Holocaust Museum Houston to Host Two Internationally Known Holocaust Experts in Free Public Lectures

HOUSTON, TX (May 11, 2010) – The visual depiction of events of the Holocaust will be the focus of two free public lectures by internationally known Holocaust experts at Holocaust Museum Houston this May.

 Michael Berenbaum  Lawrence Langer

Dr. Michael Berenbaum

Dr. Lawrence Langer 

Lawrence L. Langer, professor of English emeritus at Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts, will present "Ceremonies of Remembrance: The Holocaust Art of Samuel Bak" on Wednesday, May 26, 2010, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Over the past 20 years, Bak has created a body of work designed to express in visual terms the impact of the Holocaust — and by extension, subsequent atrocities — on modern consciousness and the intellectual and spiritual values it has cherished through the ages. Bak's canvases, some of them of monumental size, challenge the imagination to confront a new vulnerability in human experience, dramatizing through their fractured images the dilemma of how to “repair,” in memory if not in fact, what can never be reclaimed, Langer says.

Throughout his career as a scholar and author, Langer has consistently urged his audiences and readers to consider the difficulties of confronting the history, memory, literature and art of the Holocaust.

Historian Dr. Michael Berenbaum will screen the film "Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust" and speak following the movie, beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 27, 2010.

Shortly after V-E Day in 1945, Dwight D. Eisenhower, commander of Allied forces in Europe in World War II and future president of the United States, flew a dozen Hollywood moguls to Germany to see Nazi atrocities for themselves. "They saw the ovens," says film director Vincent Sherman in "Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust." "They saw the piles of dead, which had not been buried." The idea, says Neal Gabler, the cultural historian, was that "they should bear witness" through their films.

But, as the documentary points out, it was only in 1964, almost two decades later, that a major American film even tried to recreate the horrors of the camps.

Berenbaum is a writer, lecturer and teacher consulting in the conceptual development of museums and the development of historical films. He is director of the Sigi Ziering Institute: Exploring the Ethical and Religious Implications of the Holocaust at the American Jewish University, where he is also a professor of Jewish studies.

Both events will be in the Albert and Ethel Herzstein Theater at the Museum's Morgan Family Center, 5401 Caroline St., in Houston's Museum District. Admission is free, but seating is limited, and advance registration is required for both events. Visit http://www.hmh.org/RegisterEvent.aspx to RSVP online. For more information, call 713-942-8000, ext. 100 or e-mail events@hmh.org.

The lectures are presented as part of the Museum's Warren Fellowship for Future Teachers, supported by the Naomi and Martin Warren Family Foundation and initiated in 2003, with special thanks to Continental Airlines, official airline of Holocaust Museum Houston.

Holocaust Museum Houston is dedicated to educating people about the Holocaust, remembering the 6 million Jews and other innocent victims and honoring the survivors' legacy. Using the lessons of the Holocaust and other genocides, the Museum teaches the dangers of hatred, prejudice and apathy.

Holocaust Museum Houston’s Morgan Family Center is free and open to the public and is located in Houston’s Museum District at 5401 Caroline St., Houston, TX 77004. For more information about the Museum, call 713-942-8000 or visit www.hmh.org.

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