Genocide Awareness Week Offers Series of Speakers

(Posted April 8, 2013)

Holocaust scholar Robert Jay Lifton will speak at 7 p.m., Tuesday, April 9, will speak in Neff Lecture Hall. he is the author of "The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide."

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- From April 7-12, Juniata College will host Genocide Awareness and Action Week, an interdisciplinary program that this year features a series of speakers who will relate personal or instructive stories of genocides ranging from the Holocaust to ongoing genocidal events in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

All events listed are free and open to the public, except where noted.

The week's activities will begin at 8 p.m., Sunday, April 7, with the showing of a film, "Paragraph 175," in Neff Lecture Hall in the von Liebig Center for Science. "Paragraph 175" is a documentary film released in 2000 that chronicles the lives of several gay men and a lesbian who were persecuted by the Nazis.

On Monday, April 8, Holocaust survivor Judith Meisel, will host a 7 p.m. showing of the documentary "Tak for Alt," and she will hold a question-and-answer session. The film will be shown in Neff Lecture Hall in the von Liebig Center for Science. "Tak for Alt," (which means "Thanks for Everything" in Danish) follows Meisel as she retraces her steps back to Eastern Europe through the Kovno ghetto, to the concentration camp where she was transferred and to Denmark, where she escaped and recovered from her harrowing ordeal. Her lecture is sponsored by Hillel.
Judy Meisel was born in Josvainai, Lithuania in 1929, one of three children of a lumber and cattle merchant. When the Nazi army invaded Lithuania in 1941, the country's Jewish population was isolated in the Kovno ghetto. Meisel was forced to work as a slave laborer in a factory making rubber boots for the German army.

The activities on Tuesday, April 9 begin at noon as Henry Thurston-Griswald, professor of Spanish, moderates a discussion and lecture about Guatemala and that country's genocide during its civil war, focusing primarily on the human rights violations committed during the "scorched earth" campaign waged from 1978-1983.

At 7 p.m., Tuesday, Holocaust scholar Robert Jay Lifton will speak in Neff Lecture Hall in the von Liebig center. Lifton is a noted expert on the psychological causes and effects of war and political violence. He has written a series of books exploring the Holocaust and the Bosnian genocide, including "The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide" and "The Genocidal Mentality: Nazi Holocaust and the Nuclear Threat."

Lifton is the recipient of a Nobel lectureship and received the Holocaust Memorial Award and the Gandhi Peace Prize. The talk is sponsored by Juniata's Office of the President and the Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies.

The lunch discussion at noon, Wednesday, April 10, in Sill Boardroom, will focus on "Psychology and Genocide," led by Philip Dunwoody, associate professor of psychology.

During the evening on Wednesday, there will be a Freedom Seder dinner at 5:30 p.m., in Sill Boardroom. Tickets for the dinner are free and available at the information desk in Ellis Hall.

Polly Walker, assistant professor of peace and conflict studies, will host a lunch discussion group at noon, Thursday, April 11 in Rockwell Seminar Room in the von Liebig Center for Science. The topic will focus on the Native American genocide in the United States.

At 7 p.m., Thursday, Sasha Lezhnev, senior policy analyst for Enough: The Project to End Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, will speak about conflict minerals and the role these sought-after substances play in the ongoing civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Lezhnev is the author of the book "Crafting Peace: Strategies to Deal with Warlords in Collapsing States," and focuses his work at Enough on the conflict minerals in the DRC. He also is executive director and co-founder of the Grassroots reconciliation Group, an organization that helps former child soldiers in Uganda. He also worked in Uganda as senior program officer for the Northern Uganda Peace Initiative.

On Friday, April 12, at noon, Celia Cook-Huffman, professor of conflict resolution, will host a lunch discussion on "Post-Genocide Reconciliation" in Rockwell Seminar Room in the von Liebig center for Science.

Contact John Wall at or (814) 641-3132 for more information.