'They Threw Our Bones into the Sea': Opportunism and Collaboration in Nazi Occupied Greece
Monday, January 26, 2015
The question of collaboration remains one of the most sensitive and contested issues regarding the study and memory of the Holocaust in Greece today, especially in the major port city of Salonica (Thessaloniki). On the eve of the war, Salonica was home to the country’s largest Jewish population, numbering 56,000; in 1945, less than 2,000 remained. Another casualty of the occupation was the city’s vast Jewish burial ground, which covered more than eighty acres and was once the largest Jewish cemetery in Europe. During the Nazi occupation, local authorities initiated the destruction of the cemetery and subsequently erected the city’s university campus on top of it. Marble tombstones were used for construction projects throughout the city. This presentation will explore the rationale underpinning the demolition of the Jewish cemetery and how the processes at work during the Nazi’s occupation provided an opportunity to resolve an on-going conflict regarding the status of the Jewish burial ground and preexisting aspirations to expand the nearby university. During the pre-war period, local Jewish leaders argued that the tombstones “spoke,” that the inscriptions narrated the history of the city and ought to be preserved as monuments of national patrimony. The competing interests came to a head during the occupation. Even if the stones “spoke,” who was prepared to listen?
Drawing on previously unstudied archives of the Jewish community, records from the local chamber of commerce, and newspapers in Judeo-Spanish, Greek, and French, this talk presented a window into the confrontation and negotiation between the Jewish community of Salonica and the Greek state over urban space and the national narrative in the context of the Nazi occupation. Controversy over the place of the Jewish dead ultimately served as a metaphor for the uncertain place of the living.
Devin E. Naar is the Marsha and Jay Glazer Chair in Jewish Studies, assistant professor of History, and chair of the new Sephardic Studies Program at the University of Washington. He completed his Ph.D. in history at Stanford University where his dissertation, “Jewish Salonica and the Making of the ‘Jerusalem of the Balkans,’ 1890-1943,” received the department’s award for best dissertation. A former Fulbright scholar to Greece, Naar has served as a fellow in the Society of Scholars at the University of Washington Center for the Humanities, and also sits on the academic advisory council of the Center for Jewish History in New York.
Knocking on America's (and Heaven's) Door: Shlomo Carlebach's Challenge in Shifting and Sifting American Jewish Identity
This colloquium will provide a unique interdisciplinary environment for scholars to share and discuss research on modern American Jewish culture and identity. Moshe-David HaCohen will present his research on Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, demonstrating how this pivotal figure provides a prism to the challenges, changes and questions of self-identification that Post-Holocaust American Jewry faced in the second half of the twentieth century. The materials of the Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi Collection, housed in the CU Boulder Archives, will provide the basis of comparison between Reb Zalman and Shlomo Carlebach and the similarities and differences of choices each figure made in their engagement and interaction with modern American society.
Moshe-David HaCohen is a Presidential Fellowship Doctoral Candidate at the Department of History of the University of Haifa in Israel. In his dissertation, Moshe-David applies interdisciplinary resources in order to explore the adaptation of Jewish tradition through the interaction of Shlomo Carlebach with the "counterculture" of the Sixties in the United States. Moshe-David has taken part in international academic conferences and workshops on contemporary Jewish identity, religion and culture and has been honored as the inaugural Visiting Fellow in the Post-Holocaust American Judaism Archive at the University of Colorado Boulder.
About the Post-Holocaust Visiting Scholar Fellowship
The University of Colorado's Libraries and Archives along with the Program in Jewish Studies annually support a visiting scholar, whose research interests take advantage of the unique resources in the Post Holocaust American Judaism archive. The Post-Holocaust American Judaism Archive collects materials examining Judaism and the Jewish experience as a religious re-engagement, social movement, and philosophy of spiritual transformation in America from the late 1940s to the present. Click here to learn more
The Invention of Influence
University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Denver are excited to announce that Jerusalem- and New Haven-based award-winning, critically acclaimed poet and translator, Peter Cole, will present two public poetry readings. On October 27 at 7:00 p.m., Mr. Cole will read in Eaton Humanities 150 on the CU-Boulder campus and on October 28 at 7:00 p.m. at Denver’s Counterpath Bookstore, 613 22nd St. He will a read a selection of poems from his most recent collection, The Invention of Influence (2014), as well as from his earlier works.
Mr. Cole’s poetry draws deeply on tradition to create a powerful and moving experience accessible to anyone who loves language. As Booklist writes of The Invention of Influence, Mr. Cole’s poetry is "Masterful…. Deeply allusive, and profound." The Nation has called him "an inspired writer," and Yale University professor and author Harold Bloom, who wrote the preface for The Invention of Influence, describes Mr. Cole as "one of the handful of authentic poets of his own American generation."
