Public Lecture Announcements

Professor Samuel D. Kassow to Present “Time Capsules in the Rubble: The Secret Archive of the Warsaw Ghetto” for the Academic Convocation of the Holocaust

Sam KassowOn Monday, April 24, at 7:00 pm, please join us for the annual Academic Convocation on the Holocaust when Trinity College Professor Samuel D. Kassow will present "Time Capsules in the Rubble: the Secret Archive of the Warsaw Ghetto." The Convocation will be held in the Doris and Simon Konover Auditorium in the Dodd Research Center on the Storrs campus and is sponsored by the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life Fierberg Lecture in Judaic Studies, the Human Rights Institute, and the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center. A reception will immediately follow. Attending this event counts toward sophomore honors credit.

For additional information, please call 860-486-2271 or email


About the Presentation

During World War II, Jews resisted not only with guns but also with pen and paper. Even in the face of death they left "time capsules" full of documents that they buried under the rubble of ghettos and death camps. They were determined that posterity would remember them on the basis of Jewish and not German sources. Thousands of documents were buried in the Ringelblum Archive in the Warsaw Ghetto. Of the 60 people who worked on this national mission, only three survived. This will be their story.

What began as a collection of documents and attestations clandestinely obtained in order to record testimony of Jewish life in Poland under occupying Nazi forces became, when word of mass killings reached Warsaw, the courageous pursuit of Warsaw ghetto prisoners to bear witness to the Holocaust.

Jewish historian Emanuel Ringelblum established the underground group Oyneg Shabes in 1940, its secret mission to archive Jewish life in Poland by conducting interviews and collecting documentation that included photos, letters, diaries, official government notices, flyers, and posters–all of which served to document and describe life in the Jewish ghetto as well as the destruction of Jewish communities in Poland.

Milk can used to store documents in Warsaw Ghetto
Milk can used to hide documents in Warsaw Ghetto

Dr. Ringelblum and all but three members of the Oyneg Shabes group perished in the Holocaust, but their testimony remains an incomparable resource for Holocaust study. Before the Warsaw uprising, the documents were buried in milk cans and tin boxes in three locations in the Ghetto. Unearthed in 1946 and 1950, two-thirds of the archive has been found and preserved by the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, Poland, and researchers have cataloged and digitized the archive throughout the last two decades.

Trinity College historian Samuel D. Kassow, expert on the Ringelblum collection, is the author of Who Will Write Our History? Emanuel Ringelblum, the Warsaw Ghetto, and the Oyneg Shabes Archives in which he documents the efforts taken by Dr. Ringelblum and Oyneg Shabes to preserve Jewish history and resist Nazi oppression.

Professor Kassow served as a consultant for the documentary film project Who Will Write Our History, set to release in 2017 and directed by award-winning director Roberta Grossman with Nancy Spielberg as executive producer. The film is based on Professor Kassow's study. For the full story, see Jewish Ledger article "On Location in Poland." 

Samuel D. Kassow is the Charles Northam Professor of History at Trinity College. He is author of Students, Professors, and the State in Tsarist Russia, 1884–1917 and editor (with Edith W. Clowes) of Between Tsar and People: The Search for a Public Identity in Tsarist Russia. He lives in Hartford, Connecticut.

For more details on the Ringelblum Archive, visit the Jewish Historical Institute. 

We hope you will also join us earlier in the day when the UConn Humanities Institute will be hosting a talk at 4:00 pm with guest speaker Dr. James E. Young entitled "The Stages of Memory: Reflections on Memorial Art, Loss, and the Spaces Between."  Click here for full details.


Parking is available in the North and South garages on campus. Garage rates are $1/hr after 5pm. Did you know that after 5:00 pm, visitors may park in any on-campus space not designated as reserved, restricted or limited? 

Getting Here:

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Warsaw Ghetto
Warsaw Ghetto

Emanuel Ringelblum
Dr. Emanuel Ringelblum

Harvard Professor Peter E. Gordon to Present “The Disenchantment of the Concept: From Heine to Adorno”

Peter GordonHarvard Professor Peter E. Gordon will present “The Disenchantment of the Concept: From Heine to Adorno” on February 23 at 5:00 pm in the Class of ’47 Room at the Babbidge Library for the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life’s Konover Special Lecture Series. The event is co-sponsored by UConn’s German Studies program.

Professor Gordon is a renowned expert in the field of German history and philosophy as well as German-Jewish thought. He is the author of numerous books, including: Rosenzweig and Heidegger: Between Judaism and German Philosophy (2003), which was the recipient of the Salo W. Baron Prize from the Academy for Jewish Research for Best First Book, the Goldstein-Goren Prize for Best Book in Jewish Philosophy, and the Morris D. Forkosch Prize from the Journal of the History of Ideas for Best Book in Intellectual History. He is also the author of Continental Divide: Heidegger, Cassirer, Davos (2010), which received the Barzun Prize from the American Philosophical Society.


Professor Gordon’s lecture will embark on a conceptual adventure through multiple disciplines and themes, between Jewish thought and German literature, between sociology and philosophy, between secularization and religion.  

