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UC San Diego Announces 2023-2024 Holocaust Living History Workshop Series

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The University of California San Diego’s Holocaust Living History Workshop (HLHW) is returning this fall with a yearlong series of eight talks that underscore the theme “Spaces of Persecution.”  Historians usually focus on the chronology of discrimination, and the causes of various forms of death for victims of the Holocaust. In this year’s Workshop, we expand our understanding with a focus on space in the experience of persecution.

“Holocaust victims were tormented in spaces ranging from family homes and barns to town squares and open fields,” said Susanne Hillman, HLHW Program Coordinator.“ For the victims, space was central, and survivors’ memories are inevitably anchored in the specific spaces of their unique experience. This year’s programming allows attendees to reflect on the centrality of space in the Holocaust.”

Now in its 15th year of programming, HLHW aims to broaden understanding of the past, foster tolerance and preserve the memory of victims and survivors of the Holocaust. A collaborative effort between the UC San Diego Library and the UC San Diego Jewish Studies Program, the continued relevance of Holocaust survivors and withnesses in today’s turbulent world.

Each public event focuses on individual as well as group responses to the Holocaust and its long aftermath. The innovative approaches used by featured HLHW guest speakers demonstrate an incontrovertible fact: the Holocaust continues to engage artists, writers, scholars, survivors and the public. Registration is required for all events, which are free and open to the public. Unless otherwise noted, all events are offered in person in Geisel Library’s Seuss Room and online beginning at 5 p.m. PT.

Series Opener

The Banality of Evil: A Conversation on Theatre and the Holocaust featuring Moisés Kaufman in Conversation with Allan Havis

October 12, 2023 | 5 - 6:30 p.m. PT | Virtual-Only
Registration is open and required (link above)

In 2006, an album of photographs from Auschwitz landed on the desk of an archivist at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The photographs documented the many ways SS camp guards made life for themselves at the German death camp tolerable, even enjoyable. As news of the extraordinary find spread worldwide, a German businessman discovered his own grandfather in one of the pictures. What was he to do with this shocking discovery? This is the ethical dilemma at the heart of the play “Here there are blueberries,” conceived and directed by the Venezuelan theatre director Moisés Kaufman.

A playwright, filmmaker and founder of the Tectonic Theater Project, Kaufman is the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious National Medal of Arts and Humanities. He will be in conversation with Allan Havis, a professor in the UC San Diego Department of Theatre and an award-winning playwright. 

Additional 2023-2024 HLHW Events

In the Midst of Civilized Europe: The Pogroms of 1918-1921 and the Onset of the Holocaust featuring Jeffrey Veidlinger

November 16, 2023 | 5 - 6:30 p.m. PT | In Person and Virtual
Sponsored by July Galper
Registration is open and required (links above)

The Pope at War: The Secret History of Pius XII, Mussolini and Hitler featuring David Kertzer

January 18, 2024 | 5 - 6:30 p.m. PT  | In Person and Virtual
Sponsored by Joel and Nancy Dimsdale
Registration details are forthcoming

Hitler’s American Model: The United States and Nazi Race Law featuring James Q. Whitman

February 15, 2024 | 5 - 6:30 p.m. PT | Virtual-Only
Registration details are forthcoming

An Antisemitic Double-Murder: The Forgotten History of Right-Wing Terrorism in Postwar West Germany featuring Uffa Jensen

March 7, 2024 | 5 - 6:30 p.m. PT | In Person and Virtual
Sponsored by Laurayne Ratner
Registration details are forthcoming

The Kindness of Strangers: Survival in Linz, London and Shanghai featuring Bob Gans

April 4, 2024 | 5 - 6:30 p.m. PT | In Person and Virtual
Sponsored by Judi Gottschalk
Registration details are forthcoming

Family Papers: A Sephardic Journey Through the 20th Century featuring Sarah Abrevaya Stein

April 18, 2024 | 5 - 6:30 p.m. PT | In Person and Virtual
The Lou Dunst Memorial Lecture
Registration details are forthcoming

Gray Zones: Collaborating with the Nazis featuring Laura Jockusch

May 16, 2024 | 5 - 6:30 p.m. PT | Virtual-Only
Registration details are forthcoming

In addition to the public lecture series, the HLHW engages local students, teachers, interested community members, and Holocaust survivors and their families through use of USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive. The Archive is the world’s largest online database of videotaped testimonies by Holocaust survivors and witnesses, and the UC San Diego Library is the only institution in the San Diego region to have access to its resources.

For more information about UC San Diego’s Holocaust Living History Workshop, contact Susanne Hillman at If you have questions or would like to register by phone, contact us at or (858) 534-0134.

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