By Jane Salerno, Clark University

Clark junior Jody Russell Manning spent the summer of 2005 working as the first U.S. intern at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and State Museum in Poland.
Manning is an unconventional student who came to Clark and to the museum internship through unconventional means.
Manning had embarked on a successful business career after attending college in his native Ohio. He achieved success as a restaurateur—even winning an international competition for his original cocktail recipes.
During a trip to Europe, Manning accompanied a friend and Holocaust survivor on a visit to the former Nazi death camp at Auschwitz. The visit changed his life, he says, prompting him to approach several museums seeking a position. He was advised to return to school. The head of the Visiting Scholars Program at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial and Museum recommended he contact Clark’s renowned Strassler Family Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies.
In 2004, Manning enrolled as a European history major. He later participated in the Clark Prague-Terezin program. “Having to debate, discuss and comprehend other opinions and views with diverse students of various backgrounds is an amazing learning experience,â€? he says.
After completing the Prague-Terezin program, Manning remained in Poland and was accepted for the prestigious and challenging summer internship at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oswiecim.
“The staff truly took me in as part of their family,â€? he recalls. His many tasks included proofreading permanent exhibition and texts at the museum, developing correspondence, and assisting with a variety of post-graduate conferences, lectures and seminars.
During the internship, Manning adhered to an academic program that included keeping a weekly journal and conducting archival and other research. He wrote two papers, titled: “Nazi Racial Hygiene and the Auschwitz Waffen-SS Hygiene Instituteâ€? and “The History and Structure of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oswiecim.â€?
Manning plans to return to the museum this summer and has applied for a research fellowship. He aims to conduct a multi-generational study of the townspeople of Auschwitz, assessing the effects of post-war memory on their lives.
Of his summer at the Museum, Manning writes: “The personal, emotional, and academic knowledge that I gained and experienced in that small town of Oswiecim has been the most profound of my study.â€?