices for their sponsorship of this year's Raphael Lemkin Lecture.
• The Fifth Annual Kurt Mayer Summer Student Fellowships will be awarded for summer 2013. Applications will be due approximately late March or early April. Check on details with the History Department by early March.
• Students and community members are encouraged to attend the Sixth Annual Powell and Heller Family Holocaust Conference. It will take place March 13-15 under the theme of "Empowerment." Pre-registration is encouraged.