EUROPEAN SUMMER UNIVERSITY AT RAVENSBRÜCK CONCENTRATION CAMP MEMORIAL
DR. ROCHELLE G. SAIDEL TO LECTURE AT RAVENSBRÜCK CONCENTRATION CAMP MEMORIAL
RED FERN THEATRE COMPANY PARTNERS WITH REMEMBER THE
WOMEN INSTITUTE FOR CHARLOTTE DELBO PLAY
EXHIBITION ABOUT FIORELLO'S SISTER: GEMMA LA GUARDIA
SPECIAL EXHIBIT ON JEWISH WOMEN FEATURED AT MAHN- UND
GEDENKSTÄTTE RAVENSBRÜCK IN 2008
September 15 – 19, 2008
RAVENSBRÜCK SUMMER UNIVERSITY HELD AT THE CAMP MEMORIAL IN GERMANY
This year's theme is “Commemorating the Shoah at Sites of Former Concentration Camps in Western and Eastern Europe: History, Representation, Gender,” for the Summer University held at the camp memorial from September 15 – 19.
Dedicated to the remembrance of the Shoah at sites of former concentration camps, the program. focuses on the question of the function and meaning of gender in various representations. The genesis, forms and narratives of memory will be discussed.
While key aspects are the historiography of the Shoah and the history of memory in Western and Eastern Europe, there is also a session that includes memorialization of the camp in the United States and Israel--a panel discussion entitled “The Memory of Ravensbrück in the USA, Israel, Great Britain and France.”
Dr. Rochelle Saidel, representing Remember the Women Institute, discusses how the camp has been represented and remembered in the United States. Prof. Dr. Mechtild Gilzmer of Technische Universität Berlin will discuss France; Sarah Helm covers, Great Britain; and Dr. Susanne Urban of Yad Vashem, speaks about Israel.
Dr. Sonja Hedgepeth, Middle Tennessee State University, also represents Remember the Women Institute at the conference, which is under the patronage of the Minister of Science, Research and Culture of the State of Brandenburg, Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka, Dr. Insa Eschebach,a member of the Advisory Board of Remember the Women Institute, is director of the memorial. Remember the Women Institute Advisory Board Member Prof. Sara Horowitz of York University also spoke at the conference.
For a complete program, please see: http://www.ravensbrueck.de/mgr/english/home/index.htm
Pictured above, left to right: Dr. Sonja Hedgepeth, Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel, and Dr. Insa Eschebach, Director of the Ravensbrück Memorial, at the Summer University in September 2008. Photo by Carolyn Gammon.
February 21 - March 2, 2008
Will Carry the Word?
Red Fern Theatre Company
Center Stage, 48 West 21st Street, New York City
Remember the Women Institute is honored that Red Fern co-founders Emilie E. Miller and Melanie Moyer Williams chose the Institute as their partner for their rare and fascinating performance. Who Will Carry the Word? by Auschwitz and Ravensbrück French political prisoner Charlotte Delbo, directed by Melanie Moyer Williams. The play was presented by Red Fern Theatre Company on February 21 - March 2, 2008 at Center Stage, 48 West 21st Street, New York City. Remember the Women Institute is grateful that a portion of the proceeds was donated to the Institute to support our educational activities. Please see http://www.redferntheatre.org/red_fern_theatre_philanthropies.asp
A special “talk back” session followed the March 1 performance, with the participation of Remember the Women Institute. There was a question and answer session with Auschwitz survivor Bronia Brandman, a member of the Speakers Bureau of the Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust and Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel, director of Remember the Women Institute. A wine and cheese reception ended the special evening. For more information about Red Fern and their socially conscious productions, see http://www.redferntheatre.org/red_fern_theatre_home.asp
Charlotte Delbo was one of 230 French female political prisoners deported
to Auschwitz on January 24, 1943. Most of them had worked for the French
Resistance. Delbo, one of 49 of those women who survived, served as an
assistant to French theatrical director and actor Louis Jouvet. Born in
1913, she was a member of the Communist Youth before World War II. She
is the author of several essays and books, and numerous plays. Her play,
Who Will Carry the Word?, written in 1966 and first performed
in 1974, attempts to depict life in Auschwitz at the time she was living
it. The 23 women in her play live in such dire circumstances that even
their individuality has been taken from them. She also demonstrates the
fine line between life and death in the concentration camp. A survivor
of both Auschwitz and Ravensbrück, Delbo considered it her obligation
to “carry the word” so that the Holocaust, and experiences
of women during the Holocaust, are not forgotten. Delbo died in 1985.
Pictured above, left to right: Emilie E. Miller, Bronia Brandman, Melanie Moyer Williams, and Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel at the March 1, 2008 performance of Who Will Carry the Word? (photo courtesy of Red Fern Theatre Company).
