‘Driven off the Map’ – Historian to discuss ethnic cleansing, March 23

WORCESTER, Mass. – Historian Benjamin Lieberman will deliver this year’s Asher Family Lecture at Clark University, titled “Driven off the Map: How Ethnic Cleansing Remade Modern Europe,â€? at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, March 23, in Tilton Hall, Higgins University Center.

The lecture focuses on the topic of Professor Lieberman’s new book, “Terrible Fate: Ethnic Cleansing in the Making of Modern Europeâ€? (Ivan R. Dee 2006). The book will be available for sale at the event.

Over the last two centuries, ethnic cleansing has remade the map of Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East, transforming vast multi-ethnic empires into nearly homogeneous nations. Towns and cities from Germany to Turkey still show the traces of the vanished and nearly forgotten ethnic and religious communities that once called these places home.

Ethnic cleansing and related violence changed hundreds of towns and cities forever as the Ottoman, Russian, Austro-Hungarian, and German empires collapsed, to be reborn as the modern nation-states we know today. Beginning in the nineteenth century multiple waves of ethnic cleansing continued through, the Armenian genocide, world wars, the Holocaust, the rise and fall of the Soviet empire, and the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Political leaders-not only monarchs and dictators but also those who were democratically elected-played key roles, but so too did ordinary people who often required very little encouragement to rob and brutalize their neighbors.

Lieberman is professor of history at Fitchburg State College. He is also the author of “From Recovery to Catastrophe: Municipal Stabilization and Political Crisis in Weimar Germanyâ€? (Berghahn Books 1998).

Lieberman received his bachelor’s degree in history from Yale University and his master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He has taught courses including Europe Today, 20th Century Europe, Nazi Germany, Holocaust, Armenian Genocide and Modern African History. He is a member of the American Historical Association and the German Studies Association.

The Asher Family Fund supports this lecture. Norman B. Asher, a retired partner at Hale and Dorr LLP (Boston) who served as an honorary member of Clark University’s Board of Trustees, established The Asher Family Fund in June of 1979. Each year, the fund underwrites a lecture or other appropriate academic event that commemorates the anniversary of the fall of the Warsaw Ghetto, with respect to the Holocaust, its past, present and future implications for mankind.

The event is free and open to the public and will be followed by a reception. It is sponsored by the Strassler Family Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark. For more information, call 508-793-8897