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Holocaust Remembrance Conference set for April 11-15

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The 29th annual Greater Lafayette Holocaust Remembrance Conference will take place April 11-15 at Purdue University’s Stewart Center and other locations in West Lafayette and Lafayette.

Planned by the Greater Lafayette Holocaust Remembrance Conference Committee, the overarching theme of this year’s conference is “Complicity: Our Role in Genocide.” Featured speakers will address this theme from the World War II era to recent times in Rwanda and Eastern Congo.

Registration for the conference will begin at 1:30 p.m. on April 11 in Purdue’s Stewart Center, Room 214. The conference is free and open to the public.

Proclamations by Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski and West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis will open the event at 2 p.m. in Stewart Center, Room 214, followed by a memorial prayer by Rabbi Audrey Pollack of Temple Israel. The opening also includes candle lighting by Holocaust survivors and children and grandchildren of survivors, and music by Brad Bodine and the St. Thomas Aquinas Singers and Lafayette Chamber Singers.

Daniel Frank, professor of philosophy and director of the Jewish Studies Program in the Purdue’s College of Liberal Arts, will provide opening remarks at 2:20 p.m.

At 2:40 p.m., Richard Breitmen, professor of history at American University in Washington, D.C., will talk about “FDR Before and During the Holocaust” in Stewart Center, Room 214. Breitman is serving as the fourth annual Rabbi Gedalyah Engel Lecturer, which is named in honor of the 90-year-old former Purdue Hillel Foundation director who founded the conference in 1971. Gordon Mork, Purdue history professor, will introduce Breitman.

A schedule of other conference events, which also are free and open to the public, is as follows:

  • April 11. 3:40 p.m. Stewart Center, Room 214. “Complicity in Genocide: The Failure(s) of Ethics.” John Roth, professor emeritus of philosophy at Claremont (Calif.) McKenna College. Introduction by Robert Melson, Purdue political science professor.
  • April 11. 4:40 p.m. Stewart Center, Room 214. “Responsibility Without Boundaries.” Michael Morgan, professor of philosophy and Jewish studies at Indiana University. Introduction by Daniel Frank.
  • April 11. 6 p.m. Purdue Memorial Union Anniversary Drawing Room. Kosher dairy buffet with conference speakers and conference committee. Open to the public. Reservations required by April 6 to or call 765-463-1980. Cost is $18 for adults and $3 for students at the door.
  • April 11. 7:30 p.m. Stewart Center’s Fowler Hall. “Musical Diaries from the Ghetto.” Lecture by composer and musicologist Nurit Jugend, DMA, Stanford University, and music by Edna Koren, concert pianist for the San Francisco Symphony and the Sun Valley Summer Symphony.
  • April 12. 9 a.m. Hillel Foundation, 912 W. State St., West Lafayette. Tippecanoe County and university religious leaders’ breakfast and conversation with Breitman, Roth and Morgan.
  • April 12. 6 p.m. West Lafayette Public Library, 208 W. Columbia St. Film series in cooperation with the GLHRC. “Children of the Congo: From War to Witches.”
  • April 12. 8 p.m. Purdue’s Krannert Auditorium. “Jewish Politics and Resistance in John Hersey’s The Wall,” by Nancy Sinkoff, professor of history and Jewish studies, Rutgers University. Introduced by Rebekah Klein-Pejšová, Purdue professor and Jewish studies.
  • April 13. 4:30 p.m. St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Center, 535 W. State St., West Lafayette. Teaching “The Diary of Anne Frank,” a workshop for middle- and high-school teachers. Online registration at is required by April 6. Box dinners donated by Roger and Cathy Bauer of SUBWAY/Bauer Inc. of Lafayette.
  • April 13. 7 p.m. Hillel Foundation, 912 W. State St., West Lafayette. Showing of the film “Zwartboek.” (Dutch: “The Black Book”).
  • April 14. 7 p.m. McCutcheon High School, 4951 Old U.S. 231 South, Lafayette. “I Never Saw Another Butterfly,” a play presented by McCutcheon drama students. Directed by Stella Schafer, English and drama teacher.
  • April 14. 8 p.m. Purdue’s Lawson Computer Science Building, Room 1142. “Coming to Account: Swiss Banks and the Holocaust,” by John Crook of the George Washington University Law School. Introduced by conference co-chair Donna Schurman.
  • April 15. 6 p.m. West Lafayette Public Library, 208 W. Columbia St. Film series in cooperation with the GLHRC. “Hotel Rwanda.”
  • April 15. 8 p.m. Lawson Building, Room 1142. Panel discussion on “Rwanda, Burundi and Eastern Congo: The Aftermath.” Moderated by Ray Dumett, Purdue history professor. “Challenges of Peace Building and Post-Conflict Reconstruction in the Congo,” by Catharine Newbury, professor of politics and government at Smith College. “Rebuilding After Violence in Rwanda, Burundi and Africa’s Great Lakes Region,” by Noel Twagiramungu, doctoral degree candidate in political science at Tufts University.

For more details about the speakers, teachers’ resources and programming, go online to

Conference sponsors are Purdue’s Department of History and the Jewish Studies Program; the Diocese of Lafayette and St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Center; Hillel Foundation; Jewish Federation of Greater Lafayette; the Sons of Abraham Congregation; Temple Israel; Tippecanoe County Religious Leaders; and the University Religious Leaders Association.

Funding for this free conference is from Evonik Industries, the Indiana Humanities Council and CityBus/Greater Lafayette Public Transportation Corp., along with an endowment from the Sam and Edith Chosnek Memorial Fund.

The conference begins on Holocaust Remembrance Day, known in Hebrew as Yom HaShoah, a day observed by Jews worldwide. In Israel it is a national memorial day and public holiday. Translated from Hebrew, the phrase means “day of catastrophe.”

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