The center ‘plans to offer educators interdisciplinary graduate programs in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, incorporating history, Jewish studies, literature, law, philosophy and social work’

BY ILANIT CHERNICK
Yeshiva U. to open Holocaust and Genocide Studies Center

Yeshiva University’s Wilf Campus where the Emil A. and Jenny Fish Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies will be based.. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

“The center’s consequential mission will be to train both school and university educators in the field of Holocaust and Genocide Studies, with plans to offer graduate programs in the discipline,” the university announced on its website on Friday.

The Emil A. and Jenny Fish Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies is named for Holocaust survivor Emil Fish, who is funding the project.

“We must know the history about what happened and why and what the implications are for today,” Fish explained. “The Center will educate young people and adults about a singular event in history that regrettably, too few people understand, including what conditions existed before the Nazis ascended to power, how they rose to leadership positions, and why they targeted Jews.”

Born in Bardejov, Slovakia, Fish was sent as a young boy with his mother and sister to Bergen-Belsen, from where he was liberated in 1945. The family later reunited with Fish’s father and immigrated to Canada, and moved to Los Angeles in 1955.

Fish is the founder and president of the Bardejov Jewish Preservation Committee, which works to preserve and create a memorial for the survivors of the Holocaust in the Jewish suburb in Bardejov, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

As antisemitism continues to remain rampant in New York and across the United States, and knowledge of the Holocaust begins to falter among future generations, Fish said that he believes “it is important to provide educators with the resources and programs needed to impart the relevancy of the Holocaust to a new generation of students who know less and less about this.”

YU President Dr. Ari Berman said that as “Holocaust education and awareness across the globe is transitioning from a pedagogy of living testimony to one anchored in memory, the center… will serve a crucial role as a leader and role model for a new generation of Holocaust scholarship and education.”

The center plans to offer educators interdisciplinary graduate programs in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, incorporating history, Jewish studies, literature, law, philosophy and social work.

The Center, which will be located on YU’s Wilf Campus, will conduct academic research and organize public events to further the goal of extending Holocaust education to people of all ages and backgrounds.

“By leveraging the uniquely qualified faculty and resources of Yeshiva University’s undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools and affiliates, the Center will be an impactful and essential focus of research, education, teacher training, and public programming,” YU explained.