Fifty years ago the social theorist and philosopher Theodor W. Adorno published his late masterpiece of critical philosophy, Negative Dialectics, a work in which he called for a “disenchantment of the concept.” A deeper understanding of the significance of that task might be found if brought into a comparative light in contrast to Max Weber’s celebrated call for a “disenchantment of the world.” But the deeper, historical resonance of Adorno’s phrase is best understood if the much-neglected contributions of the German-Jewish poet Heinrich Heine are recalled. Heine’s early literary efforts helped to form the matrix for left-Hegelian thinking that would inspire the Frankfurt School in the later twentieth century. 


Peter E. Gordon is Amabel B. James Professor of History and faculty affiliate in the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures and the Department of Philosophy at Harvard University. He has been named a finalist twice for the Levinson Award for undergraduate teaching; and, in 2005, he received the Phi Beta Kappa Award for Excellence in Teaching. He has been a visiting professor at the École Normale Supêrieure and the School for Criticism and Theory at Cornell University.

Trained in history and philosophy at the University of California, he received his doctorate in 1997 and was then a Postdoctoral Fellow on the Society of Fellows at Princeton University before joining the faculty at Harvard in the fall of 2000. He is the editor of several collections of essays, including The Cambridge Companion to Modern Jewish Philosophy (2007), Weimar Thought: A Contested Legacy (Princeton, 2013), and several others. He is currently co-editing The Routledge Companion to the Frankfurt School with Espen Hammer and Axel Honneth. His most recent monography appeared this past fall (2016) with Harvard University Press under the title Adorno and Existence.

Peter E. Gordon works chiefly on themes in Continental philosophy and social thought in Germany and France in the late-modern era, with an emphasis on critical theory, western Marxism, the Frankfurt School, phenomenology, and existentialism. He has written on Max Weber, Adorno’s music criticism, Weimar intellectuals, Hannah Arendt, political theology, theories of secularization, theories of historical ontology and historical epistemology, social theory after the Holocaust, and modern Jewish thought.

9/27/16 – Bone, Stone, and Text: Professor Einbinder to Speak at Harvard

Susan EinbinderHebrew and Judaic Studies faculty member Professor Susan Einbinder has been invited to present the 2016 Harvard Center for Jewish Studies-Medieval Studies Lecture on Medieval Jewish History and Culture. 


The lecture “Bone, Stone, and Text” is a commemoration of the Black Death among Iberian Jews. It will be held on Tuesday, September 27, from 5:00 – 6:30 pm at Harvard University (Barker Center 110). 

For more information, please contact the Center for Jewish Studies at Harvard ( or
the Committee on Medieval Studies ( 

11/9 In Remembrance of Kristallnacht: Ariela Keysar Will Speak on Anti-Semitism

Ariela KeysarYoung American Jewish adults are more than five times as likely to report being targets of anti-Semitism as older American Jews are (Pew 2013). Since the vast majority of young American Jews spend four or more years studying at universities and colleges, anti-Semitism at institutions of higher education is an issue for the entire Jewish community.

The National Demographic Survey of American Jewish College Students, conducted by Ariela Keysar and Barry A. Kosmin of Trinity College in 2014 with 1,157 self-identified Jewish college students from 55 campuses, revealed that more than half of the students personally experienced or witnessed anti-Semitism during the 2013-2014 academic year, and the smallness of variations across the regions of the U.S. suggests that anti-Semitism on campus is a nationwide problem. As one Jewish student commented: “Subtle anti-Semitism — it’s the last socially acceptable form of racism” (Keysar & Kosmin 2014). 

According to Professor Keysar, the reported rates of campus anti-Semitism were almost identical between the U.S. in 2014 and the U.K. in 2011. However, American students report more interpersonal prejudice and harassment while British students were more likely to report anti-Semitism in political contexts.

In remembrance of Kristallnacht, Professor Ariela Keysar will present “International Comparisons of Anti-Semitism on Campus: Why Are Women More Likely to Be Targeted” on Wednesday, November 9, on the Storrs Campus at 5:00pm in the Class of  ’47 Room at Babbidge Library. Attending this event will count towards Sophomore honors.  A reception will follow.  Earlier that day, she will present “Variations of Anti-Semitism in a Global Perspective: Conceptual and Methodological Issues” as part of our Faculty Colloquium Series at 1:00pm in the Dodd Research Center, room 162 (a kosher lunch will be provided). 

Professor Keysar, a demographer, is research professor in public policy and law and the associate director of the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture at Trinity College.

She was the associate director of the landmark Longitudinal Study of American and Canadian Conservative Youth, 1995-2003, and a principal investigator of the Demographic Survey of American Jewish College Students, 2014; the National College Students Survey 2013; the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) 2008; and the Worldviews and Opinions of Scientists: India 2007-08. She was the study director of the American Jewish Identity Survey (AJIS) 2001.

Professor Keysar was born in Israel and holds a B.A. in statistics and an M.A. and Ph.D. in demography from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel.

