Holocaust, Genocide and Interfaith Education Center Opens Fall Semester with Photography Exhibition and Series of Lectures

BESA exhibition, college alumnus and annual lecture inspire events at the College.

Manhattan College’s Holocaust, Genocide and Interfaith Education Center is gearing up for the fall semester starting with an Understanding Islam discussion on Tuesday, Sept. 11. A semester-long exhibition titled BESA: Muslim Albanians Who Rescued Jews During the Holocaust will run through Dec. 15 coinciding with a few special events on Sept. 20, Oct. 11 and 23.

In addition, the fifth annual Frederick M. Schweitzer Lecture, The Kristallnacht in History and Memory on Wednesday, Nov. 7, will feature guest speaker Alan E. Steinweis, Ph.D. Steinweis is the Leonard and Carolyn Miller Distinguished Professor of Holocaust Studies and director of the Center for Holocaust Studies at the University of Vermont.

On Sept. 11, Manhattan alumnus Mansoor Ahmed ’10, a graduate student at Columbia University, will discuss his father Mohammad Masood Ahmed’s book Would You Like to Know Something about Islam? Mosaic artist Haifa Bint Kadi, who utilizes Byzantine and Islamic styles, will also present on why she focuses her art on the coexistence of Jews and Muslims in Palestine. The event will take place at 4 p.m. in the Alumni Room of the Mary Alice and Tom O’Malley Library.

On Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. in Hayden 100, Ichak Adizes will explain his own story of survival escaping from Macedonia and taking refuge in Albania after 133 members of his extended family were killed in a concentration camp in 1943. Adizes, along with his parents and grandparents, survived by pretending to be Muslims in the Albanian community. I Want to Remember: He Wants to Forget, a documentary of Adizes’ story, was made by Israeli television and will be shown on Sept. 20. The documentary is available at www.Adizes.com.

The Besa exhibition features photography by Norman Gershman, which focuses on the rescue of Jews during the Holocaust. In celebration of the exhibit, an opening reception will be held on Oct. 11 with Gershman in the Alumni Room. The community will have an opportunity to check out the exhibit, speak with Gershman, and learn about the role that the Albanians played when they refused to comply with German occupiers and turned over the Jewish refugees that were in hiding.

The series continues on Oct. 23 in the Alumni Room with a presentation by Holocaust survivor Johanna Neumann, who escaped to Albania in 1939 with her family and began practicing Islam to assimilate into Muslim culture.

The Nov. 7 Schweitzer Lecture will be held in Smith Auditorium at 7 p.m., and Steinweis will explain how the Kristallnacht fit into the unfolding anti-Jewish policies of the Nazi regime. He will further analyze how the event continues to loom so large in the collective memories of Jews, Germans and others.