The cast of Who Will Carry the Word?, comprised of 23 outstanding professional actresses who volunteered their time and talent. (photo courtesy of Red Fern Theatre Company)
JANUARY 25, 2008
Final Day of Exhibition about FIORELLO'S SISTER: GEMMA LA GUARDIA GLUCK'S
Now Available to Travel
Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion
Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, One West Fourth
Street, New York, has concluded an exhibit of photographs, documents,
and artifacts related to Fiorello's
Sister: Gemma La Guardia Gluck's Story, a memoir edited by Rochelle
G. Saidel and published in Spring 2007 by Syracuse University Press. Dr.
Saidel is guest curator, in cooperation with Laura Kruger and Jean Bloch
Rosensaft. The exhibition is now available to be shown in other locations.
Contact Laura Kruger at Hebrew Union College.
On December 12, 2007, Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel signed books at a reception
and program in connection with the exhibition about Fiorello's Sister:
Gemma La Guardia Gluck's Story. Laura Kruger, curator of Hebrew Union
College-Jewish Institute of Religion is at right of photograph. Photo
by Sonja Hedgepeth.
Visitors view the exhibition about Fiorello's Sister: Gemma La Guardia
Gluck's Story at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion,
New York City. Photo by Sonja Hedgepeth.
Special Exhibit on Jewish Women Featured at
Mahn- und Gedenkstätte Ravensbrück in 2008
und Gedenkstätte Ravensbrück, Berlin
When I first visited the Ravensbrück memorial some fifty miles outside
of Berlin in October 1980, it was part of the German Democratic Republic.
Much of the area of the former concentration camp for women was then being
used by the Soviet Army, and I did not have access to the grounds. Instead,
I was accompanied by a German Communist former prisoner who showed me
exhibits in the buildings that had housed the SS offices and the punishment
bunker. I also saw the crematorium and a memorial wall of nations. The
exhibitions in the bunker were designed according to nationalities. There
was absolutely no evidence that any Jewish woman had ever been imprisoned
in this concentration camp. I had almost no knowledge about the camp at
the time, but I thought this seemed peculiar. Therefore I questioned my
guide. In response she told me that one German Communist heroine, Olga
Benario Prestes, had coincidentally been Jewish, and there had been a
My visit to the camp memorial on that October day more than 27 years ago
led me to dedicating myself to discovering and documenting the history
of the camp's Jewish victims. I learned that they came from most of the
countries in Europe and even originally from the United States, in the
case of Gemma La Guardia Gluck. They came first as German and Austrian
political prisoners, and even these women were additionally marked as
Jewish. After Hungary was taken over by the Nazis in March 1944 many Jewish
women were sent to the camp. And thousands more were sent there on death
marches after Auschwitz was liquidated in January 1945. The total is an
estimated 20,000 Jewish women. All of this is told in detail in my book,
The Jewish Women
of Ravensbrück Concentration Camp.
Soon before the unification of Germany, the GDR did install a small monument
to the Jewish victims along the wall of the nations. The Communist-oriented
wording seems odd today, but nevertheless a memorial did exist. Later,
for the 1995 fiftieth anniversary of liberation ceremonies, a memorial
room for Jewish victims was in place in the bunker, among those representing
various nations. But the Jewish presence has always been underplayed,
both at the memorial and even among some historians. Jewish survivors
of the camp were not organized, and much of the memorialization over the
years had been carried out by European survivor organizations that had
few or no Jewish members, and often were politically oriented. For a very
long time, the Jewish survivors “got lost in the shuffle.”
I thought of all of this with great emotion in October 2007, when I was
once again on the road leading to Ravensbrück—my seventh visit
to the memorial. My primary purpose for this trip was to be interviewed
on site for a documentary film by Rosemarie Reed. However, I had also
been asked by Dr. Insa Eschebach, director of the Ravensbrück memorial
and a member of the Remember the Women Institute Advisory Board, to meet
with Dr. Simone Erpel. A historian on staff at the memorial, Dr. Erpel
was organizing an exhibit on the Jewish Victims of Ravensbrück, which
opened on January 27, 2008 and will run for a year. I was more than glad
to meet with her and help by providing photographs that she requested
for the exhibition. I was even more pleased that after all these years—more
than 62 since the camp's liberation and 27 since my first visit—there
is finally a
special exhibit that honors the Jewish victims of the camp.
by Rochelle G. Saidel
A yellow Star of David, in case, is part of a new exhibition on Jewish
women at Ravensbrück concentration camp, on view at the memorial
through 2008. Photograph courtesy of Mahn- und Gedenkstätte Ravensbrück.
A view of the room housing a new exhibit on Jewish women at Ravensbrück,
to be shown throughout the year at the memorial. Photograph courtesy of
Mahn- und Gedenkstätte Ravensbrück.
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