10/6 – Center Director, Jeffrey Shoulson, to Present with Live Actors on Forgiveness in Shakespeare

Professor ShoulsonTimed to coincide with the Jewish High Holidays, Center Director Jeffrey Shoulson will present on the theme of “Forgiveness in Shakespeare” and will be joined by several professional actors who will be performing brief selections from some of Shakespeare’s plays to prompt an interactive discussion on the topic.

The event takes place on October 6 at 7:00pm at Charter Oak Cultural Center in Hartford and is part of Charter Oak’s 12th Annual Celebration of Jewish Arts and Culture, a yearly exploration of the historical and contemporary expressions of Jewish identity in art.  The event is free and open to the public.

Visit the Charter Oak Facebook event page!

Holocaust Expert Dr. Pnina Rosenberg Comes to Connecticut 

Pnina RosenbergRenowned art historian, Dr. Pnina Rosenberg from The Technion (Israel Institute of Technology), will present two upcoming lectures this September sponsored by UConn Global Affairs, UConn’s Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, the Department of Art and Art History, the University of Hartford’s Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies, and Voices of Hope.  

On September 21, from 7:00-9:00pm, Dr. Rosenberg will present “A Long Day’s Journey into the Dark Past: Artists-Survivors Facing Their Holocaust Memories” at the University of Hartford’s Mortensen Library in the President’s Classroom, 1st floor.

Dr. Rosenberg will also be presenting “Reshaping Haunted Nuremberg: From the City of Nazi Party Rallies to the Street of Human Rights” on September 22 at 5:00pm in the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center’s Konover Auditorium. Dr. Rosenberg’s lecture will provide insights about the transformation of the city of Nuremberg, which held special significance in Nazi Germany as the site of monumental Nazi Party rallies.  A set of laws, known as the “Nuremberg Laws” after the place where they were passed at a Nazi Party convention in 1935, became the legal foundation for the persecution of so-called “non-Aryans” and paved the way for the Holocaust.  After Germany’s defeat in 1945, major German political and military functionaries and leaders of the Nazi Party were tried in Nuremberg in several international tribunals collectively known as the Nuremberg Trials.  

In responding to this history, today’s Nuremberg has transformed many of these locations into educational and memorial sites with the intention of promoting human rights culture.  Every other year, the city of Nuremberg bestows “The Nuremberg International Human Rights Award” upon a worthy organization working in the field of human rights.  In 2000, Nuremberg was the first municipality world-wide to receive the UNESCO Award for Human Rights Education.

9/14/16 – Josh Lambert to Present “The Roots of Jewish Humor”

Josh LambertJosh Lambert, author of award-winning book Unclean Lips: Obscenity, Jews, and American Culture and academic director of the Yiddish Book Center, will present “The Roots of Jewish Humor” on September 14 at 7:30pm in the Wilde Auditorium at the University of Hartford in an event co-sponsored by UConn’s Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life and the University of Hartford’s Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies.

Visit the event page on Facebook!

Learn more about Josh Lambert by visiting his website.

April 18 – Yale’s Judaic Studies Program Hosts Annual Colloquium

Colloquium flyer
On April 18, 2016 from 4:00 – 7:00 PM, Yale’s Judaic Studies Program will be holding its annual Judaic Studies Colloquium.
Guest speakers include:
  • Yishai Keil – “Dynamics of Sexual Desire: Babylonian Rabbinic Culture at the Crossroads of Christian and Zoroastrian Ethics”
  • David Sorkin/Lucy G. Moses – “Interminable Emancipation: Jews and Citizenship”
A light dinner will be served.
Please RSVP to

11/17/15 – Nuremberg at 70: Commemorating the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg

Stephen RappOn Tuesday, November 17 at 4:00 PM, Ambassador Stephen J. Rapp, an Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, 2009-2015 for the Office of Global Criminal Justice, U.S. Department of State will present a lecture commemorating the international military tribunal at Nuremberg.

This lecture is will take place in the Konover Auditorium in the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, and is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact the Dodd Center at

11/16/15 – Holocaust Claims: Recovering from Swiss Banks and the German Government

Leonard OrlandOn Monday, November 16 from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM, Professor Leonard Orland, who taught at UConn School of Law for more than 30 years, will return to share his experience participating in two groundbreaking compensation programs for Holocaust victims.
A 1996 class action against Swiss banks for accounts of Jewish depositors resulted in a recovery of $1.25 billion, the background of which Professor Orland reveals in his 2001 book, “A Final Accounting: Holocaust Victims and Swiss Banks.” A second program established by the German government awarded billions of dollars to compensate victims forced to live in Jewish Ghettos or sent to concentration camps.
In connection with the program, Germany authorized the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany to administer a claims process for victims. Professor Orland has recently been appointed by the Claims Conference as an appellate magistrate to review cases in which awards were terminated because of fraud.
This event is sponsored by the UConn School of Law and will take place at the Reading Room in William F. Starr Hall, 45 Elizabeth Street, Hartford, CT.
For more information or to RSVP, click here.