Genocide Expert to Present “Erased: Vanishing Traces of Jewish Galicia in Present-Day Ukraine”

HOUSTON, TX (July 22, 2011) – One of the world’s foremost experts on genocide will deliver a free public lecture this September on the complete erasure of vibrant Jewish and Polish communities in Ukraine following a one-day teacher workshop on the legacies and meanings of World War II.

 Omer Bartov

 Omer Bartov

Omer Bartov, the John P. Birkelund Distinguished Professor of European History at Brown University and author of “Erased: Vanishing Traces of Jewish Galicia in Present-Day Ukraine,” will recreate the histories of the Jewish and Polish communities who once lived in Ukraine and describe what is left today following their brutal and complete destruction in a free public lecture on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011, beginning at 7 p.m. in the Albert and Ethel Herzstein Theater at Holocaust Museum Houston’s Morgan Family Center, 5401 Caroline St., in Houston’s Museum District.

Prior to Bartov’s lecture, Houston-area teachers will be able to attend a one-day workshop that will focus on the topics presented in two new exhibitions opening this summer at Holocaust Museum Houston, “Ours to Fight For” and “The Impact of Racist Ideologies: Jim Crow and the Nuremberg Laws.” The first exhibition details the experiences of American minorities fighting in World War II, notably Jewish veterans, and the second exhibition will include information about eugenics, customs and the laws used to develop racist societies. After viewing each exhibition, teachers will participate in sessions about implementing the information in their classrooms. The cost for the one-day session – including materials – is $15. Lunch is not included.

Following Bartov’s lecture, participants in Holocaust Museum Houston’s Book Club will meet in the Museum’s classroom to discuss his presentation and “Erased,” his most recent publication. Discussion for the book club will be led by the Museum’s education department staff and docents, with dessert and coffee provided. Tickets for the book club are $20 for Holocaust Museum Houston members and $25 for non-members. Participants should purchase their own copies of the book, which will be available at the HMH Store on site for $26.95 each.

Seating is limited, and advance registration is requested for all three events. To register for any of the events, please visit www.hmh.org/RegisterEvent.aspx. For more information about the lecture, e-mail events@hmh.org. For more information about the one-day teaching workshop or the book club meeting, e-mail education@hmh.org.

An Israeli historian and a leading Holocaust scholar, Bartov will examine the politics of memory in Western Ukraine and erasure of both the memory and the few material remains of Jewish culture there, which practically disappeared after the Nazis Holocaust decimated the Jewish population in that region.

“Erased,” his poignant travelogue published in 2007, reveals the complete erasure of the Jews and their removal from public memory in the service of a fiercely aggressive Ukrainian nationalism. Bartov discovers in writing the book that he must learn to understand the complex interethnic relationships and conflicts that have existed for centuries after he travels to Ukraine to learn more about his heritage.

“Whatever one thinks of referring to nations as such in historiography, Omer Bartov's new book is a worthy, very personal sequel to his earlier work as a prominent historian of the Holocaust,” wrote Kristian Gerner in “The European Legacy.”

His most recent book indicates his focus on interethnic relations in the borderlands of Eastern Europe. The framework for this research was created in the multi-year collaborative project led by Bartov at the Watson Institute for International Studies, titled "Borderlands: Ethnicity, Identity, and Violence in the Shatter-Zone of Empires since 1848."

Born in Israel, Bartov attended Tel Aviv University and St. Anthony’s College, Oxford. He began his scholarly work with research on the Nazi indoctrination of the German Wehrmacht under the Third Reich and the crimes it committed during the war in the Soviet Union. This was the main concern of his first two books, “The Eastern Front, 1941-1945,” and “Hitler's Army.”

He was a Harvard Junior fellow from 1989 to 1992 and a Guggenheim fellow in 2002. He is the author of seven books and the editor of three volumes, and his work has been translated into several languages. The Jewish Daily Forward called him “one of the foremost scholars of Jewish life in Galicia,” the gateway to the East for Europe.

His lecture is generously underwritten by Dan P. Gordon, with special thanks to United Airlines, the 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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