In addition to his gifts as a poet, Mr. Cole is also a preeminent translator of medieval and contemporary Hebrew and Arabic poetry. His translations have appeared in many books, including 2012’s The Poetry of Kabbalah: Mystical Verse from the Jewish Tradition and So What: New & Selected Poems, 1971-2005, in which he translates the poems of Arab-Israeli poet of Taha Muhammad Ali. The distinguished poet-translator Richard Howard has written of Cole’s translations: “Peter Cole’s work is an entire revelation: a body of … verse so intense, so intelligent, and so vivid that it appears to identify a whole dimension of historical consciousness previously unavailable to us. His work represents the finest labor of poetic translation that I have seen for many years.” In 2011, Mr. Cole and his wife, writer Adina Hoffman, co-authored Sacred Trash: The Lost and Found World of the Cairo Geniza (Jewish Encounters), the story of their monumental work piecing together 900 years of Jewish document fragments.
His many honors and awards include a genius grant from the MacArthur Foundation as well as fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. He is the recipient of a National Jewish Book Award for Poetry, the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation, a TLS Translation Prize, the American Library Association’s Sophie Brody Medal for outstanding Jewish literature, and the 2010 Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Peter Cole’s visit is presented by the University of Colorado Boulder’s Program in Jewish Studies and co-sponsored by the CU Boulder’s Departments of English, Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures, History, Religious Studies, and Spanish and Portuguese, the CU Mediterranean Studies Group and by the University of Denver’s Center for Judaic Studies and Creative Writing.
Ali Abu Awwad shared his personal story of struggle in Palestine as well as his mission to create nonviolent change and lasting peace in the region through dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians. Ali currently lives in the West Bank under Israeli rule. He has a painful personal history with Israel, the IDF, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Although he and his family have experienced great loss, Ali has a powerful passion for creating peace through non-violence and fostering dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians. Along with other Israeli and Palestinian peace activists, he established an organization called Roots/Judur/Shorshim. The organization aims at creating deep unmediated dialogue with the hope of eventually breaking down the barriers that the conflict has built.
Currently finishing his book, Painful Hope, Ali Abu Awwad is today a leading Palestinian activist teaching others methods of non-violent resistance and reaching out to Palestinians and Jewish Israelis. Ali has appeared in several films such as Forbidden Childhood and Just Vision's Encounter Point and has toured the world telling his riveting story of militant activism, imprisonment, bereavement and discovery of the path of non-violent resistance, a story of personal transformation.
This event featured a discussion with Mr. Awwad mediated by Dr. David Shneer, Director of the Program in Jewish Studies, Louis P. Singer Endowed Chair in Jewish History, and Professor of History and Religious Studies. The discussion was followed by a question and answer period.
Drawing Fire: Investigating the Accusations of Apartheid in Israel
The Program in Jewish Studies welcomed South African born author and journalist Benjamin Pogrund to the University of Colorado Boulder for a colloquium focused on his book Drawing Fire: Investigating the Accusations of Apartheid in Israel.
In this colloquium, we discussed Pogrund’s argument against affixing the label of apartheid to Israel inside the Green Line of 1948/1967. Pogrund’s book outlines key foundational events to explain current attitudes, then explores contradictions found in the region, including discrimination against Israeli Arabs amongst Jews. He deconstructs some of the criticisms of Israel and the boycott movement before arguing for two states, Israeli and Palestinian, as the only way forward for Jews and Arabs.
Benjamin Pogrund, a journalist in South Africa for 26 years, was deputy editor of the Rand Daily Mail, a Johannesburg newspaper which was closed down because of its stand against apartheid. After a term of imprisonment in South Africa for his anti-apartheid activism, Pogrund relocated to Britain where he became chief foreign sub-editor of The Independent. He later served as editor of The World Paper, Boston USA. Internationally recognized, Pogrund has also written for Haaretz (Tel Aviv), Facta (Tokyo), and others. In 1997 he settled in Jerusalem where he founded the Yakar Center for Social Concern which promotes dialogue across political and ethnic lines. In May 2013 he was awarded the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award by the International Media Council in London on behalf of the Next Century Foundation for encouraging understanding of the Middle East and war-torn areas of the world.
Pogrund has published extensively, writing three books about Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, his personal friend Nelson Mandela, and the press under apartheid. He is co-editor of Shared Histories: A Palestinian-Israeli Dialogue.