Holocaust experts to share their findings at scholars’ conference
The UT Dallas Ackerman Center for Holocaust Studies will welcome Holocaust scholars, theologians and survivors for the 48th annual Scholars’ Conference on the Holocaust and the Churches Saturday-Monday.
The collection of experts will share their findings in hopes that the lessons of the Holocaust will remain relevant. Nils Roemer, director of the Ackerman Center, said the conference focuses on being interfaith, interdisciplinary and international.
“It will be an open environment in which scholars and Ph.D. students join in a conversation and create a community of like-minded individuals who pursue similar things,” said Roemer, the Stan and Barbara Rabin Professor of Holocaust Studies at UTD. “We also are bringing together people of various backgrounds to discuss the Holocaust from historical, philosophical and theological perspectives.”
Franklin H. Littell and Hubert G. Locke founded the conference in 1970. Various universities have held it over the years. Under an agreement signed last fall, the Ackerman Center will lead and host the event on a continuing basis.
This year’s conference will feature three tracks: The Holocaust: History and Pedagogy; Faith, Memory and Responsibility; and Philosophy and Aesthetics. Roemer said the conference will include discussions about responsibility for the Holocaust.
“Where does the responsibility lie? This creates all sorts of lines of investigation that are relevant to ask today,” he said. “Where do we have to voice our opinions? Where are we quietly complicit? When do we have to overtly oppose immoral actions?”
The keynote speaker Sunday, March 4, will be Irene Hasenberg Butter, a peace activist and Holocaust survivor. Butter, professor emerita of public health at the University of Michigan, is a frequent speaker who shares her experience during World War II and stresses the importance of never being a bystander and that one person can make a difference.
Roemer said UT Dallas was chosen to host the conference because it is a young and dynamic university located in a diverse part of Dallas-Fort Worth, and because of the Ackerman Center’s success.
“We’re taking something that has existed somewhere else and we’re now placing it into a new context,” he said. “If we do a good job, it will create new connections and new synergies.”
—Submitted by Phil Roth
Author Trestman to lecture at Historical Society
The Dallas Jewish Historical Society will present noted author and historian Marlene Trestman at its lecture series, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 6, at the Aaron Family JCC, 7900 Northaven Road.
Trestman is the author of Fair Labor Lawyer: The Remarkable Life of New Deal Attorney and Supreme Court Advocate Bessie Margolin. Prompted by her research on Margolin’s early life and by her own childhood in New Orleans as a Jewish orphan, Trestman is currently working on her second book, The History of New Orleans Jewish Orphans Home, 1855-1946.
To support her research, the American Jewish Archives awarded Trestman the 2015-2016 Frankel Family Fellowship. She presented portions of her work at the 2015 Southern Jewish Historical Society (SJHS) Conference in Nashville and at the 2016 conference in Natchez, Mississippi, Nov. 5, 2016.
Trestman presented a third facet of her research about the Jewish Orphans Home of New Orleans at the society’s 2017 conference in Cincinnati.
Trestman, who was orphaned at age 11, grew up in New Orleans as a beneficiary of the Jewish Children’s Regional Service. Trestman attended the Isidore Newman School under the spirit of its founding charter to educate Jewish orphans.
Trestman is a former special assistant to the Maryland attorney general, where she started her 30-year legal career in 1982. She has taught law at Loyola University of Maryland’s Sellinger School of Business & Management, where she earned her MBA. Trestman twice received the Attorney General’s Exceptional Service Award and, in 2004, was named Isidore Newman School’s Distinguished Alumnus.
A former trustee of Goucher College, she currently serves on the board of Goucher’s Prison Education Partnership. She and her husband, Henry Kahn, a partner with the law firm of Hogan Lovells, live in Baltimore. They have two grown children, Helene and Eli.
Cost is free for DJHS members and $10 for non-members. RSVP at http://bit.ly/DJHSLectureSeries.